Having lost four of five coming into this weekend’s series, the Michigan Wolverines looked to turn it around against a struggling Cal State Fullerton Titans team. Fullerton came into the series having lost three of their last four, with a 10-17 overall record. Michigan did just that, taking all three games from the Titans, using electric pitching and offensive shootouts to do so.
The series started off with a pitchers duel. Connor O’Halloran, who has established himself as the ace of the Wolverines’ staff, continued his dominant season on the bump. The southpaw went 7.1 innings, giving up only one run. The lone blemish came in the 8th inning, as Zach Lew singled through the left side to score Caden Connor. O’Halloran lowered his ERA to a 3.00 on the season through his 9 starts, improving his record to 3-2 in the process. The scoring from the Wolverines came from the bats of the usual suspects, with an RBI single from Burton in the 6th and a solo home run from Matt Frey in the 8th, his 6th of the year, which proved to be the difference. The Wolverines took the series opener 2-1.
In frigid Ann Arbor temperatures, the Wolverines offense began to heat up. In the 1st, Ted Burton drove a sacrifice fly to center field to begin the scoring, plating Joe Stewart. The offense continued to pound the Titans pitching in the 3rd as they knocked out the starting pitcher, Evan Yates, after only 2.1 innings. The Wolverines scored three runs in the 3rd, off of a hit by pitch by Tito Flores, a Riley Bertram single and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jimmy Obertop.
If the four runs were the only runs the Wolverines scored, it would have been enough behind another stellar outing from Cameron Weston. Weston went six innings, giving up only two runs on a two-run home run in the 4th, while striking out six Titans.
Michigan continued to pad their lead throughout the afternoon, scoring two more runs in both the 4th and 6th innings, giving them an 8-2 lead.
This lead would hold for the remainder of the game, due to another tremendous outing by reliever Noah Rennard. Rennard went three innings, earning his third save of the year. He struck out seven of the ten hitters he faced, giving up only one hit in his three innings of work. The Wolverines win the game 8-2, and set up an opportunity for a sweep in Sunday’s game three.
Offenses surged in game three of this weekend series. Both teams combined for 25 hits and 21 runs, giving all 1,785 fans their money’s worth on a sunny Sunday afternoon. 7 players had multi-hit games in the contest, including three players with three-hit games.
Both teams racked up runs until it was tied 10-10 in the 8th inning. Eventually, it was Michigan who took the lead at the right time, plating Alex Fedje-Johnson on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth to walk-off the game, 11-10, and win the series.
Tito Flores was impressive at the plate for the Wolverines, going 3-3 with a walk and 3 RBIs on the day, all coming from his monster three-run home run in the 6th inning, which gave Michigan its first lead of the day.
Noah Rennard closed it down for Michigan yet again, throwing 1.1 innings in crunch time, giving up 0 runs, earning himself the win to improve his record to 3-1 on the season. His ERA sits at a 2.34, good for second-best on the team. Rennard leads the team with 15 appearances, tied with Chase Allen.
Michigan heads to South Bend this Tuesday to take on Notre Dame in a midweek single game, before traveling to East Lansing next weekend for a three-game showdown with rival Michigan State.