The Michigan Wolverines baseball team had a great opportunity to gain some ground in the Big Ten regular season championship hunt against 12th-place Minnesota, but it couldn’t get it done.
Minnesota was able to win two out of three in the weekend series and made the Wolverines path to a championship a little bit more complicated. Michigan is now tied for 5th in the conference and is 23-22 (10-8) on the year.
Here’s how the series went down in Minneapolis:
Game one: 4-0 L
Game one was a tail of one inning, and that inning didn't go well for Michigan. Connor O’Halloran got the start for Michigan and pitched an overall great game, but the first inning was rough.
The Gophers jumped on Michigan early and got a 3-0 lead right out of the gate in the 1st inning. Minnesota added another run in the 3rd to go up 4-0, but the pitching staff got the job done after that and held Minnesota scoreless for the rest of the game.
Unfortunately, the Wolverines couldn’t get the bats going, and Minnesota took game one 4-0. O’Halloran got the L and Tucker Novotny got the win for the Gophers.
Game two: 4-2 L
Game two was also a tail of one inning, and again, it was the Gophers that won that inning. Noah Rennard got the start on the mound and pitched a great game, but there wasn’t enough offense to go with it.
Mitch Voit put Michigan up 1-0 in the 4th with an RBI double, and Greg Pace JR. homered in the 8th to make it 2-0 going into the bottom of the inning. That’s when things went south. Minnesota’s bats came alive and the Gophers exploded for four runs in the inning to go up 4-2 and eventually win the game, and the series.
Voit got the loss on the mound, and Connor Wietgrefe got the win for the Gophers.
Game three: 4-1 W
Michigan was able to avoid the sweep and salvage the lost series with a win in game three thanks to a complete game gem from Jacob Denner.
The Wolverines got things going early with four runs in the first two innings, and that’s all it took to get the win. Joey Velasquez did the heavy lifting in the 1st with a three-run shot, and Cody Jefferis hit an RBI single to make it 4-0 in the 2nd.
Denner had a shutout going into the 7th inning before the Gophers were able to spoil it with a run, but he finished out the game for the CG and helped get Michigan the 4-1 win.
The win went to Denner and Richie Holetz got the loss for the Minnesota.
The weekend didn’t go the way that Michigan was hoping, but luckily for the Wolverines, there is still just a three game gap between 5th place and 1st place. There are only two series left, but Michigan still has a chance.
Michigan plays again next weekend at home when Northwestern comes to town for a three-game series.