The weekend began with an inspiring effort against the No. 14 ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders and offensive avalanche against Kansas State, before turning sour against Oklahoma, and a return to form against UT-Arlington.
Inconsistent hitting and several pitchers struggling with control is reason for pause, and and while it is far too early to panic, there is reason for concern in Ann Arbor. That said, there is also reason for optimism.
Jimmy Obertop recorded a hit in every game and Cape Cod batting champion Clark Elliott already has two home runs on the season. Pitchers Cameron Weston and Jacob Denner have the makings of a lethal one-two punch, if Weston can tighten up on his control. But most importantly, the Wolverines showed maturity and resilience when facing a familiar adversity against UT-Arlington.
Here is a brief summary of the four-game opening weekend for the Wolverines:
- Against Texas Tech in the State Farm College Baseball Showdown opener, Michigan jumped out to a 4-0 lead and even held a 6-3 lead entering the bottom of the sixth. The wheels came off for the Wolverines when they allowed the Red Raiders to cut the lead to 6-5 without a single hit (three walks, hit-batter, wild pitch). The Red Raiders doubled home the game-winning run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to win 7-6. While pitching woes ultimately doomed the Wolverines, Clark Elliott continued to impress at the plate, finishing with three hits and home run that still hasn’t landed yet.
- Seven runs in the seventh inning against Kansas Sate powered the Wolverines to their lone victory of the weekend, 10-2. Starting pitcher Jacob Denner was dominant through six innings, striking out five batters, allowing only four hits, and giving up one earned-run. Jimmy Obertop was responsible for three hits and two runs and Elliott followed his prolific season debut with two more hits , including his second home run in as many games.
- In the final game of the State Farm College Baseball Showdown, the Oklahoma Sooners crushed Michigan 6-1 in a game where the Wolverines could not buy a run. Obertop was responsible for two of Michigan’s FOUR hits (be sure to read “four” in this tone). And to add insult to embarrassment, all of Oklahoma’s runs were scored as a result of walks and errors.
- On the road against UTA, it looked like more of the same for the Michigan bats until Joe Stewart launched a 398-foot, three-run bomb in the fifth inning to give the Wolverines a 4-1 lead. Stewart finished with three hits, three RBI’s, and accounted for two runs himself. In the top of the eighth, Tito Flores hit a three-run shot himself to open up a 7-3 lead. Michigan would tack on two more in the eighth and cling to a 9-3 lead until the bottom of the ninth with two outs. UTA scored four runs late and flashbacks of Texas Tech began to feel inevitable for fans. But closer Ahmad Harajli shut the door with a runner in scoring position and the tying run at the plate for his first career save; the Wolverines hung on 9-7.