Baseball is back! The Michigan Wolverines travel west to Mesa and Scottsdale, Arizona to open up the 2023 campaign this weekend.
For those that don’t remember, the Wolverines’ season ended on a sour note in the NCAA Tournament last year. After winning the Big Ten Tournament to earn a spot, Michigan lost a close, controversial game in the Louisville Regional to the host Cardinals.
After the season, the Wolverines lost head coach Erik Bakich to Clemson. Veteran coach Tracy Smith takes over as the head man and is ready to lead Michigan in his first season.
Luckily for Smith, he has a good group of returning seniors that should provide a lot of talent and leadership. The Wolverines return Jimmy Obertop, Jake Marti, Tito Flores, Joey Velazquez and Walker Cleveland, all seniors who played big roles on last years squad. Unfortunately for Michigan, Obertop will miss the beginning of the season due to injury.
Michigan will have four games on their road trip this weekend, squaring off with Fresno State (27-28 in 2022), Michigan State, (24-30) UC San Diego (24-32) and Grand Canyon (41-21). The game against the Spartans — if it even happens due to MSU athletics potentially being shut down this weekend because of the tragedy in East Lansing earlier this week — will not count towards either team’s Big Ten record.
The Wolverines play Fresno State on Friday at 1 p.m. EST., Michigan State Friday at 6 p.m., UC San Diego Saturday at 3 p.m. and Grand Canyon Sunday at 7 p.m.
Last season, the Wolverines got off to a 1-2 start in the opening weekend tournament, with one of the games being a blown lead in the 9th inning to Texas Tech. The Wolverines would not have made the tournament last season without winning the conference tournament so if they hope to be in position for an at-large bid this season, they need a good start this year to build momentum.