The Michigan Wolverines hosted the Bradley Braves at Ray Fisher Stadium over the weekend for their last series before beginning Big Ten play. Like many series in March, there were some schedule changes because of the weather, but the teams did get all three games in, the last one being just seven innings.
Michigan entered the series hot and finding a groove after a slow start to the season. The Wolverines came in winning four of their last five, hoping to continue the momentum. Here’s how the series went:
Game 1: 8-4 W
This one was essentially a four-inning game. Both teams plated early runs for a 1-1 tie in the 2nd inning, but most of the action came in the 6th inning or later.
A two-RBI hit by Cody Jefferis got things rolling for the Wolverines in the 6th, putting them up 3-1, and a Ted Burton single scored two more to double the lead. Connor O’Halloran had been lights out on the mound all day and the scoring in the 6th would be enough offense.
Michigan added three more runs for good measure and held off a late rally by the Braves to take the first game, 8-4.
Game 2: 6-4 W
The offense was much more spread out in this one, as the Wolverines and Braves went back and forth the whole game.
Michigan scored a run in each of the first three innings. Bradley led off the 5th inning with a homer, so the Wolverines went into the bottom of the 5th up 3-2.
Tito Flores and Mitch Voit came up clutch in the 5th and both brought in runs to extend the lead to 5-2. Ted Burton then singled in a run in the 6th after a Bradley run, and Michigan led 6-3.
The Braves were able to add one more in the 7th, but that was all they could manage and the Wolverines clinched the series victory with a 6-4 win.
Game 3: 5-1 L (7 innings)
The bats were never able to get going in this one for Michigan. Bradley jumped on the Wolverines immediately in the top of the 1st to go up 1-0, and slowly built the lead up to 3-0 going into the bottom of the 6th.
After going scoreless for five innings, Michigan finally got on the board with a Tito Flores single to make it 3-1, but that was all the Wolverines could get.
Bradley added a couple insurance runs in the 7th and Michigan couldn’t get anything going in its half of the final inning of the shortened game. The Braves took this one, 5-1.
After the series against Bradley, Michigan is now 9-10 and has just one more game — against Akron — before the Big Ten schedule gets underway this weekend against Penn State.
Akron is currently 7-11 and did not fare well in its games this season against another Big Ten team. The Zips played a four-game series against Purdue and after winning the first game 2-1, Akron lost 17-9, 13-0 and 23-4.
Right now, Michigan has won five of its last seven games. A win against Akron would bring the Wolverines’ record to 10-10 ahead of Big Ten play. After a slow start to the year, entering conference play with a .500 record would be huge for this squad.