After losing at home to Akron last week, the Michigan Wolverines baseball team limped into the conference opener against Penn State. However, they took advantage of the fresh start presented and swept the Nittany Lions in the three-game series.
This sweep came as a bit of a surprise after the way the Wolverines looked last week, but they now have some momentum, sitting tied atop the conference standings after the first week.
Here’s what went down in each of the three games.
Game one: 13-4 W
Michigan played a complete game on both sides of the ball in this one, setting the tone for the entire series. The first three innings were pretty quiet, with Penn State winning 2-1 heading into the 4th, but the Wolverines’ bats then exploded, breaking this one wide open.
Joey Velasquez hit his first homer of the season to tie the game, then the bases got loaded with no outs and the hits just kept coming. Jonathon Kim singled in a run to give the Wolverines its first lead followed by a walk to bring in another run. Michigan stretched the lead to 7-2 before Joe Longo capped the inning off just the way it started — with a homer. The Wolverines led 9-2 after the huge inning.
Penn State didn’t have an answer after the big 4th inning for Michigan, and the Wolverines went on to take game one, 13-4. Connor O’Halloran picked up his fourth win of the season for Michigan, and Daniel Ouderkirk took the L for Penn State.
Game two: 12-3 W
It’s always a good game when you plate enough runs to get the win in the 1st inning, and that’s exactly what happened for Michigan in this one.
The first six Wolverines reached based, and back-to-back doubles from Longo and Velasquez put Michigan up 4-0. Both teams added a couple runs before the Wolverines had an explosive 5th.
After a hit by pitch and two walks, Michigan had the bases loaded and nobody out without putting a bat on the ball. The Nittany Lions almost escaped the threats with a couple quick outs after that, but Jake Marti then singled in two to give Michigan a 8-2 lead.
The bases became loaded once more, and Kim blasted a double to bring everybody home, stretching the Wolverines lead to 11-2.
Michigan ended up getting the win, 12-3. Chase Allen was the winning pitcher for the Wolverines and Travis Luensmann of Penn State was handed his first loss of the season.
Game three: 3-1 W
This game was much more of a defensive battle compared to the first two games. The Wolverines were searching for a sweep, and once again played a complete game.
The scoring got going in the 3rd when Kim and Cody Jefferis both picked up an RBI and the Wolverines took a 2-0 lead heading into the 4th. Penn State responded with a run in the 6th, making it 2-1, but that’s all the Nittany Lions could find. Things were tight heading into the final stretch of the game.
Kim came up clutch in the bottom of the 8th with an RBI single to bring in a huge insurance run, making it 3-1 Michigan. Jacob Denner came in in the 9th and shut the door, giving the Wolverines the big series sweep.
Noah Rennard pitched a gem to pick up the W and Jaden Henline got the L for Penn State.
After the series sweep, Michigan now has some good momentum moving forward into the rest of conference play. The Wolverines are currently 12-11 overall and 3-0 in conference play.
Michigan is back at home Tuesday hosting the Central Michigan Chippewas at 4 p.m. before hitting the road next weekend for a series against Illinois.