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Tracy Smith ‘embarrassed’ by Michigan’s performance amidst six-game skid

The Wolverines’ first-year skipper held nothing back following a 4-1 loss to Oakland University.

Michigan baseball head coach Tracy Smith and associate athletic director for external relations Kurt Svoboda David Woelkers

A losing streak extended to six games following a 4-1 loss to the Oakland Golden Grizzlies on Wednesday, Michigan Wolverines baseball head coach Tracy Smith made a surprisingly frank rebuke of his squad’s performance to gathered media — emphasizing a need for drastic change headed into the Wolverines’ upcoming appearance in the Mike Sansing Classic.

“I want you to get this right when you write about it, this is embarrassing,” Smith said. “Now, when I say ‘embarrassed,’ it’s not about Oakland. I have the utmost respect for (Oakland head coach Jordon Banfield) and his program. I’m embarrassed by the way we’re playing right now and that includes leading up to this game. When we’re striking out double digits and things like that, that’s unacceptable and it’s losing baseball.

“That stuff has to change. I’m embarrassed for us, I’m embarrassed for the program, I’m embarrassed for the past, the present, whatever you wanna call it. That’s not Michigan baseball.”

It’s hard not to see where Smith is coming from. In the first six games of the season, the Wolverines — while not the most polished team on the field — had a certain grit that led to a respectable 4-2 record. But in the six games since, Michigan has hit a slump. The team’s offense has flat-lined from a .272 average in the first six games to a .132 average since, while the earned run average has spiked even further from 6.11 to 8.17 in the same pair of splits.

In essence, wherever the Wolverines look, there seems to be fires needing to be put out — something Smith is keenly aware will take a colossal effort to fix.

“It isn’t about the work, the guys are putting in the work, it’s you gotta apply it to the games to change it,” Smith said. “The honest answer is, I don’t know right now. It’s not the answer you wanna hear of a leader but it’s like — guys are working, we’re putting in good philosophy, but at this point it needs to apply and translate to the game. I don’t know if it’s technique, if it’s mindset, but I’m embarrassed and I hope my players are embarrassed so that we change our behavior and not let this performance happen again.

“It’s too easy, we’re too easy right now. We don’t give ourselves a chance to win because we’re being very non-competitive in play right now.”

On a surface level view, the Wolverines desperately need even just one win for the sake of team morale. But unless they turn things around on more holistic proportions, it’s possible they already find themselves outside of the postseason before the beginning of spring.