If last week’s game against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies was the “soft opening” of Ray Fisher Stadium this season, the Michigan Wolverines baseball team throws the doors open in earnest starting this weekend — kicking off an eight straight games at home with a three-game series against the Bradley Braves.
The Wolverines have turned things around in that week’s span, as they enter the home slate with a 3-1 record in their last four games, including a 7-3 victory on Wednesday against the Xavier Musketeers.
Here’s this week’s trip around the diamond for the Wolverines.
Recapping the week
Wednesday’s game saw three Wolverines — outfielder Jonathan Kim, catcher Joe Longo and third baseman Mitch Voit — hit the first home runs of their college careers. And as you could expect from a sentence like that, the bats across the board for Michigan were hot.
The Wolverines scored all but one of their runs in the second through fourth innings, with the final mark on the tally coming in the sixth. Ahmad Harajli and Kurt Barr combined for six innings of scoreless work on the mound, with Harajli fanning five Xavier batters.
Though the Musketeers put up a fight in the bottom of the ninth, Michigan came away with a 7-3 victory.
This weekend’s series poses a clear opportunity for the Wolverines — three games against a comparably weak opponent that, if swept, can get Michigan back over the .500 mark for the first time since its six-game slump last week.
The Braves are 5-7 on the young season and enter the weekend on the heels of a 15-2 thrashing at the hands of the Florida Atlantic Owls. Offensively, Bradley is led by junior outfielder Ryan Vogel, who posts a .408 batting average and 1.009 on-base plus slugging in 12 starts. Senior first baseman Connor O’Brien has also been a key figure in the Braves’ scoring efforts, knocking in a team-leading 16 RBI.
Pitching-wise, Bradley’s starting pitchers have struggled mightily — with both qualifying starters posting an ERA over 5.00 heading into the weekend. One of the few bright spots on the staff has been redshirt freshman reliever Noah Edders, who through four appearances carries an ERA of 2.13.
This is a series the Wolverines need to take advantage of, both in terms of their record and their confidence headed into Big Ten season.
Friday, March 17 — 1 p.m. vs Bradley; 4 p.m. vs Bradley
Sunday, March 19 — 1 p.m. vs Bradley