Another day in Omaha means another fight to survive for the Michigan Wolverines baseball team. On Friday, they faced a team expected to be a formidable foe in the two-seeded Indiana Hoosiers.
The 13-6 final score certainly wouldn’t be unexpected — if it hadn’t been in favor of the Wolverines.
With their backs against the wall both in the bracket and in the bullpen, head coach Tracy Smith had no choice but to turn Mitch Voit from his usual third baseman/reliever role to a full blown starter. To his credit, Voit didn’t shy away from the spotlight — putting his teammates in a tremendous position by giving up just two hits in his first four innings and fanning three Hoosiers.
Bolstered by the performance on the mound, Voit and the rest of the Michigan lineup took Indiana starter Ty Bothwell to the cleaners in the bottom of the third and fourth innings, as Bothwell was ultimately credited with giving up five runs in 3.1 innings pitched.
The Hoosier defense didn’t help themselves in the bottom of the third — giving up a pair of unearned runs off an error in the third — but the highlight of the Wolverines’ scoring barrage came from Ted Burton, who pushed the score to 6-0 with a two-run double.
WOLVES ARE HOT!!!— Michigan Baseball (@umichbaseball) May 26, 2023
Ted Burton with a two-RBI double! #GoBlue pic.twitter.com/qIh1KKaJKM
While his performance was by all measures a strong one, Voit began to falter as he went deeper into the pitch count. After being pulled in the top of the sixth, the test for Michigan truly began.
All told, the Hoosiers racked up six runs off the combined performances of Voit, Ahmad Harajli and Eamon Horwedel, including a two-run shot down the left field line that put the Wolverines on alert.
With no real choices, Smith once again made a gamble, calling on the services of Jacob Denner for the second time in three days to squash the momentum. Denner needed just one batter to do that, striking out the first man he saw to end the seventh inning.
10-6 | Mid 7— Michigan Baseball (@umichbaseball) May 26, 2023
One batter, one strikeout! #GoBlue pic.twitter.com/qle4cTVRBX
Ultimately, Michigan put the exclamation point on the day in the bottom of the eighth. With the bases loaded, Cody Jeffries slapped one deep into right field that just managed to evade the outstretched glove of the Indiana outfielder. The stumble in the outfield gave the Wolverines just enough time to clear the bases, putting the score at its final total of 13-6.
All told, Michigan had 18 hits in the contest, the most since a 19-hit performance in 2019.
The Wolverines will hope to keep the stove hot in a rematch against the Iowa Hawkeyes for a chance to play for back-to-back Big Ten titles. The odds against Michigan are immense; not only did the Hawkeyes run rule the Wolverines in eight innings in the first game of the tournament, but they’ll have to beat Iowa twice to advance.
The first game of the day for Michigan is scheduled for 10 a.m. EDT on Saturday. Should a second game be needed, that one will begin at 6 p.m. EDT. Both games will be on the Big Ten Network.