This week saw a stark change on the mound for Michigan. The beautiful pitching performances of last week were replaced with some rough and tumble innings for nearly the entire pitching staff. On offense, things started to pick up in the power department, and things looked pretty solid. Still, we managed to go 2-2 in the weekend tournament, bringing forward some serious questions about making the NCAA tournament at the end of the season.
Michigan 11, Wisconsin-Milwaukee 19
W – Lucas Annen (1-0) L – Travis Smith (0-1)
Image from mgoblue
Wisconsin-Milwaukee came into this fresh off a horrible series in Arizona State where the top 10 Sun Devils destroyed the Panthers in nearly every aspect of the game. UW-M was hungry for a win, and fueled by some apparent bulletin board material, the Panthers came out swinging.
Michigan started in the bottom of the 1st with a 3 run frame that would set the high scoring pace for the rest of the game. After Cislo single and Toth walk, Ryan LaMarre hit a 3 run blast in the inning, the first of his two home runs. All was well so far.
Travis Smith ran into trouble in the third. Up 4-2, Mike Dufek started the inning with a fielding error. A few plays later, Toth let a ball get away from him for the second error of the inning. By the end of the inning, we would see Smith pulled after giving up 6 runs. One of the runs was scored while relief pitcher DeCarlo had entered the game, but was charged to Smith as it was his baserunner. DeCarlo was pretty horrid in that 1/3 inning of work in which he hit two batters, gave up the RBI single, and threw a wild pitch.
Well that hurt. Now down 8-4, Michigan began to chip away, eventually coming within a 9-7 margin from a pair of RBI singles by Toth and LaMarre and a McLouth solo home run.
Then came the dagger from the Panthers. After a fairly successful 5th inning by reliever Losorelli (his first career appearance), the wheels fell off in the 6th inning. Losorelli gave up 4 straight singles to open the inning and threw a wild pitch (which actually lead to an out at the plate). At this point, Miller came in to the game to stop continue the bleeding. After immediately throwing a wild pitch to give up a run, he induced a ground ball, gave up two walks in a row to force in a run, then back to back base clearing doubles. Seven runs scored that inning and Michigan was down 16-7.
Michigan tried to answer in the bottom half of the inning when after a pair of walks to Cislo and Toth, Ryan LaMarre knocked his second 3 run homer, giving him 7 RBIs on the day. Michigan wouldn’t get any more runs in the 6th, and would only plate one more in the 8th. UW-M would answer that run with three more of their own in the top of the 9th, making the final score UM-W 19, Michigan 11.
- Ryan LaMarre – 4/5 7 RBI, 2 R, 2 HR
- Anthony Toth – 2/4 3 R, 2 RBI, 2 BB
- Kevin Cislo – 1/3 3 R, 2 BB, 2B
- Toth and Dufek’s error in the 2nd giving up 4 unearned runs, putting us behind big early
- Cislo’s error giving up an unearned run.
- Every pitcher except Vangheluwe hit a batter – DeCarlo hit three, Smith/Miller/Losorelli each had one, four of those runners scored
- Wild pitches – each reliever had one
- The pitching staff gave up 15 earned runs.
A lot of this loss falls on the shoulders of the pitching staff. The two errors in the 2nd though really killed momentum. I give credit to the Panthers, they came out swinging and never let up. This game was an absolute waste of Ryan LaMarre’s talent. To get 7 RBIs and still come up short of the win is horrible.
Jacksonville Game 1 Recap
Michigan 21, Jacksonville 3
W – Chris Fetter (1-0) L –
|Chris Fetter, Image from mgoblue|
So obviously this game went quite a bit better from both the pitching and hitting standpoint. Chris Fetter reminded everyone that the Michigan team isn’t completely devoid of consistency on the mound by throwing 6 innings of shut out baseball while only allowing 4 hits while walking none and striking out 7. Great game by the captain.
Brandon Sinnery also had an alright performance, at least compared to his last two outings. In three innings, he gave up 3 runs, all in his first inning of work. He buckled down after a rough seventh, only allowing 2 base runners, one of which was erased by a game ending double play.
Rather than detail the 21 runs and how they were scored, I’ll let the notable stars do most of the talking for the batters as there were plenty of them. Its also worth noting that several of the backups got mop up duty during this game, including 2-3 that hadn’t seen playing time yet. Mike Kittle and Bryce Aspinwall really made the most of their opportunities, which is great for the two of them.
- Ryan LaMarre – 2/4 4 RBI, 2 R, BB, 2 K, HR
- Jake McLouth – 2/4 R, RBI
- Mike Dufek – 3/5 2 R, RBI, HR, 2B
- Anthony Toth – 2/7 4 RBI, 2 R, 2B
- Kevin Cislo – 2/4 2 RBI, 3 R, 2B
- Kenny Fellows – 2/5 3 RBI, 2 R, 2B
- John Lorenz – 2/3 4 R, RBI, 2 2B (his first career hits)
- Chris Fetter – 6IP, 0 R, 7 K, 4 H, 1 HBP
No real goats this game as we won 21-3. Solid game by the offense and on the mound. Toth had an error, but it didn’t affect the score.
Jacksonville Game 2 Recap
Michigan 10, Jacksonville 2
W – Carson Andrew (2-0) L -Eric Katzman (1-1)
I have to give it to the Dolphins, despite being shellacked in game one, they didn’t let it bother them going into game two. The game started as a pitchers duel between Katzman and Andrew. The only run in the first four innings came on a Berset RBI double with Fellows on first.
|Ryan LaMarre, Image from mgoblue|
In the fifth, the Dolphins jumped on the board as Katzman started to lose his placement on his fastball and break on his off speed pitches. Katzman walked 3 batters and gave up a single giving up a run and loading the bases. Burgoon came in to try and get a stop, but the first batter he faced knocked a single right back up the middle scoring two, both charged to Katzman.
Burgoon would give up 3 runs in the 6th. Matt Gerbe would give up 3 in the 7th and one in the 9th. Michigan meanwhile couldn’t get the offense started against either Dolphin pitcher. Andrew and Loosen combined to go the full 9 only giving up 7 hits, 2 walks, and 2 runs while striking out 13. The second run came from a lead off home run in the 9th inning by Jake McLouth.
So maybe we should have saved some of the offense in game 1 for game 2?
- Jake McLouth – 2/4 R, RBI, HR
- Chris Berset – 1/3 RBI, 2B
- Eric Katzman’s first four innings – 0 R, 3 K, 2 H, 1 GDP, 1 HBP
- Eric Katzman’s fourth inning – 3 R, 3 BBs, 1 H, 2 outs
- Mike Dufek – 0/4 2 left on base, 3 Ks (hat trick)
- Kenny Fellows – 0/3 2 left on base
The offense just sounded lethargic. We couldn’t get anything going and the two pitchers for Jacksonville looked like the best pitchers we’ll face all year. This loss really hurts (being the second of the weekend and following such a large route). With two losses to these types of teams (outside the top 100), Michigan is going to need to be impressive down the stretch of the OOC schedule, or immensely impressive in the Big10 season to make sure we at least secure an at large bid to the tournament. I’m not saying I expect us to lose in the Big10 Tourney just yet, but there will be much more competition this season.
Michigan10, Akron 7
W – Mike Dufek (1-0) L – Alex Loftin (0-1)
Image from BlueCats RedSox flickr
Again with the comebacks. This time it happened in the 8th inning, the last inning that was played. Michigan’s travel plans cut the game short, which occasionally happens in college.
Michigan started the game by taking a 1-0 lead on a Jake McLouth RBI ground out to the firstbase side of the pitcher. The lead wouldn’t last long, however, because starter Kolby Wood was giving up runs early and often. Wood gave up at least one run in each of his 5 innings of work, allowing Akron to jump out to a lead of 7-2. In his defense (or by lack of defense), 2 runs given up in the third were both unearned as Toth booted a potential inning ending ground ball.
In the top of the 6th, Michigan started chipping away at the Zips’ lead. Urban began the inning by being hit by the pitch. He would have to leave the game to have the left wrist looked at. I’ve yet to hear the extent of the injury, and imagine he should be back by next weekend. When they take players out it is generally just precautionary to check for broken bones. Hopefully that’s not the case.
Timmy Kalcyznski homered to follow the hit by pitch. To close out the scoring, Ryan LaMarre had an infield single on the hit-and-run to knock in Cislo. Michigan was then down 7-5.
Bats for both teams quieted down until the final inning. Toth started the rally by being hit by a pitch, followed by a Cislo walk. Fellows followed with an RBI double, and Ryan LaMarre cleared the bases with a 2 RBI single through the left side. After walking Dufek, the pitcher Loftin threw away a pick off throw to first, allowing Dufek to second and LaMarre to score. Aspinwall would knock in Dufek with a single, but would ultimately be caught stealing. Michigan lead 10-7, and Dufek would close out the bottom of the 8th for the win.
During the second Jacksonville game, I got to thinking about how long it would take for McLouth to be bumped into the cleanup spot and Dufek drop to the 5-hole. Dufek’s batting average has been hovering around the .210 line while McLouth, while not drawing many walks, has been batting well over .400 for the season. It made sense to me for these two to switch, offering Ryan LaMarre more protection, and getting Dufek more strikes to look at as McLouth will be on base, and the opposing teams can’t afford to pitch around him with runners on.
After some second guessing on my part, Coach Maloney did indeed make the switch in the Akron game. The move didn’t make any noticeable changes in the output of the game, but its a pretty small sample size. I’m interested to see if the switch stays permanent when we play Siena on Saturday.
The other switch included swapping Toth and Fellows in the 2 and 9 holes. I really liked this move too. Toth also has been struggling with the average, but is getting on base just as well as anyone else. By moving him into the 9-hole, he can get away with the low batting average as he won’t need to knock in runs, but his walks will allow him to act as a lead off man when the lineup rolls back over, allowing him to still score many runs.
This move worked excellently in the 8th inning, allowing Toth to work the walk and Fellows to collect the RBI double. On the other side of the swap, Fellows was able to move Cislo around on a hit while Toth struggled at the plate today. Really great move by Maloney.
- Ryan LaMarre – 3/4 4 RBI, R, BB, K
- Kenny Fellows – 2/4 2 R, RBI
- Bryce Aspinwall – 1/2 R, RBI
- Timmy Kalczynski – 1/2 1 R, 2 RBI, HR (1st career)
- Kevin Cislo – 2/3 3 R
- Mike Dufek (pitching) – 3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K
- Coach Maloney – his 500th career win (244th at Michigan)
- Toth’s 2 run error
- Wood’s 5 earned runs in 5 innings
We’re not going to continue to win games at the last minute like this. Our pitching needs to keep us in the games a bit better, and we’ve got to stop giving up so many unearned runs. We gave up 7 of them in to two games on Friday and Sunday. While our infield is young and inexperienced (at least on the left side), we must play better on defense.
I’ll have the stat watch out later in the week this time as we don’t have a midweek game. Next game is Friday at 1pm vs. Siena. We’ll be playing in Port St. Lucie, the home of the Mets spring training. We also have our rematch scheduled with the Mets on Sunday.
For those of you who don’t me, I passionately hate the Mets. The first game I ever went to was when I was 9 months old. It was the Mets at Astros in the 1986 NLCS. It was the decisive game 6 that went 16 innings. I didn’t make it all the way through the game, but it was the first and only major league game I have ever cried at. The Mets went on to win that game and beat the Red Sox on the Bill Buckner play. I’ve hated them ever since. May we beat them by 30.