Weekend Recap: Illinois

Game 1

Box Score R H E
Illinois 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 1
Michigan 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 x 4 9 0

W – Chris Fetter (5-1) L – Haig (3-2) Sv – None

BTN Coverage (this will supposedly work on VBlue):

Like the guys said, the story of this game was Chris Fetter. In his second complete game of the year, Chris struck out 13 batters (about half the outs in the game), including 7 hitters that went down looking. Fetter was economical with most hitters, only throwing 136 pitches (the exact same number as his last complete game against Penn State). He only allowed 6 hits and two walks. Great game overall. Something I’m interested to keep an eye on is how these back to back complete games affect his pitching down the stretch. Fetter has been quoted by the WBCN crew during the IPFW series that he is shooting for only 120 pitches per game. I can’t blame Maloney for letting the kid get his complete game wins, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Fetter left some games sooner just to protect his arm.

On offense, we scraped to get the runs we did. In the second inning, we managed to avoid a fielder’s choice by utilizing the hit and run, we (unofficially) sacrifice flied a runner from second to third, and got the timely singles to score 2 runs. For the go ahead run in the 7th, we used the sacrifice fly to plate the run.

The positive on offense was sticking to single digit strikeouts and getting baserunners on every inning. The bad was we left runners on base every inning as well, including 4 in scoring position. If there ever was an inning to describe Michigan’s season it has to be the 6th:

Michigan 6th – Toth doubled down the lf line (0-0). Lorenz out at first 1b to 2b, SAC, bunt (0-0); Toth advanced to third. Kalczynski struck out swinging (0-2 FFS). Cislo struck out swinging (2-2 KBBSS). 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

We get pressure on the other teams early then fade down the stretch. The metaphor works for the season as well. We come out with power, but the power fades as we go along. Sigh…

Notable Stars

  • Chris Fetter – CG, W, 6 H, 13 K, 2 BB, 2 ER
  • Anthony Toth – 2/4  2 R, 3B, 2B
  • Ryan LaMarre – 0/0  R, 4 BB (in 4 at bats, he saw 26 pitches, impressive)
  • Fan Attendance: 1056… best this year.

Notable Goats

  • This was solid game… everyone gets off the hook

Other Notes

  • Other Chris’s daughter caught a fly ball in the Michigan win, quoted to have said this:  “This is one of the best days of my life! And if Michigan wins, it will move into the top ten.”
  • CollegeBaseballToday.com – Chris gets an Honorable Mention in the Big10 Pitchers segment…”When Chris Fetter is on the mound, Michigan becomes one of the best teams in the nation. But beyond him?…”
  • Michigan Daily – Liveblog Redacted. If I find where it went I’ll relink it here.
  • SID Release – Coach Maloney Moves Toth up to 7th in the order:  “He was huge for us today. I moved him up in the order to try to keep what we consider our seven best hitters in a row, and he really came through big for us tonight.”  This appears to be an attempt to limit the LOB in the middle of the order.

Game 2

Box Score R H E
Illinois 0 0 0 3 2 5 0 0 0 10 9 3
Michigan 3 0 1 2 0 0 1 0 0 8 13 2

W – Zerrusen (2-0)   L – Kolby Wood (0-1)   Sv – Strack (1)

So remember when I said this:

Katzman has done well lately, but that just means he’s due for a less than stellar start as well.

That happened.  While Katzman didn’t have a horrible start, he certainly didn’t have the same stuff he’d had the last two weeks.  He worked into a little trouble in the first with back to back singles to open the frame, but managed to eek his way out.  He wasn’t so lucky in the fourth inning.  Katzman loaded the bases to start the inning (sac bunt in the middle of that).  He then hit a batter to force in a run, followed by a 2 RBI single from Bonadonna.

Kolby Wood would enter in relief of Katzman and get a quick out to stop the bleeding.  In Wood’s first full inning of work, things started off shaky with a fielding error by Anthony Toth.  With two outs and a runner on third (the one to reach on the error), Wood gave up a two run home run (both runs unearned).  The next inning started similarly, but this time with a throwing error by John Lorenz. Wood then gave up back to back hits, scoring a pair of runs (one unearned).  Miller would relieve him but struggled as well giving up a walk, back-to-back doubles, and a single before striking out the next two batters in the inning.  This would put the Illini up 10-6, and their offense went into cruise control to the finish.

The offense was surprisingly good in this game, knocking out the Big10’s top pitcher after just one inning.  Ben Reeser, the Illinois starter managed just 1 inning with 3 hits, 3 runs, and a walk.  Coley Crank was the only starter without a hit, but 5 starters (Cislo, Fellows, LaMarre, Oaks, Toth) had two a piece.

If you were to tell me Michigan was going to score 8 runs on 13 hits while only stranding 8 and striking out 7 times, I’d feel pretty good about that game.  Unfortunately the pitching didn’t hold us in the game.  The Illini hit the big inning in the 6th; it was too much to recover from.

Notable Stars

  • Ryan LaMarre – 2/3  3 RBI, 2 R, 2 SACF, 2B
  • Kevin Cislo – 2/3  2 R, 2 BB, SB, 2B
  • Alan Oaks – 2/5  Solo-HR
  • Anthony Toth – 2/4 BB
  • Kenny Fellows – 2/4 R, 2B, SACB
  • Mike Dufek – 1/5  2B (off the top of the Brick Monster to steal a HR)
  • Attendance – Woo Spring Game crowd: 1942!
  • Coach Maloney – Ejected (see the note below)

Notable Goats

  • Toth & Lorenz – The errors to lead off the 5th and 6th innings lead to 3 unearned runs… more than the difference in the game.

Other Notes

  • Maloney was ejected in the 6th inning arguing on behalf of Kevin Cislo.  There was a close safe call made at second base and the crowd didn’t like it, Cislo didn’t like it, Maloney didn’t like it.  He made his way out to the umpire (I believe it was veteran umpire Bruce Doane) to make his case.  According to Daily staff writer Ryan Kartje,  he went “all “Lou Piniella” on the ump to waves of support from the crowd.  No dirt kicking as of yet.  But regardless, Maloney gets tossed from the game and the crowd loves it.”  I like the move by Maloney to go for the ejection.  Sometimes it can light a fire under the team.  It didn’t work this time, but hey, sometimes you’ve just got to do that as a manager.
  • Daily Live Blog – as linked above in the Maloney note, Kartje live blogged the game.  I really like this from the Daily.  It definitely supplements the box scores really well.

Game 3

Box Score R H E
Illinois 0 3 0 2 0 0 1 4 1 11 19 0
Michigan 2 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 5 10 2

W – Roberts, B (3-0)   L – Alan Oaks (0-1)   Sv – Martin (2).

Keeping along with our recent Sunday streak, our pitching staff struggled most of the game.  This game was back and forth as the scoreboard above shows, but the key came when Alan Oaks out-stayed his welcome.   After already throwing 53 pitches, a career high, he trotted out to an eighth inning he wouldn’t make it out of; he gave up 3 singles and a double to start what would be a four run inning for the Illini.

In defense of Oaks, he pitched very well in the 4 innings leading up to this point, giving up just one unearned run in 4 innings of relief of Travis Smith.  Speaking of Smith, his start was disappointing as well.  He gave up the first 5 runs (4 earned) to the Illini in just over 3 innings of work.  We really need someone to step up and earn this starting spot, whether it be Smith, Wilson, Sinnery, Vangheluwe, Wood, or someone new.

Speaking of Wilson and Sinnery, they closed the game out fairly well, throwing 2 innings while giving up only one unearned run.

Offense was top heavy – top of the lineup that is.  Fellows, LaMarre, and Dufek each had a pair of hits including a homer and double by Dufek – the only extra base hits of the game.  Dufek’s two hits drove in all four Wolverine RBIs in the game, and his grounded into double play also drove.    Toth, Lorenz, and Kalczynski each added a hit a piece from the bottom of the lineup, but lead to no runs scored or driven in.

Notable Stars

  • Mike Dufek – 2/4  4 RBI, R, HR, 2B
  • Ryan LaMarre – 2/3  2 R
  • Kenny Fellows – 2/3  R, BB

Notable Goats

  • Alan Oaks (at bat) – 0/4  3 Ks, 1 LOB
  • DH/PH (Crank, Urban, & Kittle) – 0/4 K
  • Fellows & Lorenz – Errors leading to a pair of unearned runs

Other Notes

  • The Daily – Relief pitching dooms M.  I respectfully disagree.  Timely hitting mixed in with a lack of consistency from the bullpen and the defense behind them.  There were quite a few errors to start innings for bullpen pitchers.
  • The Daily – Live Blog Game 3 is more good stuff.  I love how the only comment is by “S. Toth” appealing Kartje’s notion that the team doesn’t turn too many double plays.    While we may not be the Big10 leaders, we do turn our fair share of them (.82 per game as of 4/5/09)
  • Daily Illini – Haig’s start was disappointing as Fetter was great, but the Illini won the weekend series
  • Illinois Baseball Report – Dittman carries Illini this weekend

Wrap Up

While losing 2 of 3 is never a great thing, I don’t think this was too bad of a weekend for the team.  Illinois is one of the better teams in the conference this season, especially in the pitching department.  There were a few lapses though, especially on defense.  After the great effort in game one, we had two errors in each of the last two games leading to four unearned runs.  We’ve got to cut those down.

After this weekend’s action, Michigan is now 7th (tied with PSU, but Nittany Lions have the tie breaker) in the Big10 at 4-4.  Only the top 6 teams make the BTT, so we’ve got some ground to make up.  That starts this weekend with Michigan State.  We play in East Lansing at their new ball park on Friday and Sunday, but play the middle game of the series at the Fish.  All indications are that Michigan should sweep the Spartans, but they have a pitcher in Nolan Moody who poses quite a challenge.

As for the mid week, we face Toledo on Tuesday and have the rubber match with EMU in Ann Arbor on Wednesday.  Toledo could be a challenge, but I don’t expect much from their mid week starter.  As for EMU, we’ve already seen what they can do.  I can’t see our guys taking the same “oh, its just EMU” mindset as last time.

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One Response to Weekend Recap: Illinois

  1. Other Chris says:

    1. I got the feeling Reeser might be injured.
    2. Nolan Moody’s sister Maureen is on the UM women’s gymnastics team.
    3. I get the sense that some of the moms are getting touchy about all the errors and are looking for mitigating circumstances. Just my epinion sitting in the stands.

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