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April 08, 2014 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-04-08

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6 - Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

M' finds success despite new defense

Bakich makes
important
defensive changes
in heart of season
By BRAD WHIPPLE
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan baseball
team has been mixing up the
defensive alignment in the most
high-stakes moments.
The Wolverines (4-5 Big
Ten, 14-17-1 overall) have won
five of their last eight games
while constantly altering the
defense in the midst of heated
conference play. But the
experimentation is seemingly
working to Michigan's
advantage in the field.
"We've shuffled so many
lineups this season," said
Michigan coach Erik Bakich. "I
think everyone is comfortable
shifting around in different
spots. I don't think there's any
BY THE NUMBERS
Michigan Youth
4
Number of Wolverines whose batting
average qualifies to be recognized.
213
Numberofstrikeouts by Michigan
baterslthis season.
.316
Juniorcenter fielder Jackson Glines
battingaverage -a team best.
1.000
Junior first baseman Kyle Jusick'sfielding
pecentage this season.

liabilities out there
March 28, in a s
Iowa, freshman th
Ramsey Romano b
in an attempt tot
stealing, taking I
eight weeks. The lo
left a vacant spot
filled with sopho
Cronenworth,
the former
starting first
baseman.
Cronenworth
was previously
experienced
at both corner
positions and
has started at
third base in
four of the last
six games. In
the most recent
series against
Minnesota,
junior Kyle
Jusick, the former
fielder, replaced Cr
first and boasts a pe
percentage after
transition.
Standing his gr
base is not the only
Jusick has made1
To be qualified for
batting average, a
average two at-ba
plate appearances r
Jusick is one of fo
players to do so. A
players boasting an
.300 this season, J
in the Wolverines'
Saturday while to
hits and three run
the weekend.
Jusick and Cronc
grown into their
and their adaptabi
needed in the e
infield rotation,
different groups o
the last eight game

Senior catcher Cole Martin
eries against left midway through last
ird baseman Wednesday's game against
roke his hand Central Michigan because of
tag a runner soreness in his arm and has
him out for since undergone an MRI - the
ss of Romano results are not yet determined.
that Bakich Freshman Harrison Wenson
more Jacob filled Martin's void, starting all
three games
against
Minnesota
"I think last
weekend.
everyone is Friday,
Wenson
comfortable allowed the
first run on
shifting around a throwing
error to
in different third, and
on Sunday
Spots." mistakenly
thought
he tagged
the batter
starting left on a dropped third strike and
onenworth at overthrew to first base trying to
rfect fielding get the out - a showing of how
making the he still has room for growth.
Naturally, Wenson still
ound at first has a few skills to fine-tune
contribution - throwing behind runners,
to the team. setting his feet and throwing
a ranking in accurately - but Bakich is
player must pleased with the toughness and
ts and three aggression his catcher brings.
per game, and Bakich believes the playing
ur Michigan time Wenson's receiving will set
s one of two him up as a great catcher once
1 average over Martin graduates this year.
usick brought "Harrison's a natural leader,"
first run last Bakich said. "He brings great
allying three leadership skills even though
s throughout he is a young guy ... We need
him to always be ready to throw
enworth have the ball. We want him to throw
new roles, because that's how we're going
lity has been to win."
ver-changing Aside from injury-related
with four substitutions, Bakich also
if starters in made a major addition to the
s. starting lineup two weeks

LUNA ANNA ARCHEY/Daily
Junior second baseman Eric Jacobson has become a consistent starter in the infield for the Wolverines, posting a 1.000
fielding percentage since he began starting in the regular season.

ago when he inserted junior
Eric Jacobson at second base
against Indiana. Jacobson
hadn't started all season before
playing in Bloomington, but
nonetheless proved he could
make an impact on the game in
his eight consecutive starts that
followed.
You wouldn't find his .353
batting average - a team best -
in the Big Ten rankings, but the
absence of Jacobson from the
list is misleading of his talent
due to his mid-season bloom.

If he were qualified, though,
Jacobson would place seventh
in batting average - the
only Wolverine to be in the
conference's top-S0.
With Romano out and Martin
questionable, the Wolverines
are trying to find a reliable
alignment in the field. Though
the recent performances of
the new substitutes show that
there is depth and versatility
inside Michigan's dugout, it also
reveals that nothing is set in
stone.

Bakich isn't afraid to toss a
player into the lineup as he did
with third baseman Trey Miller.
In the second game against
Iowa, the freshman had a game-
winning two-RBI single and
earned a starting spot at third
base the next day. He quickly
relinquished it, though, when
he went 0-for-8 in the next five
games.
The test failed, but Bakich
moved on to the next man for
the job, and he's not afraid to do
it again.

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REILEASE DI C- Tuesday, April 0, z2'14
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(c)2014 Tribune Content Agency, LLr

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MARISSA MCCLAIN/Daily
Michigan Stadium will host its third night game in program history this year.
Big House to host
third night game

ByALEXA DETTELBACH
Daily Sports Editor
It's official: Under the Lights
III will take place at Michigan
Stadium Oct. 11 when the
Michigan football team faces
Penn State.
Rumors swirled about
whether or not the Wolverines
would play their third-ever
home night game in the 2014
season. The first two night
games, which took place in
2011 and 2013, were both
against Notre Dame. But with
Michigan facing the Fighting
Irish in South Bend this season
in the programs' last scheduled
matchup, also scheduled to be
a night game, the primetime
opponent was in question. The
Wolverines won their first two
night games against the Notre
Dame.
But after the Athletic
Department's announcement
Monday, the news is out and the

Wolverines will playthe Nittany
Lions at 7 p.m. in a nationally
televised game on ESPN or
ESPN2. It will be Michigan's
second night game of the season,
as its matchup against Notre
Dame, in week two, is slated for
a 7:30 start time.
"The night game atmosphere
created by our fans has been
electric and we expect that same
type of energy for our first-ever
conference night game against
Penn State," said Michigan
coach Brady Hoke on MGoBlue.
com. "Our players really
enjoy playing in primetime at
Michigan Stadium."
In the first two night games,
Michigan Stadium set the
attendance record with the
most recent crowd reaching
over 114,000 fans. With the
game taking place over the
University's Fall Break, the
Athletic Department's hopes
of surpassing the attendance
number may be short lived.

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