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April 01, 2014 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-04-01

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8 - Tuesday, Aprill1, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Five Things We Learned:
'M'takes 2-of-3 from Iowa

By BRAD WHIPPLE
Daily Sports Writer
1. When the Wolverines are
good, they're elite.
The Michigan baseball team
had asuccessful week.
The Wolverines have won
four of their last five games,
including three in the Big Ten
and two by one run. Wednesday,
they toppled Western Michigan
in a 12-4 blowout, but before
Iowa this weekend, questions
remained if they were just lucky
or have serious potential.
The latter was on display
when Michigan (3-3 Big Ten,
12-15-1 overall) won the series
against the Hawkeyes, 2-1, and
remained tied for fourth in the
conference. The two wins proved
the Wolverines can beat almost
any team behind a defense that
showed its bright spots and an
aggressive offense that decides
to appear at the plate when it
needs to.
"When we're pitching to
contact and letting the defense
work, we're going to be pretty
good," said Michigan coach Erik
Bakich. "Our defense is pretty
good and fundamentally sound.
Combine that with clutch
hitting and that's post-season
baseball - pitching to contact,
making the routine plays and
getting timely hits.
"We'll be playing in June if we
can continue to do those things
at a high rate."
2. Defense is (nearly)
seamless.
In the three games against
Iowa (3-3, 15-9), Michigan made
only one error.
"We can play defense with
anyone," said junior center
fielder Jackson Glines.
With the fourth-best fielding
percentage in the Big Ten, the
Wolverines held the Hawkeves

to just two stolen bases despite
Iowa being the second-bestbase-
stealing team in the conference
- Michigan, though, is first.
Meanwhile, right fielder
JacksonLambpulledoffasecond
full-extension catch this season
in the ninth inning of Saturday's
4-2 win, earning the freshman
the limelight in SportsCenter's
Top 10.
"Defensively, we've shown
at times not only to make the
routine plays, but the highlight-
reel catches," Bakich said.
3. For Michigan, no lead is
safe.
Sunday, the Wolverines
learned this the hard way and it
almost cost them a win.
They jumped out to an early
1-0 lead, and later scored four
in the fifth inning. Then in the
eighth, junior left-hander Trent
Szkutnik exited after pitching
seven innings and allowing just
four hits,
During relief, senior right-
hander Alex 'L akatos' first
batter singled and he walked
the next. With no outs,
freshman right-hander Keith
Lehmann replaced Lakatos, but
even a second reliever couldn't
do much - he allowed a hit and
a walk to give the Hawkeyes
one run.
It took Michigan two more
pitchers to get out of an inning
that lasted 45 minutes and gave
Iowa five runs to tie the game.
The Wolverines retired the
ninth after five batters and
Glines' walk-off single ended the
game, but that didn't change the
fact that the bullpen has proven
anything can happen and a lead
is never safe.
"We didn't have the relief
pitching we wanted today,"
Bakich said. "Too many free
passes and uncompetitive
nitchers from our relievers"

4. The Wolverines are more
disciplined at the plate.
Just because they're
disciplined doesn't mean they're
afraid to hit, though.
Sunday, Michigan made
contact on the first two pitches
of the game. These batters
didn't get on base, but swinging
at the ball is exactly what the
Wolverines, ranked first in the
Big Ten for strikeouts, needed to
start doing.
Getting the bat on the ball is
dependent upon plate discipline,
something Michigan has
improved. The players swung
more aggressively, particularly at
the fastball, and even generated
some runs with two outs.
The Wolverines' at-bat
patience was best shown during
the fifth inning Sunday, when
they took five straight walks and
scored five runs.
But Bakich still thinks his team
cando abetterjoboflayingoffthe
breaking pitch in the dirt or the
off-speed pitch out of the zone,
and has given his players a simple
two-step approach at the plate,
"First, (we have to swing) at
good pitches early," Glines said.
"Second off, hold the zone."
5. Romano is out.
Friday, a runner stealing slid
into third baseman Ramsey
Romano'slefthand,breakingtwo
of the freshman's bones. Romano
was slow to get up to go to the
locker room, and later returned
to the dugout with a sling.
Sunday, Bakich predicted
Romano might be out six to eight
weeks, saying it's a situation
where he could be back for the
postseason or receive a medical
redshirt. Romano visited the
doctor Monday.
"It's going to have to be
determined if the bones will set
or if he needs a screw," Bakich
said.

iputed CAPEX and
X. Then learned
to cook Tex-Mex.

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