The Wolverine

May 2013

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Making Progress U-M Is Starting To Click Under First-Year Head Coach Erik Bakich C By Andy Reid oaching transitions can certainly be difficult — and the first five weeks of first-year Michigan baseball coach Erik Bakich's tenure reflected that. But the Wolverines are starting to find their groove, just in time for a Big Ten title push. In its first 21 games, Michigan posted a 10-11 record. Since then (from March 27 to April 14), the team had posted a 10-3 record, including threegame weekend sweeps of in-state rival Michigan State (April  5‑6) and Penn State (April 12‑14), despite the fact that senior outfielder Patrick Biondi, a captain and a .329 hitter, spent a couple weeks on the bench nursing an injury. The biggest difference? Defense. In those 11 early-season losses, defensive lapses lead to big opportunities for opponents. Michigan gave up three or more runs in 12 innings in those 11 defeats, and in seven of them the Wolverines surrendered more than 10 hits. "In our losses, we have had one inning where we have folded a little bit," freshman third baseman and relief pitcher Jacob Cronenworth said. "That is where everything goes down, and it has usually been late in the game. These past couple weekends, we haven't had that inning. We're starting to cut down on that bad inning, and that's where the improvement has been." During the current hot streak, just one team has managed more than 10 hits in a single game (Western Michigan, 14 hits in a 7-3 win March 27). The Broncos are also the lone team to notch a three-run inning in the last 13 games. In fact, Michigan has held nine of its last 13 opponents under three runs for the entire game, including two shutouts (a 2-0 win over Bowling Green April 2 and a 7-0 win over Central Michigan April 3). "Pitching and defense are always going to continue to be staples for any championship program, and especially for us," Bakich said. "We have scuffled a bit in the last couple weeks. With Pat out, our offense has dipped a little, but our pitching and defense have stepped up in his absence. We have lost some tough ball games, but if we can continue to pitch at the level we have in the last 10 games — in which our ERA

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