Sunday, May 28, 2006

Big Ten Tournament: Day 4

In the first game of the day, #23 Michigan defeated Ohio State, 3-2. The Buckeyes managed only four hits off a trio of Michigan hurlers led by starter Zach Putnam. Putnam (6-1) pitched 6.2 innings of three hit, one run baseball. Ben Jenzen and Adam Abraham followed Putnam to the hill and each allowed only one hit a piece.

For the Wolverines' offense, Derek VanBuskirk had a double, run scored and RBI.

The Buckeyes didn't do themselves any favors by committing three errors on the day. Nor could they take advantage of the seven walks issued by Michigan's pitchers. Their own starter, Jake Hale, countered Putnam's strong effort working seven innings while allowing seven hits, two walks and three runs. Only one of the runs was earned, however.

Once again this afternoon, Michigan displayed the formula that carried them to the Big Ten regular season crown--strong starting pitching and timely hitting. The Wolverines have also been rock solid defensively this year, but they have not been anywhere near as good with the glove this week.

Michigan's win eliminated Ohio State from the tournament and, barring the unexpected, probably finishes the 2006 season for Bob Todd's squad. The Buckeyes finish at 37-21 unless the are chosen as an at-large team for the NCAA Tournament which seems unlikely as of this moment.

The Wolverines victory meant that they got to play Minnesota in the second game of the day--a potential championship game for the Gophers. Unfortunately for the Minnesota faithful, if a championship is coming, it won't be until Sunday, as Michigan beat Minnesota, 11-9.

This was a good old fashioned slugfest. Adam Abraham was the star for Michigan. Abraham started as the designated hitter and went 2 for 4 with two RBI. Abraham (5-3) also pitched five innings of relief work giving up nine hits, but alllowing only one walk and one run.

Mike Schmidt drove in three runs and Nate Recknagel hit a bomb (the ball went out over the 375 ft. sign) amongst his three hits on the evening. Gophers' SS Dan Lyons had three hits, including a homer, scoring twice and driving in four runs.

The Gophers entered the ninth inning trailing 11-8. With two outs, Minnesota began a rally. Two singles and a walk later and the Gophers had the bases loaded with the winning run coming to the plate. One run did eventually cross the plate, but that's all the Gophers could muster in the last frame.

Both teams will play for the Big Ten Tournament Championship tomorrow (which is technically now today) at noon. The weather is expected to be sunny and warm for the last game of the year in the conference.

It's late, again, so I'll leave off here and I'll try to blog something after I get some sleep and the sun comes up.