Feb. 19, 2012
Site: St. Petersburg, Fla. (Walter Fuller Complex)
Event: Big Ten/Big East Challenge
Score: Michigan 14, West Virginia 3
Records: U-M (2-1), WVU (3-1)
Next U-M Event: Friday, Feb. 24 -- vs. Iona (Port St. Lucie, Fla.), 2 p.m.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Senior John Lorenz (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) and sophomore Michael O'Neill (Powell, Ohio/Olentangy Liberty) hit home runs and the University of Michigan baseball team received another stellar pitching performance, this time from junior Ben Ballantine (Napa, Calif./Napa), as the Wolverines defeated West Virginia, 14-3, on day three of the Big Ten/Big East Challenge on Sunday afternoon (Feb. 19) at the Walter Fuller Complex.
Lorenz had five runs batted in, going 2-for-4 with a three-run home run, while sophomore Brett Winger (Orlando, Fla./Olympia) and O'Neill had three hits apiece. Michigan belted out 13 hits on the day.
A Wolverine pitcher went seven innings for the second straight day as Ballantine struck out five and gave up just three hits and one earned run. He gave up a run in the first and an unearned run in the seventh and had 1-2-3 innings four times.
Freshman Will Drake (Fairfield, Ohio/Fairfield) and senior Coley Crank (Pinole, Calif./Pinole Valley) walked in the first and both trotted home on Lorenz's home run to left. West Virginia answered with a run in the bottom of the frame, but Michigan got that back in the third. O'Neill singled with one out, stole second and third and scored on a Crank sacrifice fly.
Michigan collected five hits in a six-run fifth inning. Junior Patrick Biondi (Woodhaven, Mich./Divine Child) tripled over the left fielder's head to open the frame and scored on a Drake single. O'Neill moved Drake to second on a single and Crank was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Drake scored on a wild pitch and O'Neill came home on a Winger infield single. Freshman Dylan Delaney (Woodland Hills, Calif./Chaminade) then plated a pair with a ground-rule double in the gap in left. Drake brought in the final run of the inning with a bases-loaded walk.
Lorenz brought in a pair of runs in the top of the seventh with a single to left. After West Virginia scored an unearned run in the seventh, freshman Kevin White (Charlottesville, Va./St. Anne's-Belfield) scored on a wild pitch in the eighth, making it 13-2 Wolverines. WVU had another unearned run in the eighth and O'Neill ended the scoring in the ninth with a solo home run to left, his second of the year.
WVU's Caleb Ross took the loss, giving up six runs and six hits in four-plus innings of work. Matt Frazer led the Mountaineers with two hits on the day.
Freshmen Trent Szkutnik (Temperance, Mich./Bedford) and Matt Ogden (Aurora, Colo./Smoky Hill) each made their U-M debuts on the mound. Szkutnik gave up an unearned run on two hits in the eighth and Ogden struck out the final batter in the ninth inning.
Michigan returns to action this Friday (Feb. 24) as the Wolverines open a four-game set with Iona. Game time is at 2 p.m. in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
Contact: Kent Reichert (734) 647-4423