March 19, 2017
» Johnny Slater recorded a career-high two triples in the first game and recorded five RBI on the day.
» Dominic Clementi made his first career start and went 5-for-7 at the plate through the two games.
» The Wolverines won the series with Northern Illinois 3-1 after splitting the first two games of the series.
Site: Ann Arbor, MI. (Wilpon Complex)
Score: #21 Michigan 7, Northern Illinois 4; #21 Michigan 8, Northern Illinois 3
Records: U-M (15-4), NIU (4-15)
Next U-M Event: Wednesday, March 22 -- vs. Western Michigan (Wilpon Complex), 4 p.m.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The No. 21-ranked University of Michigan baseball team rallied for two wins over the visiting Northern Illinois Huskies on Sunday (March 19) to earn the doubleheader sweep and win the series at the Wilpon Complex, home of Ray Fisher Stadium.
The Wolverines took the first game by a 7-4 score, plating three runs in the bottom of the ninth on a three-run homer from junior Drew Lugbauer to earn the victory. Using the momentum from game one, the Maize and Blue rallied in game two for an 8-4 win to sweep the doubleheader and clinch the weekend series.
Neither team scored in the first inning of the day, but the Wolverines got on the board in the bottom of the second. Sophomore Nick Poirier jumpstarted the inning with a one-out single up the middle, and senior Johnny Slater knocked in the first run of the afternoon with a triple down the right-field line. With Slater on third, freshman Dominic Clementi followed with a single through the left side to score Slater and end the inning with a 2-0 Michigan lead.
Michigan kept the offense going in the bottom of the third to force a four-run lead on one hit and two NIU errors. With two outs on the board, sophomore Jimmy Kerr reached on an error, and Poirier extended the inning with a single to left field. With two men one and two down, Slater roped his second of the game, this time down the right-field line, to score Kerr and Poirier for a 4-0 lead.
The Huskies answered in the top of the fifth as a ground-rule double with the bases loaded sent two runs home and an RBI single sent two more across the plate to tie the game up, 4-4.
From there, both teams battled through three scoreless innings, reaching the ninth inning with the score tied at 4-all.
Sophomore Ako Thomas led off for the Wolverines in the bottom of the ninth, drawing a full-count walk and taking second on a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt from junior Jake Bivens. An intentional walk to senior Michael Brdar gave the Wolverines two men on, but a fielder's choice resulted in an out at second and put the second out on the board. With two men on, it was Lugbauer who came up with the clutch performance, sending a full-count pitch over the right-field wall for a 7-4 walk-off victory.
Six pitchers toed the rubber in the first game of the day, with junior Michael Hendrickson starting the contest. The lefty tossed 4.2 innings, before freshman Tommy Henry came in for relief duties in the fifth to close out the inning and strand two NIU base runners.
Senior Keith Lehmann, junior Mac Lozer, and freshman Karl Kauffmann combined to pitch the next 2.1 scoreless innings, but it was senior Jackson Lamb who earned the victory after closing out the top of the ninth.
Overall, Michigan recorded 11 hits with one stolen base in the first game of the afternoon. Of the seven runs scored, three players earned RBI, and Lugbauer and Slater both totaled three, and Clementi picked up one. In addition to three RBI, Slater also had a season-high three hits.
Much like the first contest of the day, the Wolverines scored first in the second game of the afternoon. Thomas led off game with a single through the left side, and a walk to Bivens gave Michigan two men on. The following single from Brdar loaded the bases, and an RBI fielder's choice off the bat of sophomore Miles Lewis put the Wolverines on the board with a 1-0 lead.
Michigan added another run in the bottom of the third inning as Lugbauer picked up his second home run of the day -- a solo shot over the right-centerfield wall.
The two-run lead was cut short, however, as NIU plated two runs in the top of the fourth inning to tie the score at 2-2.
Despite the momentum shift, Michigan answered quickly, as a two-run homer from senior Harrison Wenson put the Wolverines up 4-2 in the fourth. The Wolverines then added two more in the bottom of the fifth on a sac fly from Wenson and an RBI single from Clementi.
Northern Illinois responded with a run in the sixth to cut the deficit to 6-3, but a bases-loaded two-RBI single from Slater extended Michigan's lead to five.
Neither team scored through the next three innings, allowing Michigan to take home an 8-3 victory for the doubleheader sweep.
Backed by an impressive offensive effort, junior righty Alec Rennard earned the win for the Wolverines after pitching six complete innings and allowing just four hits on the day.
Five different relievers appeared for the Wolverines through the next three innings, surrendering no runs on no hits. Junior Austin Batka and sophomores Troy Miller, Grant Reuss, Benjamin Keizer, and Jack Bredeson all pitched flawlessly, walking none.
Michigan finished the second game with 12 hits, eight walks and three stolen bases. Bivens, Brdar, Lugbauer and Clementi all had multi-hit outings in the victory, while Wenson led the team with three RBI.
Tweet of the Day
-- Michigan Baseball (@umichbaseball) March 19, 2017
The No. 21-ranked Wolverines will return to action on Wednesday (March 22) when they host Western Michigan in a non-conference midweek game. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. at the Wilpon Complex, home of Ray Fisher Stadium. [ Tickets ]
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