Biondi, Pitching Lead Michigan Past Eagles for Oestrike Classic Title

March 20, 2011

Box Score |  Notes and Quotes

Site: Ypsilanti, Mich. (Oestrike Stadium)
Oestrike Classic
Score: Michigan 5, Eastern Michigan 2
Records: U-M (6-12), EMU (11-7)
Next U-M Event: Friday, March 25 -- vs. Michigan State (Wilpon Complex), 5 p.m.

YPSILANTI, Mich. -- The University of Michigan baseball team received another quality performance from its pitching staff Sunday (March 20) as the tandem of sophomores Kyle Clark (Portage, Mich./Portage Central) and Ben Ballantine (Napa, Calif./Napa) limited Eastern Michigan to one earned run and five hits in a 5-2 win over the Eagles to win the inaugural Oestrike Classic at Oestrike Stadium.

Clark had his second straight solid start, allowing five hits and one earned run in 7.1 innings pitched. He picked up his first win of his career. Ballantine had his first career save, striking out four Eagles in 1.2 innings of relief.

Michigan scored the game's first run in the third inning. Redshirt freshman Zach Johnson (Grandville, Mich./Grandville) walked with one out and went to second when redshirt sophomore Kevin Krantz (Traverse City, Mich./Central) was hit by a pitch. Eastern Michigan recorded the second out as Krantz was out at second on sophomore Patrick Biondi's (Woodhaven, Mich./Divine Child) fielder's choice, but a Corey Chaffins wild pitch scored Johnson, giving U-M the 1-0 lead.

Eastern came right back and tied the contest at 1-1 in the bottom of the third inning. Matt Hitt led off with a single and went to second on a sacrifice bunt. Clark got Brent Ohrman to pop out but then walked Daniel Russell. Hitt moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Lee Longo's single to left.

The Eagles scored an unearned run in the fifth to take the lead. Hitt walked and went to second on a Ken Battiston sacrifice. The leadoff runner moved to third on a groundout and scored as catcher Johnson tried to back pick Hitt at third, but the throw was wild, giving the Eagles the 2-1 lead.

The score remained 2-1 until the top of the seventh. Junior John Lorenz (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) led off the frame with a single. Chaffins walked redshirt junior Garrett Stephens (Davison, Mich./Davison). Johnson sacrificed both runners over a base, and he was safe on a muffed throw by EMU second baseman Zack Leonard. With the bases loaded, Biondi came up with the big hit, a three-run double to centerfield, to give the Maize and Blue a 4-2 advantage. Michigan scored an insurance run in the eighth as Stephens' RBI infield single scored freshman pinch runner Adam Robinson (Northbrook, Ill./Glenbrook North).

Biondi drove in three runs for U-M, while Dennis, the co-Most Valuable Player of the Oestrike Classic, had two hits on the day. Dennis hit .538 (7-of-13) during the tournament. Dennis was joined on the Oestrike Classic all-tournament team by Lorenz, Ballantine and junior/sophomore Bobby Brosnahan (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer).

For EMU, Longo had two hits and Hitt scored a pair of runs. Chaffins struck out seven but was tagged with the loss.

After being away from home for the first 18 games, Michigan is scheduled to open its home schedule at the Wilpon Complex, home of Ray Fisher Stadium, against Michigan State on Friday (March 25) at 5 p.m. The game will not count as a Big Ten game in the standings.

Oestrike Classic All-Tournament Team

C -- Matt Hitt, Eastern Michigan
1B -- Lee Longo, Eastern Michigan
2B -- Todd Dunham, Oakland
3B -- John Lorenz, Michigan
SS -- Derek Dennis, Michigan
OF -- Ken Battiston, Eastern Michigan
OF -- Dan Gliot, Oakland
OF -- Kyle Henris, Alma
DH -- Mike Carson, Oakland
SP -- Bobby Brosnahan, Michigan
SP -- Robert Wendzicki, Eastern Michigan
RP -- Ben Ballantine, Michigan

Co-MVPs -- Derek Dennis, Michigan; Ken Battiston, Eastern Michigan

Contact: Kent Reichert (734) 763-4423

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