Michigan Baseball: Louisville Ends Dream Run by Wolverines


Michigan celebrating its 2015 Big Ten Tournament TItle. Credit: Jeff Wheeler – DML – Star Tribune

Michigan Baseball’s amazing run unfortunately came to an end versus Louisville tonight.

The #3 overall seeded Cardinals were too much for the Wolverines, who were playing their second game of the day. Michigan held on for an exciting 4-3 victory over Bradley earlier on Sunday, but fell to Louisville 14-3 shortly thereafter.

After taking a 4-1 lead early on, Michigan seemed to be wrapping things up until a solo home run by Bradley LF Evan Gruener made it a one run game. Carmon Benedetti made the switch from first base to pitcher, and induced a much needed strikeout from his first batter faced. After a walk, Benedetti got CF Isaac Smith to line out to third for the last out of the game.

Michigan had roughly an hour to prepare for their next game versus a well-rested Louisville, who was playing their first game of the day. That rest, along with the overall talent of the Cardinals, proved too much for the Wolverines.

Michigan lost to Louisville a day earlier, by a score of 4-3 in a game that just slipped away.  The Wolverines jumped out to a 2-0 lead today on a Benedetti home run, but that was all the offense they had left in the tank. Louisville struck for one in the first, two in the second, and by the time the sixth inning came around, was on top 8-2. Ace Brett Adcock was unavailable after throwing 97 pitches a day earlier (against Louisville), and the rotation couldn’t hold the Cards down as Adcock had a day prior.

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The loss marked the end of a remarkable postseason run by the Wolverines. Despite receiving the 3 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, they were firmly on the bubble when it came to making the NCAA Tournament. Michigan responded by rolling through its four games, knocking off Indiana and No. 19 Iowa through the first two days. The team then beat No. 4 Illinois, putting an end to the Illini’s 27 game winning streak. In the championship game, Maryland had runners on second and third, representing the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the 9th inning. Reliever Jacob Cronenworth got hit-machine Brandon Lowe to fly out to left, and the Wolverines celebrated their ninth Big Ten Tournament title. You can find highlights of the win below.

For the Wolverines to make it this far was beyond most reasonable expectations. The Big Ten was loaded with talent coming into the year, and while Coach Erik Bakich had Michigan on the rise, many didn’t expect the Wolverines to be able to win the Big Ten Tournament and reach the NCAA Regionals. Team 149’s run was a perfect showing of that even though other teams may be better overall, when it comes to tournament play, you’ve only got to be better than them for one game.

Although the Wolverines didn’t reach their ultimate goal of a National Championship, they continue to make great strides towards someday playing for that chance. If this year is any indication, I would say that opportunity will present itself sooner rather than later.

Go Blue!