By: Thomas Nelshoppen of The Baseball Zealot
We start to see some players shine in day 2 at Ann Arbor. Players like Arizona’s C.J Ziegler and Kentucky’s Sawyer Carrol really came through for their teams. But first, some unfinished business between Michigan and Kentucky from the night before.
Michigan 7 Kentucky 5
Michigan and Kentucky had to attend to their suspended game from Friday night. Michigan came in with in a 5-1 lead thanks to Zach Putnam’s 5-inning performance the night before.
The Wolverines added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth due to Adam Abraham’s RBI single and another when Leif Mahler drove in Chris Berset in the sixth.
Leading 7-1 at the time, Michigan didn’t realize then that they would need to cash that insurance policy in. Eric Katzman, who had pitched two scoreless innings, just ran out of gas. Katzman gave up a homerun to Wildcat Sawyer Carroll proceeded by an E-5 by Abraham. When Katzman hit the next batter he was history and Michigan coach Rich Maloney brought in Mike Powers. Powers did give up a hit and a walk but managed to get out of the inning with Kentucky scoring four and therefore preserving the lead. He pitched a scoreless ninth for the save.
Kentucky 4 Eastern Michigan 3
Not much longer after their battle with Michigan, the Wildcats of Kentucky got back on the field with the Eastern Michigan Eagles for the first elimination game of the tourney.
EMU took a quick lead in the top of the first with a Steve Bradshaw rbi single but it didn’t take long for Kentucky to respond. Once again, it was Sawyer Carroll who hit his second homer of the tournament, this time a two-run shot in the bottom of the first to give UK a one-run lead, 2-1.
EMU capitalized on a throwing error by the UK shortstop in the top of the third. It was Bradshaw again who drove home a run. A sacrifice fly by Jeff Davis added another and put EMU on top, 3-2.
In what looked to be a rollercoaster game, UK responded again. In the bottom of the 3rd, UK put together 3 hits by Ryan Wilkes, Collin Cowgill, and Chris McClendon and a sac fly by Chris Wade to score two to once again grab the lead.
The rollercoaster came to a screaming stop and no more runs were scored for the rest of the game. Greg Dombroski who pitched five innings and allowed three runs (two earned), got the win for UK. Andrew Albers pitched overtime for the save going four scoreless innings.
Eastern Michigan Recap
Arizona 4 Michigan 3
Throughout the Ann Arbor Regional, the higher seed has always won. Unfortunately for the home crowd, Saturday’s highlight game was no exception. It was a tight game but it was a simple case of Arizona scoring early and holding on to the lead.
Arizona took the lead early in the first on doubles by Rafael Valenzuela and Jon Gaston and a C.J. Zielger base hit. When the dust settled it was 3-0 Wildcats. Arizona added one more in the third and Gaston and Ziegler were right in the middle of that one, too. After they both singled, an error by the UM shortstop brought home another run.
Down 4-0, Michigan needed to get back in the game. In the fifth, shortstop Jason Christian atoned for his error in the field by driving a run home with a triple. The next inning, Zach Putnam hit a solo homerun to make in 4-2. In the seventh, Ryan Lamarre hit yet another solo homerun, bringing Michigan within one run.
But that was all the offense Michigan could muster. Arizona reliever Daniel Schlereth was brought in to close the door and finished that inning. Ryan Perry and Jason Stoeffel pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings respectively and UM couldn’t put any more runs across the plate.
Michigan’s starter Chris Fetter pitched a complete game for the loss. He allowed just three earned runs and struck out seven. Arizona’s David Coulon pitched five innings and gave up two runs for the win.
Kentucky will go on to face Michigan Sunday at 2pm. Eastern Michigan having been eliminated, will just go home. EMU started their 2008 season 0-17 and came back to win the Mid-American Conference title with a 15-8 conference record. All things considered, they’ve got reason to be proud.
Arizona will face the winner of the Kentucky-Michigan game at 7pm Sunday.