Team breakdown courtesy of MGoBlue.com
The University of Michigan baseball team plays its final Big Ten series on the road this weekend as the Maize and Blue visits Minnesota for a three-game set. The series begins on Friday (April 24) at 6:35 p.m. CDT, continues Saturday night (April 25) at 6:05 p.m. CDT and concludes Sunday afternoon (April 26) at 12:05 p.m. CDT. All three games will be streamed on BTN Plus. U-M is coming off a 10-4 win over Oakland on Tuesday.
SCOUTING MINNESOTA -- The Golden Gophers (17-19, 6-9 Big Ten) are coming off a 3-2 walk-off win over South Dakota State on Wednesday (April 22). Matt Fielder had the game-winning single in the ninth to break the 2-all tie. Michael Handel leads Minnesota with a .347 batting average and four home runs. On the mound, Ben Meyer has 49 strikeouts in 56.2 innings pitched.
SERIES VS. MINNESOTA -- Minnesota leads the overall series with the Wolverines 98-89 heading into this weekend's series. The two teams split four games last year as the Maize and Blue defeated the Golden Gophers 3-2 in the first game of the 2015 Big Ten Tournament in Omaha, Nebraska. Travis Maezes was 2-for-4 with three RBI and a home run while James Bourque pitched three scoreless innings of relief to pick up the win on the mound.
BIG TEN LEADERS -- The Wolverines lead the Big Ten in batting average (.302), on-base percentage (.386) and doubles (85) heading into this weekend's games. On the mound, U-M is seventh in ERA (3.55) and is tied for third in strikeouts (312). Senior Jackson Glines and sophomore Carmen Benedetti are 1-2 in the league in batting average. Glines is hitting .392 while Benedetti is at .371. Junior Jacob Cronenworth leads the league in hits (57) and runs scored with 46. Benedetti leads the Big Ten with 44 RBI while Glines has a conference-best .491 on-base percentage. Sophomore Brett Adcock is tied for fourth in strikeouts (53).
MICHIGAN DUO ON OLERUD WATCH LIST -- Sophomore Carmen Benedetti and junior Jacob Cronenworth are on the 36-player John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year watch list, it was announced on April 22. Benedetti is hitting .371 with 15 doubles, three home runs and 44 RBI while making 13 appearances on the mound with 18 strikeouts in 11.1 innings pitched. Cronenworth is hitting .339 with five home runs and 30 RBI and is 2-3 with a 3.54 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 28 innings pitched. Michigan is the only school with two players on this list.
BENEDETTI DOES IT ALL IN PURDUE FINALE -- Sophomore Carmen Benedetti excelled at the plate and on the mound in Michigan's 7-5 win over Purdue on April 18. He went 3-for-5 with four RBI at the plate. Benedetti's run-scoring double in the first got the Wolverines on the board. He then doubled in the third to score Jackson Glines. His groundout in the fifth scored a run and a double in the seventh scored Travis Maezes. Then with runners on first and second and one out for Purdue in the ninth, Benedetti came in to pitch and struck out the final two Boilermakers to earn his first career save. In the series, he was 8-for-13 with three doubles and six RBI. He also made two appearances on the mound in Saturday's doubleheader. The performance helped Benedetti earned Big Ten Player of the Week honors.
NUTOF GETS CAREER HIGH IN PURDUE SHUTOUT -- Freshman Ryan Nutof pitched a career-high 7.2 innings and allowed just two hits and no runs with five strikeouts and two walks in a 7-0 win over Purdue on April 18. At one point, Nutof retired 13 Boilermakers in a row and allowed just two runners to reach second base. Nutof has pitched into the eighth inning in both home games he has pitched this season. Nutof was named the co-Freshman of the Week for the second time this season after that outing.
UP NEXT -- Michigan will take the midweek off for final exams and return to action Friday, May 1, against Iowa at the Wilpon Complex, home of Ray Fisher Stadium. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.