Baseball: U-M wins NCAA Opener

U-M pitcher Zach Putnam and first baseman Nate Recknagel powered the U-M baseball team past Memphis 10-7 in the Wolverines 2007 NCAA Tournament opener. Putnam was the winning pitcher of note, along with a run scored and a run batted in, and Recknagel added three RBI's, including a solo home run in the eighth, to pace the Michigan offense. U-M meets No. 1 Vanderbilt at 8 p.m. Saturday.

After dropping the NCAA Tournament opener in each of the past two seasons, the Michigan baseball team finally got it right. Using a balanced attack to pace the offense, the No. 2-seeded Wolverines dropped the Memphis Tigers 10-7 on Friday night at Hawkins Field in Nashville. Nate Recknagel and Doug Pickens each batted in three runs for the Wolverines and pitcher Zach Putnam threw for eight innings to record the win.

Memphis jumped on top of Michigan early. After being retired 1-2-3 by Putnam in the top of the first, the Tigers struck first with a run in each of the second and third inning. At that point, however, the U-M bats awoke.

Brad Roblin opened the Michigan third with a single to center field. After advancing on a walk by Jason Christian, the pair each moved 90 feet closer to home with a double steal to put both runners in scoring position. Recknagel made it 2-1 with a sacrifice fly, and Putnam tied the game with an infield single. Adam Abraham broke the tie with the Wolverines second infield single of the inning.

Michigan extended the lead to three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Jason Christian reached base again, this time with a single, and, for the second time of the game, crossed home plate, this time on a triple from Recknagel.

Roblin would then push Recknagel home with a two-out single.

Memphis trimmed the lead with a two-out two-run homer in the top of the next inning. The home run, the second long ball issued by Putnam, rang off the foul pole to make the score 5-4.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Wolverines extended the lead yet again. After reaching base on an error, Recknagel advanced to second base on a walk to Abraham. Doug Pickens then lined one off the wall in left field to plate two more Michigan runs.

Pickens would then score on a single by Kevin Cislo to make it 9-4 Michigan after seven innings.

Memphis added another home run in the top of the eighth, this one a two-run shot, but Recknagel plated the Wolverines final run of the game with a solo home run to put the game out of reach.

Memphis added one run in the top of the ninth, but U-M pitcher Michael Powers then shut the door on the Tigers.

With the win, the Wolverines advance to the second round to meet regional host Vanderbilt. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. local time.

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