Baseball: Michigan drops opener 1-0

Michigan pitcher Zach Putnam threw eight and two-thirds innings of one-hit ball for the Wolverines, but hits on the offensive side of the ball were few and far in between in as the Michigan Wolverines dropped the first game in a best-of-three Super Regional to the Oregon State Beavers 1-0 on Sunday afternoon in Corvallis, Ore. Game two of the Super Regional is scheduled for Monday afternoon.

CORVALLIS, Ore. –Despite eight and two-thirds innings of one-hit ball from Michigan starting pitcher Zach Putnam, the Wolverines dropped a tight one 1-0 to the defending National Champion Oregon State Beavers on Sunday afternoon in the opener of the Corvallis Super Regional at Goss Stadium.

Putnam, the District V Player of the Year, didn't allow the ball out of the Michigan infield until a single by Oregon State second baseman Joey Wong snuck through the left side of the diamond to push across the lone run of the contest with two out in the top of the ninth inning.

"Zach was absolutely phenomenal," Michigan coach Rich Maloney said of Putnam, who entered the game with an 8-4 record and 4.13 earned run average. "He pitched his best game on national television. It's unfortunate that we came out on the losing end of it today because he deserved better than that. We couldn't scratch a run through and you have to give a lot of credit to Oregon State for their pitching and defense, as well."

With the score tied 0-0 going into the ninth inning, Scott Santchi set the table for the winning run by drawing a walk to open the final frame. Putnam had allowed just two walks up to that point and was yet to allow a base hit.

After replacing Santchi with a pinch runner, the Beavers advanced the runner to second base with a sacrifice bunt. Putnam recorded the second out of the inning with a strikeout, but Wong singled through the left hand side of the infield to put Oregon State on top 1-0.

"It was another split(finger fastball) – he'd been throwing them all day, making us look silly," Wong said. "I wasn't going to try and guess a pitch since that splitfinger is so dangerous, so I was just going to go away no matter what the pitch was."

Michigan first baseman Nate Recknagel produced a one-out hit in the bottom of the ninth, but Kenny Fellows, a pinch runner in the final inning, was left stranded on second base as the Wolverines were unable to push across the tying run.

Putnam records the loss for the maize and blue, who out hit the Beavers 4-1, despite recording all but the final out for the Wolverines. He struck out eight hitters over the course of eight and two-thirds innings.

In the contest, the Wolverines left five runners on base to just two by Oregon State.

Now trailing 1-0 in the weekend series, the Wolverines must win two straight against Oregon State to advance to the 2007 College World Series. Game two is scheduled for Monday at 4:00 PDT.

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