Up Next: Michigan

The Notre Dame baseball team won't have long to regroup after a poor showing this past weekend against Louisville. The Irish were swept on the road by the Cardinals. Notre Dame has now lost four straight contests and sit in seventh-place in the Big East standings. Before a critical series this weekend versus Connecticut, the Irish will get a stern test on Tuesday against a heated rival.

Notre Dame will take on Michigan in Grand Rapids, MI. First pitch is scheduled for 7 PM at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark on Tuesday. The Irish lost two nail biters to Louisville on Saturday before being dispatched 7-3 on Sunday to complete the sweep. Notre Dame is 27-23 overall and 10-13 in the conference standings. The Irish will host the Huskies this weekend at Frank Eck Stadium. Notre Dame probably just needs to avoid a sweep to qualify for the league tournament.

First off, the Irish will have their hands full with Michigan. The Wolverines are 36-13 overall and 18-6 in the Big Ten, good for first in the conference. Penn State beat Michigan twice on Sunday to tighten the league standings a bit but the Wolverines are still on control for the regular-season championship.

Like Louisville, Michigan is a well-rounded team. The Wolverines are at the top of several statistical categories. As of May 7th, Michigan was first in the Big Ten in hitting at .345, first in fielding and second in team ERA at 3.95. The Wolverines did allow Penn State to score 24 runs and knock out 37 hits in the Sunday doubleheader sweep. Losing two of three to the Nittany Lions knocked Michigan out of the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll.

The Wolverines offense is quite potent. Michigan has 10 regulars hitting over .300. Derek VanBuskirk's average is at .398 with a .612 slugging percentage. Kevin Cislo is hitting .370 and owns a .451 on-base percentage. Doug Pickens and Zack Putnam both are at .364. Putnam leads the team with 50 RBI's and has also blasted six home runs. Pickens has a current 16-game hitting streak. Nate Recknagel is second on Michigan with 47 RBI's and first in round trippers with nine. As a team, the Wolverines have blasted 39 home runs in 49 games this season. Eric Rose has stolen 29 bases on the year in 35 attempts to go along with a .329 average. Up and down the lineup, there are players that can produce.


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