Michigan to Continue Spring Break Trip in Florida and North Carolina

»Michigan will play five games in six days this week.
»Michigan has games at Florida Atlantic Tuesday and Wednesday before competing in East Carolina’s Keith LeClair Classic.
»UM will face Maryland and Indiana State in addition to host ECU in the Keith LeClair Classic (March 4-6).

THIS WEEK
Tuesday, March 1 – at Florida Atlantic (Boca Raton, Fla.), 6:30 pm
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Wednesday, March 2 – at Florida Atlantic (Boca Raton, Fla.), 6:30 pm
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Friday, March 4 – vs. Maryland (Greenville, NC), Noon
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Saturday, March 5 – at East Carolina (Greenville, NC), 4:30 p.m.
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Sunday, March 6 – vs. Indiana State (Greenville, NC), 11 a.m.
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University of Michigan baseball team will continue its nine-day, eight-game road trip with five games in six days between two states.

Michigan will play a pair of games at Florida Atlantic on Tuesday and Wednesday (March 1-2) in Boca Raton, Fla. After that series, the Wolverines will travel to East Carolina University to take part in the Keith LeClair Classic (March 4-6) with games against Maryland, ECU and Indiana State.

The Wolverines posted a 3-0 record last weekend with a win over Seton Hall and two wins over Florida International.

The Week That Was

• Graduate students led the way for UM last week as Matt Frey batted .600 with a .733 on-base percentage, Joe Stewart batted .400 with two homers and seven run batted in, and Alex Fedje-Johnson batted .375 with a .643 OBP. Every Michigan starter had multiple games of getting on base at least twice, and the team batted .336 with a gaudy .486 OBP overall.

Clark Elliott continues to lead UM offensively with a .387 mark, six extra-base hits and three homers, while Frey sports a .529 OBP through seven games.

Chase Allen earned a win against FIU with 5.0 innings of three-hit relief, while both Noah Rennard and Willie Weiss earned saves of longer than three innings over the weekend.

About Michigan Baseball

• In the Big Ten Conference preseason poll coaches, Michigan was selected to finish second in the conference behind Nebraska and ahead of Iowa, Maryland, Iowa, Ohio State and Indiana. Ted Burton, Clark Elliott and Cameron Weston were all named to the preseason honors list.

• Michigan enters the season in familiar place as one of the teams to watch in a deep and talented Big Ten Conference. Most baseball media outlets have projected Michigan, Nebraska, Maryland and Iowa as NCAA Tournament teams.

• Michigan enters the campaign following a choppy 2021 season that saw the Wolverines advance to NCAA Regional play despite a decision by the Big Ten Conference to play a conference-only schedule. Michigan finished 27-17 in the regular season, advanced to Regionals and saw three players selected in the MLB Draft, including second rounder Steven Hajjar.

• Michigan has had 12 players drafted in the past four years. The Wolverines led all college programs in players drafted in the opening three rounds in both 2020 and 2019. Additionally, in 2017, Michigan had the most overall draft choices of any college program when a staggering 11 players were selected.

• In 2020, the Maize and Blue become the first school from the Big Ten Conference to earn Baseball America’s No. 1 overall ranking, which came in the second week of the season following wins over then-No. 2 Vanderbilt and No. 9 Arizona State.

• Michigan advanced to the national championship game in Omaha in 2019, making its eighth overall appearance in the College World Series. The Maize and Blue has two national championships to its credit (1953 and 1962).

Setting the Scene

• After posting a 7-4 record with a 2.81 ERA and leading the Big Ten in innings pitched (83.1) as a draft-eligible sophomore last season, Michigan will lean on ace right-hander Cameron Weston again this season to lead the pitching staff.

• Weston is expected to again be joined in the rotation by Jacob Denner (4-4, 4.35 ERA), a 6-foot-1 lefty who has been compared to former Michigan hurler and MLB prospect Tommy Henry in terms of development and demeanor at a similar stage in their careers.

Willie Weiss, one of the nation’s most dynamic closers from 2019-2021, is capable of starting or closing games. Armed with a live fastball and a wipeout slider, Weiss has averaged nearly 1.5 strikeouts per inning as a Wolverine.

• Michigan boasts an impressive returning and veteran lineup with every projected starter to be at least a junior. Ted Burton (.342 batting /.434 on base /.667 slugging) was among the Big Ten leaders in almost every offensive category in 2021 and is joined in the infield by Matt Frey (.327 / .507 / .551), a second-year graduate transfer who missed all of 2021 with a lower body injury. Another graduate transfer, Alex Fedje-Johnson, is a career .300 hitter who had 24 extra-base hits, a .450 average and nine stolen bases at Davison last year. Steady veteran Riley Bertram excels in high leverage offensive situations and is a premier defensive playmaker at multiple positions. Finally, there is Jimmy Obertopwho will transition back to catcher this season after a lower body injury put him at first base and designated hitter for all of 2021 where, despite his hobbles, he led Michigan with 11 homers.

• Michigan’s outfield is impressive, led by Cape Cod League batting champion Clark Elliottall-around star Tito Flores and another graduate transfer in Joe Stewart all slated to start. Elliott battled injuries through the spring but still managed a .270 mark, a .403 on-base percentage and eight stolen bases. Flores, a Detroit native, led UM with 22 extra-base hits and slashed .325 / .429. / 552 in a breakout campaign. Stewart graduated from rival Michigan State where he led the Spartans with 15 extra-base hits.

Michigan is known as a program that embraces early season scheduling. In week two of the season, Michigan will travel to Miami, Fla. for games against Seton Hall (Feb. 25), Florida International (Feb. 26-27) and Florida Atlantic (March 1-2) before continuing on to East Carolina for the LeClair Classic (March 4-6) and games against ECU, Indiana State and Maryland. Then, Michigan travels to Louisville, Ky. for a three-game series against the Cardinals (March 11-13) before heading home via Nashville, Tenn. and a midweek contest against Vanderbilt (March 15). In early April, the Wolverines will welcome Cal State Fullerton (April 8-10) for a rare home series against a California school in the middle of the season.

Scouting the Opponents

FLORIDA ATLANTIC

• FAU enters midweek play at 5-3 overall with three of its wins coming against Minnesota in the first week of the season.

• The Owls are led by Steven Loden, who sports a .407 average and a .529 OBP, while Gabriel Rincones Jr. provides the power with four homers in eight games.

• FAU’s Nicholas Del Prado will get his first start of the season against Michigan. He has made two appearances and allowed one run in three innings of work with five strikeouts.

• Michigan is 1-0 all-time against FAU, earning a 4-1 win in their Feb. 28, 2005 meeting.

MARYLAND, ECU AND INDIANA STATE

• Maryland enters a midweek game against Delaware with a perfect 7-0 mark including a convincing three-game sweep at Baylor to start the season. The Terps’ pitching staff has limited opposing teams to a .217 batting average thus far.

• ECU enters a midweek game against Duke with a 2-5 record amidst a bevy of close games. Only two Pirates’ batters enjoy averages over .231, but the pitching staff has been impressive, holding the opposition to a .221 mark with 74 strikeouts in 62 innings of work.

• Indiana State enters the week at 5-2 overall with two wins against Minnesota and two losses against Ohio State on its ledger. The Sycamores are batting a robust .323 overall with a .429 OBP.

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