Michigan Tops Ohio State 3-2, Advances to Tournament Championship
May 27, 2006
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - On a hot and humid day in Ann Arbor, Michigan topped Ohio State in game nine of the Big Ten Tournament to advance to tonight's championship game. With a final score of 3-2, the Wolverines picked up their 40th win of the season and will face Michigan at 7:10 p.m. this evening.
Ohio State got on the board first in the third inning with one out. Matt Angle took a one-out walk and advanced to second on an infield grounder. Ronnie Bourquin then hit a hard grounder that took a strange hop to get past shortstop Leif Mahler. Angle came all the way around to score from second and Bourquin was safe at first. Putnam got out of the inning with no further damage.
Michigan threatened in the bottom of the fourth with an out on the board when Derek Van Buskirk hit a long drive to right-center field that turned into a three-bagger after an error in the Ohio State outfield. All it took was a deep sacrifice fly from the next batter, A.J. Schmidt, to score Van Buskirk from third to tie the ball game.
The next scoring opportunity came for the Wolverines in the bottom of the sixth. Adam Abraham hit a single and was advanced to second by a perfectly-laid sacrifice bunt from Doug Pickens. Abraham finished his opportunity by crossing home plate after a wild pitch to give Michigan their first lead of the game. Putnam got into a bit of a jam with two outs in the seventh, putting two runners on with a pair of walks. Ben Jentzen came in to relieve the freshman and got the Wolverines out of the inning without giving up a run.
The tension was high in the eighth with only one run separating the two teams. In the bottom half of the inning, Michigan senior catcher Jeff Kunkel hit a double down the right-field line. Abraham then put down a bunt that was fair but stayed inside the home-plate circle to make it difficult for the Ohio State defense to play, and the batter was able to beat out the throw. With runners on the corners, coach Rich Maloney called for a risky squeeze bunt that proved to pay off. Van Burskirk laid down a bunt that brought Kunkel home.
The top of the ninth would be the Buckeyes last chance to recover from the two-run deficit. A lead-off walk to Wes Schwirtzinger kept them alive. On a fielder's choice, Howell reached base but Schwirtzinger was out at second. J.B. Shuck then accomplished the same feat, grounding to third to reach on a fielder's choice while Howell was out at second. With two outs, Matt Angle stepped up as his teams' last hope and doubled to right-center field to bring home Shuck all the way home from first. With a runner in scoring position, Michigan's Abraham got Eric Fryer to strike out looking to end the game.
Abraham picked up his third save of the season while Putnam improved his record to 6-1 with the win. Putnam gave up just one run on three hits through six and two-thirds.