College notes: UM baseball, softball sport dueling win streaks

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
The Michigan baseball team celebrates after recording its 20th consecutive win on Sunday.

There's no gambling in Bushwood, sir, and, no, there are no active wagers between the Michigan baseball and softball teams, either.

The question: Which team will lose first?

The baseball team is on a 20-game winning streak and the softball team has won 14 straight. Neither team has lost a game since March.

"This is par for the course for them," baseball coach Erik Bakich said of the softball team. "That's what they do every year, we've been seeing it for a long time. They have been a model of consistency over three decades, and that's something we're trying to establish.

"We're in the infancy stages of trying to get the program back to where it was in the '80s.

"What Coach Hutch (Carol Hutchins) and the softball program have done for the better part of three decades, that's incredible. And those are the types of programs that you aspire to recreate, or least have something to look up to."

The baseball team's weekend home sweep of Penn State extended the winning streak to 20, tied for third-longest in program history — and the longest since the Wolverines won 22 in a row in 1987. The longest streak is 24, in 1985. Michigan also won 16 straight in 1985.

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Michigan also is 11-0 in Big Ten play for the first time since 2008.

Bakich could sit here and tell you he saw this coming, but then again, he wouldn't be telling the truth.

Not after Michigan lost to NAIA school Lawrence Tech on March 14 to drop the Wolverines to 4-11.

The Wolverines haven't lost since, including two blowout wins over Penn State this weekend, sandwiched around a Saturday nailbiter. Penn State took the early lead Saturday, and after Michigan rallied to take the lead, the Nittany Lions got a homer in the ninth to tie it.

Michigan won it in the 11th on a walk-off squeeze bunt by freshman shortstop Jack Blomgren.

"They're a very confident bunch," Bakich said Monday, while driving on a recruiting trip. "But very fresh in our minds is how we started the season. Had we not experienced getting drug through the sludge and getting knocked flat on our (butt), all the way down on the mat, a 7-8-9 count, if we didn't experience that, we might take some things for granted. What I've been most impressed with, I have not sensed any complacency. The team has stayed very hungry."

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Michigan still isn't ranked in any of the top 25s, with only Indiana and Minnesota ranked from the under-appreciated Big Ten. Michigan doesn't play either team in the regular season. The Wolverines continue play this weekend with a three-game series at Iowa.

Michigan junior outfielder Jonathan Engelmann was Big Ten player of the week after three multi-hit games against Penn State. He hit .545 with six RBIs and six runs scored. Meanwhile, infielder Jesse Franklin was named Big Ten freshman of the week for the third time this season after racking up seven RBIs and two home runs.

As for the softball team, ranked No. 14, the Wolverines are 38-7 after a weekend home sweep of Maryland. Michigan returns to action this weekend with a three-game series at Indiana.

Great ambitions

Central Michigan University unveiled its latest renderings for the Chippewa Champions Center, a huge upgrade to the north end zone of Kelly-Shorts Stadium.

And the pictures are impressive, with a roof-top hospitality patio for fans, a field-level club, 12 loge boxes, new locker rooms, and a new weight room and rehabilitation center.

There's no timeline for the project, which remains in the fundraising stages, athletic director Michael Alford said.

Outgoing president George E. Ross announced the launching of a $100-million "Fire Up for Excellence" campaign Saturday.

The architecture firm working with Central Michigan includes Pittsburgh's Heinz Field among its credits.

Central Michigan rendering photo for the Chippewa Champions Center.

This and that

■ The Michigan State women's golf team won its second consecutive Big Ten tournament championship, rallying from a one-shot deficit heading into Sunday's final round. The Spartans finished the tournament 5 under, the second-lowest score in conference tournament history. Senior Sarah Burnham led Michigan State at 5 under, finishing runner-up. Next up is the NCAA championships, with the field announced Wednesday.

■ With Sunday's victory over Wright State, the Detroit Mercy men's tennis team won its first Horizon League regular-season championship in program history. The 14 wins also are a program record. Next up is the Horizon League tournament, next weekend in Indiana.

■ The Detroit Mercy men's lacrosse team also has had a banner year, with its five MAAC wins a program record. It set the record Friday against Siena.

■ A couple baseball games at Comerica Park this week: Michigan State and Eastern Michigan on Tuesday, and Oakland and Central Michigan on Wednesday.