The Michigan baseball program appears poised to prove last season's national runner-up finish wasn't a one-hit wonder.
The Wolverines are ranked No. 8 in Baseball America's preseason Top 25 posted Monday, looking to build on a 50-win season that included their first trip to the College World Series since 1984, and the program's best finish since the 1962 national championship team.
Michigan fell to Vanderbilt in a three-game series, losing the winner-take-all finale, 8-2.
"Michigan has the talent on hand to prove that last season’s run to the CWS finals was no fluke, highlighted by righthander Jeff Criswell on the mound and the outfield duo of Jesse Franklin and Jordan Nwogu," Baseball America writes.
The No. 8 spot might be a little too high for Michigan head coach Erik Bakich's liking, at least for now.
“We’re not a top-10 team, I can promise you that. Not coming out of the snow in February,” Bakich told The Detroit News this month. “I really don’t care what the ranking is except the last one, and I think our players feel the same way, too. At no point were we a top-10 in the country until we were at the end. We educate our players on just controlling the controllables, and those rankings are simply the opinions of other people. Those rankings ebb and flow based on how you perform each week. Is it nice to recognized? Sure. Does it matter? No. I’m sure they like that they’re recognized and if they get some confidence from it, then I like it, too.
“But I don’t think they care. They know where the destination is, and they need a laser focus on what’s important and that’s how are we going to improve today."
The Commodores are ranked No. 1 in Baseball America's preseason poll. Michigan opens its season Feb. 14 against Vanderbilt in the MLB4 Collegiate Baseball Tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona.