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Michigan baseball utilizes an “active roster” in series against Nebraska

Michigan baseball head coach Tracy Smith utilizes what he calls an “active roster” to keep all players involved in the game. The Wolverines had 16 position players see action in their weekend series against Illinois.



Michigan Baseball, Coach Smith
@Adiel_Photography (Instagram)

ANN ARBOR, MI – After starting Big Ten play 5-1, the Wolverines have lost their first conference series. Michigan baseball hosted the Nebraska Cornhuskers this weekend and went 1-2, winning on Saturday and losing on Friday and Sunday. Despite their losses, the Wolverines still rank fourth in the Big Ten baseball standings.

Michigan baseball lost a lot of talent this off-season, but that opened the door for plenty of freshmen and transfer students to compete for this year’s starting jobs. Now almost two months into the regular season, new players have shown (or not shown) what they are capable of.

Michigan baseball’s “active roster”

Despite some players performing better through this point in the season, head coach Tracy Smith likes to keep the whole team involved in the action. This year, Smith has a wide talent pool of young players to choose from.

To keep players involved, coach Smith likes to utilize what he calls an “active roster”. This management style lets typical bench players see action with late-game substitutions, as well as occasional starts on certain games. Coach Smith said, “I just think it helps the clubhouse… it keeps you motivated.”

This weekend, Michigan baseball had 16 different position players see action at some point.

Player Attitudes

Senior outfielder Jake Marti has emerged as a capable hitter this season, boasting a batting average of .341. His average is more than 100 points higher than his average from last season at .189.

Even with his impressive numbers, Marti splits time in the outfield with seniors Tito Flores and Joey Velazquez, as well as freshmen Greg Pace Jr. and Jonathan Kim. Marti was not in the starting lineup on Friday.

When later asked about being benched, Marti said, “I trust the coaches and their decisions…We talk really big about the whole culture piece. If you’re not playing, you still have to be a good teammate. If you’re sitting there sulking around that doesn’t help the team. At any given moment your number could be called.”

Marti was back in the lineup on Saturday and was more than ready to play. In four at-bats, Marti amassed three hits and scored twice. “Skip talks a lot about waiting to play versus being ready to play. I just felt like I was ready to play today,” Marti said after the game.

Michigan baseball has built a great club environment with a supportive dugout. Players who find themselves on the bench know that they could find themselves on the field at any given moment, causing teammates to be supportive and work hard day in and day out. Their next game will be against the Butler Bulldogs this Tuesday at 4 PM ET.

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