Michigan Shows It’s Here To StayColumns
PHOENIX — What began as a hectic Saturday for Michigan and starting pitcher Steven Hajjar ended in jubilation after silencing Spencer Torkelson and hard-hitting Arizona State Saturday night.
In the minutes after Friday’s season-opening win over Vanderbilt, Michigan head coach Erik Bakich said he might’ve gotten a little overly ambitious with his scheduling out in Arizona this weekend. In addition to playing Cal Poly at Salt River Fields early Saturday afternoon, he scheduled a game down at Phoenix Municipal Stadium against No. 9 Arizona State. After a long and drawn out game against the gritty Mustangs, the Wolverines had to travel down the highway and face Torkelson, Gage Workman and the Sun Devils? Didn’t seem optimal, and as Hajjar called it, the Wolverines had to do “JUCO style” pre-game prep.
On top of that, the Wolverines were sending Hajjar, the righthander, to the mound against the Sun Devils. It was his first test. As Michigan went on its postseason run and played for the national title last season, Hajjar was forced to watch from the dugout. He entered the season as one of the team’s best pitchers but missed the spring after tearing his ACL during a pickup basketball game in January before the 2019 campaign began. He was devastated but determined.
As you might suspect, Hajjar had some nerves on Saturday. But in a way, he didn’t have time to think too much about it. The Wolverines were locked in against Cal Poly, drove the 20 minutes to face Arizona State and were forced to do a speed warmup to make the 6:30 p.m., start time.
It was a busy afternoon for Hajjar and the Wolverines, but it didn’t change the way they played. The Wolverines were once again outstanding defensively against the Sun Devils, the timely hitting, just like Friday, was there and oh yeah, Hajjar was simply magnificent in his 2020 debut.
Check out the full column below!