As an unseeded team in 2019, the Michigan Wolverines snuck into the Corvallis Regional, which led to one of the most impressive post season runs in college baseball history. Led by an experienced coaching staff and recruiting experts, the highly talented Michigan baseball program hit their stride at the perfect time, riding it all the way to the College Baseball World Series Final.
Michigan competes within the Big Ten Conference, matching up against schools like Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, and Northwestern on a yearly basis. The program also schedules challenging non-conference games against some of the top Division 1 baseball programs in the country.
For instance, to kick off the 2020 season, Michigan faced Vanderbilt, who they were defeated by in the College World Series Final the prior year. They faired better this time around, defeating the #2 ranked team in the nation 4-3. It was an exciting way to start their season, which would end up being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Looking ahead to the upcoming season, the Michigan baseball program has a lot to look forward to. With a combination of facility renovations, strong MLB draft results, and quality on-field performances, we should continue to see the Wolverines compete at a high level within the Big Ten Conference and at the national level.
The 2021 season will mark Erik Bakich’s ninth year as the Michigan baseball head coach. Throughout his tenure at Michigan, he has been able to lead the baseball program to three NCAA tournament bids, a Big Ten Conference championship, and 7 Big Ten tournament appearances.
Looking beyond team level accomplishments, Bakich has helped 35 Wolverines get selected in the MLB draft, 41 players make All-American selections, and 49 players make Big Ten Conference team selections.
Saving the best for last, in 2019 Bakich led his team to the College World Series, where they finished as a runner-up to Vanderbilt. This marked the third time that the Michigan baseball program reached the College World Series. It was also the first 50 win season since 1987. With this amazing run from an unseeded team, Bakich earned National Coach of The Year accolades from D1Baseball.com and the NCBWA.
Prior to Michigan, Bakich spent three years as the head coach at the University of Maryland. During his short stay there, a lot was accomplished. The program saw significant improvements with their level of play, which was a direct result of Bakich’s recruiting efforts. The 2010 recruiting class earned a top 25 ranking by Baseball America. Bakich also played a key role in fundraising initiatives which allowed the program to improve their baseball facilities.
Bakich’s college coaching journey actually started at Clemson, where he served as a volunteer assistant coach, mostly working with infielder and outfielders. He also assisted with a portion of the recruiting efforts at Clemson, which prepared him for his next role as the recruiting coordinator at Vanderbilt.
Over the past 20 years, Bakich has sat in a variety of positions within Division 1 baseball coaching staffs. As a result, he is a very well rounded coach with an ability to effectively manage players, game strategy, and recruiting efforts for the Michigan baseball program.
Michigan Baseball Facilities
Although the Michigan baseball program has been playing at the same site for almost 100 years, the venue has received multiple renovations throughout the years. 2008 saw its most significant improvement with a $9 million dollar renovation.
With this renovation, the Wolverines welcomed the new Wilpon baseball and softball complex which is home to the Ray Fisher baseball stadium. The stadium now has 2,500 seats, administrative offices, a state of the art press box, concession areas, and ticket areas.
Ray Fisher Stadium also received another round of improvements in 2014, which added turf to the field, upgraded bullpens, a video board, and increased space in the dugouts. With cold weather and potential snow in the early Spring months, turfing the field was a major improvement.
Next to Ray Fisher Stadium is a facility that contains a 1,600 square foot locker room specifically for the Michigan baseball players. It’s an incredible space with 30 inch lockers, televisions, a player lounge, a training room, and even a fueling station. This same building also contains an indoor hitting facility, which is just shy of 6,000 square feet.
It connects directly to the locker room and has retractable doors for when the weather gets warm. The facility includes dirt mounds, three batting cages with video hitting systems, and pitching machines.
Michigan Baseball Alumni
Since 2007, there have been about 50 players from the Michigan baseball program that have been selected in the MLB draft. In 2017 alone, 11 players were drafted, a historical best for the program. While the past two years didn’t produce as many selections as 2017, they’ve seen their highest draft picks during that time. In the 2019 and 2020 drafts, 9 total players were selected, 6 of which were in the top three rounds.
The Michigan baseball program has a lengthy history. While 81 Michigan players have made it to the Major League level, only about 10 of them are from the 2000’s or later. Some of the more recognizable Michigan players that went on to have successful MLB careers include Rich Hill, Mike Matheny, and Barry Larkin.
Get free access to the full Michigan baseball program evaluation through the TeamFacts tool, which contains a variety of recruiting metrics for every NCAA baseball program. Some of the metrics include transfers, redshirts, player retention, academic majors, and many more.