OMAHA, Neb. — Following the Michigan baseball team’s win against the Illinois, Wolverines coach Tracy Smith hinted at a surprise on the mound in Friday’s game against Indiana. With the bullpen depleted, a freshman right-hander and every-day third baseman started the game Mitch Voyt in the top of the first inning.

Voight’s start as a pitcher meant someone had to fill his void at third base. Smith and his staff were hoping his backup, junior Dylan Stanton, would be able to step up in his place — and Stanton did a lot more than just step up against the Hoosiers.

“The mindset of the house money game,” Stanton said. “You’re in an elimination game, you can go home at any time. It’s a playground mentality, you just go out there and play kid games. We love it.”

Entering the game with just six hits all season and five starts, Stanton was truly playing with house money. He wasn’t expected to do much more than just stay steady on the field and get a hit or two. But a stunning four hits and zero errors in the game later, he really ignited Michigan’s upset victory.

“I feel great,” Stanton said. “Every time I got hit, I went back to just doing it for my team. I don’t really care how my body feels, it’s just that if coach has the willpower to put me out there, I’m going to give 100-110 percent every time.”

On his way to four total hits, Stanton started with a blast in the fourth inning. With a double to right field – his first of the season – he led the Wolverines in their push for a six-run, three-run lead. Stanton hasn’t been the catalyst for the offense, but Michigan desperately needed it.

After hitting hard in the fourth, Stanton was unstoppable. In the very next inning, he reached base for the second time. And, once again, he was responsible for keeping the Wolverines’ offensive engine purring.

In an uncharacteristically strong offensive team game against a good team like Indiana, Stanton’s contribution means even more. Again in the sixth, Stanton hit hard for the third time in as many innings. Singled to center field for another RBI, he was responsible for the second of three cushioned runs that extended Michigan’s lead and momentum in the final stages of the upset victory.

And again, once again, and with the insurance needed after the Hoosiers pulled the lead within four runs, Stanton delivered. Once again singled to right field, he accounted for the first of graduate shortstop Cody Jefferies’ three RBIs on a deep double three batters later.

“I’d also like to give (Stanton) a lot of credit,” Voight said. “He really stepped up a lot today.”

Stanton’s unexpected fingerprints were all over the Wolverines’ offensive output in the upset. He nearly doubled his season total in just one game, going from six to ten. Without his handy hitting, Michigan might very well find itself on the bus back to Ann Arbor.

With the offensive explosion provided by Stanton, the Wolverines’ streak continues as it has so many times in the past year championshipMichigan held on, outscoring its opponent at the plate.

Voight, once Stanton’s starter, simply describes the new groove of the offense: “The Wolves are hot.”

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