MINNEAPOLIS -- Michigan jumped out to a 6-1 lead after five innings and picked up home runs from junior Cody Bruder and fifth-year senior Kendall Patrick, and the U-M pitching staff did not walk a batter while striking out eight as the Wolverines moved to the bracket one championship game in the Big Ten tournament with an 8-5 win against No. 21 Iowa on Thursday night at Target Field.
Michigan will now play in the championship game of the first bracket on Saturday afternoon. Michigan will face either Illinois, Michigan State or Maryland.
Iowa's Eric Toole led off the bottom of the first with a solo home run to right to give the Hawkeyes the early 1-0 lead. Michigan answered with a pair of runs in the top of the second. Bruder led off the frame with a solo home run to left. Iowa's Blake Hickman retired the next two Wolverines, but a walk to sophomore Johnny Slater and RBI double from Patrick gave U-M the 2-1 lead.
Junior Travis Maezes singled home sophomore Carmen Benedetti to put Michigan up 3-1 in the third inning. Patrick made it 4-1 with a leadoff solo home run in the top of the fourth. Junior Jacob Cronenworth followed with a single. He moved to second on freshman Jake Bivens' sacrifice bunt and scored as senior Jackson Glines singled to right.
Senior Kevin White's sacrifice fly put Michigan up 6-1 in the sixth. Iowa battled back with four two-out hits to plate three runs, but Michigan answered with single runs in the seventh and eighth innings. Patrick's sacrifice fly scored Maezes, who reached on an error. Bruder then doubled in Glines in the eighth, giving Michigan an 8-4 lead. Iowa used a pair of Michigan errors to score an unearned run in the ninth, but Cronenworth induced a foul out to end the threat and the game.
Bruder and Cronenworth had three hits apiece for the Maize and Blue, who had 13 hits on the night. Patrick drove in three runs and Bruder had a pair of runs.
Freshman Ryan Nutof earned the win on the mound, striking out five in 5.2 innings of work. He allowed six hits and four runs. Senior Matt Ogden pitched 2.1 innings of relief, striking out a batter and allowing a hit and an unearned run. Cronenworth picked up his sixth save of the season, striking out a batter in two-thirds of an inning.