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UM Baseball Coach Takes Unique Recruiting Approach: "Our Roster Should Look Like The United States Of America"

Bakich was recently named National Coach of the Year.

June 18, 2019 - 10:39 am

Any coach who can hand out college scholarships is in a powerful position. For Michigan baseball coach Erik Bakich, that power comes with responsibility.

Asked about his recruiting approach during Michigan's win over Florida State in the College World Series Monday night, Bakich said he aims to create opportunities for kids who often go overlooked. 

"We just think our roster should look like the United States of America. So we target a lot of inner city kids," Bakich told ESPN. "There’s a lot of great athletes out there and I think it’s ridiculous the cost of travel ball and some of these showcases. It negates opportunities for a lot of kids.

"For us, we want to have a diverse roster and we want to provide as many opportunities for kids all over the country that we can.”

Michigan's roster has representatives from 12 states, including Washington, Colorado and Oregon. It also has three players from Chicago, two of whom are key contributors in second baseman Ako Thomas and outfielder Christan Bullock. 

In the Wolverines' victory on Monday, one that moved them within three wins of the national championship, the heroes were both local and national. Pitcher Tommy Henry from Portage, Mich. twirled a three-hit shutout, while outfielder Jesse Franklin from Seattle blasted a first-inning homer that stood up as the winning run. 

The insurance run came on an RBI single by Scottsdale, Ariz. native Jimmy Kerr, who drive in Ann Arbor's own Jordan Nwogu. 

Michigan is now 2-0 in the double-elimination tournament and next plays on Friday against the winner of Wednesday's game between Florida State and Texas Tech. 

Bakich, in his seventh season as head coach, was named Coach of the Year by the National College Baseball Writers Association on Saturday.