Northridge, Calif- Michigan left-handed pitcher Tommy Henry loves the west coast. Even when the skies were gray and gloomy in Northridge, Henry still felt he needed a little sunscreen.
“What can I say?” Henry said. “Whenever I come out here everything is warmer even when it seems cold for Californians. Being in the California whether always gets you amped up.”
In Ann Arbor the temperature reached a high of 30 degree if anyone was wondering.
Then when Henry hit the mound Friday afternoon, it took more then an offshore chill to cool him off. For nearly half the game Henry was untouchable.
Henry after retiring the first 13 batters he faced pitched eight shutout innings allowing just three hits with 13 strikeouts and CSUN fell to Michigan at home 2-1 in the first of a three game series.
“(Pitching) coach Chris Fetter drew up a great game plan and know that your defense is going to be there and make great plays behind you. It makes pitching that much easier.”
Henry was in command throughout the whole game and needed only 90 pitches to complete his body of work. He balanced his low 90s fastball by locating his slider and changeup with precision.
CSUN (5-5) didn’t get its first hit off Henry until designated hitter Jayson Newman hit a single into right field with one out in the fifth inning. Newman was the only one who figured out Henry and finished 2-for-3 with a double.
“Henry is a good left handed pitcher and he got in there, threw his changeup for strikes and I tip my cap to him,” CSUN coach Greg Moore said. “He did a great job today, we just didn’t make the adjustments quick enough.”
The Matadors tried to rally in the ninth after freshman Denzel Clarke homered to lead off the inning. The next batter Robert Bullard reached base on catcher’s interference to put the tying run on first. Shortstop Brandon Bohning came up afterward but struck out and was called for batter’s interference after Bullard attempted to steal second.
Moore came out to argue with home plate umpire Anthony Norris but walked back to the dugout. The next batter Jose Ruiz struck out against closer Willie Weiss.
“It was a tough call and one of those things we’ll have to look at on the tape,” Moore said.
CSUN pitcher Walker Armstrong took the loss despite his best outing of the season. Armstrong went a season-high six innings and allowed one earned run with four hits and seven strikeouts. His lone earned run allowed was a leadoff home run to Ako Thomas.
For Thomas who is a senior, it was his first career home run after having not hit one in his first 148 games as a Wolverine. He also finished the game 3-for-5 just a triple shy of the cycle.
“I was a little bit mad at myself for that one,” Armstrong said. “I had him 0-2 but I just for whatever reason was missing a little and left a pitch up.”
CSUN could have found itself in a bigger hole in the game after committing four errors. Three of them were committed by third baseman Angelo Bortolin.
“We just need to continue to stick with our game plan,” Armstrong said. “Go out and make pitches, have quality at-bats and keep being positive. We go out there and we all work hard and we just have to get back after it tomorrow.”