Page 8-Tuesday March, 29,1983-The Michigan Daily
Real season begins for 'M' nine
By RANDY BERGER
The fun is over for the Michigan baseball team; no
more sunny skies in Florida or games against over-
worked pitchers from Southern teams. It's back to
the "cold" reality of playing in the midwest and get-
ting ready for what should be a tough Big Ten season
as the batsmen open up their regular season Friday
at Miami (0).
The Wolverines will enter Friday's game after com-
pleting their most successful start since 1905 as they
stormed through Florida with a 11-1 record. But as is
typical of all coaches, Bud Middaugh isn't completely
satisfied with the way the team is playing.
"THE SPRING trip answered some questions but
opened up more," said Middaugh, who is now just 12
wins away from getting his 500th career coaching vic-
tory. "Having 12 games in eight days kind of distorts.
Many positive notes however, did develop during
the spring trip.
" The team got clutch pitching as it didn't lose any
" Came from behind four times, to win. The best
game of the trip was against Yale in which the
Wolverines came back after being down 6-2 and
scored five runs in the last three innings to win 7-6.
* Played well defensively as the team averaged
only one error per game.
* Scored a ton of runs to be exact 89 times in 12
games for an average of about 7.5 runs a game.
" Got great play from a lot of freshmen including
pitcher-outfielder Dan Disher, who hit .476 and had
four strikeouts in three innings on the mound. Barry
Larkin also showed promise as he batted .333 which
included a leadoff homer in a 5-4 win over Virginia, as
did Mike Watters, who played in all 12 games and is
fourth on the team in RBI's with seven.
" Solid play from the middle part of the lineup, as
veterans Chris Sabo (.347 average with six homers),
Ken Hayward (.419 average with 17 RBI's) and Jeff
Jacobson (.349 average and 18 RBI's) raked havoc on
the opposing pitchers.
However among all of these noteworthy develop-
ments are some glaring areas that need in-
provement, most notably pitching. The team com-
piled a shaky earned run average of 3.82.
"We need to establish a pitching rotation and we
would like to see who we can use in the bullpen," said
Middaugh. "On the trip we played a lot of games in a
short time so most of the pitchers got starts. As we
get back to the regular season we should see who to
use in relief.
"ALSO, WE NEED to be more settled in the out-
field and probably could use more experience behind
the plate," he continued.
Michigan enters Friday's doubleheader against
Miami (0) ranked 11th in the country by the
Collegiate coach's poll. Consequently, it will be
facing the best pitchers the opposing teams have to
offer. Unfortunately, unlike in football or basketball
Middaugh doesn't have the luxury to rely on scouting
"Not until you see the team can you evaluate, but if
you do everything well, it doesn't matter who you
Rich Stoll, seen here in a game last year against Wayne State, added three
more wins over the spring trip to run his career record to 21-3.
BIG TEN EAS TERN DIVISION PRE VIE W:
Buckeyes may pose,
By MIKE BRADLEY
The road to an NCAA championship tournament
bid/begins for Michigan in its own division, the Big
The defending divisional champion Wolverines
must survive their intradivisional schedule in order
to advance to the Big Ten playoffs, the first stop on
SOME OF the road-
blocks, however, seem to
be less than formidable.
Purdue and Indiana will be
very young, and Michigan
State suffers from the loss
of its pitching staff to the
major leagues. Ohio State
will be a different story,
was 9-1. Each pitcher suffered his only loss in the
Offensive firepower will be provided for the
Bucks by Jeff King (.353, 11HR's) and Robby Cobb
(.357) at second base.
MANAGER Dick Finn looks forward to seeing
improvement from his Buckeye nine.
"If we play hard every game like last year's team
did, then yes, we can be as good as last year's team,
or better," Finn predicted. "I don't think there is
any question about that."
Such rosy prognostications are not the rule in
West Lafayette. Purdue mentor Dave Alexander's
squad just returned from Florida with a 2-11 record,
and the prospects for the season seem bleak.
"I'M NOT going to make any excuses for the way
the team played, we just played poorly. We're going
to have to work very hard on fundamentals,"
The Boilermakers are led by sophomore shortstop
Elam Rossy (.298, 4 HR's, 46 RBI) and junior
right fielder Brian Bittner (.268, 19 RBI).
sophomores dominate the upper echelon of the
pitching staff. Eric Volk is the Boilermaker ace,
and the righthander posted a 3-0 record and led last
year's team with a 1.85 ERA. Matt Kinzer, another
second-year-man, led Purdue in strikeouts during
last year's campaign with 57.
Indiana's Hoosiers will experience the same lack
of depth in their pitching department as Purdue. Al-
though sophomore Mike
Humphries has posted a 2-0
record this season and has
not allowed an earned run
in 22 innings so far, the rest
of the Hoosiers hurlers are
There should be some
runs scored in
since the Hoosiers return
some capable hitters.
Right fielder Bill Mueller
hit.392 last season, fielder
Chris Sigler checked in at
.323, and catcher Dan Win-
ters hit .310. All three are
Joining that trio wil be
two-time Academic All-
America first baseman
Tony Nelson, who hit .298
Shortstop Alex Smith,
who hit .358 last year, suf-
fered a knee injury before.
this seasontbegan and will
be lost for the entire year.
Filling in for him will be
Joe Franczek, a capable
fielder, but a rather light
14 lettermen return to a
Michigan State squad that
was 25-29 in 1982. New
coach Tom Smith is no
stranger to the surroun-
dings of East Lansing - he
served as an assistant for
the Spartans since the mid-
Smith has some
problems to contend with,
including the loss of two of
his finer pitchers to the
professional ranks. Tim
Birtsas and Terry Johnson
each left town in favor of
the major leagues. Their
loss definitely hurts the
Spartans' chances for a
"I'm not going tosay
we'll win our division,
because pitching is so vital,
and that's what we lack..
We lost some strength wiitt
the two (Birtsas and Johni
son) leaving for the pros,
and others have had sore
The Spartans' strong uqi
will be their infield. Ca
cher Steve Bonds hit ..31
last season, and Bqb;
Goodheart (B), Brun@-
Patrella (2B), and Dave,
Corey (3B) have all earned
Ohio State provides the GNJ
stiffest challenge for M gh c
Michigan. The Buckeyes
have two of the division's strongest pitchers in Bill
Cunningham and Doug Swearingen. Cunningham
was 8-1 last season with a 2.47 ERA, and Swearingen
Spring trip statistics
Sabo s start overcomes '82 slide
Dan Sygar, OF.....................
Dan Disher, P-OF-DH.............
Ken Hayward, 1B ......................
Jeff Jacobson, 2B-S..................
Rich Bair, C ..........................
Dave Kopf, P-DH ...................
Barry Larkin, SS......................
Casey Close, P-LF-DH.............
Late Skar, CF ........... ..........
Jeff Minick, OF...................
Chuck Froning, OF-DH .............
Chris Gust, OF.....................
C. J. Beshke, 2B....................
Kurt Zimmerman, IF-DH............
Mark Dadabbo, C..................
By MIKE BRADLEY
Last season was somewhat of a
disappointment for Michigan third
baseman Chris Sabo.
The Wolverines ripped through their
schedule and entered the Big Ten
playoffs as the favorites with a 43-8
record, only to lose two games in one
day and find themselves with no NCAA
SABO ENTERED his second season
with brilliant freshman credentials -
10 home runs, 40 RBIs and a .341
average. However, injuries kept him
from playing up to his full capabilities,
and his power production declined to 4
homers and 30 runs batted in, while his
average dropped to .257.
"I'll make no excuses for last year,"
Sabo remarked, "but I played well in
Cape Cod and on the national team this
Sabo joined a group of other U.S.
amateurs that toured Europe and Asia
with the team last summer, playing
against some pretty tough competition
and in front of some large crowds.
"WHEN I was a freshman and played
in the College World Series in front of
17,000 people, I was scared and useless,
but in Korea, we played before 60 or
70,000 people, so nothing like the World
Series could affect me now," he said.
Apparently, the summer baseball
helped Sabo immensely. In 12 games so
far this season, he has sizzled, tearing
up Michigan's opponents in Florida
with six round-trippers, 17 RBIs and a
.347 batting mark.
Wolverine coach Bud Middaugh is ex-
tremely pleased with Sabo's perfor-
mance thus far, and the Michigan
manager looks for his third baseman to
contribute steadily all season.
"HE'S GONNA be a key facet on the
team because he's been batting number
three so far, and since he is a seasoned
veteran, we're going to come to count
on him," Middaugh predicted. "His
role will be an RBI man."
That sits fine with Sabo. "I'd like to
,be an RBI man," the Detroit junior
Sabo also sees this year's team as a
different animal than last season's
"WE HAVE a lot of talent. I'm con-
vinced that we can beat anybody on a
given day. I feel better now about the
team than I ever did, because there is
less individualism and more of a team
Sabo graduated from Detroit Catholic
Central and chose Michigan because it
is "thebest baseball school in the Mid-
west." Middaugh also had a part in his
'"Coach Middaugh had a good
reputation as a coach. He's a great
teacher and really stressed fundamen-
tals. If you have those, you'll win," he
The Wolverine field general, in turn,
is complimentary of Sabo. "He s im-
proved every year, and I'm pleased
Professional baseball is something
that Sabo keeps in the back of his mind
for now, although he is very interested in
the idea of playing for pay.
"I definitely want to play pro ball, it's
just a matter of who takes me and
Judging by his fast start this season,
it doesn't look like the junior corner-
man will be disappointed by his '83
campaign or his professional offers.
29-1-11 81 .319
13-1-4 44 .251
Dave Kopf .............
Gary Wayne ............
Ken Hayward .............
G GS SAV W-L IP H BB SO ERA
11-1 92.0 88
1-11 90.0 121
'CHANGE THE RULES,' SA YS MIDDAUGH:
alkers are common in baseball
By PAUL HELGREN
When Herschel Walker, college foot-
ball star, signed a contract to play
professional ball before his senior year
the sports world literally made a
federal case of it. If Buddy Batsman,
college baseball star, does the same, no
one bats an eye.
But if Michigan coach Bud Middaugh
had -his way, Batsman (not his real
name) and others like him would not be
able to do this.
MIDDAUGH would like to see a rule
change which would prevent under-
classmen from signing professional
baseball contracts, like the proposal
currently being debated in the U.S.
Congress. Middaugh also suggested
that the baseball owners themselves
restrain from signing underclassmen.
In fact, the baseball owners are con-
sidering passing a rule which would
stop the drafting of underclassmen
from the collegiate ranks. If theowners
pass the resolution, college coachep
would then have the chance to approve
or reject it. Middaugh indicated he
would vote for such a measure.
"I personally want to see (the current
And Middaugh has had to go through
having some of his best players leave
early for greener pastures. For exam-
ple, three outstanding players would
have been seniors on this year's
already fine 11-1 squad if they hadn't
signed professional contracts before
their senior years. They are;
" Scott Elam: After an 11-win
sophomore season, the hard-throwing
Elam signed with the Toronto Blue
Jays in 1981.
" Steve Ontiveros: The six-foot
righthander signed with the Oakland
A's after a great season last year.
* Tony Evans: The slick-fielding
shortstop also signed at the end of last
year, his junior year, with the Cincin-
There have been others over the
years that have left Michigan for
greener pastures. In some cases, Mid-
daugh said, it might have been a
"It's an unfair situation for a kid."
said Middaugh. "If someone offered
you $50,000 to leave school, would you
turn it down?"
PROBABLY NOT. But a few players.
do, including Wolverine second
baseman Jeff Jacobson. Jacobson was
drafted by the Detroit Tigers last year,
but decided to stay at Michigan and
complete his education. Middaugh
called it a "wise decision," but added
that he only gives advice about such
things "when players ask for it."
Of course baseball differs from foot-
ball and basketball in that the majority
of players still sign with the pros right
out of high school. Middaugh realizes
this, but dismisses it as an argument
against any rule changes.
"We like to think a player comes to
school for an education," the
Wolverine mentor said. "If they do,
they will pursue their degree."
April1 at Miami (O.) (DH)
April 2 at Miami (O.) (DH)
April 5 ACQUINAS (DH(, 1 p.m.
April6 WESTERN MICHIGAN (DH),
April 9 EASTERN MICHIGAN (DH),
. .. . . :::i:}:?:i..".". . :.::i" "::.*. O. ':ii.:n:iii:.:i:.r":.
yM' playPers in prosr
Player Pos. Team Year Left