Page 8 - The Michigan Daily-- Tuesday, March 28, 1989 1
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ALTHOUGH INEXPERIENCE IS THE BIGGEST CONCERN
looks for competitiveness
BY DAVID HYMAN
After finishing 48-19 last season and ranked
24th in the Baseball America poll, the Michigan
baseball team began the 1989 season with this
However, the Wolverines slipped out of the
top thirty even before their season began. Teams
in warmer climates had played 10 or 20 games
while Michigan sat idle, enabling them to move
up after posting some early victories.
Despite the Wolverines' departure from the
polls, they have compiled a 12-4 record and are
preparing to defend last season's Big Ten regular
season championship, when they finished three
games ahead of Minnesota with a 20-8 record.
MICHIGAN WAS eliminated from the Big
Ten tournament after a 4-1 loss to the Golden
Gophers, who eventually won last season's tour-
nament. Minnesota earned its third Big Ten title
in the eight years since the conference started the
tourney (Michigan holds the other five titles).
But the season did not end there, as Michigan
received an at-large bid to the double-elimination
College World Series tournament. The Wol-
verines finished 2-2, defeating New Orleans, 6-4,
before losing to California, 8-7. Michigan
bounced back with a win over Pennsylvania, 7-6,
but was eliminated when they lost to Texas, 5-4.
Looking to continue its success of last
season, Michigan's biggest problem will be
replacing the departure of two All-Big Ten first
team pitchers, Jim Abbott and Mike Ignasiak, as
well as Chris Lutz to the major leagues.
Abbott is in camp with the California Angels,
Ignasiak is with the Milwaukee Brewers and Lutz
is with the Chicago Cubs.
ADDED TO THIS, is the loss of shortstop
Steve Finken (.404 batting average with 13
HRs), catcher Darrin Campbell (.321 and first
team All-Big Ten) and third baseman Bill St.
Peter (.313 with 45 RBIs) all to graduation.
"We don't have a lot of experience back from
last season and this may hurt us," Michigan
coach Bud Middaugh said.
Referring to the loss of last year's experienced
stars, Middaugh said, "I think there a lot of areas
where we need improvement."
But the Wolverines have shown some solid
pitching and hitting in the early going and this
may prove to be the experience needed heading
into the Big Ten season.
Michigan has hit for a .319 average with nine
home runs and 95 RBIs before last weekend's
games against Eastern Michigan and a team ERA
ACCORDING TO Middaugh, the team will
hopefully hit stride in its non-conference games
prior to the Big Ten opener against Northwestern
"There's a whole lot of parity within our
conference as (the 10 teams) are spread out really
far and we recruit different kids," Middaugh said.
But due to the fact that Big Ten coaches are
unable to scout any teams, the coaches can only
rely on a team's returning players and last sea-
son's statistics to prepare for the games.
While the team losses several key players
from last season, there is enough talent returning
to expect another competitive year for the
"I feel real good about the team," said right-
fielder Phil Price. "We're not a cocky team.
There are no stars on the team. We don't make
many mistakes and we do a lot of the little
WOLVEIrNE~ 1989 SCHEDULE
SATE OPPONENT TIME
;arh 8 OWLING GRIEEN 3:00 p.r
:mar,.29 atWcestem Michigan (DHi) 1:00pr
ArlI*NQI&THWESTERN (DHI) 1:00 p.i
Apr.2 *NORHWESTERN (DHI) 1:00 p.r
Ap.W AYNE STATE (DHi) 2:00 p~r
Ap8*at Minnesota (DHi) 1:00 p41
A4pr:9 *tMinso(DH) 1:00p.r
Apr. I1 FERRIS STATE(DH) 2:00 p.T
Apr,.12, DETROIT (DHI) 2:00 p~r
'Apr 5 'CPU1 DE. (DH) 1:00 p.i
Apr. 19 'gat Michigan Stag (DST) 1:00 p.i
.Apr 23 SIENA HEIGHTS (DHI) 1:00 p.r
Apr. 29 *at Wisconsin (DH) 1:00 p.'
'Apr, 30i *at Wmi nsn(D) l -1.00pr
May 3 *MICHIGAN STATE (DR)1:00 pir
May 6 *at Ohio State (DHI)1:0pr
Ma 7*at Ohio State (DHI) 1:00 p~r
May9 atToledo (DH) 1:00 pir
;a10WAYNE STATE (DHI)1:00 pi
May 13 *INDIA$TA (DHI) 1:00 pir
may 14 *INDIANA (DHI) 1:00 p.r
y 1-21 BIlG TEN TOUR-NAMNET T13
-e are in CAB-S---- ----- ---
-dnte ig Tengames
Ahme gaxres are at Ray Fisher Sta-dium
4 1114-,.,:. . "
Mac, Durham, and
Price make OF nice
1989 MICHIGAN ROSTER
POS. YEAR HOMETOWN
BY STEVEN COHEN
The 1989 Wolverine outfield is
one bolstered by the experience of
upperclassmen and the flexibility of
players able to play more than one
position. The unit's experience
comes from the likely starting con-
tingent of two juniors, rightfielder
Phil Price and centerfielder Greg Mc-
Murtry, and senior leftfielder Jim
"We know each other's strengths
and weaknesses," Durham said. "We
know if one guy will be able to get
to the ball."
leftfielder for the
past two years,
started in center
was at spring foot-
being a two-sport
is currently batting
a respectable .313.
two months of fall
"I really don't worry about aver-
age," Price said. "My main goal is
to get on base as much as I can."
Like Price, Durham, who is
hitting .352, has shown the ability
to occupy the basepaths. The leadoff
hitter has stolen eight bases in nine
attempts and is just 10 away from
the career record set last season by
Durham, predictably nicknamed
Bull, is fittingly, according to Price,
"the most intense person on the
team." When Durham has played
center, sophomores Dan Ruff and
and Dave Everly,
primarily an in-
fielder, have played
will be strength-
ened if Ruff can
regain the hitting
prowess he showed
in high school.
Ruff came to the
hitting 53 homers
at Ohio's Fairfield
Union High, a
ce national high
home run record. Ruff has had
to adjust to playing at Fisher
Stadium, "a deep ballpark, a
pitcher's ballpark," according to
Michigan coach Bud Middaugh.
Ruff, who played second base in
high school, was groomed as a first
baseman last season before
switching to the outfield this fall.
"He's improved more than
anybody in the outfield defensively,"
Price said of Ruff.
1988 final record
Huntington Woods, MI
Madison, Heights, MI
Sterling Heights, MI
Bryon Center, MI
Ft. Wayne, IN
Sand Lake, MI
Dearborn Heights, MI
BY JAY MOSES
The two main concerns
Michigan baseball team go
the 1989 season are a
experience resulting from
graduating or being drafted
threat of injury.
Two problems, and, in th
the infield, two solutions.
"We have a lot of versa
the infield," head coa
Middaugh said. "so that help
us against injury."
The inexperience in the i
somewhat less of a problem
other areas. The only majo
from last year are
where Bill St.
Peter and Steve
Finken are gone.
But even that
area isn't too big
a concern, as
junior Chris Ga-
gin makes the
move from sec-
ond base. Gagin
is an excellent
stop, although he
will not quite
make up for the offensive pr
that St. Peter and Finken pro
Gagin will be backed
versatile sophomore Dave
who will see time at seco
shortstop, and third base.
"Gagin is the main
shortstop, because he ha
experience," Middaugh sa
Everly is coming along."
At first base, sophomo
Haeger, who has had ane
spring at the plate, is No.1. First-
for the year player Andy Fairman will back
ping into Haeger up and will see time ,at
lack of designated hitter as well. Middaugh
players has high hopes for Fairman.
, and the "I like what I've seen," Middaugh
said. "Andy just needs to continue to
e case of hit."
Sophomore Matt Morse, who has
atility on also shown promise this spring with
ch Bud the bat, will start at second base.
ps protect "Morse has been decent hitting,"
Middaugh said. "He could be pretty
nfield is good, especially if he gets more4
nthan in disciplined."
r losses Third base will be a combination
- of experience
with youth, as
senior Doug Kai-
ser and first-year
player Tim Flan-
nelly will split
ines will be pla- t
tooning at most
of the positions
because they play
This allows Mid-
Kaiser daugh the freedom
to give younger
oduction players the action they need to
vided. develop, without depriving any of
up by the established starters of their
Everly, playing time.
nd base, Although the season is still
young, Middaugh is positive about
man at the entire infield's season thus far.
as more "The infield played very well
id. "But down South," Middaugh said,
referring to the Wolverines' spring
re Greg trip to Florida. "If they avoid injury,
excellent we should be just fine."
while the rest of the team began
playing in mid-January, a Rose
Bowl-weary McMurtry reported for
duty February 5.
Though the centerfield job is
contingent on McMurtry's
availability, the rightfield position
seems to rest safely in the hands of
Price, a second. team All-Big Ten
selection last season. This season
Price has hit for a .431 average,
despite being pitched away from
often by opposing pitchers.
48-19 (20-8 Big Ten)
Maize and Blue
Ray Fisher Stadium
Bruce Madej (director)
Jim Schneider (assistant)
D H * Kourtney Thompson stands out
H as Blue's designated good guy
BY STEVEN COHEN
Kourtney Thompson is
not to be judged super-
"Anybody who knows me, knows I'm me ," the
senior designated hitter says. "Not Kourtney Thomp-
son the Black person or Black athlete, but Kourtney
Thompson. I don't see color. I see people as people."
Exactly how does Thompson see himself?
"Me? I'm free, easy-going, a little intense at times.
Happy-go-lucky, always trying to make the most of a
situation, trying to look positively at a situation.
Thompson, one of twelve children, attributes his
better qualities to his upbringing.
"My mother is a widow- she had to raise me and
my three brothers on her own. She did a good job of
it. She's a strong woman."
At Detroit's Northwestern High School, Thomp-
son showed his individuality by spurning football to
play golf, not a very popular sport at his school.
Thompson advanced enough in the sport to earn All-
"THERE WAS peer pressure (to play football)
but I was still going to do what I wanted to. I'm just
not a cold weather sport person," Thompson explained.
"I like to think I'm a pretty good golfer. Me and (Phil)
Price play for Ponderosa; the loser treats. The last
three times he's been eating for free. That's motivation
importance of a college degree. Though his career
batting average hovers around .300, head coach Bud
Middaugh has had difficulty finding a great deal of
playing team for Thompson, who hits better than he
fields. In past seasons, Thompson has played behind
current minor leaguers Casey Close, Dan Disher, and
"KOURTNEY kind of got caught up in some
great clubs," Middaugh said. "We've had great person-
nel and he's played behind some good players. He's
been pretty much relegated by situations, predicated on
how he was swinging."
Though Thompson has not played as much as he
would have liked, he is able to view the experience
"If you want something, you're going to have to
sacrifice, " Thompson said. "Nothing is for free. "I 4
came for baseball and for the education. I can't lose.
"One of the greatest things about playing baseball
is the guys. You meet some good guys; super guys. I
mean, its hard to explain, there are characters. A team
is a microcosm of life, there are different ingredients."
Every team would benefit from a dash of Thompson
in its recipe. On the diamond, Thompson's big bat has
been a valuable weapon for the Wolverines. In past
seasons he has slugged towering blasts as well as
OFF THE FIELD, he has proven to be a favorite 4