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April 14, 1993 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-04-14

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Softball
vs. Western Michigan
Today, 3 p.m.
Kalamazoo

SPORTS

Baseball
at Siena Heights
Today, 3 p.m.
Fisher Stadium

The Michigan Daily Wednesday, April14,1993 Page 9
Blue hitters sweep MSU, 3-1,8-3
Michigan's Forbis allows one run in doubleheader victories

by Scott Burton
Daily Softball Writer
From a Wolverine fan's perspective,
yesterday was a perfect day to catch a
doubleheader. The sun was shining, a
gentle spring breeze cooled the air, and
the Michigan softball team was playing
its first home game of the year against
Big Ten foe Michigan State.
And the Wolverines (6-2 Big Ten,
18-8 overall) certainly did nothing to
ruin the perfect day. They swept the
Spartans (2-8,7-18), using apotentcom-
bination of pitching, offense and spec-
tacular defensive plays to roll to 3-1 and
8-3 victories.
"I think State is an improved team,
and they were out to beat us, but we
hung on tough and played a couple of
good games," Michigan coach Carol
Hutchins said. "We've got to play well
to win in the Big Ten and I thought that's
what we did. I was pretty proud of us."
Depsite the sweep, the Wolverines
were impressed with the Spartans feisty
play.
"If they are not ranked, they should
be," said Kovach. "They are a good,
solid team and they have a really good
pitcher."
Michigan's bats, which have fluctu-
ated from being powerful to being silent
throughout the year, came alive in its
second-game victory. The Wolverines
pounded Out 13 hits against Spartan
pitchers Alina Baron and Shelly Wynn,
and came up with seven runs in the final

three innings.
"Our hitting is very contagious,"
Hutchins said. "When a few of us hit,
we all hit. And when a few of us don't,
we all don't. We've been a little spo-
radic, but on the whole we have the
capability of being explosive offen-
sively, and you saw a little bit of that
today."
Although the game was relatively
close (5-3 after six innings), four Spar-
tan errors broke the game open for the
Wolverines.
"We let them back in the game,"
Spartan coach Gloria Becksford said.
"We let them score those five late runs
and we didn't play good defense."
The Kunnen sisters were the cata-
lysts for Michigan's offensive effort in
the game. Catcher Karla Kunnen ex-
ecuted a perfect suicide squeeze to score
Patti Benedict in the fifth inning. And
center fielderKari Kunnen addedaRBI
triple, a single, a walk and a run scored.
"I felt pretty good. I felt really con-
fident at the plate," Kari Kunnen said.
"Against Northwestern, I started get-
ting on base a little more and started
getting more confidence. And I saw the
ball real well today - that helped."
Starting pitcher Kelly Kovach rolled
for most of the game, but hit hard times
in the sixth inning, allowing three Spar-
tan runs on three hits. She was replaced
by Kelly Forbis, who shut the Spartans
down the rest of the way.
"Her drop ball wasn't dropping, and

I think she lost her confidence a little
bit," Hutchins said on Kovach's sixth
inning lapse. "They were on her, and we
had to do what we had to do (by replac-
ing her with Forbis)."

and only one of its runs was earned.
Fortunately, Forbis (12-3) was on her
game, limiting the Spartans to three hits
and no earned runs.
"Kelly Forbis is having her best
season ever and she has just been totally
solid," Hutchins said. "I'm excited for
her and I'm really proud of her, because
she has worked so hard."
Michigan State was not so excited
about Forbis' pitching, though. Having
been through a tough Big Ten stretch
this last week that included being swept
by conference leader Iowa, Forbis' pitch-
ing wasjustanotheradded frustration to
its season.
"I think we are a good hitting club,
we just don't show it all the time,"
Becksford said. "We are in a hitting
slump right now, but if we could have
scored two runs and held them that
would have been great - but we just
couldn't do it."
Michigan will hope to carry the
momentum from its sweep of Michigan
State into today's game against Western
Michigan. The Broncos (4-13) have
struggled this year, losing all ten of its
Mid-American conference games.
Western Michigan is led by pitcher
Brittney Cannavino. She carries a 1-7
record and a 2.96 ERA into today's
game. Cannavino also leads all Bronco
hitters in average (.359) and RBI (11).
Despite her efforts, Western Michigan
has been outscored 64-48 and outhit
.252-.235 by its opponents.

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3
'g
';r,
.. .. -
\ ':
a . ... ..:. ,.. e , .. ' >,

Kari Kunnen

"I don't know what happened," said
Kovach, who raised her record to 8-5
with the win. "I wasn't throwing my
best stuff and they were hitting hit.
Sometimes that happens and there is
nothing you can do about it."
Michigan's 3-1 opening game vic-
tory was quite a contrast to the second
game. Michigan managed just six hits

FILE PHOTO
Wolverine pitcher Kelly Kovach in action last season. The sophomore hurler
earned one of Michigan's two victories against Michigan State yesterday.

AROUND THE HORN:
Coaches' polls worth
*their weightindr
by Rachel Bachman
Daily Softball Writer
As if it weren't enough that a three-digit number determines the educational
worth of every student at Michigan, value-determining numbers now pervade
college sports, too.
You've seen them: yearly, monthly, and weekly polls that are supposed to
indicate how good a team is compared to its competitors. They're those lists that
fall somewhere in between the letters to the editor and crossword puzzle. These
lists are designed to chart a team's progress.
For example, the Michigan softball team started the season ranked 11th in the
nation, firstin theMideastRegion and first in the Big Ten.After losing to unranked
Northwestern last weekend, the team's rank plummeted to second in the Big Ten.
And, according to the NCAA poll, Michigan has slipped to 19th in the nation and
is now only the third best team in its region.
I'm not buyin' it.
The pollsters have decided, based on a scant few games, that the Wolverines
areno longer No.1 material. Did both pitchers break their arms while no one was
looking?
For a system that most softball aficionados respect and the casual fan does not
think to question, ranking teams according to how a group of coaches feels about
them is decidedly unreliable. And, for something that involves numbers, it is
simply unscientific.
And unscientific is exactly what sports are, which is why polls have no place
in athletics. What do you think the 1980 U.S. hockey team was ranked the day
before its legendary game with the Soviets?
Whatrankings don'ttake intoaccount is the human element. Anumber doesn't
indicate a hitter's intense hatred for the Michigan State pitcher who stole her
chemistrynotes in high school. It can' ttell you how much a Penn State right fielder
fears a Patti Benedict fly ball. And a number won't reveal how angry a given team
is after its ranking plummets following a few losses.
Especially with unpaid athletes such as those in college, any one of these
intangibles is enough to decide a game.
Perhaps you think I miss the point. Maybe you're muttering (with a mouthful
See SOFTBALL, Page 10

Baseball looks to
keep marching
by Paul Barger
Daily Baseball Writer
Don't look now, but the Michigan baseball team (3-9 Big
Ten, 9-24 overall) is on a winning streak. Yes, it is only three
games, but it is a start. There is a good chance that the streak
will be extended to five this afternoon as the Wolverines take
on the Siena Heights Saints in doubleheader action at Ray
Fisher Stadium.
The Saints aremembers of the Wolverine-Hoosier confer-
ence and went marching into yesterday's double dip against
Spring Arbor with a 9-22-1 record. The visitors are on a four-
game winning streak of their own, yet in 16 previous contests
against the Wolverines, Siena Heights has lost all 16.
While the Wolverines have not exactly garnered much
respect this season while struggling at the plate and in the
field. Siena Heights coach Gordie Theisen sees things a little
differently.
"(Michigan) has good Big Ten talent," Theisen said.
"They can cause some similar problems as the teams down
South."
Onemustwonderexactly which teams down southTheisen
is referring to. Although this is the first time in five years that
someone has used such glorifying words to describe Michi-
gan, Theisen has one valid point. Coaches in the South and
throughout the Midwest have felt that the Wolverines are
more talented than their record indicates. Specifically, East-
ern Michigan coach Roger Coryell commented two weeks
ago that Michigan has a lot of talent, but lacks execution.
Last weekend's surprising effort at Penn State indicated
that the Wolverines are on the upswing. Amongst other
accomplishments, Michigan committed no errors in the
doubleheader against the Nittany Lions, a far cry from the 19
miscues achieved in the first nine games of the season.
Siena Heights, located in Adrian, Mich., is having a down
year on the diamond. The 1992 squad produced a 29-31
See BASEBALL, Page 10

DOUGLAS KANTERI Daily
Matt Copp tags out a Saginaw Valley player last week at Fisher Stadium. Michigan hosts Siena
Heights today in a doubleheader. The Wolverines hope to extend their four-game winning
streak. In 16 previous meetings between the teams, Michigan has never lost to the Saints.

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