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April 15, 1993 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-04-15

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Softball
vs Indiana (DH)
Tomorrow, 3 p.m.
Alumni Field

SPORTS

Baseball
vs. Indiana (DH)
Saturday and Sunday,1 p.m.
Fisher Stadium

TeMc ia DilyThrsa, Apri 1, 99 Pge11

AROUND THE HORN:
Hitters can see light
that signals progress
by Michael Rosenberg
Daily Baseball Writer
One week ago, the Michigan Wolverines couldn't see the light at the end
of the tunnel. In fact, they couldn't even see the tunnel. Somewhere along
the line, the team's season had taken a wrong turn, and it was cruising along
the baseball equivalent of a dirt road in rural North Dakota, losers of 10
contests in a row.
Today, the Wolverines may not be on the road to success, but they are
making progress.
After the team's fifth straight win, coach Bill Freehan summed up the
causes of the turnaround.
"Our pitching's been better, and ... our offense (has turned) around
ut we played good defense, too," Freehan said.
Three simple steps to turning around your baseball team: improve your
pitching, hitting and defense.
Good teams find a way to win. Until this week, Michigan kept finding a
way to lose. It was almost as if the Wolverines were doing whatever it took
to lose. A costly error in the late innings? Done. Poor decisions in the field?
No problem. Leave too many runners on base? Consider them left.
But Michigan hasn't made those kind of mistakes since back when
Reggie White was on the Eagles. These days, it's all good fielding, smart
decisions, and opportunistic hitting.
Take yesterday's first game, for example. Bottom of the seventh, score
'ied, bases loaded, one out. Michigan had two chances to win the game. The
'!irst chance, in the form of Nate Holdren, struck out. But the next batter,
Scott Weaver, stroked a rope down the rightfield line to win the game.
Of course, as collegiate baseball powerhouses go, Penn State and Siena
Heights aren't exactly national contenders. The Nittany Lions are Big Ten
cellar-dwellers, and the Saints ... who knows? Siena Heights is a good
name for a golf course, not a baseball team.
But that's not the point. More important than the five straight victories
- at this point, Michigan's won-loss record is so bad it is almost inconse-
quential - are the people contributing.
Sean Coston, who hit his first two collegiate home runs this week, is a
*ophomore. Rodney Goble, the Wolverines' best hitter this season, is also a
sophomore. In fact, only four of Michigan's starting position players and
two of its top pitchers are seniors, and most are freshmen or sophomores.
In other words, the team is young, and young teams take time to gel.
"I think we're really starting to come together as a team," Coston said.
"We're putting things together. I think the team is just really excited about
turning around the season."
The Wolverines have played well lately, but one week does not make a
season. Michigan needs to continue the improvement it has shown in the
past week. The road is long, but the Wolverines just may have enough good
young players to take them to their ultimate destination: success.
Men' s laxseeks fourth
straght eagume cl ub title
tr tOr .

Blue on a roll with
victories over Siena

OUGLA S KULR E W' R
After a poor start to the season, the Michigan baseball team is on a five-
game winning streak, and much of the credit goes to improved pitching.
BASEBALL NOTEBOOK
basebalplayers
honored byBig Ten

by Antoine Pitts
Daily Baseball Writer
Good things come in twos as the
Michigan baseball team found out
again yesterday at Fisher Stadium.
The Wolverines (11-24 overall)
swept a doubleheader for the second
time in a row, beating Siena Heights
(14-31-1), 5-4 and 5-2. With the
victories Michigan upped its
winning streak to five games after
losing 11 of its last 12 games.
"Learning how to win was one of
our problems," Michigan coach Bill
Freehan said. "That certainly gives
us confidence."
Both games saw Michigan come
from behind to win. In game one the
Wolverines scored four runs in the
last two innings to pull off the come-
from-behind victory.
Siena Heights held a 4-1 lead
going into the bottom of the sixth.
Back-to-back homers by Scott
Winterlee and Nate Holdren tied the
game at four.
In the bottom of the seventh,
Wolverine Rodney Goble advanced
to third with one out. Siena Heights
coach Gordie Theisen instructed his
pitcher, Todd Boike (3-5), to put the
next two batters on. The intentional
walks loaded the bases and set up a
force out at every base.
Loading the bases meant Boike
would have to face Holdren again
with the game on the line. This time
the matchup went to Boike. Holdren
went down on strikes, after being
ahead in the count 3-1, for the sec-
ond out of the inning.
Scott Weaver cane to the plate
next and promptly singled down the
right field line to score Goble with
the winning run. The seventh- inning
rally completed Michigan's come-
back and earned the victory for
Bryan Santo (1-0) in relief.
"We haven't come from behind
hardly at all - I don't know if ever
this year," Freehan said. "Hopefully
we can use that mindset to our
advantage this weekend in the Big
Ten games."
Winterlee starred for the
Wolverines with a 2-for-3 game. His
homer knocked in two runs and con-
tinued the hot streak that got him
named Big Ten co-Player-of-the-
Week.
Brian Simmons and Matt Copp
also went 2-for-3 for the Wolverines.
Game two saw Siena Heights
jump out to the early lead again. The
Saints scored single runs in the sec-
ond and third innings to give them
hopes once again of their first vic-
tory ever over the Wolverines.
Coming into the .game, Michigan
was a perfect 16-0 against the Saints.
The two early runs were all Siena
Heights would get off starter and
eventual winner Matt Humbles (1-
4). Matt Ferullo came on for two
scoreless innings and Todd Marion
finished things off for his fifth save.
The Michigan offense was held
in check until the fifth inning by
Saints pitcher Chris Foerg (0-4).
With two outs the Wolverines scored
all five of their runs on four hits and

two errors. Singles by Copp,
Winterlee and Holdren as well as
two Siena Heights errors gave
Michigan its first two runs.
Sean Coston then stepped to the
plate and put the Wolverines into the
lead with a three-run homer to left-
center. Coston's second homerun of
the year gave Michigan the lead for
good. The relievers blanked the
Saints the rest of the way to secure
the 5-2 victory.
"I'm estatic I could get a pitch
that I could drive really well,"
Coston said. "We needed that third
run so I was looking to get a single.
He laid a fast ball down low and I
drove it. I was very happy that we
could pull this one out."
Another reason for the two victo-
ries was the stellar defense by the
Wolverines. They committed just
one error in the two games and
turned two double plays to help their
cause.
Siena Heights committed four
errors in the second game, two alone
by shortstop Glen Scheerer. The two
'We're putting things
together in terms of
we're starting to hit
the ball and pitch the
ball real well.'
- Sean Coston
Michigan baseball player
errors by Scheerer did not do any
harm, but the two Saints errors in the
fifth may have cost them the game.
The recent success of the pitching
staff gives Michigan even more to
smile about. Back-to-back shutouts
against Penn State along with,
yesterday's performances has
Freehan beaming.
"It was great to get a couple of
shutouts to turn it around," Freehan
said. "Ray Ricken pitched a real
good game on Sunday and Eric
Heintschel pitched a shutout."
Michigan now focuses its atten-
tion back onto the Big Ten race. At
this point the Wolverines stand at 3-
9 in ninth place. With a big weekend
against the Hoosiers, Michigan can
put itself back into the race.
"Last weekend (at Penn State)
was a very big weekend for us and
this one will be too," Freehan said.
"We cannot afford a .500 weekend."
The recent games have given the
Wolverines a new outlook on the
rest of their season.
"I think we're really starting to
come around as a team," Coston
said. "We're putting things together
in terms of we're starting to hit the
ball and pitch the ball real well."
To make the Big Ten postseason
tournament the Wolverines must fin-
ish in at least fourth. Michigan is
currently three games out of fourth
and with doubleheaders every week-
end there is still a chance for the
Wolverines to make up ground.

by J.L. Rostam-Abadi
Daily Sports Writer
Trying to make three into four.
That will be the motto for the
Michigan men's lacrosse team as it
attempts to win its fourth straight
Big Ten Club Championship title at
Northwestern this weekend.
"We should win, comparing our-
selves talent-wise with the other
teams," junior midfielder Ivan Frank
said.
The general consensus of the
team echoed Frank's thoughts.
"Basically, everyone expects to
win," junior defenseman Ben
Hohmuth said. "If we don't, it will
be real disappointing."
But the Wolverines are trying not
to speculate too much.
"We need to stay focused and not
take anything for granted," Frank
said. "Our goal this year has been to
play our best each game. If we do
*that, then we will win the tourna-
ment this weekend."
However, in the, not-so-distant
past lurks the haunting memory of
the Pittsburgh Invitational, where,
Michigan returned with two of its
three losses for the season.
"Pittsburgh was the biggest dis-
appointment this season, and will
hang over us. A win will enable us
to finish the season on a high note,"
Frank said.
The Wolverines expect two major
obstacles in their path this weekend.
"Madison and Purdue will be the
most challenging," Hohmuth said.
Michigan defeated Purdue, 16-
10, at the Big Ten Regionals March
27, but has yet to see Wisconsin's
team this year.
"We've played a bunch of the
Big Ten teams and beat them all
pretty well," freshman midfielder
David Reichel said. "But they (other
teams) could come back with much
improved teams and better skills.

Nothing's for sure."
Last month, the Wolverines
wound up with the first seed at the
Big Ten Regionals at Purdue. By
winning the Eastern regional, Michi-
gan expects to be matched up with
the eighth seed of the Western
region.
"We feel we're well prepared,"
freshman defenseman Scott Van
Aman said. "We're happy with our
seed, and we're looking forward to
playing."
Michigan has won the last four of
five Big Ten club titles. Unfortu-
nately, one major factor may
interfere with the Wolverines'
pursuit of victory.
"We are going up very short-
handed," Michigan coach Bob Di-
Giovanni said. "In addition to about
a half-dozen injuries - three or four
of which included starters at one
time or another - final exams and
study schedules have knocked off
three or four additional players. So,
instead of 23 or 24, we're going to
have only about 17 or 18 members
making the trip.
"This in itself makes it a real
challenge to repeat this year," Di-
Giovanni said. "We're going up
without depth - a team needs to
have depth. The lack of depth can
end up hurting you."
DiGiovanni expects the
competition to step up its play
against Michigan.
"When you win as often as we
do, everyone is out to get you. They
seem to play their best games against
you," he said.
But the Wolverines are deter-
mined to make their mark.
"We feel confident that we can
beat everybody who shows up," ju-
nior co-captain Tony DiGiovanni;
said. "We're really excited - these
are the last games of the year. Con-
fidence is our key to victory."

by Bret Johnson
Daily Baseball Writer
Two Michigan baseball players
were rewarded for their outstanding
play last week by the Big Ten
conference.
Senior shortstop/catcher Scott
Winterlee received recognition as
co-Big Ten Player of the Week for
his outstanding hitting. Winterlee
was 4-4 in a loss to Eastern Michi-
gan last Wednesday. This weekend,
Winterlee had a 3-5 game and two
2-4 games against Penn State, help-
ing the Wolverines win their first
conference games of the season.
With his performance,Winterlee
raised his batting average to .326.
The Pitcher-of-the-Week award
was also shared by a Michigan
player. Sophomore Ray Ricken
picked up the honor after his 8-0
complete game shutout over the
Nittany Lions. The victory stopped a
nine-game Big Ten losing streak and
was the team's first complete game
shutout of the year.
DPJA VU: The Michigan pitch-
ing staff was seeing double at Penn
State this weekend. Two starters
threw the team's first two complete
game shutouts of the season. Ricken
won the second half of the
doubleheader on Sunday, 8-0, rais-
ing his record to 1-4. In the next
game, Eric Heintschel (2-4)
followed by hurling the second
shutout of the season. What was the
score? You guessed it: 8-0.
IT'S ABOUT TIME: The two
shutouts this weekend marked the
first time this year the team had
blanked its opponent in consecutive
games. The Wolverines achieved
this mark for the first time since
1989, when they pulled it off twice.
HOMER BINGE: Michigan
transfer Sean Coston came into this
weekend's games at Penn State with
no career home runs. However, in
Monday's first game he hit one out

to help the Wolverines to an 8-0
victory. Yesterday, Coston launched
his second homer against Siena
Heights. The three-run game-win-
ning round-tripper capped off a five-
run fifth in the 5-2 win.
M*A*S*H CANCELLED: The
Wolverines' version of a hospital
ward grew significantly smaller this
past weekend as both Nate Holdren
and Scott Timmerman returned af-
ter absences from the lineup. The
Penn State contest marked the first
time Holdren had played organized
baseball since the summer. A knee
injury sustained during the football
season had kept him out until Sun-
day. His return proved to be pros-
perous, as he hit .364 for the four
games with one home run and four
runs batted in. Timmerman also re-
turned in the first game of the Penn
State series.
JUST AS I EXPECTED: In the
seventh inning of the first game
against Siena Heights, with one out
and Michigan's Rodney Goble on
third, the Saints intentionally walked
two Wolverines to load the bases for
the recovering Holdren.
"I wasn't surprised they did that,"
Michigan coach Bill Freehan said.
"Nate has trouble running. I think
they were hoping he'd hit a ground
ball." Holdren struck out.
THANK YOU, USA TODAY: Al-
though its impact may be debatable,
the Wolverines are now 5-2 since
they received national press in USA
Today. Last Wednesday, the national
newspaper ran a feature on the
Michigan baseball program, Free-
han, and the attempt to rebound
from the probation it endured for the
1990-91 seasons.
GOT THEIR NUMBER: The
Wolverines kept their perfect record
against Siena Heights yesterday. The
two come-from-behind victories
raised their all-time record to 18-0
against the Saints.

__

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