abe Ahdiu Dali
Yl- "'ll , "
The Detroit Red Wings take on the Winnipeg Jets
today at 8:30 p.m. in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The
Wings lead the NHL first round best-of-7 playoff
series two games to one. The Jets took a 4-1
victory Sunday over Detroit in Winnipeg. The
game will be televised on UPN 50.
April 23, 1998
By Dan Stillman
I4,,t Sports Writer
The first-place Michigan softball team
has 10 games to go until the Big Ten
Conference championship tournament.
Of their remaining opponents, one
looms large for the Wolverines - the
Eighth-ranked Michigan (15-3 BigTen,
38-11 overall) overtook Minnesota at the
top of the standings for the first time this
season this past weekend.
"I'm looking forward to playing (Min-
ota)," said sophomore outfielder
Kellyn Tate, who leads the Wolverines in
batting with a.398 average. "But wecan't
look too far ahead because we have Ohio
State this weekend."
Before hosting the Buckeyes, though,
Michigan travels to Central Michigan
tomorrow for a non-conference double-
header at 2 p.m. The Chippewas lead the
series, which dates back to 1978, 24-20.
Michigan looks poised to stay atop of
standings, as its only major weak
spot during the past few weeks, pitcher
Kelly Holmes, doesn't seem so weak
The junior has pitched well recently,
including a complete game-effort
against No. 19 Indiana on Saturday, in
which she allowed two runs in a losing
Michigan's other starting pitcher, Sara
Griffin (24-5, 1.19 ERA), is anything but
The sophomore, who earned Big Ten
pitcher ofthe week honors this past week,
also plays a vital role at the plate for
Michigan as she trails only Tate in batting
Following this weekend's homestand
against Ohio State (4-12, 17-37), the
Wolverines take the business week off
before the showdown with Minnesota in
Then Michigan returns home to cap off
the regular season with a non-conference
doubleheader against Eastern Michigan,
before it tries to repeat as conference
champions and earn an automatic berth in
the NCAAs at the Big Ten tournament
See SOFTBALL, Page 3B
for stretch run
2 conference opponents remain
By James Goldstein
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan baseball team had a
chance to extend its first-place lead
over Illinois with a series win over
Penn State this past weekend.
But what the Wolverines did, in-
stead, was fall out of first place and
let another team into the Big Ten race.
After losing three out of four to the
Nittany Lions, Michigan trails Illi-
nois and Penn State by half a game.
Instead ofpulling away from the pack,
the Wolverines have made things very
interesting. Michigan (13-7 Big Ten,
19-21 overall) leads up-and-coming
Indiana by just two games.
The top four squads advance to the
Big Ten championships May 16-19 at
a place to be announced.
Michigan will try to bounce back
from its weekend disappointment as
it faces Western Michigan today at 3
p.m. at Fisher Stadium. The game was
originally scheduled for April 4, but
was postponed because of snow.
Maybe the series loss to Penn State
was the best thing that could have
happened to the young Wolverine
squad. Michigan won 12 out of 16
games to open the conference slate.
Everything was working for the first-
place team. The Wolverines were get-
ting clutch hits, strong pitching per-
formances and aggressive
But last weekend, things didn't go
as planned. Penn State beat Michigan
at its own game with gutsy
baserunning of its own. In one in-
stance, the Lions stole home on a
Now the Wolverines have received
the wake-up call and understand it is
time to refocus.
"Our coaches told us (yesterday)
that since we had a letdown this week-
end, we have to take these next couple
of weeks to reset our goals,"
Michigan's Mike Muir said. "We have
to get back to where we were after the
1-13 start, and come out these next
eight Big Ten games to get back to
The senior first baseman is talking
about the Wolverines' four-game set
at Ohio State on May 4-5, and home-
and-home doubleheaders at Michi-
gan State on May 11 and at Fisher
Stadium May 12.
Muir is one of the six seniors on the
Michigan squad. He's been around
long enough to experience the highs
of making the Big Tens in 1994 and
the lows of finishing last in the con-
ference last season.
But there is a difference between
the team that inched into the confer-
ence championship two years ago and
this year's squad.
The Wolverines advanced to the
Big Tens in 1994 tied for third in the
conference with a 13-15 record.
Michigan lost to Ohio State in the
championship game 9-7. A win would
have sent the Wolverines to the
Regionals of the College World Se-
This year, the team has a different
makeup, a different attitude and loftier
goals according to the senior first
"To know right now that we control
our own destiny to win the Big Ten is
great," Muir said. "Two years ago, we
went to the tournament in the back
door. That team wasn't in the position
that the team is now."
Michigan is in a simple position. 11
the Wolverines win the conference
games that they should, they will be
all but guaranteed a spot in the Big
But first things first. Michigan starts
its road to the tournament with its
game against the Broncos today.
Western Michigan (8-28) is living
in the basement of the Metro Atlantic
Conference after losing three of four
at Akron over the weekend.
Michigan coach Geoff Zahn will
use this midweek game to get innings
out of his young pitchers. Today, Tyler
Steketee makes his second start of the
season after being on the injured list
with a stress fracture of his tibia.
In Michigan's 4-1 loss to Eastern
See BASEBALL, Page 58
Michigan third baseman Mike Cervenak takes a hot bat into the Wolverines' summer slate of Big Ten games.
Next rung on
By Kevin Kaslborski
Daily Sports Writer
Ninth. Fourth. Second.
The Michigan women's gymnastics team has made a steady
climb upward over the past three seasons, improving its finish at
the national championship meet every year. Now there remains
only one rung on the ladder that the team hasn't reached - but it
is a big one.
Michigan's recent performances at nationals have established
it as a legitimate national powerhouse in a sport traditionally
dominated by three schools: Alabama, Georgia and Utah. From
1990 to 1994, some combination of those three teams finished first,
second and third.
Michigan snapped that streak last season by tying Alabama for
second place. Utah won its second consecutive national title in
1995, and Georgia finished fifth.
And there is no reason to expect anything to change much at this
year's national championship meet, April 25-27.
Alabama is the No. 1 seed and also the host of this year's
nationals. Georgia, ranked No. I in the polls most of the regular
season, is the No. 2 seed. Defending champ Utah is seeded No. 3,
and Big Ten champion Michigan is the No. 4 seed.
The seeds were determined solely from the teams' scores at the
regional championships on April 13.
The rest of the twelve-team field, in order of descending seeds,
is Arizona, UCLA, Florida, Nebraska, Oregon State, Brigham
Young, Stanford and Penn State.
On the first day of the championships, the teams are divided into
two groups of six. In the early session Thursday afternoon, all the
even-numbered seeds (including Michigan) will compete. The
*ichigan's Sarah Cyganiak has been dominating her opponents of late.
Big Tens netfr''netters
By Jiten Ghelani
Daily Sports Writer
seeded No. I and is the clear favorite.
On paper it looks like Michigan doesn't stand