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March 28, 1996 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-03-28

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10A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 28, 1996

'M' baseball looks to sustain'

win streak in home opener

M1.

By Will McCahill
Daily Sports Writer
Although three isn't always a lucky
number in the game of baseball, maybe
the third time will be a charm for
Michigan's boys of summer.
Well ...all right. So it isn't summer
yet. Indeed, the weather is the reason
the Wolverines' home opener has been
postponed twice. Michigan (4-0 Big
Ten, 5-13 overall) and coach Geoff
Zahn will, weather permitting, try again
today against Oakland University at
Ray Fisher Stadium, with the first pitch
scheduled for 3 p.m.
After a 1-13 start, Zahn's squad has
started to awaken from its long winter
nap. The team swept a four-game series
at Purdue last weekend - the Wolver-
ines' first conference sweep in three
years - thanks to the clutch hitting of
shortstop Kelly Dransfeldt and some
strong pitching.
Zahn said that even though Dransfeldt
has played a key role in the squad's
current winning streak, there is cer-
tainly room for improvement.
"We need Kelly to hit better," Zahn
said. "He's not swinging the bat re-
ally well, but he's still hitting the ball.
He can do better, but he should be
encouraged by what he did over the
weekend."
Dransfeldt is currently second on the
team in batting with a .328 average.

The former major league pitcher
and first-year coach said he was not
surprised by the about-facpe executed
by his hurlers against the Boilermak-
ers. With the team's earned-run aver-
age edging ever-closer to double dig-
its, the staff held Purdue to a mere
nine runs over the course of the four-
game series.
"The pitching did well (against
Purdue)," Zahn said. "It was going to
mature, and it's going to continue to
improve."
The highlight of the weekend's out-
ings for the staff was a one-hitter tossed
by freshman righthander J.J. Putz. Putz
(1-2, 5.28 ERA) pitched a complete-
game shutout, walking one while strik-
ing out 11. In his first Big Ten start, he
carried a no-hitter late into the sixth
inning. He also got tremendous run
support from his teammates, as the
Wolverines pounded out 14 hits in the
12-0 victory.
Putz, last year's Michigan "Mr. Base-
ball" at Trenton High School, was re-
warded for his efforts by being named
the co-winner of the Mizuno National
Player-of-the-Week award.
"You'd always like a one-hitter,"
Zahn said of the newcomer's perfor-
mance.
Zahn said neither he nor Putz were
discouraged by some shaky early sea-
son outings during the prolonged spring-

break road trip.
"He certainly has that potential,"abn
said. "He is just a freshman."
Zahn said he is looking at today
game as an opportunity to tinker with
the lineup somewhat, with a view to
taking a look at different pitching corn
binations.
"Obviously, we're not going to, go
with our top starters (against Oakland),"
Zahn said. "This is a staff game -
we're going to manipulate the pitching
we'll see a number of different pitch-
ers."
Among other trends the Wolvexir4
are looking to continue today is getting
significant contributions from newcpm-
ers to the squad. Freshman outfielder
Jason Alcaraz'is leading the team with
a .359 average, starting all 18 games.
Alcaraz clubbed his first collegiate home
run in the 12-0 drubbing of the Boiler-
makers, and is second on the teamwith
10 runs batted in.
Freshman outfielder/designated
ter Bobby Scales also boosted his ay
age this weekend with a three-hit game
and is closing in on .300.
After bottoming out early, the Wol-
verines now find themselves tied for
first place in the Big Ten with Illinis.
Their next conference test comes when
the squad travels to Bloomington over
the weekend for four games against the
second-place Hoosiers.

FIL PHOTO
The Michigan baseball team hopes to have better luck against Oakland today than it did during this play against Michigan
State last season.

I

Men's tennis visits Northwestern,
hopes to stay unbeaten in Big Ten

By Richard Shin
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan men's tennis team
hopes to avoid the "I" train when it
heads to Evanston this weekend. Not
the famous "El" train that runs through
Chicago, but the losses that the Wolver-
ines have actually done a good job of
avoiding lately.
Michigan (7-6 overall) has a two-
match winning streak on the line at
Northwestern (13-2) in Evanston Sat-
urday in a key Big Ten dual match.
While the Wolverines hope to extend
their winning streak, they also hope to
end the Wildcats' own winning streak
at six.
The Wildcats are returning home from
a series in Hawaii, where they swept
four matches. Michigan is atop the Big
Ten with a perfect 2-0 record, but the
Wildcats are close behind at 3-1.
A loss to the Northwestern would
drop the Wolverines from the top spot
and tighten the race for the conference
crown.
Michigan is coming off a much-
needed 10-day break after defeating
four-time defending Big Ten champion
Minnesota March 20.
"We've got three or four guys with
some fairly serious injuries," Michigan
coach Brian Eisner said. "Now we've

got a chance ... to come back (this)
weekend (against Northwestern)."
Northwestern has enjoyed success
this year and all of its singles players
boast winning records, including three
players with more than 20 wins. The
No. 78 player in the nation, Alex Witt,
leads the Wildcats at No. 1 singles with
a 24-11 record.
On paper, the Wolverines and the
Wildcats are very similar teams, but
Michigan carries the top 15 ranking
into Saturday's match and boast the No.
22 player in the nation in Peter Pusztai.
Eisner, however, doesn't dwell on the
rankings.
"(The team) is only as good as the last
match (it) plays," Eisner said. "And the
minute that you think that you are better
than you are is about the minute that
you lose."
Michigan had its share of losses in
March, dropping four straight on the
road before defeating Arizona State, 4-
0, in Alabama, and then returning home
to defeat Minnesota, 5-2. All of the
Wolverines' losses this season have
been to nationally ranked teams. Michi-
gan has played the bulk of its matches
on the road thus far this season.
An important position this weekend
for Michigan will be No. 3 doubles,
where the Wolverines have struggled at

times. Northwestern pairs its No. 3 and
No. 6 singles players at third doubles,
which may be a pivotal match in win-
ning the doubles point.
"We've just got to improve (at third
doubles)," Eisner said. "We just got
outplayed at No. 3 doubles (against
Minnesota). We really didn't play too
badly, (the Golden Gophers)just played
much better than we did."
Michigan has been strong at the other
two doubles positions this season, how-
ever, with the No. 17 tandem in the
nation, Pusztai and John Costanzo and
a second doubles team of Arvid Swan
and Geoff Prentice that is 14-5 on the
season. If the Wolverines can capture
the top two doubles matches, the third
doubles becomes inconsequential.
"(Second doubles) is our most con-
sistent doubles team," Eisner said. "Our
first two doubles teams are excellent,
and (against Minnesota), the position-
ing was just perfect."
The two-match weekend ends at
Wisconsin in another Big Ten dual
match. Wisconsin has been erratic this
season, coming off consecutive losses
to Yale and California-Irvine. The Bad-
gers enter the weekend at 1-2 in the Big
Ten and 5-7 overall. Wisconsin is led
by their No. I singles player Mike
Goldstein who is 13-13 on the season.

The Michigan men's
tennis team hopes
to whack
Northwestern this
weekend in
Evanston.
TONYA BROAD/DAILY

Men's lacrosse returns kt

By Donald Adamek
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan's men's lacrosse club
returns to the scene of the crime this
weekend.
At last year's Pittsburgh Invitational
tournament, Virginia Tech stole the
title from the Wolverines in the cham-
pionship game.
This year the Hokies will meet
Michigan earlier in the tournament.
The two teams meet Friday in the first
game of the opening round. Michigan
will also face Penn State and Pitts-
burgh in the first round.
Virginia Tech will likely provide
the toughest competition of the tour-
nament for Michigan - at least until
a potential late round match-up with
Navy.
"Virginia Tech won last year. Navy
won two years ago," Michigan senior
Tom Samburg said. "Those are the
best teams we'll play."

Pittsburgh and Penn State should
not be as tough on the Wolverines, at
least if history proves to be true.
"We don't know too much about
Penn State or Pittsburgh," Samburg
said. "But we beat them last year. The
Penn State game was close."
Pittsburgh may be a bit tougher
competition due to home field advan-
tage.
But Michigan is happy to play on
those fields after running around in
the muck of Purdue's grass fields last
week.
"Some aof the games will be in-
doors, and Pittsburgh Stadium will
also be used. Both fields are turf,"
Samburg said. "That will be to our
advantage, since we play almost all
our games on turf."
Ten teams were invited to the field.
Big Ten rivals Illinois and Purdue
will participate. Among the other
teams involved, Miami (Ohio) has

Pittsburgh
been the most successful this year.'
Michigan would be pleased w
another turnout like last year's.
"We hope to do well. Last year O
made the finals," Samburg said. "We
hope, and expect, to do that well
again."
To do so, the Wolverines will nee
to address some problems that proved
costly in last weekend's loss to the
Ill ini.
"We don't plan on doing anythig
differently, but we'd certainly like
be a little more successful," Sambu
said. "We need to work on picking
ground balls and on being more a-
gressive."
Michigan may have to go withoua
familiar face this weekend. Junior Bill
Argersinger, a three-year starter, hi
himself in the Big Ten Regionals.
He should be available for the week-
end, but might only see limited ao
tion.

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