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April 08, 1996 - Image 12

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1996-04-08

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48 - The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, April 8, 1996
- ----SOFTBALL
Pair o freshgive Wolverines a lift over weekend.

By Mark Snyder
Daily Sports Writer
In "My Cousin Vinny," Joe Pesci's charac-
ter called them "the two utes." His New York
accent did not do justice to the "youths" he
.was talking about, and the numbers from
Michigan's weekend series against North-
western don't do justice to the Wolverines'
"utes."
Michigan played three games and had two
heroes, neither of which had played college
softball before this season.
Freshmen standouts Cathy Davie andq
Traci Conrad put on a hitting exhibition
devastating the Wildcats with 12 hits, and
five RBI, a total that surpassed
Northwestern's output by three.
Davie, who starts in left field, came into the
weekend hitting .310 on the season but has
since turned it on in Big Ten play. She scorched
Northwestern pitching for three singles, a
double and a triple.
Davie's firepower has begun to manifest
itself and now is making the Wolverines deep,

as well as consistent. She has a knack for
timely hitting, an asset in Saturday's first
contest.
Davie came to the plate in the fourth inning
with Michigan down two runs and searching
for a spark.
The Wolverines had already stranded four
runners, and Davie needed to make an impact
to lead off the inning.
Her triple into the outfield sent her to
second where she scored on Gleason sacri-
fice fly, getting Michigan on the board and
restoring some of its lost confidence. When
the Wolverines won by only a run, Davie's
run proved the difference in the tight con-
test.
She didn't want to see yesterday's game
come down to minor details and did her part to
ensure a blowout. In the first inning, Davie
gave a clinic on advancing runners when she
poked a single up the middle allowing Sara
Griffin to advance to third while scoring Traci
Conrad.
She drove Wildcat starter Alison Ward from

Ithink the thing I
was doing Was not
thinking. I go up (to
Michigan left fielder
the mound in the third inning after damaging
her with an opposite-field two-run single.
Davie's four RBI in her first three at-bats
proved to be a career-high, and solidified her
as one of Michigan's top hitters, despite her
youth.

Minor adjustments resulted in the major
results for Davie.
"I think the thing I was doing today was not
thinking. I go up (to the plate) thinking too
much but (this weekend) I just relaxed my
body and focused on the ball."
Also making a case for freshman eligibility
this weekend was Traci Conrad. Her well-
rounded game makes for numerous contribu-
tions he can make to the squad.
Conrad plays first base and has been solid
thus far in the field. Her fielding percentage is
.944, and she has made only two errors, de-
spite having the most opportunities of any
position in the field.
She participated in all three Michigan ral-
lies on Sunday, igniting two with her feisty
hitting. Conrad's line for the weekend totaled
seven hits, six of which were singles. Her job
in the number two spot in the lineup is to get
on base and that she did.
Her six singles put Northwestern on the
defensive. But the fact that she was on the
bases at all which scares opponents. Her seven

Michigan's success at
the plate has kept
most opponents at bay
By Dan Stillman
Daily Sports Writer
With two marquee starting pitchers, sophomore Sara Griffin (16-4) and
junior Kelly Holmes (12-5), the Michigan softball team knew its pitching staff
would keep it in most games.
It's the Wolverine bats, however, that have kept opponents out ofmost games
and lifted Michigan to a fast start in the conference.
Michigan (7-1 Big Ten, 28-9 overall) ranks No. 15 in the nation in batting
with a .329 team average.
Lead-off hitter and outfielder Kellyn Tate has proved she deserved an earlier
move to the top of the order.
The sophomore leads Wolverine starters with a .471 on-base percentage and
a .419 batting average.
Tate, sophomore shortstop Lisa Kelley, senior third baseman Tracy Carr
and junior utility player Jessica Lang all rank in the top 20 in
Big Ten batting.
And quickly moving toward the top 20 is the Wolverines'
hottest hitter oflatejunior catcher Jennifer Smith. In her last
SOfa 12 games, Smith is 18-for-34 (.529) with 11 RBI.
WHERE ARE THE DINGERS: Despite the on-going hitting
Notebook extravaganza, Michigan is without a home run in eight games
of conference play.
For the season, no Wolverine has more than one homerun.
Tate, Carr, Griffin, Smith and Lang are the only Wolverines
to put it over the fence so far.
"We'll take base hits. Base hits score just as many runs as
homeruns if you look at the average," Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said.
"All we care is that we're 7-1."
Among the nation's best: Besides hitting, Michigan ranks among
the country's top 25 in four categories.
In pitching, the Wolverines rank No. 21 with a 1.53 team
ERA. Conference foes Michigan State and Iowa pitching
are also ranked, at No. 16 and 19 respectively.
Not to be outdone, the Wolverine defense occupies
the No. 22 slot with a .961 fielding percentage.
Again, Michigan is not alone, however, as Minne-
sota and Michigan State also rank among the top 25
in the category.
Michigan, as well as Minnesota, also ranks in
the top 25 in scoring and the all-important won-
loss category.
"STOP ... STOP ... I SAID STOP!!": The Wolver-
ines might lead the country in number of times
base runners have ignored their coach's stop sig-
nal at third base, at least for yesterday.
Due to the wordiness of the category, though, the statistic is not kept.
Twice yesterday, Michigan base-runners ignored coach/third base coach
Hutchins stop sign and at third and headed for the plate on base hits to the
outfield. Both times, the runners scored.
"The first one, I almost sent her anyway, but we just got lucky on the other
one," Hutchins said. "We were obviously being aggressive."
TRYING TO CLEAR THE BASES: Good hitting usually leads to a lot of base
runners. For Michigan, that has translated to several bases loaded situations
recently and ,consequently, runners left on base.
The Wolverines have stranded 268 runners for the season, while opponents
have left 192 runners on base. Against Northwestern this weekend, Michigan
stranded 24 while the Wildcats left 12.
"With the bases loaded, the pressure is on the pitcher, so wait for her to throw
one you like," Hutchins said. "As the season goes on, I think you get better, and
we are definitely working on it."
PITCHERS KEEP ON KEEPIN' ON: Michigan pitchers Griffin and Holmes have
met or exceeded expectations all season long.
Recently, though, the two have gone in opposite directions.
After 35 innings of conference play, Griffin posts a remarkable 0.40 ERA
compared to her current overall ERA of 1.28.
On the other hand, Holmes' Big 10 ERA of 2.33 is up from a 1.47 overall
ERA.
ARGUE MUCH?: Northwestern coach Sharon Drysdale had her share of
conversations with the umpires this weekend.
Yesterday, before the game, Drysdale alerted the umpires that the size of the
batter's box was off a couple inches.
Drysdale, coach of the Wildcats for 22 seasons, also chatted with the umps
during the game when she protested a no-call.
After a Wildcat runner was called out for leaving first base too soon on a steal
attempt, Drysdale felt a Michigan runner committed the same infraction later in
the game. When Northwestern didn't get the call, Drysdale made her point to
the umpire.

4'

stolen bases entering the series made her a
threat to run and score. But a threat is not
effective unless it is executed and in the first
game in the first inning, Conrad swiped her
eighth base-of the season.
That made Northwestern coach Sharon
Drysdale wary and she did everything she
could to keep Conrad off the basepaths. The
coach even complained (to no avail) 1h
Conrad left the base too early.
As with any player. Conrad focused on her
hitting following the 5-for-7 Saturday perfor-
mance.
"I could kind of tell on the outside pitches
that the defense moved, so I just went with it,"
she said.
It is these insights which demonstrate the
maturity of these two hitters. It is easy to
forget that they have only been in college for
five months.
Davie and Conrad have a zest for the garO
which rubs off on the upperclassmen as well.
This weekend. there was a difference in the
play of the team.
Battle on
the mound'
starts in 'M
dugout
Michigan hurlers
GriffinHolmesare each
others' best competition
By Dan Stillman
Daily Sports W cr
So who's the better pitcher, Holmes or Gro
f in?
The Michigan softball team might have the
best one-two punch in the country with sopho-
more pitcher Sara Griffin and junior hurler
Kelly Holmes.
Whoops, sorry coach Hutchins.
"We don't have a one-two punch," Wolver-
ine skipper Carol Hutchins says. "We have
two No. 1 pitchers."
At this point in the sea-
son, it's hard to ar4
with the coach.
Griffin (16-4) and
Holmes (12-5) both carry
._ impressive records with
--- them midway through the
season.
Since Griffin has the
better record, let's. give
her two points, and
Holmes one, in what will surely be a ve
unscientific scoring scheme.
In the all-important ERA category, Griffin's
1.28 average gives her the edge over Holmes'
1.47, not to mention Griffin's remarkable 0.40
ERA in conference play.
Another point for Griffin; she leads 3-;
In 17-less innings pitched, Holmes has al-
lowed the same number of runs as Griffin (33)
and five less hits. Chalk one up to Holmes; she
still trails. 3-2.
Strikeouts: Griffin 95, Holmes 68.
Walks: Holmes 23, Griffin 49.
We'll inflate both scores with a point ea
Griffin still leads, 4-3.
Shutouts often provide a good indicatorof
pitching prowess. Griffin's nine goose-eggs
compared with Holmes' seven gives Griffin
another point and a 5-3 lead.
No-hitters? Holmes has two, Griffin has
one. Advantage Holmes. But wait, Griffin's

no-hitter was a perfect game.
That translates into just a half-a-point for
Holmes, of course. She still trails, 5-3.5.
The one thing that Griffin has done consis-
tently better than Holmes is helping herself.
Griffin is errorless for the season while Holmes
has committed four fielding mistakes yield-
ing a .875 fielding percentage.
Point for Griffin, and she takes a comm4nd-
ing 6-3.5 lead.
Wild pitches: Griffin has four, Holmes has
three. Holmes, however, has hit two more
batters then has Griffin.
We inflate the score once again, 7-4.5
Maybe Griffin should get points for here
as well. She leads the Wolverines in RBI with
28. Holmes doesn't even bat at all.
Nevertheless, this is a pitching comparison.
so it wouldn't be fair to Holmes if Griffin
received a point for her success at the plate.
So, midway through the season, both pitch-
ers have made a case for themselves. Both are
invaluable to the team.
But it's hard to argue with the numbers.
Midseason score: Griffin 7, Holmes 4.

Michigan first baseman Traci Conrad
fields a grounder for the Wolverines.

TONYA BROAD/Daly

Upcoming games

Date
April 9
April 11
April 13
April 14
April 16
April 17
April 20
April 21

Opponent
at Michigan State (dh)
vs. Toledo (dh)
at Wisconsin (dh)
at Wisconsin
vs. Purdue (dh)
at Western Michigan (dh)
at Indiana (dh)
at Indiana

Location
East Lansing
Alumni Field
Madison
Madison
Alumni Field
Kalamazoo
Bloomington
Bloomington

SWEEP
Co~ntinued from Page lB

facing Griffin's heat in the opener.
Holmes was perfect through 3 1/3 in-
nings while effortlessly mowing down
the Waict

American wasn't listening. Instead she
swung away and ripped a double down
the line, scoring Pearcy from second,
advancing Conrad to third and sending

lead. The Wolverines looked to put the
game away in the sixth inning, and did
so. Michigan sent all nine batters to the
plate in the inning

well as the 16th of Michigan's season.
Her record improved to 2-1 in the Big
Ten and 12-5 overall.
After the second game of the day,

the Wolverines on the board.
Michigan led offthe fourth with tlirei
straight singles before Davie's heroics
After knocking in two with a single i1

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