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April 15, 1996 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-04-15

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i

48 - The Michigan Daily - SPORTSMonday - Monday, April 15, 1996

- SOFTBALL
Migets wake-up."
call from irst-year team

By Dan Stillman
Daily Sports Writer
The Wisconsin softball team, a first-
year program, jumped out to a 4-0
first-inning lead against No. 10 Michi-
gan in the second game of a double-
header Satur- _
day.

The Wolver-
ines eventually
won the game,
7-6 in eight in-
nings, but their
per fo r man ce
was indicative
of the prob-
lems they must
overcome if

they are to win the Big Ten and do
well in post-season play.
Offensively, you can't ask for much
more from a team that is batting .339
and scoring more than five runs a
game.
Defensively, though, the Wolver-
ines have faltered recently as they
plow through the heart of the Big Ten
schedule.
And as we well know, it is defense
that wins championships.
In the second inning of Saturday's
game against the Badgers, two Michi-
gan throwing errors helped Wiscon-
sin score three times in the inning and
take a 4-0 lead.
The Wolverines came back to win
the game, but it wasn't easy, as Wis-
consin took them to extra innings.
"We were not sharp," Michigan

coach Carol Hutchins said. "I give
(Wisconsin) credit for being very ag-
gressive, but we were not sharp and
not on our toes."
Michigan's lack of defensive sharp-
ness also showed against Michigan
State last Tuesday in the Wolverines'
second conference loss of the 1996
season.
Two Wolverine fielding errors in
the fourth inning of that game proved
to be crucial in the end.
The errors, which led to two Spar-
tan runs and a 4-2 Spartan lead, came
just after a two-run Michigan rally
that had tied the game in the top of the
inning.
Michigan would tie the game again
in the seventh inning, forcing extra
frames.
The Wolverines would have won
the game if it had not been for the
fourth inning errors.
Instead, Michigan State's Keri
Lemasters hit a game-winning two-
run home run in the bottom of the
eighth.
The other problem spot for the Wol-
verines has been the pitcher who
started the game against the Spartans
- Kelly Holmes.
Over the past week, opponents have
gotten to the junior.
In her past three outings, Holmes
has an ERA of 4.67 with one win and
two no-decisions.
Saturday against Wisconsin,
Holmes pitched five full innings be-
fore Griffin replaced her in the sixth

of a 6-6 game.
The Badgers ripped Holmes for ni
hits, five earned runs and four wall;
over the five innings.
Holmes also struggled in the Wol-
verines' loss to the Spartans.
She gave up seven hits and three
walks before leaving the game in the
fourth inning with the game tied at
two.
"Her confidence is struggling; we're
not really sure why." Hutchins said.
"She doesn't look the same on the
mound as she did a few weeks ag*
The recent version of Holmes is not
the same one that pitched a no-hitter
against then-No. 20 Illinois-Chicago
a month ago.
"Kelly Holmes is one of the reasons
we're 33-10," Hutchins said. "She
just needs to realize that. We just need
Kelly to find herself."
If Holmes does not return to her
early-season form, pitcher Sara Gr'
fin might eventually feel the cons
quences physically.
Just this weekend, Griffin pitched
18 of 23 innings.
Mentally, one factor that might be
affecting all ofthe Wolverines is pres-
sure.
Their No. 10 ranking, combined
with a good showing in the College
World Series last season, makes the
Wolverines the favorite to win the
conference.
"There's a lot of pressure there,
Hutchins said. "Pressure is something
you put on yourself."

FILE PHOTO/Daily
Sara Griffin's two victories this weekend at Wisconsin improved her season record to 21-5. With the win, the Wolverine
hurler matched hervictory total from last season.

Blue hitters get a rare home run;
Carr breaks career doubles record

By Andy Knudsen
Daily Sports Writer
Softball fans seated behind the out-
field fence run little risk of being hit
by a Wolverine long-ball.

Not just because
time to get out of
the way, but be-
causejunior Jenni-
fer Smith's home
run Saturday was
only Michigan's
sixth home run in
43 games.
The round-trip-
per made Smith the
first Wolverine to
hit multiple home

they have a long
Notebook

runs this season. It was also
Michigan's first home run in a con-
ference game.
'Last year the Wolverines popped
19 balls over the fence in their 62-
game season.
"I don't think we have the kind of
power we had last year, although we
have the capability for it," Michigan
coach Carol Hutchins said.
But the lack of power does not con-
cern Hutchins.
"We're much more of a singles-
hitting team, and we're a speed type
of team," Hutchins said. "The key is
getting timely hits and scoring run-
ners."
The other Wolverines to hit a home
run this year are senior Tracy Carr,
sophomores Sara Griffin and Kellyn

Tate and junior Jessica Lang.
CARR SPEEDS TO TOP: Carr's double
yesterday set a new school career
record. Her 38th two-bagger surpassed
Jenny Allard, who hit 37 doubles in
her Wolverine career from 1987-90.
Carr's two RBI against Wisconsin
give her 117 in her career, good for
second on the Michigan all-time list.
Patti Benedict set the record with
124 between 1990-93.
HISTORY IN THE MAKING: This
weekend's two extra-inning games
were the first in Wisconsin's short
softball history.
The Badger softball team is in its
first year of existence.
Wisconsin lost their first extra-in-
ning game Saturday, 7-6, and their
second extra-inning game yesterday,
5-1.
With the two extra-inning wins,
Michigan improved its record in ex-
tra-frame games to 3-2.
BADGERED BY ERRORS: It was a busy
weekend for the official scorekeeper
in Madison - at least while Wiscon-
sin was trying to play defense.
The Badgers committed a total of
13 errors in the three-game set.
The Wisconsin battery also could
have used some recharging.
Badger hurler Ashley Fauser threw
three wild pitches yesterday. Catcher
Rebecca Gilgen allowed two passed
balls, giving her three for the week-
end.
Fauser also managed to hit Griffin

Team

Record

1. Minnesota
2. Michigan
3. Indiana
4. Iowa
5. Purdue
6. Michigan St,
7. Ohio St.

9-1 .900
11-2 .846
7-3 .700
5-4 .556
6-6 .500

with a pitch - twice,
WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH...:
With a 7-6 win in Saturday's night-
cap, Michigan increased its impres-
sive record in one-run games to 4-1.
In their 10 losses, the Wolverines'
average losing margin is 3.5 runs.
Seven of their 10 losses have been at
the hands of ranked opponents.
Big Ton standings

Notebook
Tracy Carr's field
heroics paled in
comparison to he
climb through the
Michigan record
books. Carr set the
Michigan career
doubles record in
yesterday's contest.
WARREN ZINN/Daily

5-6

.455

4-7 .364

8. Northwestern 3-6

.333

9. Penn St.
10. Wisconsin

2-8 .200
1-10 .091

Softball seniors spark M' sweep

By Mark Snyder.
Daily Sports Writer
In 1978, Michigan was faced with a
difficult task: It needed to assemble a
softball team from the ground up.
As a first-year program, leadership was
lacking and experience was nonexistent.
Now, 18 years later, Michigan is one of
the top teams in the nation as a result of
experience and leadership. This week-
end, the Wolverines saw a little of their
first team in their opponents.
This weekend was Michigan's first
encounter with Wisconsin, which began
its softball program this season.
The extended weekend began with two
victories over Toledo on Thursday. Sat-
urday and yesterday, the Wolverine se-
niors handcuffed the first-year Badgers,
keying the sweep of the three contests.
Four seniors together compose the core
of the Wolverine squad, yet each one
contributes differently.
Co-captain Kathryn Gleason has been
a vital part of the Wolverines' infield for
four years,

ing), so I cut it down," Gleason said. "I
changed my stance. Now I'm part of the
'no-step club."
The other captain, who is making her
presence felt, specializes in glovework,
as she showed against the Badgers.
Erin Martino stole a certain victory
from Wisconsin in the first game. With
the Badgers about to break the game
open, Martino went to the wall and into
the wind to nab an Amanda Berg drive,
savetwo runs and stop the Wisconsin
rally.
Instead of an insurmountable Badger
lead in only the second inning, the score
stuck at 4-0, and Michigan remained in
striking distance.
"(The catch) gave us an opportunity to
be close enough to come back and be in
(the game)," Hutchins said. "It was a
great defensive play."
Hutchins believes that Martino and
Gleason complement each other well in
the shared role of captain.
"(Gleason) has spent a great deal of her
focus on trying to keep the team level,"

yesterday.
As a selection to the All-Big Ten first
team last season, Carr realizes that her
efforts have not gone unrewarded as she
lets her arm and bat do the talking.
An unrewarded career is something
that Cheryl Pearcy knows about. Always
in the shadows of her nationally recog-
nized teammates, Pearcy continues
improve with each passing contest. _
Her batting average has risen 80 points
each season as she has received increased
playing time. Pearcy has a lot of ground
to cover in centerfield, but Hutchins has
her faith in the right place.
Pearcy's speed allows her to reach for
many would be hits. She has yet to make
an error, reaffirming her ability to track
down the balls that appear unreachable.
Her 13 steals last season solidif.
Pearcy as a threat on the basepaths, an
she has yet to be caught stealing in four
attempts this season.
While each of the four seniors is a vital
component ofthe Michigan team, theyall
play different roles.
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