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March 25, 1997 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-03-25

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7

The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 25, 1997-11

.Six-game homestand this week
for road-weary Blue baseball
Wolverines will face Ball State today, Western Michigan tomorrow

By Kevin Kasiborski
Daily Sports Writer
After playing 19 of its first 20 games on
the road, the Michigan baseball team is set
to begin a six-game homestand this week.
The Wolverines will host Ball State at 2
p.m. today and Western Michigan at 3 p.m.
tomorrow before starting a four-game
weekend series with Penn State on Friday.
Michigan enjoys an 11-0 all-time series
advantage against Ball State.
Ball State's loss on the last day of the
1996 season dropped the Cardinals from
third to fifth in the Mid-American
Conference, keeping them out of the league
playoffs. Ball State did manage 32 wins last
season, however, third most in school histo-
ry.
But with all eight position players who

started last season for the Cardinals return-
ing for the 1997 campaign - including
four seniors - Ball State is in good posi-
tion to finish near the top of the MAC this
season.
Ball State's top offensive threat is senior
first baseman Ed Farris, the 1996 MAC
player of the year.
Farris had 15 home runs last season and
has already cranked out seven this season.
He set a school record with three in one
game against Fairleigh-Dickinson on March
8.
"It's hard to top a season when you were
selected as your league's most valuable
player," Ball State coach Rich Maloney
said.
"But I honestly think Eddie is better now
than he was last year. He's swinging the bat
as good as I've ever seen."
Maloney took over the reins
of the Ball State program last
~nts season - inheriting a team that
went 15-41 in 1995 - and
guided the Cardinals to a 32-20
mark last season, the largest
turnaround in school history.
"Last season was a good
year," Maloney said. "This pro-
gram needed to experience win-
ning, and we did that. We just
came up a bit short at the end of
the season, but that could turn
into a positive."
This year Maloney has put an
f emphasis on running. Ball State
has stolen 50 bases in 56
attempts, after stealing only 36
bases in all of '96. Six
Cardinals have four or more
steals, but the chief thief is cen-
terfielder Justin Love.
Love hasn't been caught in
17 attempts, and his speed is
also invaluable on defense.
"Justin could establish him-

self as one of the premier players in our
league this season," Maloney said. "He can
really go get the ball.
"He saved us a boat load of runs last sea-
son."
Michigan (2-2 Big Ten, 11-9 overall) only
has one player with four steals (Bobby
Scales), but that hasn't stopped the
Wolverines from scoring runs.
Michigan had scored at least six runs in
17 straight games before being held to three
this past Sunday in a 3-2 victory over
Purdue.
Four Wolverines currently sport averages
above .400: Derek Besco (.434), Jason
Alcaraz (.433), Brian Bush (.415) and
Scales (.403).
With the offensive output fairly consis-
tent, Michigan's success of late has been
determined by pitching, which has been
erratic at times. The Wolverines have a
team ERA of 7.24.
Sophomore Brian Berryman (1-1) is the
probable starter against Ball State.
Berryman's fellow sophomore, J.J. Putz,
was named Big Ten pitcher of the week for
his performance in a 7-2 win over Purdue
on Saturday.
Putz pitched a complete game, allowing
only five hits and striking out a career high
12. It was the most opponents fanned by a
Wolverine in a conference game since Ross
Powell struck out 12 against Ohio State in
1988.
In two career starts against the
Boilermakers, Putz is 2-0, with two com-
plete games, one shutout, 23 strikeouts and
a 0.64 ERA.
Michigan's series with Penn State over
the weekend will follow the new Big Ten
format.
Instead of playing doubleheaders
Saturday and Sunday, there will be nine-
inning single games on Friday and Sunday,
sandwiched around a doubleheader (two
seven-inning games) Saturday.

MARK FRIEDMAN/
Mike Cervenak and the baseball team slide into Fisher Stadium this week for a six-game homestand.

M' women's
tenms waxes
Boilermakers,
*#Spartans
ByAan Gomez
Fr the Daily
Performance under pressure is
what makes the difference in the
world of sports. The Michigan
women's tennis team took on a high
form of pressure - playing in front
of one's parents - and dealt with it
almost perfectly over Parents'
Weekend.
The Wolverines manhandled
Michigan State and Purdue, beating
them, 9-0 and 8-1.
"We dominated," Michigan coach
Bitsy Ritt said.
The bashing started against the
Spartans on Friday at the Varsity
Tennis Center.
Michigan started off by sweeping
the doubles matches, then proceeded
to win every singles match-up.
After the Spartans moved on, the.
Boilermakers stepped in Saturday
and suffered the same fate. With only
one loss, the Wolverines continued to
roll as they pushed their undefeated
mark in the Big Ten to 5-0.
"In our previous two dual matches
we got off to a bad start in either
doubles or singles," Ritt said. "But
(against Purdue), we brought both of
-4 them together."
Even with the slow starts,
Michigan didn't take too long to
pick up the speed in the weekend's
matches.
The lone senior on the team, Sarah
Cyganiak, set the pace by winning
all her matches while playing in the
No. I spot. Her record now is 9-2,,
but more important, she has yet to
lose a conference match (5-0).
"We've basically been doing it
with our attitude and our desire to'
play," Cyganiak said.
Junior Sora Moon, whose match
with Purdue's Jennifer Embry con-
tinued for more than an hour after all
the other matches were done,
showed plenty of heart in the three-
set match.
"We're not worried about Sora,"
Ritt said. "She's a great competitor
and is always there."
Sophomore Tumeka Harris, who
had struggled so far this season, was
impressive in her two wins. After a
rocky start, Harris' record in the
conference is still 4-1.
"The past three matches have

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