~t,- -k-- ---thunt
N.Y. YANKEES 1
Kansas City 3,
Chi. White Sox 1
ST. LOUIS 2
San Francisco 3,
N.Y. METS 2
L.A. Clippers 99,
Golden State 103
April 15t 1997
Dy Josh Kleinbaum
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan softball coach Carol
Iutchins spent the past 13 years build-
ing her program into a softball power-
house. Hutchins has spent the past 10
days watching that same program fall
-Today at 1 p.m., the Wolverines (5-4
Big Ten, 34-12-1 overall) will try to right
their sinking ship as they start a 12-
game homestand with a doubleheader
against Penn State at Alumni Field.
9 The downward slide started eight
games ago in Iowa on April 5, when
Hutchins watched two of her best play-
ers, pitcher/third baseman Sara Griffin
and first baseman Traci Conrad, collide
while fielding a routine bunt. Conrad
suffered a sprained shoulder and a mild
concussion but has already returned to
the Michigan lineup. Griffin suffered a
broken left arm and is sidelined indefi-
Hutchins witnessed the collapse con-
nue as her team dropped both of the
games against Iowa-the second one in
humbling fashion, 15-4.
Things get worse for the Wolverines
when they traveled to West Lafayette
and split a doubleheader with Purdue on
April 8. The loss in the nightcap marked
the first time Michigan has ever lost to
Hutchins' team survived a scare in its
*ext two games - a doubleheader
against Notre Dame in which the
Wolverines needed late-inning rallies to
win both games.
But then the fall reached a crescendo
when the Wolverines scored just two
total runs against Northwestern this past
weekend in a doubleheader split. That's
the same Northwestern team that's rou-
tinely in the battle for the Big Ten cellar.
It was only the Wildcats' second Big Ten
din of the season.
"Fundamentally, we haven't changed
anything'" Michigan outfielder Cathy
Davie said. "I really don't know (what's
wrong) at this point. It's frustrating.
"It's definitely mental. We're swing-
ing at pitches we don't normally swing
at and falling into habits that we haven't
been falling into all season."
So today's doubleheader against the
'Nittany Lions is much more important
an anyone ever thought it would be. It
gives the Wolverines a chance to
-rebound from their slump against a tra-
ditional conference cupcake.
"Last year, in the Big Ten standings,
they finished towards the (bottom), but
we can't think about that,' Davie said.
"We have to go out like we would
Penn State (1-10 Big Ten, 20-12 over-
all) is in last place in the Big Ten and has
only beaten the Wolverines once in the
011-time series. The Lions have lost their
last five games and 10 of their last 13.
They have only two batters hitting over
.300, and neither of them have been able
to keep those averages up in Big Ten
The Lions' strength is their pitching
staff - a staff that has compiled an
impressive 2.30 ERA. But that staff has
not been getting run support from an
offense that has averaged a measly 2.45
iis per game, more than a full run less
than Michigan's average of 3.72.
But the Wolverines' offense has been
anemic of late. Their run production
over the last eight games is two runs less
Tthan it was for their first 39.
"Hitters tend to have ups and downs
a lot;' Davie said, "and maybe it's just
bad timing that we're all down right
The friendly confines ofAlumni Field
Whould help the Wolverines snap out of
their slump. They are undefeated in five
home games this season, outscoring
their opponents 31 to 10.
strong finish for Blue
By Kevin Kasiborski
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan baseball - national cham-
In an era when the College World
Series has been dominated by southern
schools, that statement might have a
funny ring to it. But the Wolverines have
won two national championships in the
history of the baseball program, and
Moby Benedict was there for both of
Benedict was a freshman shortstop on
the 1953 champi-
onship team and an
under Don Lund on
the 1962 champi-
Benedict took over
the head coaching.
remained the top
man at Michigan Benedict
until 1979. His
teams compiled a 367-251-5 record over
that time. Benedict (No. 1) and Bill
Freehan (No. I1) are the only
Wolverines to have their numbers
By Benedict's own count, 25
Wolverines who played under him later
played in the major leagues. One of
those is current Michigan head coach
"He pitched a doubleheader for me
once against Northwestern;' Benedict
said about Zahn. "He threw a beautiful
game in the first game, and he only
threw about 60 pitches. I said, 'Do you
think you could go a little bit in the sec-
ond game?' because I was little short on
pitching, and that was the first day of the
"He said he felt okay, so I told him to
go as long he could, and he ended up
pitching a complete game. So he pitched
two games and won both.'
Other Wolverines coached by
Benedict who made it to the show
include Dave Campbell, Steve Howe,
Rick Leach, Leon Roberts and Lary
"They have all been good, but the one
that sticks out is Ricky Leach;' Benedict
said. "He was just a great, great com-
petitor. He was the kind of guy that his
presence on the ball club made the other
guys come up to his level.
"Whenever things were going bad,
he'd get after them. He'd go in the
dugout and get at them, and I'd just kind
of move off to the side."
Leach and Howe were Wolverines
during Benedict's last appearance in the
College World Series in 1978. Michigan
opened the tournament with a 4-0 victo-
ry over Baylor, but was eliminated after!
losses to Southern California (11-3) and
North Carolina (7-6). "Michigan last
appeared in the series in 1984.
Benedict says northern schools are at
a disadvantage because, even though
teams like Michigan take trips south dur-
ing the spring, their first game is usually
their opponent's 10th or 15th game.
"Its not a level playing field, particu-
larly at this time of year," Benedict said.
"The thing most people don't realize is
that (southern teams) never come
indoors, they stay outdoors all year. We
go over and practice in the field house,w
and that's like taking a bath with your
shoes on - you never get your feet
clean. Our kids struggle to start with, but
we'd like to play (southern teams) here in
May. We'd be competitive with them."
Benedict said Zahn has done a good
job with the current group of
Wolverines. While he isn't sure if they
will hold off Ohio State to finish first in
the Big Ten, he likes the way the
"Its difficult for me to evaluate
because I don't know what Ohio State
has" Benedict said. "But they are play-
ing hard. They are a little short on pitch-
ing because they've had a couple
injuries, a couple of sore arms. You win
this game with pitching and defense, not
with a baseball bat.'
Before continuing its run for a Big
Ten title at Indiana this weekend,
Michigan will play two non-conference
foes during the week. Today at 3 p.m.,
the Wolverines face Bowling Green at.
home, and tomorrow they will travel to;
Western Michigan to take on they
Broncos. Bowling Green is the only
team to shut out Michigan this season,
recording a 5-0 whitewash April 1.
Moby Benedict, who participated in Michigan's only two victories in the College World Series, said that pitchers like Marion
Wright will need to improve their performance if the Wolverines want to compete with Ohio State for Big Ten supremacy.
tennis must improve doubles,,
for chance against Notre Dame -
By John Friedberg
Daily Sports Writer
The doubles competition may seem
like a small part of a dual tennis match.
Three doubles matches are played to
determine one point out of seven. No big
deal, right? _
Wrong. Take a "
closer look at the
tennis team's sea-
son. Its 7-10
mediocre, but it
can be traced to
one main factorj
- the perfor-
mances of its doubles combinations.
In March, Michigan lost five matches
during a seven-match losing streak by
the score of 4-3. In each of the matches,
Michigan split the six singles matches
and lost the doubles point. That one
point made Michigan 7-10.
Over the weekend, Michigan was able
to capture the doubles point against Penn
State. That was only the third time the
Wolverines earned the point in confer-
ence play and only the third time all sea-
Maybe the coaches have found what
they have been looking for.
The play of the new No. 2 doubles
combination of freshman Matt Wright
and sophomore Jake Raiton improved to
4-2 in Big Ten play. Juniors David
Paradzik and Miki Pusztai have also
improved to 4-2 in the Big Ten.
These two combinations are the only
two with records above the .500 mark
Last year, Michigan's doubles was
considered a team strength. Seniors John
Costanzo and Peter Pusztai went 11-7 in
the top spot. Big Ten No. 2 doubles was
dominated by then-sophomore Arvid
Swan and senior Geoff Prentice, who
went 14-4 in conference play.
The biggest challenge this year was to
find combinations that fit together. After
all, doubles is more team-oriented than
any other facet of tennis.
"I think that finding combinations that
play well together was a big challenge
this year," Michigan coach Brian Eisner.
An injury to junior transfer Brook
Blain also dealt the Wolverines a set-
back in doubles play this season. Blain,
who transferred from Florida, was slat-
ed to team with Swan at the No. I dou-
bles spot. But Blain's back would not
allow him to play much this season and
the combination managed just a 2-2
Perhaps Eisner has found the right
combinations for his squad in Wright
and Raiton, and Paradzik and Pusztai.
If he has, the rest of the conference
should brace itself. Five of Michigan's
six singles players have winning
records in the conference, and the
sixth, Swan, is 4-5.
"We have to continue to improve indi-
vidually and as a team," Eisner said. "We
think we have the right combinations.'
"Winning the doubles point is some-
thing we have to continue to do."
If Michigan can carry over its doubles
success from the Penn State match, it
has a chance of repeating as Big Ten
Tomorrow, Michigan plays Notre
Dame for the 55th time - the longest-
running non-conference rivalry the
Wolverines have. Michigan owns a 37-
17 record against the Irish. If Michigan
wants to keep up its Irish domination, the
Wolverines will probably need the dou-
bles point. Again.
You're invited to the 18th Annual
MicLuiqan Leaderslup Awards Ceremonij
Honor the Wonders A
The ceremony will honor outstanding contributions
The Michigan men's tennis team will have to work its doubles play If It wants to
beat Notre Dame today. The Wolverines have a record of 3717 against the Irish.
Available for pick-up on the Diag
or in the Fishbowl