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March 19, 1998 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-03-19

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 19, 1998 - 13Am-

M' baseball

b attlessnow,
hosts Iowa
By Tracy Sandier
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan baseball team just wants to play.
Unfortunately, this wish is one that Mother Nature
will not grant.
The Wolverines' past two games have both been
postponed due to rain. Michigan (5-9-1) was sup-
posed to open its home season against Central
Michigan on Tuesday, but that game was re-sched-
uled for April 18.
weekend's games Yesterday's game
ho: Michigan vs. towa against Eastern
Where: Fisher Stadium Michigan will be
When: Tomorrow, Saturday, made up at a date to
Sunday be determined.
Notables: With snow flurries "We've spent the
predicted for this weekend, it last month playing
Iooks as if Michigan's bad luck in the South,"
wi*h weather will continue. The Michigan baseball
Wovrnes' Iast two gamcs have cahGefZhn
bee n rained oti. coach Geoff Zahn
Starting Pitchers: Michigan will said. "We don't
t senior Brian Steinbach, want to stop that.
phomore Bryan Cranson, junior We want to continue
Rrian Benyman and senior Mike playing. It's tough to
Hribernik on the mound in the wake up thinking
weekend series, you're going to play
and then see that it's
aining. It doesn't do anybody any good, but it's
hat we have to contend with in this part of the
ountry."
Although the Wolverines are hoping that the
weather will hold up for their home weekend series
gainst Big Ten opponent Iowa, the odds are not
d. Snow showers are projected for tomorrow
nd Saturday, while flurries are expected for
Sunday.
Meanwhile, the defending Big Ten champion
Wolverines are trying to prepare for good weather.
First on their list of preparation is pitching.
Although the Wolverines split their weekend series
with Oklahoma, the Michigan pitching staff
allowed 28 runs in two games.
"It's hard to judge the pitching when we play in
f elds that are small and the wind is blowing out,"
hn said. "You tend to say that the pitching is ter-
rible, and it is, but we're trying to get a grip on
improving each week.
"We don't know the effects of being inside for
practice and then going outside for games.
Sometimes we might not hit well, sometimes we
might not pitch well and sometimes we might not
field well. The biggest thing is for us to cut down
our walks. We're walking too many guys and creat-
ing scoring opportunities."
One bright spot for the Wolverines in terms of
$hing has been senior righthander Tyler
Steketee. In 14.2 innings of work, Steketee has col-
lected 19 strikeouts on his way to two wins and two

Softball takes fast
start to tourney

By Nick Koster
For the Daily
The recent cold weather and rain
may be the only things that can slow
down the red hot Michigan softball
team. The No. 2 Wolverines (18-3) are
off to their best start in school history
and have won 11 of their
past 12 games. But, more
nasty weather is expected This weeke
for the Boilermaker games
Classic in West Lafayette Who: Michig
this weekend. team at the B
Unfortunately for the rest ere: West
of the field, nature may 'ir
not be enough to slow the When:Saturd
Wolverines, who won the Sunday
1997 Boilermaker Notables: Pon
Classic in 40-degree tem- predicted ford
peratures and rain.
The round-robin tour- challenge. Th
nament will kick off ranked W)ve
Saturday when the won 11 of thou
Wolverines take on
Illinois State at 10:45 a.m. The
Redbirds (7-9), out of the Missouri
Valley Conference, are coming off big
wins over Baylor and Bowling Green,
but have yet to beat a ranked opponent
this season. The Wolverines, however,
will be careful not to overlook them.
"Rankings are someone else's opin-
ion," Michigan coach Carol Hutchins
said. "You have to prove your worth on
the field. Every day you have to come
to the field ready to play, and step up to
the challenge."
Next up for Michigan on Saturday is
: Bowling Green. The Falcons (4-15-1)
have gotten off to a slow start this sea-
FILE PHOTO son, but they are battle-tested, having
willing already played seven top 25 teams this
season.
On Sunday, the Wolverines will
tstanding tackle in-state rival Western Michigan
bat." The at 12:30 p.m. Michigan has the edge in
ough 15 the past seven meetings between the
two clubs (4-3), and holds a 24-8 edge
Ines have in the all-time series. But the Broncos
1 up. The are off to a strong start this season, and
ears, and will be looking to gain momentum
Lve much before heading into Mid-American
lack of Conference competition.
The Wolverines will then close out
fter their their weekend with the traditional tour-
nament finale against Big Ten foe
because Purdue. The Boilermakers (11-12)
s," Zahn pose the greatest obstacle in the way of
)t. If you a Michigan repeat. Coming off back-

to-back wins over Belmont and
Mississippi that capped a strong show-
ing in the Florida State Tournament,
Purdue is playing at a high level of .
confidence.
"Purdue is probably the strongest
team in the tournament besides our-

--~--~~~~-~~~-
end's
an softball
oilermaker
Lafayette,
ay and
r weather
this weekend
gan's biggest
e second-
rines have
eir past 12

selves," Hutchins said. .
Purdue is led by hot
swingers Jenny Shoen and
Mandy Smart, who are a
combined 21-for-36 in
their past five games. On
the mound, Jenny Deno
and Jaime Martino each
are coming off big win's
last week, and have had
much early season suc-.
cess.
Although the tourna-
ment game against Purdue
will not count in the Big
Ten standings, the
Wolverines will hold

The Michigan baseball team hasn't had much luck thus far with the weather. But the Wolverines aren't
to quit trying -- they host Iowa this weekend at Ray Fisher Stadium.

nothing back against the Boilermakers
on Sunday. Their meeting will serve as
a preview for the more meaningful
conference contests to take place in
April.
"We are going to focus on what we
want to do, and what we do well,"
Hutchins said. "We are going to choose
pitchers game by game, and we are
going to play every game to win."
To win, the Wolverines will rely
heavily on the scorching bat of Melissa
Gentile. The sophomore catcher carries'
a team-leading .440 batting average,
and also is tops on the team with two'
home runs.
Also off to a strong start this season'
is senior pitcher Sara Griffin. Griffin
(10-0, 0.75 ERA), Michigan's career
leader in wins, will see significant'
action on the mound for the Wolverines
this weekend. A good effort from her
and freshman hurler Marie Barda (3-2)
could propel Michigan to a second
straight Boilermaker Classic Title.
In their final tune-up before the start'
of Big Ten play, the Wolverines' coach-
ing staff is looking to capitalize on they
opportunity to build confidence.
"Confidence is something that we
would like to work on," Hutchins said.'
"But we are very confident in each
other from pulling out wins when we
were not playing our best - that is a
mark of a good team."

saves.
"He's a key for us," Zahn said. "He's picking up
right where he left off last season. In any close
game, we know he will finish it off for us."
For the weekend series against lowa, the
Wolverines plan to send senior Brian Steinbach,
sophomore Bryan Cranson, junior Brian Berryman
and senior Mike Hribernik to the mound.
Michigan is still trying to compensate for the
loss of junior J.J. Putz, who has been out the past
two weekends with a knee injury.
As far as hitting concerns, the Wolverines have
none. According to Zahn, the Wolverines have had
a lot of hitting experience.
"The biggest surprise for us has been freshman
second baseman Scott Tousa," Zahn said. "He's

leading the team in hitting. He's been out
for us both in the field and with the b
Dallas, Texas, native is batting .417 thr
games.
Looking to the Iowa games, the Wolveri
no guarantees on how the series will end
teams have not played each other in two y
according to Zahn, Michigan does not ha
information about Hawkeyes, due to a
games.
The Hawkeyes are currently at home a
spring trip was rained out.
"On paper, we're supposed to be better,
off how we've finished the last two year
said. "But paper doesn't mean a whole is
could just phone it in, we'd be all right."

Women's track looks forward to tropics
Sprint team travels to Jamaica Invitational; distance runners left home to train
By Chris Duprey The meet will also be a special home- meets toward the end of the indoor sea- tance runners. We're still gro
Daily Sports Writer coming for sophomore Maria Brown. son, the Wolverines have recently learning how to race on thet

owing andri
collegiate p

Michigan women's track coach James
Henry had better watch out. He might
have a jealous distance squad on his
hands.
Well, who wouldn't be _.___
upset at being left home Ths wee
from this weekend's Jamaica
meet
Invitational? Henry will take Who: Nii
the sprint crew to compete Wh: ich
in the two-day meet, which Where:Jan
begins Friday, but the dis- Invitational,
tance runners will stay and Jamaica
train in the not-so-warm cli- When: Tom
mate of Ann Arbor. Saturday
Winning the Big Ten
championship and doing
damage at the NCAAs have the
Wolverines enjoying high morale all
around as they embark on the outdoor
season. The upcoming trip to the island's
capital of Kingston definitely will sus-
tain their good spirits.
"We're really excited," sophomore
Brandi Bentley said. "We were sup-
posed to go last year, but their track was-
n't finished. We've been looking for-
ward to it ever since."

The Kingston native will have an oppor-
tunity to perform in front of family and
friends.
"This is probably the only time they'll
-_- get to see me run," Brown

eke3
iga
, Ki
ior

nd's said.
The Wolverines will be
showcasing themselves in
i track team front of high school run-
ners who will also com-
ngston, pete at the meet. Henry
plans on using part of the
row and trip to recruit as well.
Michigan will load all
of its big guns in the 4 x
100-meter relay. Brown
will join fellow sophomore Kenise
Bocage and the freshman combination
of Tamika Craig and Regine Caruthers
to form the group. Bocage said she
believes that the Wolverines have an
excellent opportunity to set the school
record during the outdoor season.
"This could be our chance to go to
nationals in the 4 x 104," said Bocage.
"We have a lot of talent'
After tapering for the championship

stepped up their training.
"We started training hard again this
week' senior Brandy Taylor said. "With
the warm weather, I think we'll continue
where we left off."
The Wolverines will likely need the
same solid performances from the sprint
team in order to capture the outdoor por-
tion of the Big Ten championship.
"It's a good chance for the sprinters to
come out and show what we have,"
Bentley said. "We don't have the same
experience under our belts like the dis-

level."
The sprinters will have to do without'°?
the services of Marcella Cornell. The.
sophomore will see a doctor this week
to determine the extent of her back
injury.

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MARGARET MYERS/Daily
Distance runners on the Michigan women's track team will be left at home during
this weekend's competition. The sprinters, however, get the trip of a lifetime -
they'll compete In the Jamaica invitational, which, of course, takes place in
Jamaica. The team was supposed to make the trip last year, but didn't, because
* host track was under construction. "We've been looking forward to it ever
since," sophomore Brandi Bentley said.

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