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March 29, 1999 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-03-29

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68 - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - March 29, 1999

Back to basics pays off for 'M' softball .

By Stephanie Offen
Daily Sports Writer
Last week, the Michigan softball team
went back to fundamentals. They spent
hours working on the basics --pitching,
hitting and fielding. A championship in
the Purdue Invitational this weekend
proved that it all came together.
Michigan claimed victory in all four
of its games during the two-day span.
Not only did they go undefeated, but the
No. 8 Wolverines allowed only one run
in the four match-ups.
The Wolverines' amazing defensive
presence can be attributed to not just
clean pitching, but a flawless infield.
"We played sharp, making great plays
in the infield,' coach Carol Hutchins
said. "Our pitchers also did a really good
job only giving up one run."
Saturday pitted the Wolverines against
Indiana State and Loyola. Indiana State
provided Michigan with a familiar face
- they competed against each other last
week in the Capitol Classic. Michigan
came out on top there, as well.
But for the second time in a row, the
Sycamores were not able to score
against the Wolverines who came up
with the 11-0 five-inning victory.
Catherine Davie led the Michigan
attack. The tournament MVP went 2-
for-3 with four RBIs.
Davie "is having fun her senior year"
Hutchins said. "She is cool, calm and
collected. She is really enjoying it which
is the key to success.",
Loyola gave the Wolverines a sense of
deja vu. Another five-innings later

Michigan found themselves in the hands
of the mercy rule, once again victorious
over their opponents 11-0.
The Wolverines started off strong
against Loyola, scoring all five runs in
the first inning. But freshman Kate
Eiland gave up eight hits, giving
Michigan their biggest scare of the tour-
Sunday's competition did not provide
the Wolverines with tougher opponents.
No. 25 Central Michigan was sup-
posed to pose a threat to the Wolverines,
but ended up doing the opposite.
Michigan recorded its third shut-out of
the tournament against the Chippewas.
The game was scoreless through three
innings. But Michigan scored two in the
second inning and six in the sixth inning
to get the 8-0 win.
The one run Michigan gave up came
in the Wolverines 6-1 victory over
Bradley took the 1-0 lead in the first
inning, but then the Wolverines took
control. Jamie Gillies recorded her sec-
ond win of the tournament, only giving
up three hits in the two games.
While the competition may not have
been of Michigan's caliber, Hutchins
hopes her team does not get "too high on
themselves" because of this past week-
ends slaughter of the competition.
Hutchins attributes the championship
more to the stellar play of her team and
less to the lack of quality competition.
"When we play that well we don't
have to worry about the caliber of our
opponents" Hutchins said.

Mike Cervenak (shown above) went 4-for-5 with a homerun in the final game this
weekend against Iowa. Michigan won three games of the four-game series.
Miechigan nine
first Iowa Ci series
of ahn'S career

Melissa Taylor and the Michigan softball team only allowed one run in four games
this weekend at Boilermaker Invitational, their third-straight tournament victory.

By Dan Dingerson
Daily Sports Writer
IOWA CITY -- The Michigan
baseball team opened Big Ten play
this weekend in Iowa. It was the
team's first trip to Iowa in coach
Geoff Zahn's tenure.
The Wolverines won the series by
taking three out of the four games
The weather for the first three
games was ideal for the month of
March and only on Sunday was there
any rain.
Michigan opened the series with a
6- win in which senior Luke
Bonner pitched a complete game. He
just gave up six hits, but three went
for for extra bases.
The Wolverines were led by Bryan
Besco, who went 2-for-3 with a
home run, and two RBIs. Prior to the
series, Besco had been in a slump,
but broke out of it on Friday and
Saturday featured a double-header
of seven-inning games. The two
games couldn't have been more dif-
ferent for the two teams.
In the opener the Hawkeyes won
easily 7-4. Michigan appeared flat
the entire game both at the plate and
in the field. After Bobby Scales
opened the game with a double and
scored a run the Wolverines only
managed four hits, scoring no runs
during the rest of the game.
In contrast, Iowa scored in four
out of six at-bats against J.J. Putz.
Iowa was assisted by three Michigan
fielding errors. The miscues only
cost the team one run, but gave the
Hawkeyes more opportunities to
"If we're only going to score one
run, we're not going to win;" Zahn
For the Wolverines, the second
game was a complete turnaround.
Scales opened the game with a
leadeff homerun, and was followed
by Json Alcaraz who doubled. The
two hit well throughout the game;

Scales went 4-for-4 with a home run
and double, and Alcaraz went 3-for-
4 with two doubles and three RBI's.
Besco continued his power surge
hitting two home runs for four RBI's.
Besco finished the weekend 5-13
after going 0-4 in the series' finale.
The final score was 9-1 in favor of
the Wolverines. The lone Hawkeye
run was unearned in the fifth inning
after consecutive errors by Mike
Cervenak and Scott Tousa.
"The last couple were lackadaisi-
cal, I don't know if it was because
we were up by a couple of runs.
There is no excuse for that," Zahn
The game was highlighted by the
pitching performance of Bryce
Ralston. The sophomore pitched a
complete game and only gave up
four singles. He struck out three and
walked only one.
Pitching was one of the concern's
for this year's team. After three
games in this series, the Wolverines'
concerns may be diminishing.
"Well, I'm disappointed in Putz,
he should have thrown better," Zahn
said. But "yeah, I'm happy so far."
The final game on Saturday was
exactly what Zahn had worried
about. Freshman Bobby Korecky
started for the Wolverines and only
lasted into the second inning, giving
up eight runs on nine hits. Ryan
Kelley pitched five innings and gave
up three runs. Sophomore Vince
Pistilli closed the game for the
Wolverines, holding Iowa scoreless
over the last three innings.
But Michigan won the game, 10-8,
thanks to a strong hitting perfor-
mance. The team scored ten runs off
of Iowa's starting pitcher, Wes
Obermueller, before he left in the
fifth. Cervenak led the team, going
4-for-5 with a home run. Scales hit
3-for-6 with a triple; it was his fifth
extra-base hit of the Weekend.
The team comes home this week
hosting Central Michigan tomor-

Men's gymnasts turn the beat around

Continued from Page 1B
second, Vetere third, Haro seventh and Diaz-Luong
Toman missed first by only .175, falling to Iowa
junior Todd Strada 57.8-57.625.
"It hurts a little bit (to get) second place," Toman
said. "I thought that I might have pulled it out. It was
close. I wouldn't have cared if I was last in the all-
around because we got the team title,"
The Wolverines opened the team competition on the
floor exercise with senior co-captain Randy D'Amura
scoring a 9.6. Justin Toman led the way for Michigan
scoring a 9.65. Both scores held up throughout the
meet to qualify the two for the finals. Toman's was
strong enough to lead all gymnasts.
"Randy was the first one up on floor, and he nailed
his set;" Golder said. "That was really, really impor-
tant to set the stage for us, it was one of the keys."
But after one rotation, though, Michigan found
itself in fourth place, farther from the leaders than it
had anticipated.
Michigan rebounded when it moved to the pommel
horse and recorded a 38.875. Daniel Diaz-Luong was
the top scorer for the Wolverines with a 9.825. His
score tied for the best of the day in this event. Toman
also qualified for the finals with a score of 9.75.
"We really kicked it out on pommel horse, and that
gave us a lot of momentum" Golder said. "I thought
we were in the lead at that point. It's like a race car,
when you get the lead you keep the pedal to the metal
until it's over. That's what we did"
Because seven teams were competing in six events,
each rotation gave one team a bye. The byes made it
impossible to determine who was really leading after
each rotation because the teams had competed in a dif-
ferent amount of events.
The Wolverines found themselves on the still rings

for the third rotation. Performing third, Kenny Keener
energized the team with his 9.875. Scott Vetere fol-
lowed Keener with a score of 9.7, finishing second for
Michigan. Keener's score wasn't quite the best of the
day but it was good for second.
"It pumped us all up, Actually we were pumped up
the whole meet," Keener said. "My rings set helped,
but there were many more sets that helped us stay
Michigan then moved to the vault, where the team
found a bit of controversy. Diaz-Luong was originally
given a score of 9.35 for his vault. Diaz-Luong's vault
consists of two twists but the judges only saw him do
one. The extra twist makes for a difference of .4 in the
scoring. After protests by Golder and assistant coach
Mike Burns, the vault score was restored to 9.75.
Diaz-Luong "does a double twist," Burns said. "He
does it so well, he's so tight and so quick. The judges
thought that he only did one twist, but he did two full
twists. We were just livid. We thought that they
weren't going to change it, but there must have been a
shadow of a doubt."
Brad Kenna was forced to wait during the debate,
but was certainly not affected. He scored a 9.775,
good enough to lead the Wolverines and the meet.
Vetere then scored a 9.55. All three scores were
enough to qualify for Saturday.
The parallel, bars were highlighted by Toman's score
of 9.925. One judge scored his routine a 9.95, near
"I was feeding off of my teammates, they had some
good scores before me and I couldn't let them down;'
Toman said. "I didn't think that it was my best routine,
but the judges did, so I'm not complaining"
Michigan entered its final event in a position to win
the meet. But the event - high bar - was the team's
weakest. Again the team did not perform its best on
the event just scoring a 37.5. It was the only event of
the evening on which Michigan failed to hit at least

Michigan gymnast Daniel Diaz-Luong's double twist in.
the vault at the NCAAs was so quick that the judges
missed one of the twists, according to Michigan coa4
Kurt Golder.
38.0. Toman was the only one to qualify for the indi
vidual championship on the high bar with a score of
The Wolverines had their bye in the final rotation sb
they had to wait and see if their score would hold up;
Only Iowa and Ohio State could possibly catch
Michigan, but neither was able to score high enough.
Iowa finished .8 behind with a 229.475. Ohio StaIb
finished third, followed by Penn State, Michigan S,
Illinois and Minnesota.
Winning the Big Ten championship automatically
qualifies the team for NCAA regionals where they
will probably face many of the same teams as in this
"We still have two more, so this isn't the end,
D'Amura said. "We want the national title. This w~s
one of the goals but we still have the big one to go"


Continued from Page 1B
In addition to the six Wolveri*
earning All-Big Ten distinctions
Bridge Knaeble, Christine Michaud;
Sarah-Elizabeth Langford, Peters, Caid
and Simes -- Plocki was awarded co-
Big Ten Coach of the Year honors. -
"It is always an honor to be awarded
that kind of honor by your peers."
Plocki said. "It was a very exciting and
surprising moment."
The championship effort advan
Michigan to the NCAA Regionals
April 10.
In the meantime, the Wolverines
will "try to relax and continue to train
the way we have been training and pre-
pare for regionals," Plocki said.
Michigan has good reason to feet
optimistic as its postseason campaig
Besides posting its three highest
scores of the year in its last three regU-
lar season meets, the Wolverines
scored a 49.000 or higher and won
each event at the Big Ten
Championship besides the balance
Ultimately, Michigan will relish the
title and hope it is just the first step of
a championship season.
The women's Big Ten title, coupled
with the men's triumph at their respe
tive Big Ten Tournament (March
makes Michigan the first school to
claim both gymnastics titles in the
same season since 1991, when
Minnesota achieved the same feat..-
Ohio State (1985 and 1987) is the
only other school accomplish such a



' '


to 0


After taking the Big Ten title this weekend, the Michigan women's gymnastics team will have some time off before they com-
pete In the NCAA Regionals on April10.


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