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April 16, 1999 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-04-16

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Amecan League
Minnesota at
DETROIT, Inc.
Texas 4,
SEATTLE 3
TORONTO 11,
Tama Bay 1

Baltimore at
NEW YORK, Inc.
Kansas City at
CLEVELAND, post.
Chicago 4,
BOSTON 0
Anaheim 12,
OAKLAND 1
National League

SAN FRANCISCO 5,
Houston 2
COLORADO 6
San Diego 4
Milwaukee 9,
MONTREAL 4
Atlanta at
PHILADELPHIA, post.
Florida at
NEW YORK. Inc.

9Stcaof

tracing 6M' prospects
Offensive tackle Jon Jansen and tight end Jerame Tuman
have high prospects going into tomorrow's NFL Draft.
Wide receiver Tai Streets also had high prospects, but
reports of a torn Achilles' tendon have dampened them.
Friday
April 16, 199911

The rock

Alcaraz sparks
Blue with solid
consistency
BY GEOFF GAGNON DAILY SPORTS WRITER
rown specks of cookie-crumb spotted the
black of his coat ashe spoke. Out of breath,
and nearly out of cookies, Jason Alcaraz
emerged from the Michigan clubhouse at Ray
Fisher Stadium with the kind of smile you might
expect from somebody who had known success
before.
After all, it was his hitting that day that helped
spark the Wolverines to their sixth win in seven
games as they opened home play against Central
Michigan last month.
But Alcaraz didn't beam with pride or radiate
with some sense of inner confidence that day. He
adjusted his sagging bookbag on his shoulder and
filled his mouth. He had been there before.
And between swallowing what remained of a
fistful of Keebler's finest, the senior right fielder
uttered something that resembled an apology for
being in such a hurry.
And like success, you could tell that the feeling
wasn't foreign to him. Jason Alcaraz always seems
to be in a hurry, and not surprisingly, he seems to
get to where he wants to go.
At least that what his play indicates - and that's
what he showed that day earlier this spring. The
outfielder legged out a pair of triples, going two
for five from the plate while driving in three runs.
But it didn't come easily.
"I didn't think I was going to make it safely to
third on the second one," Alcaraz said later. "I was
just trying to go as fast as I could. I'm not the
fastest guy in the world, but luckily, I beat out the
throw."
While he admits he's not the speediest member
of Michigan's lineup, Alcaraz can't deny that for
the last four seasons he's been perhaps the most
consistent.
With a subtle slice of blue-collar workmanship
and a penchant for professionalism, Alcaraz has
boldly staked a claim as a hard worker, while qui-
etly positioning himself in the Wolverine record
books.
Currently sixth on the Michigan all-time RBI
and all-time doubles list, the two-time all-Big Ten
selection is fast approaching the fourth spot on

DANA LINNANE/Daily
The Michigan softball team looks to stay atop the Big Ten this weekend when they
face second-place Northwestern in a three-game series.
Softball hopes to
tame Cats for
to confieence so

DANA UNNANE/Daily
After being named Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 1996, Jason Alcaraz has gone on to define himself as one of
Michigan's most valuable hitters of all time. The senior hopes to lead his squad back to the top of the Big Ten.

Stephanie Offen
y Sports Writer
The Michigan softball team is fac-
ing an unfamiliar situation.
Wednesday the Wolverines (37-5-
1) suffered their first loss in 34
games when they were defeated by
Central Michigan 7-4 in the first
game of a doubleheader,
Michigan rebounded to win the
second matchup defeating the
*ippewas 6-3. But now instead of
building on a record-setting winning
streak, the team is
starting from
scratch. To)
"They have to --. . ---.
learn to deal with Who:
losses, which is Michigan vs.
new to them" Northwestern
Michigan coach Where:
Carol Hutchins ers:
said. Evanston
*'They were dis- When:
appointed, but it Doubleheader
was important that row, 1 pm, SL
we rebounded in 1 P.M.
the second game.
We want them to Notable:
dwell on the win." Blue looks to s
This weekend the atop Big Ten a
Wolverines will go face Northwes
Evanston for a
1ree-game series
th Northwestern.
This weekend could possibly push
Michigan out of their familiar spot
atop the Big Ten. The Wildcats are
currently second in the conference
with a 5-1 record.
But Hutchins said it is too early in
the race to focus on conference rank-
ings.
.i Instead, Hutchins would rather
focus on the Wildcats' speed.
"They steal everything in sight,"
tchins said.
-"This could definitely pose prob-
lems for us if they make base
advances. We just have to keep them
off of base."
And if the Michigan defense con-
tinues its strong run, that shouldn't
be a problem.
The Wolverines looked unstop-
pable earlier this week against Penn
*te.
.Michigan only allowed two runs in
the first game against the Nittany
Lions, and shut them out in the second.

to
ui
Si
iter

And with a few days to rest,
Michigan's defense should not be
suffering from the fatigue that
plagued them in Wednesday's loss.
Recently, the outstanding presence
in the infield as well as at the plate
can be attributed to two newcomers
on the squad.
Freshmen Kelsey Kollen and
Stefanie Volpe have stepped up
recently for the Wolverines and will
be looked to do so again in this
weekend's games for that No. 1
spot.
"Kelsey is playing like a
Y junior," Hutchins said. "I
told her that we are going
to need her spunk. Volpe
will play behind the plate
again because she has a
better chance to defend
against the steals. We need
our young players and they
are responding."
imor- And while Michigan may
iday, be leading the conference
in hitting with 5.5 hits a
game, the Wildcats are
known for their timely hit-
Y ting led by pitcher Brooke
they Siebel.
rn. Siebel is second in bat-
ting on Northwestern's
squad, and in only her sec-
ond year on the team, has set a new
RBI record, averaging a shade less
than one a game.
But along with the defense,
Michigan's pitching has also been on
fire lately.
Sophomore Marie Barda is leading
the trio of pitchers with 14-straight
wins. Her power pitching led the
team to both victories over Penn
State.
The Wolverines need to get back
to familiar territory with three wins
this weekend.
With three wins this weekend, they
will be able to keep the Wildcats
from taking away the only spot
Michigan has known all season, the
one atop the Big Ten.

Michigan's all-time hit list.
Potent from the plate, Alcaraz has given the
Wolverines a consistency they come to count on
- in any situation.
"He's got such a solid swing that I think you
could put him in an icebox for six months," Zahn
said. "Bring him out and put him in an elevator
shaft and he'd still get a hit. He's just that type of
guy."
A QUICK START
Highly touted and heavily recruited, Alcaraz
emerged from high school much like he did from
the tunnel of Fisher Stadium last month.

Baseball goes indoors to try

The New Mexico player of the year had been
celebrated as an impressive college prospect. In
his senior year he batted an unthinkable .621 en
route to player of the year honors from Gatorade
and Mizuno.
Alcaraz, it seemed was already a seasoned vet-
eran to success, accomplishing more with his
prep career than most achieve in a lifetime ofath-
letics. The Albuquerque native shined as bright as
any young prospect in the desert Southwest -
winning a pair of state titles at Eldorado High -
but he was in a hurry for more. And after a fall
See ALCARAZ, Page 13
to halt slie

Wolverines travel to Minnesota to face conference-leading Golden Gophers

By Dan Dingerson
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan baseball team gets
back into the swing of Big Ten com-
petition this weekend when the team
travels from 'The Fish' to 'The Land
of 10,000 Lakes'.
The Wolverines will To
try to start winning . . .
again after dropping
four of six games in the Who:
past week. Minnesota is Michiganv
far from an easy oppo- Minnesota
nent though. Where:
The No. 24 Golden Minneapo
Gophers haverplayed When:T
like sharks recently, pm. oo
tearing up the opposi- p.m., tom
tion. Sunday, 1
Minnesota has won Notable
nine games in a row to rebound
heading into the series loss to Oa
with Michigan.
The Gophers share
the Big Ten lead with Ohio State -
a team that dominated Michigan at
Ray Fisher Stadium this past week-
end.
After losing its first non-confer-
ence game since coming home from
an early-season west-coast swing,
the team will need to improve to earn
some conference wins.
Midway through the Big Ten sea-

son, the Wolverines find themselves
at .500 with a 6-6 record. The team
started by winning a series in Iowa
and then splitting with Big Ten
champion Illinois at home. Michigan

looked like
DAY
vs.
is
Today, 3
orrow and
p.m.
e: 'M' Looks
id after 12-4
kWand Wed.

it could contend for the
Big Ten title until dis-
aster struck against the
Buckeyes.
"You never know in
the Big Ten," Michigan
coach Geoff Zahn said.
"One week, guys look
like world-beaters, and
the next they lose three
out of four."
The series against
Minnesota marks the
third straight series that
the Wolverines have
faced a Big Ten oppo-
nent who began the
season ranked ahead of
them. For a team look-

ing to repeat the glory of two sea-
sons ago, wins against the top teams
in the Big Ten are necessary.
"We knew coming into the season
that if we had thoughts of making the
playoffs or winning the Big Ten we
needed to win some of these games,"
Zahn said. "We definitely would like
to win in Minnesota, and it would
See GOPHERS, Page 13

DANA LINNANE/Daily
if the Michigan baseball team continues its play of late, Bryan Besco and
Michigan will have a tough time competing with Minnesota this weekend.

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