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April 06, 2001 - Image 10

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-04-06

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SPORTS

FRIDAY
APRIL 6, 2001

10,

i2 :,- Tumblers seek stage two of "Triple Crown',

WOMEN'S GYMNASTICS

ANN ARBOR

REGIONALS

By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Writer
Two weekends ago, the Michigan women's
gymnastics team took the first step toward a
national title by winning the Big Ten Champi-
onship.
Tomorrow night at Crisler Arena, they'll
attempt to take step two.
The No. 7 Wolverines will host the NCAA
Northeast Regional Championships, a competi-
tion where the top two team finishers will head
to Georgia for the National Championships.
Everyone else goes home for the year.
With No. 6 Stanford and No. 18 Louisiana
State joining Massachusetts, New Hampshire and
Rhode Island traveling to Michigan's turf for the
meet, the Wolverines realize that they have a
glorious opportunity to win in a difficult situa-
tion.
"Anytime we're going into a championship
competition, we have to have the attitude that
we're going to win," Michigan coach Bev Plocki
said. "We know that we only have to be one of
the top two teams to move on, but I absolutely
think that everyone of my athletes is ultimately
looking for the Triple Crown - Big Ten,
Regional, and National Championships."
In front of a partisan crowd at Crisler for the
Big Ten Championships, Michigan routed the

competition, defeating second-place Penn State
by a fairly significant 0.8 margin, despite strug-
gling on the balance beam.
Being at home once again, the Wolverines are
confident and ready.to defend their title won at
last season's regional when they posted a team
score of 196.550.
"We've been in Crisler a hun-
dred times and had a bunch of 0
good meets there the last few CRISL
weeks," Christine Michaud said. Who:Michigan ho
"We've gotten it done so many Regional Champi
times there that we know we can When: 6:00 p.m. t
get it done anywhere." Latest The top tw
In the Big Ten meet, the teamfield-inclu
Wolverines were forced to finish aodvancetotheN
on the beam - their spot which

LEI
ons
tof
Not
idin
18t
ltic

National Championship will not bring enough of
a challenge to its events, Michigan's seniors -
Michaud, Bridget Knaeble and Karina Senior -
will be performing for the last time in front of
the home fans.
"I think that when emotions are involved it's
always a good thing," Senior said. "Knowing
that it's *the last time perform-
ing for the home crowd, we
R ARENA might have that extra bit of
stheNCAA Northeast edge and energy."
hips While three of the five
norrow teams that compete this week-
eamsfrom the six end will be hard pressed to
ng Michigan, No.6 challenge Michigan, Stanford
Louisiana State will
nal Championship. was one of two teams to beat
the Wolverines in the season
opening Super Six competition.
In addition to that, Louisiana State was ranked
in the toplO nationally in pre-season rankings
and finished ninth at last year's National Cham-
pionships.
The competition will be stiff, but the Wolver-
ines feel that if they hit their routines like they
have shown they can, then they'll be packing.
their bags for a trip to Georgia - and a shot at
the honor they all want. m
"We're striving to get to the 'Triple Crown,' "
Senior said. "So far we've got one. Hopefully
this weekend we'll get the Regional title too."

has proved most consistently difficult throughout
the year.
When the Regional rotations were released,
Michigan could not help but feel a little unlucky.
Once again, the Wolverines will conclude their
night on the beam.
"I think it's always harder to end on beam
because you know what's at stake," Janessa
Grieco said. "But it's good for us, because when
we're in that situation again we need to go in
there and prove to ourselves that we can do any
rotation."
If the emotions of competing for a spot in the

BRENDAN u O' NILL/uaily
Freshman Calli Ryals performs on the balance beam -the event that has proven
to be the biggest problem spot for Michigan throughout the season.

Blue's schedule lobbing softballs
with few conference contests

By David Roth
Daily Sports Writer
Like carnivores at a salad bar, the
Michigan softball team has been
malnourished with Big Ten games,
having played a conference low of
two thus far.
But this weekend, it's time to dust
off the bibs, as four Big Ten games
are on Michigan's plate. The
Wolverines square off today against
Purdue in a doubleheader* starting at
2 p.m at Alumni Field.
This will be Michigan's first
extended homestand this season and
the first time it hosts conference
opponents.
"We love playing at home,"
Michigan pitcher Marie Barda said.
"Traveling is not our favorite. All
ourjans will be there, so we know
One-two punch
The Michigan softball team feels it
has an advantage in double head-
ers. With both Marie Barda and
Marissa Young, opponents are
fprced to play back-to-back games
,against two pitchers who are capa-
lale.of being No. 1 starters for the
Woiverines.
6ARDA
BRA W L BB So
.k4 7 4 27 64
''Y~NG
F RA W L BB SO
,1:32 9 6 24 91

we'll have a lot of support."
The Wolverines have been steam-
rolling their opponents and have
taken five-straight games to improve
to 17-I1-1.
But Michigan's past three games
have been against Oakland and
Bowling Green, who are far from
Big Ten caliber. The Wolverines'
mindset for Big Ten and non-confer-
ence competition is totally different,
and the challenge of Purdue and
Indiana excites Barda.
"I totally believe our team is ready
for it," Barda said. "We're all psy-
ched and ready to play Big Ten con-
ference teams. We're ready to be
serious about our game."
Purdue is a team to get seriots
about, with a 25-12-1 overall record
and a 2-2 mark in the Big Ten.
While Michigan has been devouring
cupcake teams, the Boilermakers are
coming off a pair of losses to No. 11
Notre Dame.
Outfielder Andrea Roush, who is
batting .327, and shortstop Katie
Crabtree lead the team.
But Roush and Crabtree will have
to take on Barda and Marissa Young
in the doubleheader. Oakland, which
saw just five hits in a doubleheader
against Michigan, knows that warm
and fuzzy aren't adjectives to
describe Michigan's top pitchers.
"Marissa and I are both revved up
for these games and ready to throw
hard," Barda said.
Doubleheaders play to Michigan's

ALUMNI FELD
Who: Michigan (2-0Big Ten, 17-11-1 overall)
vs. Purdue (2-2, 25-10-1) (DH), Michigan vs.
Indiana
When: 2 p.m. today, 2 p.m. Saturday, lp.m.
Sunday
Latest: The Wolverines are riding a four-game
winning streak into this weekend's important
conference schedule.
advantage because the team has what
coach Carol Hutchins calls "two num-
ber one pitchers." Hutchins said that
while other teams use their best pitch-
er in the first game, Michigan never
has to settle for a second-rate pitcher.
Indiana, a weaker team than the
Boilermakers, will take on the
Wolverines Saturday at 2 p.m. and
Sunday at 1 p.m. after heading to
East Lansing for a doubleheader
against Michigan State today. Indi-
ana is 11-22 with one win in four
Big Ten games.
Though the Hoosiers' bats are
often slow, base runners make the
most of their opportunities. The
Hoosiers are one of the quickest
teams in the Big Ten and have stolen
29 bases in 38 attempts. Catcher
Brook Monroe leads the team with a
.350 batting average and has tremen-
dous power, slugging eight home-
runs thus far.
It's likely the Wolverines will see
pitcher Allison Cooke at least once.
In 21 appearances, she has allowed
two runs or fewer on 12 occasions.

DANNY MOLOSOKu'any
Shortstop Bill LaRosa makes the tag at second base in last Friday's game against Penn State. Michigan prides itself on its
infield defense. After 20 runs scored in two games this past week, the Wolverines are proud of their bats, too.
More runs, More Confidence for'M

By Job Singer
Daily Sports Writer
Heading into this weekend's four-
game home series against Indiana (2-
3 Big Ten, 13-16-1 overall), the
Michigan baseball team (1-3, 12-12)
should feel good about itself.
Although power-hitting outfielder
Gino Lollio could be out for up to
three weeks with a hand injury, the
team's bats have come alive.
"Our hitting is really coming
around," Michigan coach Geoff
Zahn said. "With the aluminum bats
you can really score some runs."
The team did just that on Tuesday
when they beat Bowling Green by a
score of 16-4. On Wednesday, they
put just four runs across the plate,
but that proved to be sufficient as
starting pitcher Rich Hill anchored a
two-hit shutout of Eastern Michigan.
Against the Eagles, a new star
emerged as centerfielder C.J. Ghan-
nam went 3-for-4 with a homerun.

"Ghannam is really hitting well,"
Zahn said. "He is very important to
our lineup."
Heading into the Indiana series,
the Wolverines have confidence in
winning either a slug-out or a pitch-
er's duel. Depending on who Indiana
throws, the Wolverines may juggle
their starting lineup a little bit. This
is a luxury due to the strong produc-
tion of so many players. Five mem-
bers of the lineup are hitting above
.300.
"We've said all along that we've
got good pitching," Zahn said.
"We'll adjust it to whomever they
pitch."
Indiana has proven that it can put
runs on the board. On Wednesday,
they defeated Indiana State 10-1. But
it is doubtful that they'll be able to
score that many runs against the
Wolverines formidable pitching
staff.
Furthermore, the Wolverines'
home park, Ray Fisher Stadium, has

.
- " -

RAY FISHER STADIUM
Who: Michigan (1-3 Big Ten, 12-12 overall)
vs. Indiana (2-5,17-13-1)
When: 3 p.m. today,1 p.m. tomorrow (DH},"
p.m. Sunday.
atest: Last year the Wolverines were able to
split the season series (2-2) with Indiana.
Senior pitcher Nick Alexander managed a 7-6
victory over the Hoosiers last season, and
will have a chance to repeat that feat in the
front end of Saturday's doubleheader.
nol been the home to very many hig
scoring contests this season.
The Wolverines rotation h'hs
included Bobby Korecky (RHP, 3-2
2.36 ERA), Nick Alexander (LHP,
1-3, 5.52 ERA). Jim Brauer (RHP, -
1, 4.64 ERA) Tim Leveque (RHP 1-
1, 0.42 ERA). The major omisson:
from the pitching rotation continues-
to be tri-captain Bryce Ralston. After
two brief appearances, Ralston i
still rehabbing from Tommy John
surgery.
"He threw in a simulated game,
this week," Zahn said. "Ralston is"
not quite ready yet so we are wor k''
ing him. I think he is trying to come6
back from the minimal amounf of
time. I'm still very optimistic."
Even without Ralston, the Wolvet
ines appear to have five solidified'
starters. Vince Pistilli (1-2, 6 1
ERA), who led the team with I'
starting nods last year, will be work-
ing out of the bullpen this weekend.
"Our pitching can keep us in ball=
games no matter what," Zahn said.

--b
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