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April 09, 2001 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-04-09

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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April
Clutch hitting leads
'baseball past Indiana

sweeps

® Wright's single yester-
day gave Michigan Nine
3-2 extra inning victory,
series sweep.
By Job Singer
Daily Sports Writer
When Indiana starting pitcher
Matt Rice exited yesterday's game
in the bottom of the eighth inning
after a one-out hit by Scott Tousa,
he knew that he'd given his team all
that he had.
"I was tired," Rice said. "They let
me go as far as I could go. I could
have kept going, but I didn't feel as
if I had to. I was having trouble just
keeping my breath at that point."
Because Indiana's bullpen had
been pitching well and Rice was
just coming off an injury, the deci-
sion was easy for coach Bob Mor-
gan.
"His arm was tightening up on
him, so I don't question myself at
all. Amen," Morgan said.
The Wolverines (5-3 Big Ten,
16-12 overall) were happy to see
him exit the game. Down 2-0 at
that point, they rallied back to win
3-2 in 10 innings, capping the
comeback with a Nate Wright,
bases-loaded single for his third
RBI of the game.
Heading into Sunday's game, the
Wolverines had already taken the
first three games of the weekend
from the Hoosiers (2-9, 17-17-1) 6-
Oh mercy! 1

2, 11-1 and 6-3. Although they
were outhit 10-9, the Wolverines
produced with runners on base and
were able to complete the four-
game series sweep, their first in the
Big Ten since they took four in a
row from Michigan State two years
ago.
The biggest hits - a bases-
loaded, two-run single in the eighth
and a game-winning, RBI basehit in
the 10th - were both delivered by
Wright in the cleanup spot, who is
now hitting .355.
"Nate looked very relaxed at the
plate today," Michigan coach Geoff
Zahn said. "He knows that he can
hit. He believes that he can hit any-
body and I am glad that we had him
up in those situations."
Wright was ready to hit once the
Hoosiers walked Michigan third
baseman Brock Koman.
"When they walked Brock to put
me up to the plate I was like 'Are
you kidding me? I'm going to hit
the ball,"' Wright said. "They were
pitching around Brock to get to
me."
The Wolverines committed two
errors in the game. They also had a
couple of defensive miscues during
Indiana's two-run first inning.
While the Wolverines could have
been hurt due to certain plays
which should have been made but
weren't, they were saved by a play
that probably shouldn't have been
made but was.
See SWEEP page 5B

Men's gymnastics
fourth at nationals
By Swapnil Patel
Daily Sports Writer
COLUMBUS - Simply "disappointing."
After finishing the regular season with a 12-1 record and
placing second to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championships,
the Michigan men's gymnastics team seemed prepared to
storm into Columbus to reclaim the NCAA title that was in its
possession two short years ago.
Last year's heartbreaker, a second-place finish to Penn
State by the slimmest of margins, only served to add more
fuel to the fire.
The team's desire to win was also plastered on their tee
shirts for this season - "Retain (Big Ten title) and Regain
(NCAA title)."
But in this past weekend's NCAA Championships at Saint
John Arena, Michigan only managed to take fourth place
behind Ohio State, Oklahoma and California.
"It's a disappointment," Michigan coach Kurt Golder said.
"It's one that slipped through our fingers."
During Friday night's team and all-around finals, the
Wolverines struggled immensely on the pommel horse. In un-
Michigan-like fashion, three of the six Wolverines fell while
performing their routines.
With the team total on each event consisting of the top four
scores, Michigan's chances at winning the NCAA title took a
huge dent as it gathered a season-low team score of 34.650 on
the pommel horse.
Throughout the season, pommel horse was one of the
team's strengths, producing an average score of 35.812.
Adding to the irony of the team's poor performance, Michi-
gan posted a season-high team total of 37.050 the previous
night in the pommel horse preliminaries to qualify for Fri-
day's team finals.
"Pommel horse killed us," Golder said.
"If we could take yesterday's pommel horse score, we
would have won the meet tonight by five tenths of a point, but
the ball hasn't bounced our way all year. We've had a lot of
things to overcome. I feel good for what we did do. But when
you know what you could have done ... pommel horse is a lit-
tle bit hard to take."
Even after spending the majority of the season attempting
to maintain consistency in their routines, the Wolverines
struggled to produce when they truly needed it.
"All we had to do is hit those routines," Golder said. "Con-
sistency is what we were trying to base the year on, but things
happen. Yesterday, it happened on parallel bars and it really
hurt our team total and today it happened on pommel horse.
Right now we'd be celebrating the national championship if
things that I guess I can't explain didn't take place."
In two earlier competitions this season, the Wolverines
defeated the Buckeyes, but they finished the season behind
Ohio State in the Big Ten and NCAA Championships.
"Not that this is the excuse, but we started off the season
with Kevin Roulston," Golder said.
Despite struggling on the pommel horse, Michigan actually
led the field by a tenth of a point after four rotations, but
Ohio State finished strong with impressive performances on
the rings and vault.
Competing at St. John Arena, the Buckeyes thrived off of
the home crowd. Huge contributions by Raj Bhavsar - the
nation's top performer on the parallel bars - and Jamie
Natalie - the NCAA all-around champion, followed by
moments of energetic prancing around the arena, kept the
Ohio State fans energized throughout the night. It helped the
Buckeyes earn their first NCAA title since 1996.
"It's already done and over with so there's nothing we can
do now," junior Brad Kenna said. "It hurts, but we'U get them
next year."
Saturday night concluded the three-day competition with
individual event finals. Featuring five Michigan gymnasts -
including juniors Scott Vetere, Daniel Diaz-Luong and
Kenna, and sophomores Kris Zimmerman and Conan Parzu-
chowski - the individual event finals gave the gymnasts a
chance to display their individual skills.
None of the qualifying Wolverines earned top honors, but
Vetere, Diaz-Luong, and Zimmerman each garnered second
place in events while Parzuchowski captured a fifth-place fin-
ish in the still rings. Each of the gymnasts earned All-Ameri-
ca honors for placing in the top six of their respective events.
"We've got to take the good with the bad," Golder said.
"It's a disappointment, but there's also the other side of the
coin. We have a lot to be proud of. They kept their heads
above the water all year long. With all the adversity that we
had to overcome this year, just to be in contention is really
phenomenal."

BRENDAN O'DONNELL/Daily
Designated hitter Mike Sokol watches a pitch go by in Saturday's second game. Michi-
gan went on to win 6-3 as part of a four-game sweep over Indiana.

5-3

win caps softball's perfect weekend

By Nathan Linsley
Daily Sports Writer

The Michigan softball team (6-0 Big
Ten, 21-11-1 overall) continued its dom-
inance in the Big Ten this weekend by
sweeping the state of Indiana in four
games.
The Wolverines defeated Indiana by
the mercy rule, 15-3, in five innings yes-
terday after squeaking by the Hoosiers,
2-0 on Saturday. Friday saw Michigan
take both games of a doubleheader
against Purdue, 6-1 and 4-3.
Yesterday, the Wolverines were the
beneficiaries of an extremely poor Indi-
ana defense. The left side of the
Hoosiers' infield struggled throughout
the afternoon, allowing Michigan back-
to-back six-run innings en route to its
highest run total of the season.
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins was
impressed with the solid performance by
the Michigan hitters, who scored their
15 runs on 14 hits, tying their season
high that was set last weekend against
Illinois.
The Wolverines were all over Indiana
pitchers Alison Cooke and Jen Smith,

with Kelsey Kollen, Stefanie Volpe and
Tune each recording three hits on the
day. Volpe was 3-3 with three runs
scored and three RBIs.
The easy victory gave Hutchins a
chance to play almost everyone on the
team, as 13 Wolverines went to the plate.
But the game was stopped after the fifth
inning to the dismay of Hutchins.
"I would like to do away with that
eight run rule. They don't stop a base-
ball game, they don't stop football when
we're ahead 40 to nothing," Hutchins
said. "I think it's a dumb rule. Let's
play."
Marie Barda was the winning pitcher
for Michigan with Kate Eiland - who is
continuing her comeback from hip
surgery - pitching the final inning.
"Well, we hit the ball hard a lot of
times, and that field is really tough,"
said Hutchins, noting that the Michigan
fielders also struggled. "It's hard, and
you're going to get a lot of hits on that."
Michigan shortstop Rebecca Tune,
who had two errors on the afternoon,
agreed that the infield made fielding
ground balls difficult.
See HOOSIERS, Page 413

BRAD QUINN/ Daily
Meghan Doe and Michigan kicked up some sand against Hoosier-state foes
this weekend as they swept Purdue and Indiana.

Woods
SlaIs
lhallengers,
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - Slam or
not, Tiger Woods was simply grand.
With a heart-stopper at Augusta
National punctuated with a birdie at
the end, Tiger Woods claimed the
greatest feat in modern golf yesterday
by winning The Masters, giving him
a clean sweep of the four professional
majors in a span of 294 days.
When that 18-foot birdie putt dis-
appeared into the hole, Woods raised
both arms in triumph as the massive
gallery roared its approval.
He doffed his cap to cover his tears
as he left the green and walked into
the arms of his father .Erl. who

Regional repeat sends women to Georgia

By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Writer

On its way off the Crisler Arena floor, after
finishing the final event of the night, the
Michigan women's gymnastics team waved
hello to its fans.
Then the Wolverines waved good-bye to
their opponents.
Punch the plane tickets to Georgia - the
Wolverines are headed back to the national
championships for the ninth-consecutive year.
Sparked by senior Bridget Knaeble's all-
around co-title in her final home appearance,
the seventh-ranked Wolverines posted their
second-highest team score of the year with a
197.225.
The mark was good enough to wrap up the
Northeast Regional title, holding off the sec-
ond-place mark of 196.725 posted by No. 6
Stanford which also aualified for nationals.

AP PHOTO
Tiger Woods speaks to the Augusta crowd
after earning his second green jacket,
down the haunting back nine of

Senior Bridget Knaeble's top all-around score was key in Michigan's regional championship.

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