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April 04, 2002 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-04-04

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 4, 2002- 9A

Reversal of fortunes for 'M'

The secret world of
Lisa Mack revealed

By Kyle O'Neill
Daily Sports Writer

Last Saturday, the Michigan softball team couldn't
get anything going offensively in its first game
against Penn State and eventually lost, 1-0.
Yesterday it appeared as if the first-game-of-the-
week problems would continue as Bowling Green
had the Wolverines' number early on, holding their
first five hitters to just two hits for the entire game.
What the Falcons didn't count on was the reemer-
gence of Michigan's No. 7-9 hitters, who led the
Wolverines to a 4-1 victory.
After hitting a combined 5-for-38 this past week-
end against Penn State and Ohio State, the bottom
three of the lineup were looking to provide any spark
to help generate offense. Not many would have
expected them to come out on fire, considering the
troubles the top of the lineup had with Bowling
Green pitcher McKenna Houle. But they managed to
keep their bats hot on a day when hand warmers
were the best selling item at the park.
The trio of shortstop Jessica Merchant, catcher
Lisa Mack and pitcher Nicole Motycka were a com-
bined 3-for-5, with two sacrifice bunts, two walks
and three runs batted in.
"Bottom of the order came through today. And
you know what, we need that to happen because the
top of the order didn't do well today," Michigan
coach Carol Hutchins said. "You need balance, and
this is a sport where you have innings where you just
don't get things going offensively and you don't get
in a groove. We hit .300 as a team, so (just) 30 per-
cent of the time we're going to get a hit.
"So the key goes back to playing defense. We
made some great defensive plays in the first and sec-
ond inning."
For how much offense Michigan's bottom three
brought to the lineup, the trio's play in the field also
kept the No. 13 Wolverines (3-1 Big Ten, 25-7 overall)
from losing the game to last year's MAC East Divi-
sion Champions Bowling Green (3-3 MAC, 11-13-1).
The entire top half of the first inning belonged to

Merchant and her glove, getting three groundballs
and converting them into three outs. Her biggest save
came in that inning with two outs.
The Falcons had runners on the corners and were
threatening to put their mark on the scoreboard.
Bowling Green's Holly Frantz - who later knocked
in her team's only run with an RBI-double - hit a
rocket in between Merchant and third baseman Ste-
fanie Volpe. With Volpe holding a runner on the
base, there was a large gap between the two Wolver-
The freshman Merchant quickli made up the
space difference with a backhanded grab and a thun-
derous throw to first to get the third out of the inning
and end the scoring threat.
"That's a major-league play," Hutchins said of
Merchant's grab. "That was Volpe's ball in my opin-
ion, so Merchant got to play two positions" on that
In her first home start at catcher this season, Mack
provided the same type of defense and pitcher-catch-
er relationship that regular starter Monica Shock has
had behind the plate this year. With sophomore
pitcher Meghan Ritter being inserted for Motycka
late in the game, it was Mack who was able to get
Ritter to laugh, calm down and pitch a solid seventh
inning after allowing a walk and a single with just
one out.
Mack and Schock "do a real good job of (keeping
a positive attitude on the mound) - (Monica's) got-
ten a lot better at that and it's Mack's forte," Hutchins
Motycka, making her second straight start, gave
up just five hits in six innings, with just one coming
after Bowling Green scored in the top of the third.
The sub-40-degree weather wasn't exactly helping
the Florida native, Motycka, in her third appearance
at Alumni Field. She hit one batter early on and had
troubles controlling some of her breaking balls.
"I've had problems with my control the past cou-
ple of days, and we've worked on adjusting, and
that's what happened in the third and fourth innings,"
Motycka said.

By Courtney Lewis
Daily Sports Writer

Coach Carol Hutchins found the offensive support
needed from the bottom three batters In yesterday's win.
After Bowling Green tied the game at one apiece
in the third, Michigan responded in the fourth and
sixth innings to put the game away.
In the fourth, Melinda Moulden scored off her
leadoff single thanks to a sacrifice bunt by Merchant,
which advanced her to second base find a double by
Mack which knocked. The sixth inning was the nail
in the coffin, as walks by Marissa Young and
Moulden set up another Merchant sacrifice bunt,
which sent the runners to second and third with one
out. Motycka helped her own cause with a.single,
scoring Young. Senior Kelsey Kollen followed with
another single to bring in Moulden for the final run
of the game.
Ritter replaced Motycka in the seventh inning and
allowed runners to reach first and second before
forcing Bowling Green's Libby Voshell to pop out
and end the game for Ritter's first save this season.

Junior catcher Lisa Mack got the
best of an old rivalry in Michigan's 4-1
win over Bowling Green yesterday
afternoon. Mack (Saline High School)
and Bowling Green's pitcher, McKenna
Houle (Chelsea High School), compet-
ed against each other in Michigan's
Southeastern Conference all four years
of their high school careers.
After the Wolverines struggled to
find their offensive touch, Maok got the
scoring started with an RBI single in
the second inning. In her next at bat,
Mack sent a Houle pitch to center field
for a double that knocked in Michigan's
second run. That put the Wolverines up
2-1, a lead they wouldn't surrender for
the rest of the game.
Mack said she enjoyed facing her
former rival, but she wasn't sure if the
familiarity helped her hitting.
"That was kind of nice," Mack said.
"I think I might have had an unfair
advantage today. I was just seeing the
ball good today, so I don't really know"
The game was Mack's first start at
catcher since March 23 and her first at
Alumni Field this season. Monica
Schock played all four of Michigan's
home matchups last weekend against
Penn State and Ohio State.
The bottom of the order couldn't
come up with much offensively in
Michigan's first weekend of Big Ten
play, and Mack, batting eighth yester-
day, injected some life into the lineup.

"We just started swinging, and when
we swing, anything can happen. We
have good hitters," Mack said.
The Wolverines also appreciated
Mack's presence behind the plate.
Though Motycka and Meghan Ritter
- who closed the game - got off to
shaky starts, Mack helped settle them
"I just told (Motycka) to go have fun,
just throw the ball. Throw strikes,
preferably," Mack said, adding that she
took a different approach with Michi-
gan's reliever. "I was able to make Rit-
ter laugh."
Coach Carol Hutchins said that's one
of the strongest parts of Mack's game.
"I think it's Mack's forte really,"
Hutchins said. "Mack does a really nice
job with the pitchers in the.bullpen, in
practice and in games."
Schock has seen most of the action
at catcher for Michigan. Hutchins
said she counts on both players, but
wouldn't say if Mack's performance
today would earn her additional play-
ing time.
"Mack has played a great role for us
and she'll continue to do that,"
Hutchins said. "The great thing about it
is that we have two catchers we can
count on. Definitely, she's one of the
reasons for our success."
Mack seemed comfortable with
her role.
"Whenever I can rest Mo (Monica),
that's my job," she said. "So I was
happy to do my job today. We'll see
what happens in the future."

Continued from Page 8A
This year's upperclassmen now have
the newcomers believing that this is the
place to be.
"All the upperclassmen have had
great experiences there, and we were so
excited that we were going back," junior
co-captain Janessa Grieco said. "We've
had some great meets there, so hopeful-.
ly, this will be another one of them"
The Wolverines plan to welcome
back another one of those upperclass-
men in senior Missy Peterson this week-
end as they attempt to repeat history.
Peterson has been sidelined for three
meets now after suffering an ankle
injury in practice nearly a month ago. If
she can compete, it will bring a much
needed boost to the Wolverines, who
were forced to count a fall in Big Tens
in Columbus.
"This is the home stretch for the sen-
iors;' Michigan head coach Bev Plocki
said. "Everybody will be putting forth
their best effort and looking to the sen-
iors for the extra little fire."

Continued from Page 8A
tacked on three more runs against
Detroit (4-11) in the final three
innings, despite heavy snow flurries.
"On (Brandon) Jominy's infield
single, the snow got so thick, I
couldn't tell if the ball was through
the infield or not," Harrison said
about a play during the sixth
The hit that Harrison described
was one of 13 for Michigan.
Detroit's pitchers might have been
rusty because they had not played in,
the last nine days, but Michigan's
pitchers fared much better despite
even longer layoffs.
Freshman Paul Hammond started
the game for Michigan despite hav-
ing just four innings of experience
and a month between his previous
Hammond allowed three hits in
his two innings of work but avoided
trouble with two pickoffs. Hain-
mond easily picked off Justin Dav-

enport after realizing Detroit players
were moving as soon as he lifted his
leg. The second pickoff of Tim
Andrzejak wasn't as easy - or
"I was already on my downward
movement and I was moving toward
the plate," Hammond said. "I saw
him going and I was like, 'Oh no!'
It was a balk. There is no doubt
about it. But it didn't get called, and
he was called out."
Michigan used six pitchers with
limited experience to strikeout 10
Titans and allow just six hits - two
more than the number of errors
Detroit had on the day.
Harrison also gave second base-
man Dan Augustine and left fielder
Chris Burhans rare chances to play.
Augustine has been sidelined most
of the season with a hamstring
injury and each played in-just eight
of Michigan's first 19 games. Harri-
son said both players have offensive
prowess, but the duo went just 1-for-
7 yesterday.
But Burhan made that one hit

count, when he doubled to drive in
two runs in the seventh inning. One
of the few players that didn't see
any action yesterday was Brandon
Roberts, who leads the team in RBIs
and home runs. He missed the game
due to a sprained ankle.
The Wolverines have now won
five of their six hoies games this
season, but are just 2-.12 on the
They won't be playing in the
friendly confines of The Fish this
weekend. Instead, they will be play-
ing in the Metrodome against Min-
nesota, last season's Big Ten
Tournament Champion.
The team is hoping its momentum
will carry over into the weekend.
"I think that's something we've
been doing real well, just going out
with confidence and playing well,"
Fox said.
It's no coincidence that this confi-
dence has resulted in more wins for
Michigan. And after four wins in the
last five games, it shouldn't be a
problem anymore.

Michigan 10, Detroit 0

Michigan 4, Bowling Green 1
Bowling Green (3-3,11-13-1) Michigan (3-1, 25-7)

Detroit (0-0, 4-11)
Player AB R H RI
Voit2b 3 0B0 0
Kotowski 2b 1 0 0 0
Moehlig dh 4 0 0 0
Davenport cf 3 0 0 0
Lukasik ph/rf3 0 1 0
Wechter If 3 0 0 0
Corbett If 1 0 0 0
Andrezjak rf/cf4 0 2 0
Poley 1b 4 0 1 0
Mitrevski c 2 0 1 0
Mannor ph/c 2 0 1 0
Leichtman 3b 0 0 0 0
Wilson ph/3b1 0 0 0
Malley ss 2 0 0 0

Michigan (3-1, 7-13)
Player AB R H BI
Augustine 2b 3 0 0
Rudden 2b/ss 1 0 0 0
Colemanoc 2 0 0 0
Fox c 2 1 1 1
Wuerfel c 1 000
Koman ss 4 211 0
Cantalamessa2b0 0 0 0
Sokol dh 2 2 2 1
Esper pr/dh 2 0 0 0
Lollio rf 3 2 1 0
Wright 1b 5 13 2
Burhans If 4 0 1 2
Jornny 3b 4 1 2 0
Butler of 2 0 0 0
Rutkowski cf 2 1 1 1

Player 1
Machain of
Phillips lb
Voshell ss
Wilson If
Frantz c
Moore 2b
Kernahan 3b
Tipton rf
Fenton dhi
Houle p

AR R H RI Player
4 0 2 0 Kollen2b
3 1 1 0 Doe cf
3 00 0 Volpe 3b
3 0 0 0 Schock dh
3 0 1 1 Youngl1b
3 0 1 0 MouldenIf
3 0 0 0 Merchant ss
3 0 1 0 Mack c
1 000 Motycka p
0 0 0 0 Teshlerprf
Conner rf/pr
Ritter p
26 1 6 1 Total

AS R H 51
4 0 100
22 00
30 0
110 0
0 0 0 0
21 4 64

Total 31 0 6 0 Total 371013
Detroit 000 000 000- 0 6 4
Michigan 302 201 20x - 10132
HR - Michigan: Fox (2), Rutowski (1). SB- Michigan:
Rudden (1), Sokol (1), Jominy 2(5).
Avery L(0-1) 3 7 5 3 1 0
Astraaukes 1 2 2 2 0 1
Spiess 1 0 0 0 1 1
DeLisle 1 1 1 1 1 0
Grimonte 1 3 2 1 0 1
Diaz 1 0 0 0 1 1
Hammond 2 3 0 0 1 3
Collins 2 0 0 0 0 1
Young 1 0 0 0 2 0
Garson 2 1 0 0 1 2
Garza 1 1 0 0 0 2
Tognetti 1 1 0 0 0 2
At- Ray Fisher Stadiumn, Ann Arbor Attendmwc- 253 Tne-1:37


E - Michigan; Kollen DP - Bowling Green 1. LOB -
Bowling Green 7; Michigan 8;'28- Bowling Green 1:
Frantz (3); Michigan 2: Schock , Mack. 3B - none.
HR - none. BB - Bowling Green 2: Frantz, Fenton:
Michigan 5: Volpe, Young 2, Merchant, Motycka.
HBP - Bowling Green 1: Houle (by Moytcka); Michi-
gan none. SB - none CS - Michigan 1: Volpe

Bowling Green 001 000 0-
Mlchlgan 010 102 x -

1 60
46 1

Bowling Green
Houle, L (4-6) 6.0
Motycka, W (12-2) 6.0
Ritter 1.0

6 4 4 5 2
l 5 1 1 1 0
51101 0

Umpires - HP: Doug Zimmerman, 1B: Bob Allen, 3B:
Tom Mallon
At-Alumni Field, Ann Arbor
Attendance - 253 Time-1:37


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