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April 15, 2002 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-04-15

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5B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - April 15, 2002

YESTERDAY'S GAME
Michigan 11
Illinois 12

SATURDAY GAME 2

SATURDAY GAME 1
Michigan 10

Michigan
Illinois

.,

5
3

1

Illinois

FRIDAY'S GAME
Michigan
Illinois

0
1

0

Michigan 11, Illinois 12
Player A R H B t Player AB
Korecky dh 5 1 2 0 Cashman cf 4
Jominy 3b 4 3 2 OMeagher ss 5
Koman ss 3 2 2 1Schutzn:er ib 2
Roberts If 4 1 1 1 Arlis c 5
Fox c 5 2 3 5 Simmons 3b 5
Lollo rf 3 0 0 0 Parenti rf 5
Sokol ph 1 0 1 1 Wickerdh 3
Rutkowski pro0 0 0 OFlynn If 4
Wright 1b 50 0 0 O Raymond 2b 4
Cartalamessa2b 4 2 2 2 Ziemba p 0
Butlercf 4 0 0 0 Olsonp 0
Trzos p 0 0 00 Gorsky p 0
Leveque p 0 0 0 0 Mazurek p 0
Garson p 0 00 0

YESTERDAY'S GAME

R H BI
0 1 0
0 0 0
4'2 0
2 2 4
2 3 2
1 2 1
1 2 2
1 1 1
1 1 0
0 0 0
224
232
0121

- t. 1 I 1 1 1

Backstops help
in various ways
By Dan Rosen
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan's Alex Coleman won't challenge right-field-
er Brandon Roberts or catcher Jake Fox for the team
lead in home runs this spring. In fact, Coleman has just
one extra base-hit in 50 at-bats this season - a double
against California-Riverside on Feb. 24.
But the junior catcher plays an important role for the
Wolverines with his steady defense
and calming influence on the young BASEBALL
members of the pitching staff. Hit-
ting in the seventh spot of Michigan's Notebook
batting order, Coleman needs to get
on base to set up scoring chances for the top half of the
lineup.
On Friday against Illinois, the Texas native went 2-
for-4 and gave the Wolverines valuable opportunities to
put a run on the board. After a leadoff single in the top
of the fifth inning of Michigan's 1-0 loss to Illinois,
Coleman got into scoring position on a bunt by second
baseman Jordan Cantalamessa. Even though the bottom
of the Wolverines order was unable to advance the
junior past third base, Coleman gave the team a good
opportunity to score a run in a tight pitchers duel.
In Michigan's 9-7 win over Central Michigan last
Wednesday, Coleman's efforts with the young pitchers
helped save the game.
In the ninth inning, Coleman made his way out to the
mound to help relax freshman pitcher Matt Collins. Until
that point in the inning, the right-hander had given up
two runs and it appeared that a Michigan victory might
be in jeopardy. But Coleman steadied Collins' nerves
and the pitcher forced the next hitter to ground into a
game-ending double play.
"I just told him he was making the pitches, we were
getting the ground balls," Coleman said. "I told him to
go out there and keep making (them)."
Coleman has also had a positive impact on defense.
The catcher position is often called the most important
defensive position on the field because of the amount of
action it sees. Coleman has accumulated a .988 fielding
percentage behind the plate, good for third on the
Wolverines. This season, the junior has made just one
error in 19 games - providing much-needed consisten-
cy for a team that is near the bottom in the Big Ten in
fielding percentage.
That type of production is what earns Coleman play-
ing time. One of Michigan's other catchers, Jake Fox,
has been hitting well of late. The sophomore had six hits
in I1 at-bats this weekend with three homeruns. But
Harrison still expects him to split time with Coleman
behind the plate.
"You never want to play one catcher for the whole
season," Harrison said. "We have the luxury of having

Merriman changes
pitchers' approach

Total

37121410

Total 36 11310
LOB - Illinois 9; Michigan 5; E - Michigan 1: Fox (8);
OP- Michigan 1; lllinios 1; 28 - Illinois 2: Schutzen-
hofer (9), Arlis (9); Michigan 4: Koman 2(10), Fox
(6), Sokol (7); HR - Illinois 2: Arlis (3), Simmons (3);
Michigan 4: Fox 2(5), Cantalamessa 2(2) BB -li-i-
nois 6: Schutzenhofer 3, Wicker, Flynn, Raymond;
Michigan 2: Jominy, Lollio. CS - Michigan 1: Korecky
(1).

By Jim Weber
Daily Sports Writer

Catcher Jake Fox's bat erupted on Saturday. The sophomore
was one of many lineup additions after Friday's loss.
two catchers to use."
IT'S ALIVE: Roberts' bat woke up this weekend. The
sophomore right fielder was 2-for-18 in his last five
games and hadn't hit a ball out of the park since a
March 9 win over Bowling Green. But in Saturday's
first game, Roberts capped off a 10-run Michigan
assault with a seventh-inning grandslam.
"In that situation, you know the pitcher has to throw to
you," Roberts said of coming up with the bases loaded.
"He doesn't want to walk you. So I was looking for a
fastball down the middle, and that's what he threw me."
It was the sophomore's fourth home run of the sea-
son. Roberts added to that total with another long ball
in the second game of the doubleheader - a 5-3 Michi-
gan win.
THE JUMBLE: Harrison made some changes to Michi-
gan's batting order on Saturday after a 1-0 shutout on
Friday at the hands of Illinois ace Andy Dickinson -
the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year in 2001. Harrison moved
No. 8 hitter Brandon Jominy into the No. 2 slot. He also
brought Fox in as the designated hitter to add some
offense to the lineup.
The Wolverines' bats proceeded to explode for 10
runs in the final three innings of the first game of Satur-
day's doubleheader. Jominy responded to his new spot in
the lineup with a 2-for-4 performance, while Fox went
2-for-3 and hit his third home run of the season. Michi-
gan split the weekend series.

Michigan assistant coach Steve Mer-
riman appears to have hypnotized his
pitchers.
In the first year of his second stint
with Michigan (he was also on staff in
1995), Merriman has brought a new
attitude to the Wolverines that even
makes conditioning fun.
"(Merriman) is very upbeat, and he
makes us feel like we want to run,"
senior pitcher Bobby Korecky said.
Korecky also wants his pitches called
by Merriman - and with good reason.
In Korecky's first two outings, Michi-
gan lost by a combined total of 29-17,
and the ace's ERA was above 13.
That's when Merriman stepped in.
Merriman started calling Korecky's
pitches, as he does with all the other
pitchers on staff. Since then, Korecky
has returned to the form that made him
the ace of the pitching staff, allowing
just nine runs in five starts.
He was especially dominant this
weekend, allowing just one earned run
in eight innings on Friday against Illi-
nois, but lost, 1-0, because Michigan
gave Korecky no offensive support.
Korecky said that Merriman has
helped him "more than I could imag-
ine" and described Merriman calling
his games as a relief.
"It takes a lot of pressure off the
guys," interim coach Chris Harrison
said. "All they have to do now is get the
sign and put the ball where he is telling
them to put it."
Junior Rich Hill, the second pitcher
in Michigan's rotation, was a skeptic.
"At first, I didn't know about (Merri-
man calling the game)," Hill said. "But
when I went out there, I really liked
how he called the games."
Merriman's effect on Hill is as
impressive as his effect on Korecky.
Hill has dropped his ERA by almost
one full run since last season and he
has allowed just two earned runs in his
last three starts. This weekend, Hill shut
out Illinois in a 10-0 win on Saturday,
and struck out. eight. Merriman is good
at calling his pitchers' games because
of the preparation he does before each
series.
"He knows the (opposing) batters
before the game," Hill said. "He does a
great job going over the lineup and get-
ting scouting reports."
But his scouting reports were not the
only reason Michigan led the Big Ten
with the fewest earned runs allowed in
conference play coming into the Illinois
series. Merriman spends a lot of time

working with his pitchers on an indi-
vidual basis. With some pitchers, Mer-
riman works extensively on mechanics.
With others, he works on the mental
aspect of the game.
Merriman has been able to do some-
thing that can be much more difficult
than convincing players they like to
run; he has made his pitchers believe in
themselves. After working with Merri-
man, Hill said that he steps to the
mound with the mind set that is going
to "dominate" every time.
Merriman thinks that freshmen need
the most help building confidence.
"(Matt) Collins and (Paul) Ham-
mond are two examples of freshmen
that are mature right now, because of
what we did with them early," Merri-
man said. "Most freshmen don't suc-
ceed in those situations.
"The biggest thing that you try and
do is build confidence and show them
that the stuff they have is good."
As Michigan's top two closers,
Collins and Hammond have succeeded.
Collins picked up his team-leading
third win of the season in a 5-3 victory
in Saturday's second game after striking
out the final batter with the bases
loaded. Collins was also clutch a week
ago against Minnesota, shutting out the
Golden Gophers in Michigan's come-
from-behind 4-3 win.
Hammond snapped out of his hypno-
sis against Illinois, lasting just two-
thirds of an inning in the second game
of Saturday's doubleheader. But he has
pitched well in the other opportunities
he has been given, posting a 3.38 ERA
coming into this weekend. Hammond
has made the most progress on his
pickoff move, which he and the rest of
the staff now spend a lot of time on. His
high school pickoff move was bad, but
he had two pickoffs in one inning a
couple weeks ago against Detroit.
The pitching staff looks like they are
in a trance when it practices, too. Mer-
riman set up a specific regiment for his
starters when they are not pitching and
his practice schedule is very strict; each
exercise is done for a certain number of
pitches and has a goal.
It has gotten to a point where the
Wolverines go out of their way to prac-
tice. For example, Michigan does a drill
in which each player moves laterally
back and forth, rolling balls to each
other. Starter Jeff Trzos was without a
partner one day, but that didn't stop him
from participating. Instead of using a
teammate, Trzos ran back and forth
picking up cups that he positioned on
the field.
Sounds like fun.

Michigan
Illinois
Illinois
Z iemba
Olson
Gorski w (1-0)
Mazurek s(3)
Michigan
Trzos
Leveque 1(1.2)
Garson

214 200 1t1
011 020 17X

IP H R ERBBSO

2
1
5
1
7
0.2
0.1

d
5
3
1
8
5
1

4
5
2
0
5
6
1

4
5
2
0
5
6
0

1
1
0
0
4
2
0

2
2
3
1
6
0
0

Umpires HP: Steve Partington,18: Lenny Brickens,
28: Tim Catton, 38: Scott Inman
At- Illinois Field, champaign
Attendance.-906 Tie.-2:57
SATURDAY GAME 2
Michigan 5, illin s 3
Mbcilui (44 BgTen, 8&10) mIfols(157 ,1W0 Play.
Player AB R H BI So AB R H BI
LW rf 4 1l1iCashman cf 4 01 0
ominy 3b 3 00 0 Meagherss 4 0 1 0
Koman ss 1 2 1 1Schut hoil1b3 21 0
Roberts2f 3 1 1 1 Simmons3b 3 1 1 0
Foxc 3121 1A010
1 Fredecksondh 1 0 0 0
Wght ri b 301 Roweph/dh3 0 1 0
Wuealredh b3 01 0P enoirf 3 03 2
Cantalamessa263 0 Bensko 2b 3 0 0 1
Butlercf 30 O o0Smithp 0000
Brauerp 0 0 0 0 Lanep 0 00 0
Hammond p 0 0 0 0
Collins p 0 0 0 0

1113 21
1214 0

ITotal

26 56 56Total

2649 4

E -lllinois: Meaher (12); Michigan: Fox (7) OP -
Michigan LOB.- Michigan 3, Illinois 11. 288- Michi-
gan: Koman (8),Fox (5), HR. Michigan: Roberts (5)
Ban: Illinois: Schutzenhofer, Simmons, Parenti, Nben-
sko; Michigan: Koman 2. SB - Illinois: Meagher (9),
Parenti (12). SB -Michigan: Jominy (2)

Michigan
Illinois
Michigan
Brauer
Hammond
Collins w (3-0)
Minnesota
Reilly Smith
Lane 1(2-2)

R H E
000 2030 0 5 B1
010 100 1 3 9 1
IP H R ER BB S0

3.0
0.2
3.1

3 1 100 1
1 1 131 5

4.0 2 2 2 2 0

Umirs. HP: Scott Inman, 18: Steve Partington, 28:
Lenny Brickens, 38: Tim Catton.
A.Ilinois Field, ChampaignI
Attendance.1,206 Time--:16
SATURDAY GAME 1
Michigan 10, Illinois 0
(S6 B(56n,D17) liub (48,1738)
Player AS R H 8I Player AB R H 8I
Llio rf 3 1 0 0 Cashman cf 3 0 0 0
Rukowskipri 0 0 0 Meagherss 3 0 1 0
Jominy 4 1 2O0Shut id1b 3 00 0
Koman ss 2 2OArlisc 3010
Roberts If 4 2 2 4 Simmvons 3b 3 0 0 0
Foxdh 322 1B o2 30 10
Coleman c 3 0 0 0 Patrick dh 2 0 0 0
Wright lb 2 1 11 DiMaria ph 1 00 0
catiamssa24 0 1 0 Parentirf 2 0 1 0
Butler 2 1 2l1FlynnlIf 1 01 0
illp 0 OOORowe p 0 000
Conroy p 0 00 0
Parksp 0 0 00
Gorski p 0 0 0 0

Total

281010 8 Total

24 0 5 0

Alex Coleman file

LOB - Illinois 4; Michigan 6. E - Illinois 1: Schutzen-
hofr (4); Michigan 1: Jominy (8) 28. Illinois 1: Arlis
(8); Michigan 2: Fox (4). Wright (5); HR - Michigan
2: Roberts (4), Fox (3) 885. Illinois 0; Michigan 5:
Koman 2, Fox, Coleman, Butler. CS- Meagher (2),
Arlis (3) SH- Illinois 1: Flynn (1); Michigan 1: Butler
(4); SF- Wright (1)

Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 205 poundss
Position: Catcher
Hometown: Dallas
High: Coleman blocked home plate and tagged
out Iowa's Jeff Gremely to end a Hawkeyes' rally
in the top of the third inning on March 31.
Gremely had beaten the throw,
but Coleman's leg kept the Iowa
shortstop from scoring before the ball got there,
The out at the plate helped preserve a Michigan
win and a 3-1 series victory in the opening weekend
of the Big Ten Season.
Low: The junior catcher suffered a 3for-17 slump from
March 30 to April 7. Coleman broke out of the
drotght against Central Michigan on April
10, with a 2-for-4 performance. He fo-
lowed that with a similar stat line against ;
Illinois on Friday.

,: .:r..
ric' ::.::
... .
,. :.:

Scouting report: Coleman is a strong defensive catcher. He
has just made one error on the season and is third on the
team with a .988 fielding percentage. He also plays a big
role as a calming influence to the pitching staff in the heat
of the game. When his bat is hot, Coleman gets a lot of
singles. He has just one extra base-hit this year - a
double, way back on Feb. 24 against Cal.-Riverside.

Michigan
Illinois
Illinois
Rowe
Conroy
Parks
Gorsk i
Michigan
Hill

R H E
000 023 10101
000 000 0 0 5 1
IP H R ER 88SO

5.1
0.2
0.2
0.1

5
1
3
0

0
3
3
0

0
2
3
0

1
2
2
0

1
0
0
0

7 5 000 8

Coach Harrison on Coleman: Despite the
Foffensive explosion of Jake Fox this past
weekend, Coleman and Fox will still split
time behind the plate. Interim coach
ChrisHarrison loves having a player of Cole-
man's defensive ability on the field.
"Alex is a really good reciever," Harrison
said. "He's also very intelligent. Even
though he doesn't hit for a high average, he
gets big hits for us."
BRENDA N O'DONNELL/Daily

Umpire. HP: Tim Catton, 18: Scott Inman, 28: Steve
Partington, 38: Lenny Brickens
At-Illinois Field, Champaign
FRIDAY'S GAME
Michigan 0, Illinois 1
Mch an (4.6Bigien, 9.17) lIln*s (4-6,17.4)
Player AS R H BI Player AS R H I
Lolio rf 4 0 0 0 Cashman cf 4 1 1 1
Sokol dh 3 0 0 0Meagher ss 4 01 0
wuerfelph 1 00 0 SchA b4 0 00
Koman ss 3 0 1 0Simmons 3b 3 0 20
RobertsIf 4 00 Arlis c 3 0 1 0
Wright 1b 4 0 10 Fraatklim 3 01 0
Colemanc 402 ORoweIf 3 0 0 0
CanitassaP2 00 0 Flynnf 0 0 00
Jominy 3b 30 0 0 OParenti rf 3 0 1 0
Butler cf 1 00 ORaymond2b 3000
Fox ph 1 0 0 0 Dickinson p 0 0 0 0
Rutkowskicf 0 0 0 0
Korecky p 0 0 0 0

'M' nine split series with Illinois

Total 30 04 0Total

301£7 1

ILLINI
Continued from Page 1B
fielder Gino Lollio. Sokol doubled to
left center, but Koman was held at
third while Jominy scored. The
Wolverines were unable to wave
Koman home because of the good
recovery of Illinois center fielder
Brandon Cashman, who - after let-
ting the ball go over his head - made
a good throw to the cutoff man.
Nate Wright then grounded out to
the pitcher for the final out of the
game, with runners stranded on sec-
ond and third.
"We had good at bats," Harrison
said. "(The team) knew that we had
scored a lot, and obviously we felt that

we could come back and tie the game.
I thought we came real close."
Michigan enjoyed offensive suc-
cess throughout the game, but could
not make up the deficit after the
swing in momentum. Up until the
ninth, the Wolverines put on a hitting
display spearheaded by two unlikely
sources.
Michigan second baseman Jordan
Cantalamessa, not known for his
power, helped get the Wolverines'
offense started in the second inning
with his first home run of the season.
The next inning, Cantalamessa
stepped to the plate and belted his sec-
ond homer of the day, this time to left-
center.
Not to be outdone by his team-

mate, Michigan catcher Jake Fox,
who had been struggling from the
plate before this weekend, also blast-
ed a pair of home runs yesterday
against the Illini. The sophomore
catcher had a career-high five RBIs.
Fox, who led the Wolverines in hit-
ting in Big Ten play last season,
found his swing as he drove in seven
runs and was 6-for-II in three starts
over the weekend.
But even those outstanding numbers
were not good enough for Fox, the
consummate teammate, who values
winning more than personal success.
"I had a great weekend," Fox said.
"But sometimes it doesn't feel like
enough. Sometimes you feel down
with the way things turned out."
What's left...
Home games in Bold
Date Opponent Time
4/17 Oakland 3 p.m.
4/19 Michigan State 3 p.m.
4/20 Michigan State (DH) 1 p.m.
4/21 Michigan State 1 p.m.
4/26 Penn State 3 p.m.
4/27 Penn State (DH) 1 p.m.
4/28 Penn State 1 p.m.
4/30 Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.

LOB - Illinois 5; Michigan 6. DP - Illinois 1 E -
Meagher (11) 286- Illinois 0; Michigan 1: Koman
(6), HR - Cashman (4) BB - Illinois 0; Michigan 2:
Koman, Butler. SB- Illinois 2: Meagher (8), Parenti
(11); Michigan 0: SH - Michigan 1: Cantalamessa (1)
Michigan 000 000 000 0 4 0
Illinois 000 001 OOX 1 7 1

Illinois
Dickinson
Michigan
Korecky

IP HR ERBBSO
9 71 1 0 6
8 40 02 6

Senior Bobby Korecky is one of the many pitchers Steve Merriman has helped
since he rejoined the Michigan coaching staff.
Korrecting Korecky
Senior pitcher Bobby Korecky didn't have much success this year calling
his own games. Starting with the Texas-San Antonio series, assistant
coach Steve Merriman has called the shots for Korecky. Korecky said hav-
ing Merriman call the games "is a relief." It has shown. Since then, the
ace has returned to his old form.
IP H R ER BB SO
BEFORE:
at Cal-Riverside 5.0 11 12 8 2 2
at San Diego - 6.0 11 8 8 5 1
AFTER:
at Texas-San Antonio 9.0 6 0 0 0 13
at Kansas 8.2 11 9 8 4 3
Iowa 7.0 2 0 0 0 3
at Minnesota 7.0 4 7 0 2 3
at Illinois 8.0 7 1 1 0 6
1

Umpires-"HP: Lenny Brickens, 1: Tim Catton, 28:
Scott Inman, 38: Steve Partington
At." Illinois Field, Champaign
Attendance. 331 Tme. 1:50
BIG TEN STANDINGS
Conference Overall
Team W L W L
Ohio State 9 3 21 8
Indiana 8 4 26 8
Purdue 8 4 16 16
Minnesota 7 4 15 17
Michigan State 6 5 22 8
Michigan 6 6 11 18
Illinois 5- 7 18 9
Penn State 3 8 10 18
Northwestern 3 8 10 18
Iowa 3 9 12 17

Fridav's results:"
MICHIGAN STATE 13, Indiana 6
lurNos 1, Michigan 0
Minnesota 7, PENN STATE 2
OHIO STATE 7, Iowa 1
Saturdav's results:
Indiana 1. MICHIGAN STATE 0

}, /{. _-. y.-,.{.J '" 55 R:: ":'"" ": i:'1".i1i i "i:.": {.i "''" i i"."::94".

I I

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