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April 17, 2002 - Image 17

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-04-17

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The Michigan Daily -Wednesday, April 17, 2002 -17

'M' needs Schock swinging into big weekend

SCHOCK
Continued from Page 13
Big Ten on Sunday. But first the team travels to
Kalamazoo today for a doubleheader against West-
ern Michigan (7-6 Mid-American Conference, 12-
15 overall).
Although the Wolverines have important Big
Ten matchups on the horizon, Schock doesn't
plan on letting up against the Broncos this after-
noon.
"I play the same (against) every team," she
said. "It doesn't matter if it's an Iowa, a Penn
State or a nonconference team. I try to go in there
with the same mindset every time." ,
But Schock also admitted that the midweek
game is an opportunity to prepare for the big
weekend.
"To go out there and play like you always play
is key, but at the same time, if any of the players

have kinks that they want to work out, it's a great
time to do it," Schock said.
Michigan will need all of the kinks worked out
before it heads to Evanston and Iowa City. North-
western (6-4 Big Ten, 15-10 overall) sits just two
spots behind Michigan in the-conference standings.
The Wildcats have lost three in a row, but after fin-
ishing 8-12 in the conference last year, some Big
Ten teams have been surprised that first-year coach
Kate Drohan has Northwestern playing so well.
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins has expected the
Wildcats to have a strong season.
"They didn't surprise me," Hutchins said. "I
knew they were good. I think with a coaching
change sometimes there's kind of a new vigor in the
program, and I think they've got some of that."
Michigan's Sunday double header against Iowa
(8-2, 25-14) could break the tie at the top of the Big
Ten standings. The Hawkeyes currently share the
lead with the Wolverines and have won three

straight, including a- sweep of Penn State. Iowa's
two Big Ten losses came at the hands of Ohio State.
Schock tried to downplay the magnitude of the
four-game stretch.
"It's as big as every other weekend, but as far
as our stats go, of course it's going to be huge -
we're tied for first with Iowa," she said. "But
every game is huge."
As if facing two of the top teams in the confer-
ence wasn't enough to handle this weekend, the
Wolverines also have to squeeze in time to study
for finals.
Schock said a two-hour mandatory study table
on the way to and from games and sympathetic
professors help, but that it's still difficult.
"It's one of the hardest times of the year,"
Schock said. "Trying to prepare for the tests and
softball is really hard."
But Schock should be able to handle it. After
all, she likes pressure.

t [III .

DANNY r IVOLOSHOK~/Dily
Junior pitcher Marissa Young throws the nasty stuff this weekend against
Wisconsin. She has a staggering ERA of 0.95 so far this season.
High usage doesn't
wear down pitchers

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underground addition.
AA/EOE

By Bob Hunt
Daily Sports Writer
Last Saturday, Michigan coach Carol
Hutchins had to make a tough decision.
With the Big Ten lead on the line, the
Wolverines - with Nicole Motycka on
the mound - had fallen down three
runs to Minnesota in the third inning,
and the Gophers were pushing for more.
Hutchins pulled Motycka out of the
game and put in ace Marissa Young,
even though it meant $at she would
pitch at least 17 innings in three days.
"When we brought (Young) in, I
told her we can win this game,"
Hutchins said.
The move worked. After a couple of
walks, Young shut down the Gophers,
and the Wolverines rallied in the fifth
inning to win 5-3. While Young may
have not looked her best on Sunday, los-
ing 2-0 to Wisconsin, her heroics helped
to earn her fourth Big Ten Pitcher of the
Week Award this season.
However, the question still remains:
How much can her arm take?
"The good thing about underhand
pitching is that it's a more natural
motion than overhand baseball pitch-
ing" said Michigan assistant coach Jen-
nifer Brundage, who works with the
pitchers and plays on the U.S. Olympic
Team. "Marissa grew up playing travel
ball, where she'd throw three or four
games in a day."
Young - as well as other college
pitchers - may have pitched a great
deal of innings in club and high school
softball, but throwing against the Iowa
Hawkeyes is a little different than going
up against the San Jose Strikers Under-
18 team.
As the staff ace, Young has appeared
in 28 of Michigan's 40 games, starting in
20 and going the distance in 17. But she
is just fifth in the Big Ten in innings
pitched. The conference leader, Wiscon-
sin's Andrea Kirchberg, has complied
30.2 more innings than Young and has
started 25 of the Badgers' 38 games.
But Kirchberg's numbers pale in com-
parison to NCAA records. Back on May
11, 1991, Kelly Brookhart of Creighton
and Janet Womack of Utah went head to
head in a 31-inning duel with both pitch-
ers on the mound for the whole game.
"These pitchers can throw and throw
and throw," Hutchins said.
While Young will not have to throw
those kind of innings, how much time
she spends on the mound will depend on
the play of Motycka. Filling in for All-
Big Ten second-team pitcher Marie
Barda, Motycka has had a tough role
coming in right away but has pitched
well. At times, though, she has gone
through some growing pains, and she
has shown a tendency to be hard on her-
self in tough situations.
"She's learned from some good
times, ad she's learned from some bad
times;' Brundage said. "It's kind of what
you'd expect from freshman. She's got a
lot thrown on her all at once, and she's
doing the best she can to cope with it.
Actually, I think she's doing a great job."
Motycka has started as many games
as Young, but Young has had to come
into relieve her in eight of those starts.
Against Minnesota, Motycka had some
control problems and allowed two lead-
off walks to cross the plate.
Because Motycka, unlike Young, is
not astrikeout pitcher, getting ahead in
the count is imperative for her.
"The games where she is most suc-
cessful are when she gets ahead,"
Brundage said. "She throws that first
strike, and then she can throw junk.

should be primed and ready for a run to
the Women's College World Series. If
not, Young could be pitching like her
days in the youth club leagues.
"She'll throw as much as we have to
use her." Hutchins said. "Every game is
really important in the Big Ten, and
we're trying to win."

I

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