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April 14, 2003 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-04-14

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be Aichigun &iil
PORTS

0 April 14, 2003

SECTION

B

--------------

'M'

nine salvage weekend

ue capitalie
on late-inning
error for victory
Daily Sports Writer
A ninth inning rally allowed Michigan to avoid a
four-game sweep at the hands of Illinois. A disappoint-
ing series ended with an incredible 4-3 victory for the
Michigan baseball team (4-6 Big Ten, 14-15 overall).
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth and a
man in scoring position, sophomore outfielder
Chris Burhans pinch hit for sophomore Matt But-
ler. It was a moment that many young athletes
dream of - a chance to win
the game for their team. MICHIGAN 4
Illinois' dominant closer, Dave
Mazurek, forced the count to 0-2. With a tough task
in front of him, Burhans hit a grounder to Illinois
shortstop Eric Eymann. Senior outfielder Gino Lollio
shielded Eymann from seeing the ball and forced him
to commit an error.
"It wasn't as much as I was trying to screen him,"
Lollio said. "The ball was going there, and if I get
hit by the ball the game is over. For any infielder,
it's hard enough to make a play to end the game. I
just shocked him, and you didn't know what was
going to happen."
Lollio continued to run hard through third base
en route to home plate. He safely slid into home to
beat the throw from the outfield. The crowd went
ballistic as Michigan won an enormous game
against the Illini.
"I was thinking to do anything you can to possibly
score and win the game, Lollio said. "I reacted right
off the bat. Actually what happened was that the ball
and me met, and I slowed down to let it go by. Then I
just took off and the coach was yelling to me that I
got to go. Thankfully we pulled it out."
Michigan played Illinois this weekend in its third
Big Ten series of the season. Illinois (6-6, 18-11)
won the first three games of the weekend between
the two. But yesterday's game was a different story.
Michigan entered The Fish down three games and

THE COACHING FRATERNITY
What dreams may come
The master of the MAC, Rich
Maloney is in his first season
at the helm for the 'M' nine.
The former minor leaguer
with the Braves has compiled
more than 250 wins during
his career, including seven
30-plus win seasons while at
Ball State University.
Page 4B
Leading with his heart
A long time member of the National
Development community and also the high
school water polo scene, Matt Anderson opens
his career as Michigan's water polo coach this
season. He moved fast through the ranks, hold-
ing several assistant coaching jobs before com-
ing to Ann Arbor. Anderson, who holds a minor
in literature from San Jose State, hopes to take
the Michigan program to the next level by play-
ing for a national championship.
Page 4B
Softball racksupfu

k UK
SETH LOWER/Daily
Michigan hurler Bobby Garza lets it fly against an Illinois hitter Friday afternoon at the Fish. Garza went 5.2

innings, giving up three runs.
lacking any momentum. However, the final game
was a success for the Wolverines.
"We made plays, which we haven't been doing of
late," Michigan coach Rich Maloney said. "We
found a way to get it done. It's hard because when a
team wins with three games in a row, all of the
momentum is theirs. Our guys never folded. They
kept at it, they kept believing, and they found a way
to get this one done. This was a very big win for us
right now."
Although Michigan's pitchers continue to have
inconsistent outings, sophomore pitcher Drew Taylor

wvins on rodf
By Steven Shears
Daily Sports Writer
Ten days slowly passed and Alumni
Field remained empty and covered with
tarp.
There certain-
ly was a void in HG
the heart of
Marissa Young
- she just want-
ed the opportunity to play some com-
petitive softball.
The opportunity came this weekend,
as the Wolverines (7-1 Big Ten, 25-8
overall) were able to escape Ann
Arbor's erratic climate and win four
games in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
"We were just happy to get on the
field and play," Young said. "We had
really nice weather, and we're just
happy to play whether home or away."

ad swing
Young was certainly inspired to
make up for the week-and-a-half inter-
mission, belting a grand slam in the
first inning to knock in the only runs of
the game.
"I was just really glad that my team-
mates got on base ahead of me and that
I can do my job," Young said.
Pouncing on opponents early has
been key to the Wolverines' success, as
they have scored seven runs in the first
inning in the last five games.
"I definitely think that (scoring
early) is important," Young explained.
"We get things going before the other
team gets a chance to get some
momentum. They try to get settled, and
we take them out of their game."
Sophomore Nicole Motycka sus-
tained the lead as she pitched a one-hit
shutout into the seventh inning against
See GOPHERS, Page 3B

pitched a brilliant game.
"What a lift that gave us," Maloney said. "This
was a game where we really needed to find a way to
win, and we needed a pitcher to go out there and
really shut them down. Drew did just that. He was
marvelous."
Taylor pitched his first.complete game of the year
by striking out five batters in nine innings and pitch-
ing the strongest late-inning performance for the
Wolverines this season.
"He pitched 119 pitches, which not many of my
See ILLINI, Page 5B

QBs look sharp in final spring tuneup

By Kyle O'Neill
Daily Sports Editor
Senior John Navarre knows that his
job as starting quarterback is safe, but
even he had to be happy with what he
saw from fifth-year senior Spencer
Brinton and redshirt freshman Matt
Gutierrez on the last day of spring
practices.
In the final drill of the season, each
quarterback had a chance to run a two-
minute drill.
Brinton's group had problems moving
the ball at first, but with an across-the-
body 25-yard completion to wide
receiver Tyrece Butler, the senior had
his team moving. Brinton connected
with Butler twice more, including hit-
ting the fifth-year senior in stride into
the endzone.
In fact, Brinton was solid all day,
completing a high percentage of short
and that long passes. This was a good
sign given a shoulder injury from last
year had thrown off his accuracy going
into this spring - the senior had prob-

lems with touch passes into the flats on
the first day of spring practices, but was
near perfect on Saturday.
"Mentally, I would make the right
reads, but when I'd go to throw it, the
ball would sail," Brinton said.
Gutierrez picked up right where
Brinton left off, hitting all his receivers
- his only incompletion on the touch-
down drive was when one of his
receivers caught the ball out of the back
of the endzone. Gutierrez threw a strike
for a score on the next play to senior
Calvin Bell. And while Brinton was
using the red-hot Butler to his advan-
tage, Gutierrez spread the ball around
to his group of receivers - including
two straight completions to tight end
Tim Massaquoi.
"The way our system works, it's pret-
ty much equal opportunity for every-
body," Gutierrez said. "We (the
quarterbacks) just go through our pro-
gressions and hit the first guy that's
open."
The only main flaw - and it's tough
to call it a flaw - in Gutierrez's game

is his use of his legs over his pocket
presence. While the freshman's mobility
may become his most powerful attrib-
ute, similar to a Michael.Vick-type
quarterback, in drills he was much
quicker to abort the play than Navarre
or Brinton.
"That's something I'm going to have
to learn as a young guy - I try to make
the play all the time," Gutierrez said. "If
I can't do it with my arm, then I try to
do it with my feet. Sometimes, that's not
possible, and it gets you into trouble, so
I need to work and mature in that way.
But I think eventually down the line, it
could be a big factor in my game."
One thing that may help improve
Gutierrez's pocket presence is to fill out
his 6-foot-4 frame, as he's 10 pounds
lighter than his two older counterparts.
"He's got a ways to go physically, but
the thing about Matt is that he's a student
of the game," Navarre said. "He's going
the right places with the ball, making good
decisions - and that's the positive thing.
The physical thing's going to come, he's
See SPRING, Page 7B

I

TONY DING/Daily
Michigan senior quarterback John Navarre gets loose with his trusty center, senior Dave Pearson (57), at
Saturday's final spring practice outside Schembechler Hall.

.'AW

Gymnasts hit on beam to
win NCAA regionals

DiGiore sticks vault to
become NCAA champion

By Michael Nisson
Daily Sports Writer

There's a saying in life that you have to
work hardest for the things that mean the
most. This statement could not be more
true this year for the Michigan women's
gymnastics team.
The Wolverines captured the NCAA
Northeast Regional championship on
Saturday, holding off five other teams,
including No. 3 Arizona State, with a
score of 196.825. The Sun Devils fin-
ished second with a 196.725.
"I think it's really important for the
team, especially since our team is very
young," junior Calli Ryals said. "There's
only a few of us that have a lot of experi-
ence, so for us to go out and hit provides
a good foundation for them to build off
of and to build their confidence off of."
Michigan coach Bev Plocki also was
pleased with the performance.
"It's exciting to see this group of ath-
letes putting it together when they need

were capable of doing it, but we have a
lot of technically inexperienced athletes
at this level. Really Calli and Janessa
(Grieco) are the only two that have com-
peted at a national championship caliber
type competition."
The key moment in the meet came in
the fifth rotation (Michigan's fourth) on
the beam. Because of a low score of
49.025 on bars, the Wolverines had their
backs to the wall. To add to the tension,
Iowa State was also making a charge, to
the point that the Hawkeyes were practi-
cally breathing down the Wolverines'
necks.
The Wolverines did not just respond to
the pressure by hitting on beam. All six
routines (five of which count) were
above 9.80, including a 9.9 from fresh-
man Becca Clauson.
"It was funny because Bev kind of
grouped us together and gave us kind of
a pep talk, and it's always the same in a
situation like that," Ryals said. "Beam is
one of our best events, so there is no rea-

Pik

4

I

By Julie Master
Daily Sports Writer

Michigan has another national
champion on its hands, and this time
it's men's gymnastics freshman Drew
DiGiore. Previously, DiGiore broke the
vault record at the prelims and finals of
the Big Ten Championships. Yesterday,
the Buffalo, N.Y. native broke the
record once again while sticking his
best vault of the season, a two-and-a-
half twisting vault, at the Individual
Event Finals of the NCAA Champi-
onships in Philadelphia.
"It felt amazing," DiGiore said. "I
never really thought it would happen.
But as the year went by, I started get-
ting more and more confidence and
having Big Tens under my belt defi-
nitely helped."
With this confidence, the No. 5
Wolverines clinched a fourth-place fin-
ish for the third straight year on their
three-day quest for the NCAA Cham-

season high two best team scores by
more than 2.5 points; a 217.950 the
first day and a 217.850 the second.
. "This is what we were gearing for, a
peak performance," Michigan coach
Kurt Golder said. "To have a season
high is a big jump in our sport and to
come back the next day and be within
a tenth of that score is great."
On Friday, the Wolverines competed
in the National Qualifier, which con-
sisted of two groups of six teams that
needed to finish in the top three of
their respective groups to move on to
the final. Fifth-year senior and captain
Scott Vetere led the Wolverines by
placing in the top 10 in three events on
the way to his runner-up all-around
finish. On pommel horse, Vetere raked
in the highest score of the night and a
Michigan season best with a 9.500. He
also had a top individual performance
for the season with a 9.175 on the par-
allel bars.
"I was happy about my perform-

".

a

REBECCA SAHN/Daily

I

i

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