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April 12, 2004 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-04-12

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INJURY BUG BITES BLUE
Freshman Ryan Heller and the Michigan:men's tennis team had big
shoes to fill this weekend after the Wolverines suffered injury setbacks.
PAGE 7B

SPORT

YS

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i Fiz urvixi aivivlNutix %.IkJUL) iN
! 4
iONDAY,

DANIEL BREMMER: With a
few changes, the disapointing i
Spring Game could be much
more fun.
PAGE 3B
TH-ES PRcTIrMnnT)AV T11.m

April 12, 2004

SECTION B

Underwood, Gutierrez shi ne in Spn Game

By Chris Burke
Daily Sports Editor
With quarterback John Navarre and running
back Chris Perry - two major components in
Michigan's run to the Rose Bowl last year -
departing due to graduation, the biggest question
marks surrounding the Wolverines heading into
this year's spring practice revolved around the
offense.
And while Saturday's Spring Game couldn't
possibly answer all of those questions, the
Michigan offensive units showed that there are
several players at both the quarterback and run-
ning back positions who are ready to step into
the vacated roles.
Perhaps no one turned more heads on Saturday
than senior running back David Underwood -
one of Perry's backups last year - who looked
very effective during his stints with the first-team
offense. Underwood opened the exhibition by
breaking a 45-yard run down the right sideline.
He would add several more solid runs, including
a 35-yarder later in the afternoon that was called
back by a penalty.
"You can always improve," Underwood said. "I
hope (I'm a big part of this offense). As far as
competition-wise, every day a gazelle gets up in
Africa and he's running because a lion is after

him and needs to eat. So I look at it in that type
of aspect."
Underwood split time in the backfield Saturday
with fifth-year senior Tim Bracken and sopho-
more Jerome Jackson - who, thanks to a cut-
back move that freed him up to the outside,
scampered for a 20-yard touchdown run to cap
off his solid day.
"Jerome has had a very good spring," Michigan
coach Lloyd Carr said. "David Underwood has
had a very good spring, and Tim Bracken has had
a very good spring."
The other positional battle in the spotlight is
the one to replace Navarre under center. Junior
Matt Gutierrez - the backup to Navarre last sea-
son - is believed to have the inside track on the
job over sophomore Clayton Richard and incom-
ing freshman Chad Henne, and his performance
on Saturday did nothing to sway that opinion.
Gutierrez looked poised in the pocket and
mobile outside it, leading several drives on
offense. A potential touchdown pass during the
exhibition's opening drive was dropped by tight
end Tim Massaquoi.
Still, Gutierrez was impressive, and he
bounced back in his second drive by avoiding the
rush and hitting wide receiver Jermaine Gonzales
over the middle for 18 yards and a first down.
"(The coaches) want me to be disciplined and

do what I'm coached to do in the pocket," Gutier-
rez said. "But if the play breaks down, they give
me the freedom to try to make something happen,
as long as I'm smart with the ball."
Richard, meanwhile, showed flashes of solid
play, and his day was highlighted by a six-yard
touchdown pass to wide receiver Braylon
Edwards, who had beaten cornerback Marlin
Jackson on the play.
"There's been constant improvement (for me)
all spring," Richard said. "I'm definitely more
comfortable. We have a receiving corps that's
second to none."
The Edwards-Jackson matchup pitted the
Wolverines' top two weapons against each other
in a showdown that was a highlight of the day.
Edwards caught several passes, including the
score from Richard, and induced a pass interfer-
ence penalty against Jackson, as well.
The matchup was possible because both play-
ers announced earlier this year that they would
return for their senior seasons, and Jackson was
subsequently moved from safety to cornerback,
where he excelled during his first two seasons at
Michigan.
"Marlin declared he was coming back before I
did," Edwards said. "And when he declared, I was
ecstatic because it helped me to know what I
See SPRING GAME, Page 3B

Michigan running back David Underwood looked impressive at Saturday's Spring Game.

The

Untouchables

Game 1: Michigan 3, Ohio State 0 Game 2: Michigan 1, Ohio State 0
Blue silences
u Big Ten bats
for four wins K
By Ian Herbert
Daily Sports Writer

Game 3: Michigan 7, Penn State 0

Game 4: Michigan 2, Penn State 0
tMerchant
belts big
home run
By Jamie Josephson
Daily Sports Writer

JA the bottom of the sixth inning, Penn State's.
Kate Gentile led off with a hard grounder to the
left side. The shot went between Michigan's
shortstop and third baseman and rolled out into
left field.
It wasn't a spectacular hit, but it was significant.
Until that point, Michigan pitcher Nicole Motycka
had pitched a perfect game, and, when Gentile got
on, there was a chorus of cheers from the Penn
State bench. Motycka retired the next three batters
to get out of the inning, and the Wolverines (8-0
Big Ten, 33-6 overall) won the second game of
yesterday's double-header, 2-0.
"Any time you throw a one-hitter, I think that's
pretty good," coach Carol Hutchins said. "I think
the best thing about Nicole's game is her poise and
her confidence."
No. 9 Michigan beat Ohio State on Friday and
Saturday, 3-0 and 1-0, before defeating Penn State
yesterday in a doubleheader, 7-0 and 2-0. The wins
keep Michigan atop the Big Ten by one game
game over Iowa.
Defense was, once again, the story of the game.
On a foul ball that looked like it was going well
out of play, shortstop Jessica Merchant reached
over the third-base wall and made the grab. The
defense set the tone on a day when the offense
struggled to get started.
The Wolverines have been prolific with their
home runs all season long, but appeared to be in a
drought this weekend. They hit two against Ohio
State, including a game winner by Merchant, but
the Nittany Lions kept them inside the park all day
yesterday. Michigan had to rely on other methods
for manufacturing runs. Five Wolverines laid down
sacrifice bunts on the day in an attempt to get
more runners into scoring position.
"We've been known for our home runs lately,"
catcher Monica Schock said. "(But our) strategy is
to move runners, and whatever way we can do that
See NITTANY LIONS, Page 4B

Shortstop Jessica Merchant's home
run could not have come at a better
time for the Wolverines on Saturday.
Tied 0-0 in the top of the seventh
inning, Merchant smacked the first
pitch she saw .over the left-field
fence. The single run proved to be all
Michigan needed to complete its dou-
bleheader sweep of Ohio State this
weekend.
Although Merchant knew she was
just one home run away from Michi-
gan's single-season home run record,
the junior wasn't thinking about per-
sonal fame when she walked up to the
plate in the seventh inning.
"I was thinking that (junior) Nicole
Motycka pitched an amazing game
and she deserves a run," Merchant
said. "We had to get a run no matter
how we did it. She deserved to win
that ball game, and she did."
The shortstop's home run in Michi-
gan's 1-0 victory against the Buck-
eyes was her 13th of the season, tying
her for first place on Michigan's all-
time single-season home run leader
board. She shares this recoid with
Melissa Gentile ('98) and Marissa
Young ('03).
"It feels alright," Merchant said. "It
feels better to beat Ohio State twice
and stay undefeated in the Big Ten."
Merchant has compiled 23 career
home runs, putting her in second
place behind Gentile on the Wolver-
ine's career home run list. Merchant
is now just five home runs shy of
having a share of the record.
"It's an honor, actually," Merchant
See MERCHANT, Page 4B

Mhe iULdBUnapay
The Michigan softball team awaits Jennifer Olds after her home run on Friday against Ohio State. The Wolverines didn't give up a run all weekend.

'M' nine take three of four from Hawkeyes

By Matt Venegoni
Daily Sports Writer
If a team scores just 20 runs in four college base-
ball games, it would be safe to figure the team did
not do too well. But 20 was enough for the Michi-
gan baseball team to take three of four from the
Iowa Hawkeyes (1-7 Big Ten, 8-19 overall) in Iowa
City this weekend.
On the strength of great pitching from starter
Bobby Garza, Michigan
downed the Hawkeyes 2-1 yes- ,o I+
terday to take the series. Garza

The Wolverines started the scoring yesterday in
the fourth inning. After loading the bases, second
baseman Chris Getz drew a walk, scoring shortstop
Jeremy Goldschmeding. But Michigan (5-3, 15-12)
could not capitalize anymore than that in the inning.
Iowa bounced back in the bottom of the inning
when second baseman Andy Lytle singled home
first baseman Mike Best. But, just like Michigan,
Iowa could not get any more runs in the inning.
The best scoring chance after the fourth hap-
pened in the seventh inning, as Iowa had runners at
second and third with just one out. Tognetti came
in for Garza and got Michigan out of the jam, forc-

ends where we have to win three out of four to get
closer to our goal of winning the Big Ten Champi-
onship."
With that hustle, Bohm was able to score all the
way from first. Tognetti finished the game, getting
the win for Michigan.
Good pitching was the theme all weekend, as
Michigan had two shutouts on Saturday. Sopho-
more Derek Feldkamp got things started, dominat-
ing Iowa by yielding just four hits and no walks.
Junior Michael Penn followed Feldkamp's shutout
by throwing his second shutout of the year, holding
Iowa to just four hits in the process. This was the

KOM W. NOW PT Ull

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