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April 15, 2004 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-04-15

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12A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 15, 2004

Merchant lives up to big-fly billing

By Anne Uibie
Daily Sports Writer
YPSILANTI - It's hard not to expect
something special whenever junior short-

stop Jessica Merchant
plate for the Michigan
softball team. Hitting
her 13th home run of
the season on Saturday
against Ohio State to tie
Michigan's single-sea-
son record, there is little

steps up to the
0
80 °';.

doubt she will break the record with more
than 15 games left in the team's schedule.
The real question is, by how much?
Yesterday, Merchant lived up to her
home run-hitting hype after smacking one
in the second inning of the first game of
the doubleheader against Eastern Michi-
gan, bringing in the first run for the
Wolverines.
What her teammates didn't realize when
they got up from the dugout to greet her at
home plate was that they would be back
out of their seats on the very next hit -
only this time it was to bring junior pitch-
er Nicole Motycka home.

Motycka connected with the first pitch
from Eagles pitcher Michelle Lloyd, hit-
ting a home run over the left-field wall at
nearly the exact same pace that Mer-
chant's ball had gone.
Having to step up to the plate after
watching her teammate hit a home run
seemed to have an effect on Motycka.
"It's definitely a challenge to keep up
my intensity after watching a home run
get hit just ahead of me," Motycka said.
"But (Lloyd) threw the exact same pitch
as she had given Merchant, and I just
really wanted to hit it."
Motycka's home run was her fourth this
season. While she trails Merchant by ten
homers, she has recently been proving to
make solid intra-team competition.
Two weeks ago, Motycka began her
home run rally by slugging three in a sin-
gle game against Purdue. She and Mer-
chant, who hit three homers in the home
opener against Bowling Green, are the
only players to slug three home runs in a
single game in Michigan history.
SHE'S BACK: Sophomore third baseman
Grace Leutele returned to the team yes-
terday after an extended break from play-

ing due to an injured hamstring sustained
in the game against Purdue two weeks
ago. She played in the first game against
the Eagles and hit a single in three at-
bats, but was replaced by senior captain
Angie Churchill in the day's second
game.
"I don't think she's probably 100 per-
cent," Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said.
"She made some nice plays defensively,
but I took her out because I didn't want to
take any chances with her on a day like
today. We had pinch runners available. I
think she's looking a lot better. Whether
she is good to go, I don't know for sure.
She probably is, but the question is who
is more capable at this point."
"I was really anxious to get back here,"
Leutele said. "I'm not completely recov-
ered. Running is really the hardest thing
for me to do right now. I was basically
hobbling down the first-base line. But
overall, I'm just glad to be back."
WE'RE GOING STREAKING: After winning
both games in their doubleheader yester-
day, the Wolverines improved their record
to 35-6 and are currently enjoying an 18-
game winning streak.

01

MIKE HULSEBUS/Daily
Michigan Junior Jessica Merchant pitches during the Wolverines' 1-0 victory over Ohio State on Saturday.
Merchant set Michigan's single-season home run record in the first game of yesterday's doubleheader.

Holland steps in and
produces in game two

EAGLES
Continued from Page 10A
for a double. The shortstop ended up
scoring on a wild pitch, giving
Michigan a five-run lead.
"(Scoring early) always puts the
other team back against the wall a
little bit," Hutchins said. "The most
important thing is that we've
shown that we can come from
behind when we need to ... and we
can play with teams until we get
something going, and getting ahead
of them is the easiest way to go. I
prefer that, but we need to have
confidence regardless of what situ-
ation we end up in."
Replacing senior Monica Schock
behind the plate in the second
game, junior Lauren Holland made
her presence known with a pair of
hits early on, including a double.
"I had a pretty good day," Hol-
land said. "I usually come in when
runners are in scoring position or if
a player is struggling. So, I have to
make sure I stay on top of the game
and ready to play."
Hutchins said that she decided to
put Holland in to take over for
Schock because Shock needed the
rest for Michigan's weekend
games.
"I thought (Holland) did a nice.
job," Hutchins said. "She took care
of the ball well, and she hit the ball
well. She is a very capable player. I

think that the more playing time
she gets, the better she can get."
Aside from her offensive contri-
butions, Holland also looked com-
fortable behind the plate.
She saved a potential Eastern
Michigan run when she threw out
an Eagle trying to steal second
base in the sixth inning.
The Eagles threatened twice in the
game, once in the fourth inning and
again in the fifth. Both times, Eastern
Michigan had two runners on base,
and both times sophomore pitcher
Jennie Ritter got herself out of the
jam. Ritter completed the shutout,
giving up just two hits and handing
the Eagles a total of 15 strikeouts.
"I felt relaxed," Ritter said.
"(When there are runners on), I
just don't think they are going to
score. That's what you go up there
and do and know that your defense
is behind you."
Though the Wolverines had a com-
fortable lead throughout most of the
game, Ritter rarely even gave Eastern
Michigan the chance to rally.
"(Ritter) pitched amazingly
well," Holland said. "(Her ball)
was moving really well. She kept
the ball right around the plate, but
not exactly on the plate."
Michigan's doubleheader sweep
at Eastern Michigan marks the
beginning of the Wolverines' week-
long road trip. Michigan heads to
Illinois and Iowa next.

a

WILLA TRACOSAS/Daily
Michigan senior Jennifer Olds bats during the Wolverines' victory over Penn State on Saturday. She
drove in three runs in the second game of yesterday's doubleheader against EastemMichigan.

I

YESTERDAY'S GAME 1
Michigan 5, Eastern Michigan 0
Michigan (34, 8-0) Eastern Mich. (1218, 2-7)
Player AB R H BI Player AS R H BI
Haas 2b 3 1 2 1 Gulliver If 3 0 0 0
Doe cf 4 1 1 0 Denman dh 2 0 0 0
Schock c 2 0 0 0 Wisnieski 2b 3 0 1 0
Odsl1b 3 0 01 Flack 3b 2 00 0
Merchant ss 3 1 2 2 Grutza31b 3 0 1 0
Motycka dh/p 3 1 1 1 Allen rf 2 0 0 0
Leutele 3b 3 0 1 0 Grensoc 3 0 0 0
Prichardpr 0 10 0 Clarkss 3 0 1 0
TeschlerIf 2 0 0 0 Hann cf 3 0 1 0
Betleyrf 3 0 0 0 Lloydp 0000
Wilson p/dh 0 0 0 0 Threet p 0 0 0 0

YESTERDAY'S GAME 2
Michigan 5, Eastern Michigan 0
Michigan (356, 8-0) Eastern Mich. (12-19, 2-7)
Player AS R H 81 Player AS R H BI

Haas 2b
Doe cf
Olds1s
Merchant ss
Bercaw ph
Motycka dh
Kreinbrink ph
Churchill 3b
Hollandrc
Betley rf
Milian If
J. Ritter p

1
4
3
2
1
3
1
3
3
3
3
0

2
0
0
1
0
1
0
0

Gulliver If
Denman dh/p
Wisnieski 2b
Flack 3b
Grutza1b
Allen pr
Grens c/ss
Bluthardt rf
Clark ss/dh
Hann cf
117W p/ch
Schmid c

3t
2i
2t
2
2I
3
3t
0
0

0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0:
0:
0f
0f
0

00
00
00
00
00
00
00
1 0
1 0
0 0
0 0
0 0

PITCHING
Continued from Page 10A
I thought she looked good."
The game plan for the day was to
make sure all three of Michigan's
starting pitchers got some work
before this weekend. Planning on
having Ritter pitch the entire sec-
ond game, Hutchins had to divide
the first game between the two
other starters - freshman Lorilyn
Wilson and junior Nicole Motycka.
"We want all our pitchers to get a
chance to get some innings,"
Hutchins said. "And, between
Nicole and Lorilyn, we definitely
didn't want Nicole throwing too
much. It was a light workout day
for her."
Wilson started the day on the
mound for the Wolverines. Ever
since Motycka - who took a cou-
ple starts off because of a leg
injury - came back into the rota-
tion, Wilson has spent most of her
time in the bullpen.
She has pitched well when she
has been in, leading the team with
an ERA of 0.48. But she has started
just six games.
"The reason we gave her the start
is because she has come into games
when we're ahead and there is no
pressure," Hutchins said. "I wanted
her to start the game and feel the
same heat that everybody else feels
for a game."
Wilson said that she was disap-
pointed about walking two batters,
but was pleased with her perform-
ance overall.
She gave up just one hit in four

innings of work.
In the fourth inning, she got her-
self into a little. bit of a-jam after
giving up two singles.
There were runners on first and
second with just one out, and
Hutchins decided it was time to
make a trip to the mound to calm
Wilson down.
"I wanted her to clear her mind
and make her pitches work - go
after the hitter and allow the team
to help her," Hutchins said. "She
was either striking people out or
walking them. She just needed to
hit her spots and then, if they hit it,
we'll field it.
After the talk, Wilson struck out
the next two batters and got out of
the inning.
Hutchins said that she would
have liked the freshman to have
pitched more, but she wanted to get
Motycka in to pitch a few innings.
"I thought Lorilyn looked very
good," Hutchins said. "She pitched real
well. I think that she is getting better
and better. Every outing is better."
Even though she threw three
scoreless innings and gave up just
two hits, Motycka said that she was a
little disappointed with the way she
pitched. Hutchins agreed, but blamed
it in part on the fact that she was
coming in at the end of the game.
"I didn't think that Nicole was as
sharp as I've seen her," Hutchins
said. "She was missing some of her
pitches. She had some good veloci-
ty and she had some good pitches.
But, in three innings, she didn't
really get a chance to get in her
groove."

24 0 4 0

Total

26 5 7 5 Total

E - Michigan 1: Leutele; EMU: Wisnieski (5). DP -
none. LOB-Michigan 3; EMU 7. 28- Michigan 1:
Haas. 386- Michigan: Merchant. HR - Michigan 2:
Merchant (14); Motycka (4). B- Michigan 1: Haas;
EMU 2: Gulliver,Allen. SB- Michigan 2: Schock,
Teschler; EMU 1: Flack (1). CS - Michigan 1: Doe;

Total

27 5 8 4 Total

23 0 2 0

E - Michigan 1: Haas. DP - EMU: 1. LOB - Michigan
6; EMU 6. 2B- Michigan 3: Olds, Merchant, Holland.
3B - none. HR - none. B- Michigan 5: Haas (3),
Olds, Merchant; EMU 4: Denman, Wisnieski, Flack,
Grutza. SB- Michigan 2: Haas, Milian; EMU 3: Clark
(3). CS - EMU 2: Allen (2)

EMU 1: Gulliver (5).
Michigan
Eastern Michigan
Michigan
Wilson W. (7-0)
Motycka
Eastern Michigan
Lloyd L. (4-5)
Threet

020 002
000 000
1P H
4.0 1
3.0 3

R H E
1- 5 7 1
0- 0 41
R ER BB
0 0 0

SO
8
4

Michigan 130
Easten Michigan 000
Michigan IP
J. Ritter W, (15-3) 7.0

R H E
0 010 0- 5 81
00000- 0 20
H R ER BB SO
2 0 0 4 15
3 3 3 3 0
5 2 2 2 2

6.0 5 4 2 1 4
1.0 2 1 1 0 0

Eastern Michigan
Threet L. (2-3)
Denman

1.1
5.2

At - Varsity Field, Ypsilanti
Time -1:40
Attendance -200

At-Varsity Field, Ypsilanti
Time-" 1:40

0

... '.:.__._,:,::3. .:.:: ::iI;;y .:

Clearance Sale!
$49.90-$69.90

U of M Men's
Glee Club
Professor Steven Lusman, Director
Presents its 144th annual
spring concert
with The Friars

I U

Fntirp

6!"itma nitl mall'o etbu nnummaunur u.t auw taut UUIIII unourt U11,91111 uuuue e n Imu.nu uonnnu vnmuim L II uu. o m o u I ILI I LUL - V
1 -1..1 ... I. mmu nn n. nrmm u umnrui mmmu nrTmnu nuuu rill ruin m!r ruur wino

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