4B-The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - April 4, 2005
PLAYERS OF THE IOWA SERIES
PLAYERS OF THE ILLINOIS SERIES
Birocci held the Wolverines to just
two runs on seven hits in Iowa's vic-
tory on Friday. The senior finished
the series with 10 strikeouts.
WP: L. Birocci (17-4)
LP: L. Wilson (13-1)
Ritter pitched five and one-third
innings of perfect relief on Friday and
followed that performance with a
complete game victory on Saturday.
00 Michigan 3
WP: J. Ritter (15-0)
LP: L. Birocci (17-5)
The Illini third baseman went 1-4,
drove in four runs and scored once in
Game 1 of yesterday's doubleheader
at Alumni Field.
YESTERDAY, GAME 1
LP: C. Devreese (3-6)
WP: J. Ritter (16-0)
The freshman slugged Michigan
to victory with two home runs -
including a grand slam - and drove
in seven runs in Game 2.
YESTERDAY, GAME 2
WP: L. Wilson (14-1)
LP: C. Devreese (3-7)
YESTERDAY, GAME 2
Michigan 10, Illinois 0
Michigan (35-2, 3.1) Illinois (15-15, 0-4)
Player AB R H Si Player AB R H BI
L. Wilson p
S. Winter ph
Law head 2b
0 0 0
0 0 0
0 0 0
0 0 0
0 1 0
0 0 0
0 0 0
0 0 0
0 0 0
26 10 12 10 Total
16 0 1 0
E - Michigan 0. Illinois 3: Coriddi, Mexicano,
Devreese. DP -none. LOB - Michigan 5; Illinois 1. 2B
- Michigan 1: Bercaw; Illinois 0. 38- Michigan 0;
Illinois: 0. HR- Michigan 3: Findlay 2(11), Motycka
(8); Illinois: 0. BB - Michigan 3: Haas, Giampaolo,
Leutele; Illinois 0. SB - Michigan 0; Illinois 0. CS-
Michigan 1: Haas; Illinois 0.
Long gone: Blue
sets homer record
By Scott Bell
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan softball team entered yesterday's doubleheader one home
run shy of breaking the previous school record of 50 home runs in a single
season. Four hours and six home runs later, the Wolverines left with a new
impressive season record - 22 games before the end of the regular season.
After a power surge, led by multi-home run days from both senior Nicole
Motycka and freshman Samantha Findlay, Michigan shattered the previous
record by ending the day with 55.
"Home runs have become a big part of the college game," Michigan
coach Carol Hutchins said. "The home run is a lot like the 3-point shot in
basketball - you need to have some in your playbook.
"But there is only one school record that this team wants this year."
Although the Wolverines' elusive first national championship is their top
priority, the key to that goal could be the home run. Their 32-game win
streak - which ended Friday afternoon against Iowa - included home
runs in all but two of their games.
Although Findlay and senior Jessica Merchant lead the team with 11
home runs apiece, the impressive 55-home run mark is a team effort. Five
players have six or more home runs and 11 total players have contributed to
the overall number.
Whether it's contributions from junior Tiffany Haas, whose leadoff home
run in the first inning of game one tied the record, or junior Grace Leutele
- whose power toward the bottom of the order has helped balance out
the lineup - Michigan's power surge isn't something that can be pitched
around. The power comes from all parts of the lineup.
"We're a good hitting team one through nine." Findlay said.
The obvious changes in power numbers have not come out of the blue.
Shattering a record this early in the season means that certain things have
been tweaked. But the rise in the amount of home runs is not due to the
Wolverines swinging for the fences.
Continued from page :lB
"I just wanted to see the pitch and
attack it," Findlay said. "I wanted
to hit the ball hard somewhere. I
hadn't been hitting earlier in the
day, and I knew I needed to change
something. I had a good at bat and
good things happened."
Holding a 5-0 lead entering the
bottom of the fourth inning, Michi-
gan put an exclamation mark on its
victory with five additional runs.
Findlay provided the offensive
spark again when she hammered
a grand slam home run over the
rightfield fence. Not to be outdone,
Motycka followed Findlay's shot
with a deep homer to dead center-
Due to the mercy rule of a 10-run
lead after five innings, Wilson fin-
ished off the Fighting Illini in the
bottom of the fifth with a one-two-
three inning and bumped her record
up to 14-1.
The Wolverines mirrored Wil-
son's improvement and regained
confidence as the weekend pro-
"Rebounding after a tough loss
is important," Hutchins said. "After
losing the first game, you are happy
to be 3-1. We played some good
softball and some bad softball. But
rebounding is a trademark of a good
team, and we are a good team."
Michigan will play Central Mich-
igan on Wednesday
023 500 X - 10120
000 000 0- 0 13
L. Wilson (W,;14-1) 5.0
Devreese (L, 3-7) 4.0
H R ER BB SO
1 0 0 0 2
5 2 3
5 1 1
YESTERDAY. GAME 1
Junior Grace Leutele has already hit a career-high eight home runs this season.
"We practice hitting and seeing the ball every day," Findlay said. "I think
home runs just happen - I don't think that you can swing for them.
"I think that, if we hit hard line shots, then good things happen and the
ball will go out."
The effects of a home run stretch farther than its benefits on the scoreboard.
Aside from the obvious change on the scoreboard and the ability to get the crowd
involved in the game, the long ball has other positives stemming from it.
"It kind of helps us out more emotionally," Motycka said. "It gets people
fired up for the game, especially when we are down."
With the combination of their intimidating batting lineup and solid
pitching staff - junior Jennie Ritter and sophomore Lorilyn Wilson rank
in the top-three in almost all major Big Ten pitching categories - the
Wolverines could have the 1-2 punch needed to finally propel them to
their ultimate goal.
Michigan 8, Illinois 7
Michigan (34-2, 2-1) Illinois (15-14, 04)
Player AB R H BI Player
AB R H BI
J. Ritter p
cJbe I +Iictigan &zilu
The Michigan Daily softball writers evaluate the team's performance in this weekend's homestand against
Iowa and Illinois. The categories include defense, pitching and offense. For each category, the team will
receive a grade between one and five 'M' logos, with five being the highest.
25 8 9 7 Total
29 7 5 2
E - Michigan 4: Haas, Merchant, Marx, Ritter; Illinois
1: Diller. DP - none LOB - Michigan 3; Illinois 3. 2B
- Michigan 3: Haas, Motycka, Leutele; Illinois 0. 38 -
Michigan 0; Illinois 1: Coriddi. HR- Michigan 3: Haas
(6), Motycka (7), Bercaw (2); Illinois 1: Diller (5).
BB -.Michigan 1: Giampaolo; Illinois 2: Hall, Koester.
SO - None. CS - None
Devreese (L, 3-6)
Ritter (W, 16-0)
R H E
102 001 4- 7 5 1
302 003 x- 8 94
IP HR ERBBSO
5.0 4 5 5 1 0
7.0 5 7 5 2 11
BIG TEN STANDINGS
Four errors during yesterday's first game took away
from an otherwise solid weekend of fielding. Throwing
errors, bobbles and passed balls almost came back to
bite the Wolverines. But they only committed one error
in their other three games, making for a decent showing.
Despite two disastrous innings, Michigan pitched as
expected, showing it has one of the nation's best staffs.
Wilson's rebound performance yesterday proved that
Friday's second inning was a distant memory. Ritter's 20
innings of work showed her durability and reliability.
Michigan outhit its opponents in each of its four games
this weekend. The power surge yesterday topped off a
good weekend. The Wolverines hit six home runs dur-
ing the doubleheader, but their inability to put together a
rally on Friday prevented a five-"M" performance.
OHIO STATE 5, Minnesota 1
Michigan 10, ILLINoIS 0
Purdue 7, MICHIGAN STATE 2
Northwestern 2, IOWA 0
PENN STATE 7, Wisconsin 1
Ohio State 13, MINNESOTA 1
Michigan 8, ILLINoIs 7
PURDUE 11, Michigan State 1
NORTHWESTERN 11, Iowa 1
WISCONSIN 6, Penn State 5
Northwestern 4, ILLINOIS 1
PENN STATE 3, MINNESOTA 1
MICHIGAN STATE 3, Indiana 2
WISCONSIN 9, OHIO STATE 7
Michigan 3, IowA 1
NORTHWESTERN 10, Illinois 0
MINNESOTA 9, Penn State 4
WISCONSIN 2, Ohio State 1
Michigan State 8, INDIANA 0
Iowa 5, MICHIGAN 2
Michigan heads to Mount Pleas-
ant for a double header with the
current Mid-American Confer-
ence leader on Wednesday. The
Chippewas swept Eastern Michi-
gan this weekend.
Motycka finds stride at the plate
By Jack Herman
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan baseball team
wasn't playing at home yesterday,
but there was still some action
going on at The Fish.
In the top of fourth inning dur-
ing the second game between the
No. I Michigan softball team and
ine senior Nicole
a home run well
over the centerfield
fence at Alumni
Field. It wasn't
done there though,
ond for a double while senior Jessi-
ca Merchant scored. Motycka later
came home on single from junior
third baseman Grace Leutele.
Motycka added three more hits
in the second game to finish the
day a combined 5-for-6 at the
MUSICAL BASES: Michigan posted
10 runs in its second game against
Illinois, and, had it not been for
some base-running errors, the
Wolverines might have scored
"Two of them were caused by
people running with their head
square down and not looking up
at all," Michigan coach Carol
Hutchins said. "I mean if you
walked around with your head
down, you'd run into trees and
During the third inning, Mer-
chant hit a single to rightfield that
Illinois rightfielder Mackenzie
Smith quickly played. Michigan
freshman Alessandra Giampaolo
- who started the play on first
- made the turn toward third
without realizing that Wolverines'
second baseman Tiffany Haas had
been held up from going home.
After a brief rundown, Illini first
In the first game, Haas was
involved in a third baserunning
mistake. After belting a stand-up
double to right-center, she tried to
take third while Illinois was hav-
ing a conference on the mound.
The Illini were not fooled and
Haas was thrown out at third by
pitcher Claire DeVreese.
"It just plain was people not
doing their jobs," Hutchins said.
"There's no excuse for those bas-
WIND AIDED: With the wind
whipping at speeds of up to 35
miles per hour, both teams knew it
was going to be a tough day in the
field. Luckily for Michigan, most
of the gusts seemed to go their
In the first game between the
two teams, Leutele hit a high pop
fly to leftfield that looked like
it would easily be caught. But
instead, the ball hung in the air
and was pushed back in, dropping
in front of Illinois leftfielder Lee-
Ann Butcher and leaving Leutele
with a double.
"We got really lucky today
because a lot of the fly balls that
we hit tailed away from their play-
and it ended up hitting The Fish's
"I had two strikes on me, so I was
just looking to make good contact
and hit the ball on the ground,"
She may not have been trying
to hit a home run at that time, but
it was something she excelled at
all weekend long. Motycka went
deep three times in the team's four
games over the weekend, including
once in each game against Illinois.
In Michigan's first game against
the Illini, Motycka hit a homer just
Senior Nicole Motycka went five-for-six in two games against Illinois.
Continued from page 11B
to any other scares. She got out of
the second inning and allowed just
one more hit on the day, retiring the