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September 07, 2005 - Image 58

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-07

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6E - The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Fall 2005

SPORTS

opens Fish
with win
By Matt Singer
MARCH 28, 2005
Daily Staff Writer
If the weathermen had their way, the Michigan
baseball team wouldn't have even taken the field for
its home opener against Oakland. All week long,
forecasters predicted near-freezing temperatures,
high winds and snow showers for the afternoon's
first pitch.
But when senior Jim Brauer took the hill for the 78th
Opening Day at The Fish, the conditions were near-
perfect for late-March in Ann Arbor. The sun shone
brightly from centerfield, the grass was relatively dry
and light breezes did little to influence play.
With the weather cooperating, the Wolverines
cruised past the Golden Grizzlies, winning 10-0.
Brauer was dominant in his final opening day at The
Fish, scattering four hits over six scoreless innings of
work. Redshirt freshman Clayton Richard picked up
where Brauer left off in the seventh, pitching three
hitless innings in relief to lock up Michigan's fifth
straight home-opening win.
"It felt good, with better weather than we expect-
ed," Brauer said. "You just want to throw a lot of
strikes against a team that's not hitting very well
like that."
The comfortable conditions brought plenty of fans
to the park and the stadium's bleachers were mostly
filled on the third-base side behind the Michigan dug-
out. The attendance total was listed at 614, the larg-
est opening day figure since the 2000 home-opener
against Minnesota drew 800 fans.
And this year's opener featured a surprisingly large
student-fan contingent, who added some life to the tra-
ditionally docile crowd. The students initiated "C-YA"
chants whenever Oakland made a pitching change and
heckled the Golden Grizzlies after each run the Wol-
verines put on the board.
"This is the first (baseball) game I've been to since
I've been at Michigan," LSA sophomore Sam Rosenb-
latt said. "I'm just trying to get involved, help the team
out, give them a boost."
In the dugout, the Wolverines noticed the changes
in the crowd.
"(The home crowd showed a) big difference from last

M SOFTBALL
'M' defeats National

Player of the

Year

By H. Jose Bosch
JUNE 4, 2005
Daily Staff Writer
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -
The tension around Hall of Fame
Stadium made the air in Oklahoma
City a bit thicker on June 4. But it
was never as thick as when freshman
Samantha Findley came to the plate
with runners on first and second and
no one out in the top of the fourth
inning with the score tied at 0.
As Findlay stared down the best
pitcher in college softball, she quick-
ly fell behind in the count.
"We practice a lot with two
strikes," Findley said. "And I think
our hitting coach and (coach Carol
Hutchins) have done a great job at
getting us ready to hit against (Long-
horn starter Cat Osterman)."
Two pitches later, Findlay ripped
the ball into the wide-open space
in left-centerfield. In a flurry of
arms and legs, freshman Alessandra
Giampaolo and senior Jessica Mer-
chant raced around the base paths
while Hutchins jumped up and down
and waved in her runners furiously.
When the dust settled, two runs had
scored and Findlay was standing on
second base - both arms raised tri-
umphantly as she let out a scream.
Michigan added to its lead later in
the game and defeated No. 4-ranked
Texas, 4-0.
"I thought Michigan was out-
standing today," Hutchins said. "We
had our A-game (today)."
Junior pitcher Jennie Ritter set
the tone for the Wolverines early
and never looked back. She finished
the evening with 12 strikeouts and
allowed just one hit, while retiring
19 in a row. The Longhorns only
reached base twice - with the first
two hitters - and never had a run-
ner in scoring position.

"You go in there and you want to
get outs," Ritter said. "I know my
defense is behind me, and I'll do
whatever I can to get a groundball
or anything and if I get strikeouts
then great."
Despite Ritter's early perfor-
mance, the Wolverines looked to
be in trouble after the first three
innings.
Osterman - the National Player
of the Year - struck out the side to
begin the game and struck out eight
of the first 10 batters she faced. It
wasn't until the fourth inning when
the momentum swung abruptly
towards the Wolverines due to back-
to-back singles from Giampaolo
and Merchant, setting up Findlay's
big hit.
"Cat's going to get her strikeouts
and we knew that coming in," said
Merchant. "We just wanted to put
the ball in play and make them pick
it up and throw it. When you do that,
good things are going happen."
Michigan added two more runs
in the sixth and seventh innings to
solidify the victory. In the sixth,
senior Nicole Motycka lined a single
down the third-base line to score
Merchant from second base. The
throw from Texas left-fielder Tina
Boutelle beat Merchant to the plate,
but the Wayland native slid master-
fully around Texas catcher Megan
Willis to avoid the tag.
"I'm actually not that good of a
slider," said Merchant with a laugh.
"I kind of impressed myself there."
Junior Tiffany Haas drove in the
game's final run on a frozen rope
single into centerfield that eas-
ily scored. junior Stephanie Bercaw
from second base.
Osterman did strike out 12 hitters
in the game despite giving up four
runs. She is now 0-3 against Michi-
gan in her career.

MIKE HULSEBUS/Daily
Senior Jim Brauer pitches during Michigan's 11-3 win over Ohio State in their first night game at Fisher Stadium.
Michigan finished the season 42-19 overall and 17-12 in the Big Ten.

year," redshirt junior pitcher Drew Taylor said. "We
had some numbers for some games, but, for a noncon-
ference weekend, we would not have had this crowd.
They put together some chants, and we've never really
had that before, so that was awesome. It really got
the guys going - guys were talking about it on the
bench."
Built in 1927, The Fish lacks the amenities of more
modern collegiate ballparks. Wooden benches are the
only seating option, neither team's dugout connects to
its locker room, and the restrooms can only be reached
by exiting the stadium. But for fans experiencing The
Fish for the first time, the natural charm of the old park
was undeniable.

"It's like Fenway Park," LSA sophomore Dan
Mickelson said. "It's old, but it's awesome. Every-
one's got to come out here at least once in their time
at Michigan."
While The Fish certainly remains an old-time
ballpark at heart, it made a significant leap into
modernity when it unveiled its new lights for the
2005 season. In previous seasons, the Wolverines
played only day games at home and were forced to
suspend games once darkness set in. But the lighting
fixtures - which were installed after last season -
now enable Michigan to play at any hour. The lights
came on for the first time during the second game of
Saturday's doubleheader.

BRUINS
Continued from page 1E

consecutive national championship
came in the ninth inning. Kristen Ded- 4
mon blooped a leadoff double just short
of a diving Giampaolo and was subse-
quently moved to third base by way
of a Krista Colburn bunt. Dodd then E
found her way to first base after Ritter
walked her on four straight pitches. Rit-
ter rebounded by getting Ashley Her-
rera to pop up to Haas at second base. .
Duran - who was 2-for-3 on the night
coming to the plate - was intention- __
ally walked. Ritter and the Wolverines
escaped the inning after Tara Henry hit
a sharp grounder to Leutele, who threw
it to an outstretched Findlay to secure
the third out.
"I knew we could get out of it-. . .
because we had gotten out of it before
Ritter said. "I wasn't worried because I
know my defense doesra great job.' '
Ritter improved her season record
to 38-4. She allowed four hits and five -
walks, striking out four in the process.4
Findlay's three hits and four RBI on the
night propelled her to Most Outstand-
ing Player honors for the series. She
ended the tournament with a .409 bat- r'
ting average, with nine hits and eight x
RBI - both tops for the series. Find-
lay, along with Ritter, senior Jessica
Merchant and junior Stephanie Bercaw
were named to the All-Tournament MIKE HULSEBUS/Daily
team. The Michigan softball team beat UCLA two games to one in the best of three Softball
"It's just a great team, and I couldn't World Series on its way to its first National Championship title.
have asked for a better team to play for,"
Findlay said. "I would take this team ended up being the Wolverine who and it was only the second title for a
over any individual awards, because came away with it. The dugout cleared woman's program. It is the 52nd over-
this team has meant the world to me." and mobbed Ritter in the middle of the all championship won by a Michigan
The win was clinched in the bottom field - except for Merchant, who ran varsity program. The Wolverines' vic-
of the 10th when Ritter got Dedmon to over and tackled Findlay. tory also marks the first time a team
pop the ball up. Merchant and Leutele The win gave Michigan its first- east of the Mississippi River has won a
both went for the ball, but Merchant ever national championship in softball, national championship in softball.

-E

0

A

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