Good event order leaves men's gym-
nastics team optimistic for NCAAs.
THE SPoRTSMONDAY COLUMN:
Sharad Mattu knows the real story
with this year's baseball season.
Netters salvage split with Sun-
day sweep over Iowa.
SS April 3, 2006
Zbe 1a1irigan tuU1
Michigan 8, Minnesota 0
Michigan 8, Minnesota 0
with a walk-
off home run.
She now has a
home runs on
Blue opens Big Ten
season with mercies
By Daniel Levy
Daily Sports Writer
Samantha Findlay stepped to the plate with the bases loaded in the fourth
inning during the second game of yesterday's doubleheader against Minnesota.
With the entire crowd anxious for a grand slam, the sophomore did what she
does best, crushing a 2-2 pitch over the centerfield fence.
The blast capped off No. 12 Michigan's dominating sweep of Minnesota
(the Wolverines won a pair of 8-0 games). Michigan kicked off the Big Ten
season in style at Alumni Field, running its winning streak to seven in the
Neither contest went the full seven innings. The first game was called
after six innings and the second ended after five, thanks to the run rule,
which ends games if one team is leading by eight or more runs after five
innings of play.
"It's always important (to get off to a good start in the Big Ten),"
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said. "It doesn't matter if we are
playing Minnesota or Northwestern, every game counts the
The grand slam put the cherry on top of a ridiculous game
for Findlay, who hit a three-run shot in her previous at-bat,
and finished 3-3 with eight RBI, tying a Michigan record
for most runs driven in during a single game.
Findlay's record-tying performance grabbed all the
attention, but it was the one-two punch of senior second
baseman Tiffany Haas and sophomore centerfielder
Alessandra Giampaolo at the top of the order that
sparked the Wolverines (2-0 Big Ten, 21-9 overall)
to two easy wins. The two combined to go 6-for-10
from the plate with ten runs scored and two RBI in
the two victories.
"The key to (yesterday) was Haas and Giam-
paolo," Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said.
"They're the table setters, and our offense
goes as they go."
Haas and Giampaolo made it clear from
the beginning that they would be a prob-
lem for the Gophers (0-4, 11-18) all day long.
Haas slapped a double down the rightfield line
to lead off the first game of the doubleheader.
See GOPHERS, page 4B
By David VandeVusse
Daily Sports Writer
Super sophomore Samantha Findlay
needed just three at-bats to tie a Michi-
gan softball record.
She knocked in all eight Michigan
runs in the second game of yesterday's
doubleheader against Minnesota,
matching Stephanie Volpe's record
for RBI in a game, set in 2002 against
But Findlay's offensive production
didn't come easily.
In the first game, she struck out
swinging three times and reached
based just once, on a walk in the fourth.
Gopher pitchers threw outside to Find-
lay in each of her four at-bats, and she
got caught chasing pitches out of the
"I wasn't taking good pitches, and I
wasn't hitting them," Findlay said.
But it was a different story in game
After sophomore centerfielder Ales-
sandra Giampaolo walked in the first,
a determined Findlay stepped to the
She smacked the second pitch she
saw into the gap in right-centerfield,
earning a stand-up double and scoring
Giampaolo to give Michigan the lead
"They told me to hit the ball to right-
field," Findlay said. "My swing felt
good, so I just came out swinging."
But Findlay was far from finished.
With the score still 1-0 in the third,
the sophomore first baseman came to
the plate with runners on first and sec-
s| bounces back
ond. She hit a towering three-run shot to
straightaway center that nearly landed
in the outfield of the Fish.
The home run gave pitcher Lori-
lyn Wilson a few insurance runs and
warmed the freezing Michigan fans.
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins
applauded Findlay's improvement from
game one to two.
"She quit trying so hard, and she rec-
ognized she needed to quit pressing,"
Hutchins said. "There's a lot of pressure
on a kid who - every time she comes
up - the whole world expects her to hit
a home run."
Expectations certainly didn't hurt
Findlay in game two. Her third-inning
blast was not her last.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Gophers
made a pitching change after a walk
loaded the bases with Findlay coming
to the plate.
When she stepped into the batter's
box with the bases juiced, one thing was
on everyone's mind: a grand slam.
The excitement faded when Findlay
fell behind early in the count, taking
two outside strikes and a ball.
But Findlay made the 1-2 pitch count.
She smacked Rene Konderik's fastball
high and long for a grand slam that
looked almost identical to her third-
"I just wanted to wait for a good pitch
and hit it," Findlay said. "And that's
what I did."
The home runs were numbers five
and six on the season for Findlay.
And her eight RBI gave her 3 for
the 2006 campaign, surpassing former
team leader Becky Marx.
J achievements reached yesterday:
Michigan single game RBI record with eight.
Hutchins moved into sole possession of eighth place
ns list for coaches with 961 wins.
win streak to a season-high seven games.
ito fifth place on both the Michigan all-time hits and
0 WOMEN'S TRACK AND FIELD
Either in the east or west:
" Blue still one of the best
And they're off: 'M'-Nine
down early in Big Ten race
By Bryan Hamilton
Daily Sports Writer
Sometimes, the key to a successful finish is getting off to
a strong start.
This rang true this past weekend for the Michigan wom-
en's track and field team as it posted impressive showings
in both Palo Alto, Calif. and Atlanta. With the middle- and
long-distance runners returning to California after last
weekend's solid performance in Irvine, the remaining team
members headed southeast for a different taste of preseason
Even though the location may have changed, the results
did not for the Wolverines.
Freshman Katie LaValley and fifth-year senior
Stephanie Linz headlined strong finishes for Michi-
gan, hitting qualifying them for regionals.
Linz qualified by posting a season-best 5-8 3/4 in the high
jump, taking fifth place overall. LaValley captured second in
the 400-meter hurdles (59:88). LaValley, just a freshmen, is
impressing coaches and teammates alike with a solid start to
her career. A start that was somewhat symbolic to her race
"Katie had a tremendous start to the race," Michigan coach
James Henry said. "In that race, the start is key, and, if you
get your step and put yourself in position to be competitive,
you got a really good shot at racing well."
LaValley was not the lone freshman to race well this past
weekend. In fact, she was not the only freshman to shine in
the 400-meter hurdles. Three other first-year Wolverines fin-
ished in the top 10. Amber Hay, Tiffany Ofili and Joi Smith
took sixth, eighth and ninth, respectively. With so many
young runners stepping up and competing right away, Henry
admitted the performances were a little unexpected.
"I was pleasantly surprised," Henry said. "I was not
expecting Katie and some of our younger players to do so
well. But as a team, we just ran very well and as everyone
gets better, it will get us to where we want to go"
The results in Atlanta were both surprising and impressive,
See TRACK page 6B
By H. Jose Bosch
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan baseball team
stormed out of the gate on Friday
afternoon as the race for the Big Ten
title began. But by Sunday, the Wol-
verines stumbled hard and were left
in the dust.
With a chance to
jump ahead in theN W
Big Ten standings
to start the confer-
ence season, Michigan dropped three
out of four games against Northwest-
ern, capped off by a 5-4 loss yester-
day afternoon at The Fish.
"There's no question (this was a
big opportunity)," Michigan baseball
coach Rich Maloney said. "You don't
get it back. Our hope was to win the
series, and we turn around and ...
lose the series. It's a big blow to us."
Now, the Wolverines must go into
the next three weekends against the
three teams picked to finish ahead of
them in the preseason - Minnesota,
Ohio State and Purdue. Next week-
end's series is at Minnesota, where
Michigan lost all four games of the
series last season.
"Luckily nobody swept this week-
end," freshman Doug Pickens said.
"So the farthest we're out is only two
games. It's (only) the first series, but
we definitely have to go and play
better all-around baseball."
Sunday's game was a chance for
the Wolverines (1-3 Big Ten, 12-10
overall) to redeem themselves after
being swept during Saturday's dou-
bleheader. But after the first inning,
Michigan already trailed 5-0. The
lead was cut to 5-2 after senior Jeff
Kunkel ripped a double into the
right-centerfield gap to score junior
Disappointing Saturday can
be erased by exciting nale
with Scott Be
veryone remembers when they
found out that Santa Claus
wasn't real. The stories are
probably pretty similar: You were in ..
first or second grade and you began to
hear the murmurs that Kris Kringle
was a phony after all.
You lie awake, hoping to get a
glimpse of the iolly 'ole guy when he
A.J. Scheidt leads off cautiously during Sunday's game against Northwestern.
gan scoreless to win by that score. In
Saturday's second game, Northwest-
ern led 4-1 after two innings, and
the Wolverines could muster just one
more run, despite having the bases
one pitch and there you go."
The weekend's bright spot was Fri-
day afternoon's 6-2 victory. Maloney
started senior Craig Murray, and the
Park Ridge, Ill. native responded by