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April 04, 2007 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-04-04

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Big innings
s ark Blue

By COURTNEY RATKOWIAK
Daily Sports Writer
After walking to the plate to
the tune of Kanye West's "Jesus
Walks," junior Derek VanBuskirk
hit a grand
slam on the CMU 3
first pitch MICHIGAN 13
he faced.
His shot to right-center field
set the tone for a dominating
first inning and foreshadowed an
equally successful final inning as
Michigan's big bats beat Central
Michigan yesterday 13-3 at The
Fish.
The Wolverines' two six-run
innings helped rout the Chip-
pewas and continued the Maize
and Blue's trend of games featur-
ing both explosive hits and rain
delays.
Michigan (16-6) has struggled
with slow starts this season, rely-
ing on a big inning later in the
game. But against Central Michi-
gan (15-12), the Wolverines had
their impressive at-bats early.
Their six-run first inning began
with seven straight balls and
forced three pitching changes.
But between the first and eighth
innings, the Wolverines had just
one run and one extra-base hit.
Michigan's opportunity for anoth-
er early run was lost when junior
Nate Recknagel was tagged out at
home plate in the fourth inning
while attempting to score on an
Adam Abraham ground ball to
right center. The only other time
the Wolverines had a runner in
scoring position before the eighth
inning was in the sixth, when they
failed to score with a runner on
third and no outs.
"We're very potent, and at
any moment, we can score a lot
of runs," Michigan coach Rich
Maloney said. "We just have to be
patient and do what we can do. We
missed an opportunity ... and with
those things, we've got to do a bet-
ter job. Outside of that, I felt like
we were in control of the game."
Freshman Eric Katzman had
five strikeouts in his second mid-
week start. Closer Ben Jenzen,
pitched outside of his traditional

spot and worked three innings
of relief. Maloney said the shift
would help Jenzen work more
innings during the week.
"I'll take innings, no matter
when they come," Jenzen said. "I
haven't pitched a lot of innings
during games, and coach came
up to me today and said, 'If we
need you in the third or fourth
would you go?' and I said yes. I'll
do whatever it takes to help my
team."
After Central Michigan closed
the deficit to four runs in the top
of the seventh inning, a rain delay
halted the game with two runners
on base and two outs.
Jenzen walked the first Chip-
pewa batter he faced after the
game resumed, loading the bases
with the tying run at the plate, but
ended the scoring threat with a
strikeout.
The delay was Michigan's
fourth in two weeks, following
last Tuesday's home game and
two delays against Northwestern
last weekend.
"It's frustrating, being in a rain
delay as much as we've been, but
it's Michigan and we understand
it's going to happen here," Abra-
ham said. "It wears on you a little
when the game's getting over and
we're getting to the end and we're
winning, and it kind of sucks that
you have to wait a little longer,
but we've been playing well out of
rain delays."
With two outs in the eighth
inning, it looked as if Michigan's
bats had cooled. But with the
bases loaded, Chippewa outfield-
ers dropped consecutive fly balls,
allowing four Wolverines to score.
On the heels of the two botched
plays, Abraham and junior Doug
Pickens hit doubles that solidified
Michigan's second big inning and
gave the Wolverines a runaway
victory.
"Early on, we were energetic,
but when you come out with six
runs, its tough to stay in the game
sometimes," Abraham said. "I
think in the middle innings, we
lost a little of that concentration,
but we picked it up and took care
of business at the end of the day."

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 - 9A
SOFTBALL
Broncos
downed
by slam
By ANTHONY OLIVEIRA
Daily Sports Writer
Every kid dreams of it.
Bases loaded, trailing in the game's final inning,
down to the final strike and the win just a swing away.
As you hit the pitch, everyone watches it trail out
of the park. The crowd goes
wild. WMU 2
And you're celebrating MICHIGAN 5
with your teammates at WMU 0
home plate. MICHIGAN 7
Or areyou?
WhenthedugoutclearedfollowingfreshmanAnge-
laFindlay's walk-offgrand slam, the Michigan softball
team gathered around home plate disappointed, if not
disgusted, following a 5-2 victory over Western Mich-
igan yesterday afternoon. The Wolverines completed
the home-opening sweep with a 7-0 win.
"Obviously, we were happy to get the win, but we
weren't happy with the way we played," Findlay said
of the first game. "We needed to go up there and have
better at-bats. Our process wasn't good that game."
The Wolverines were just one out away from a Lori-
lyn Wilson no-hitter when the Broncos turned the
tables after a Lauren Fuller single. The next hitter,
Becky Bartosz, followed with a two-run home run in
just her second at-bat of the season.
Rather than resting up for the second game of the
doubleheader, Michigan suddenly found itself battling
a 2-1 deficit.
As juniors Angie Danis and Alessandra Giampaolo
reached on base with walks, senior Rebekah Milian
loaded the bases following an error by Western Michi-
gan second baseman Amanda McBride. After junior
Samantha Findlay struck out, the game was left inher
sister's hands.
For the second time in four days, the contest came
down to Angela Findlay's final at-bat with the bases
loaded.
As familiar as it seemed, Tuesday's result would be
different. Just days after grounding out to the short-
stop againstNorthwesternlastweekend,AngelaFind-
lay's shot lifted the Wolverines to a win in the first
game.
But the victory wasn't the type Michigan dreamt
of.
"You certainly want to give their pitcher credit,
but we allowed her to do some of the things she did,"
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins said. "We took a lot of
swings at bad pitches. I was notchappy with it because
we can't come out here and play against our opponent.
You have to play your game."
Following the intermission and a short rain delay,
the Wolverines found their game, posting five runs in
the third inning ofthe second contest en route to a 7-0
victory.
"We just came out there and attacked the ball
more," Angela Findlay said. "We took a lot of pitches
in the first game and we decided to take that pitch to
right field. We did a much better job going out there
and hitting that ball to right field."
To add to Findlay's home run, senior Tiffany Wor-
thy and Giampaolo both wentyard in the second game.
As Worthy recorded her second home run of the sea-
son, Giampaolo tallied her first, matching last season's
total.
"It's good to get that out of the way," Giampaolo
said. "I usually hit the top of the fence. When I hit it,
I said 'Oh, that's out.' But in my head I was thinking,
'With my luck, it's probably goingto hit the top of the
fence. Got to get to second."'
Along with a home run, Giampaolo notched a dou-
ble and went 4-for-5 in the series, recording an RBI in
each contest.
Freshman Nikki Nemitz and sophomore Stacy Del-
aney followed Wilson's two-hit performance with
gems of their own, combining for just two hits and 17
strikeouts in the second game.
The Wolverines will need those arms to tackle a
hard-hitting Penn State squad and a tough Ohio State
team this weekend.
But for the meantime, Michigan won't be having
any nightmares.

DEREK BLUMKE/Daily
TOP: Junior Derek VanBuskirk follows through on his first-inning grand slam.
BOTTOM: The Michigan baseball team celebrates at home plate following VanBuskirk's home run.

M' pounces on Chippewa miscues

By ANDY REID
Daily Sports Writer
After a weekend full of rain delays,
suspended games and a lot of wait-
ing around, it was a welcome surprise
for the Michigan baseball team when
its scheduled game was moved up one
day.
The contest was rescheduled for yes-
terday afternoon because of weather
conditions. And judging by the way
they came out of the dugout, it was the
Wolverines' day.
The first inning was one of those
"you just had to be there" moments
where nothing could go wrong for the
home team.
"That was a great inning," Michigan
coach Rich Maloney said. "When you
get that big of an inning in the first, it
just relaxes the team. It's a positive to
get the bats going like that."

After allowing a hit to right field,
Michigan pitcher Andy Katzman set-
tled down and Central Michigan didn't
reach base again for the rest of the
inning. The Chippewas left two run-
ners on base before taking the field.
That's when the fun started.
To say that Chippewa pitchers strug-
gled early would be an understate-
ment.
Central Michigan pitcher Jeff Rich-
ard threw eight of his first nine pitches
for balls, walking the first two hitters
he faced.
Visibly shaken, Richard threw junior
Nate Recknagel a pitch right down the
middle, which Recknagel blasted to
right field to load the bases.
Sophomore Adam Abraham quickly
took care of that when he drove in two
runs with a single to center field.
Richard was pulled after just one
out - a foul tip into the catcher's glove

- 17 balls, two runs and two hits into
his appearance when he walked junior
Doug Pickens to load the bases again.
The Wolverines, however, were not
about to let the offensive circus end.
Designated hitter Derek VanBus-
kirk, whose injury has hampered his
baserunning, has recently needed
pinch runners to get the job done after
he gets on base.
Yesterday, no such thing was neces-
sary.
The St. Clair native took the first
pitch from the new hurler and barreled
it over the leftfield wall. The shot found
its way onto the softball field, stopping
play during the softball game.
"When we get a good lead, it makes it
easier for our pitchers to throw strikes
and easier to play the game," VanBus-
kirk said. "It felt really good."
Holding his elbow, Chippewa pitch-
er Devon Kline walked off the mound,

making room for the third hurler of the
inning.
When Central Michigan finally
escaped the inning after sophomore
Jason Christian flew out in his second
at bat of the inning, the pitching stats
told the story: 23 total balls, three
walks and six runs on three hits.
Yesterday's first inning broke a less-
than-impressive pattern of lackadaisi-
cal starts for the Wolverines.
After scoring just two total runs in
the first innings of a four-game series
against Northwestern last weekend,
the outburst is a nice change for the
Maize and Blue.
"Their pitchers made mistakes,
and we capitalized," VanBuskirk said.
"When we get that many walks, we
need to get runs, and we did that."
Even though the rest of the game
wasn't exactly invigorating, the first
inning was surely one to remembered.

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