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April 11, 2007 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-04-11

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Sister act:
older Milian
gets the win

Wednesday, April 11, 2007 - 9A
a SOFTBALL
In one game,
slumps turn to
x streaks for Blue

By ANTHONY OLIVEIRA
Daily Sports Writer
Playing the waiting game in
the locker room last weekend, the
ninth-ranked Michigan softball
team was
glad to BALL STATE 1
playsome- MICHIGAN 6
thing it is
more familiar with: softball.
"We needed to get out on =the
field and see the sunshine," Michi-
gan coach Carol Hutchins said.
The Wolverines' bats would
shine through in the third inning
after some early rust. After fresh-
man Maggie Viefhaus doubled to
start the inning and junior Alessan-
dra Giampaolo reached base for the
11th straight game, junior Saman-
tha Findlay brought them all home
with a two-out blast over the Alum-
ni Field scoreboard in leftfield.
With that, Michigan was halfway
to a 6-1 win over Ball State.
"We haven't seen live pitching
for a little bit," sophomore Teddi
Ewing said. "Once we went around
the second time, we got back into
the groove and felt good again."
Findlay found her groove again
in the fifth with a two-run dinger,
to left-centerfield.
Working on standing back on
her legs with Hutchins and hitting
coach Jennifer Brundage before
the game, Findlay realized another

thing during yesterday's contest.
"After her first and second at-
bat, (Findlay)'said, 'I know I need
to focus on just one pitch,' which
we've said for about a 100,000
times," Hutchins said. "But it's up
to her to stay within herself, not try
to do more than she's capable of
And if she just stays in her legs, just
stroke the ball and have good hard
contact, good things will happen to
her."
That good contact last night
brought Findlay's RBI total to 22
for the season, her lowest in three
years through 35 games. Without
Becky Marx, who led the team in
RBI last season, Findlay needs to
step up as the number three hitter.
All Hutchins asks of her is just to
hit the ball hard.
But seeing Findlay hit it out
proved strange for senior Rebekah
Milian.
With her sister freshman Eliz-
abeth Milian taking the circle for
the Cardinals, Rebekah Milian
said that at least for a moment,
the team is more important than
family.
"(Findlay's first home run) was
amazing," Rebekah said. "It was a
little weird that it was off my sister,
but I didn't care because I wanted
to win."
Rebekah couldn't provide any
advice about hitting off her sister,
but Michigan eventually figured

Michigan senior Rebekah Milian faced her sister in yesterday's game. Elizabeth
Milian was the starting pitcher for Ball State.
the freshman out as seven Wolver- going. Walking the first batter of
ines notched hits off Milian. Vief- her respective shift, Nikki Nemitz
haus and Ewing both broke out of and Lorilyn Wilson allowed just
slumps with two hits each. three hits combined.
Rebekah made her own contri- But the day wasn't about the sis-
butions going 2-for-4 off her sister ters' dual.
with one run. "It's cute when (Rebekah) was
"During warm-ups, I was a little up, and they were both yelling for
weirded out by it," Rebekah admit- Milly," Hutchins said. "So we knew
ted. "I've never played against her Milly was going to do something.
before so it was a little weird. But But when it came down to it, it
when I got up to the plate, it's just wasn't about the Milians, it wasn't
the same as any other pitcher." about the Findlays, it's about Mich-
The team's pitching, like Michi- igan and it's the only thing we ulti-
gan's bats, was a tad off in the early mately worry about."

By MICHAEL EISENSTEIN
Daily Sports Writer
In the English language,
there's a tiny difference
between slumping and slugging
- just a couple of letters.
But in
softball, the NOTEBOOK
difference
between the
two is tremendous - it's more
than a couple hundred batting-
average points.
For Michigan shortstop
Teddi Ewing and third base-
man Maggie Viefhaus, break-
ing their slump means the
left infield duo's bats are back
in business as Michigan gets
ready to resume Big Ten play
this weekend.
"I think it definitely is a con-
fidence boost, hitting the ball
hard again," Ewing said. "It's
always nice to get a hit after
you've been through a slump."
The sophomore went 2-for-
3 in yesterday's 6-1 victory
over Ball State and let just one
pitch (the first she saw) reach
the catcher's mitt while she
was at the plate. Her hits in the
fourth and sixth innings were
on the first and second pitches,
respectively.
The big 0-fer staring Ewing
in the face was 0-for-26. The
Olathe, Kan., native had gone
hitless since a March 23 game
against California.
"I felt good at the plate the
past couple of games, it's just
they haven't fallen for me,"
Ewing said. "It was nice to get
one that went through.".
Viefhaus, who went 3-for-22
over that same stretch, mir-
rored Ewing's day, also going 2-
for-3. She drove home Ewing in
the bottom of the fourth. Each
time the freshman came up to
bat she ended up at second base
(two hits and an error).
And Viefhaus didn't wait to
get things started, either: Her
first at-bat was a deep first-
pitch blast to the bottom of the
fence.
"That was beautiful to see
her come out and crack one
over the centerfielder's head,"
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins
said.
Ewing's and Viefhaus's
breakout performances will be
critical as the Wolverines get
deeper and deeper into the sea-
son.
"When you got some kids
who are hitting not up to their
potential and you see them

come out and do that, you
hope it gives them confidence,"
Hutchins said. "You hope they
build on that confidence and
just continue to have good at
bats."
STAYING SHARP: After Michi-
gan's four games this past week-
end were cancelled, Hutchins's
biggest concern wasn't missing
out on important Big Ten con-
tests or letting Northwestern
(Michigan's toughest compe-
tition for the conference title)
take control of the standings.
It was Michigan's pitchers.
"Probably the biggest con-
cern when you have a layoff
is (that) your pitchers haven't
thrown," Hutchins said. "Even
if they throw to hitters in the
cage, they're just not going to
be as game sharp."
Going into yesterday's game
against Ball State, Lorilyn Wil-
son and Nikki Nemitz hadn't
pitched a live game ina week.
And with the Wolverines
facing Illinois's Big Ten-lead-
ing offense (in batting average)
this upcoming weekend, get-
ting rid of the pitchers' rust is
crucial.
For that reason, Hutchins
made sure both pitchers saw
action yesterday.
Wilson pitched the first
-three innings, surrendering
just one hit and striking out six
Cardinals. Nemitz allowed two
runs (four strikeouts) in her
four innings of relief work.
"We wanted both pitchers to
get some pitching time in the
game," Hutchins said. "Staying
game sharp - the only way you
can do it is to be in the game.
... Our intention was to split the
game."
SPARKLING BLUE: The can-
celled weekend caused concern
for Michigan's pitchers, but the
off days provided an opportu-
nity for Viefhaus.
The Wolverines donned
sparkly-blue-headb .nds.at-
yesterday's game - ones that
Viefhaus made herself over the
weekend.
"I think Maggie wore these
with her summer team and,
then she decided to make them
for everyone," Ewing said. "So
we all wore them and they're
kind of fun, so we went for it."
But Hutchins, as always, saw
room for improvement.
"They don't match the
Michigan blue," Hutchins said.
"They're going to have to get a
little bit darker.... All I know is
they don't match."

BASEBALL
Twin-dip yields two wins
after week-long wait to play

By ALEX PROSPERI
Daily Sports Writer
YPSILANTI - All through the
Michigan baseball team's double-
header
rampage MICHIGAN 11)
over E. MICHIGAN 4
Eastern MICHIGAN 9
Michigan I. MICHIGAN 1
yesterday,
a two-
game set it won 11-4 and 9-1, the
Wolverines' scorching offense was
more consistent than it has been
all season.
But the most consistent aspect
of the afternoon was the number
seven.
It had been seven days since
Michigan (4-0 Big Ten, 18-6 over-
all) took the field with a chance to
get closer to their 40-win goal, and
the break took some time to wear
off.
"We were rusty in game one,"
Michigan coach Rich Maloney
said. "We didn't play very well.
Defensively we weren't sharp,
our pitching wasn't sharp and we
didn't execute early to score some
runs when we could have. And that
was kind of to be expected since
we hadn't played in a while."
What Maloney saw as rusty
didn't show up the same way on
the scorecard.
The Wolverinesmanaged 15hits,
led by sophomore Zach Putnam's
two home runs and four RBI.
Keeping with a season-long
trend, Michigan had one huge
inning. The sixth inning began
with Eastern Michigan (9-14 over-
all, 6-1 Mid-American Conference)
down just one, 5-4.
By the end of the frame, the lead
was 11-4 - the seven-run margin
held to the end.
The inning, which featured 11
Wolverines stepping to the plate,
began with a single by senior Brad
Roblin. Following a diving catch
by the Eagles' leftfielder Jeff Davis

to rob junior Nate Recknagel of a
hit, Putnam sent one of his bombs
over the rightfield wall to make the
score 7-4.
After Adam Abraham made
the second out of the inning on
an acrobatic play by the Eastern
Michigan third baseman, seven
more Wolverines came to the plate
and scored four more runs, led by
Roblin's two-run single.
After a 30-minute break
between games, the teams took the
field to play the nightcap during a
game that Maloney took a differ-
ent approach to the mound.
In the nightcap, Michigan need-
ed just one pitcher - Mike Wil-
son.
The Pickering, Ontario, native
pitched no-hit ball and walked just
two batters in his five innings of
work in an outing Maloney called
splendid.
The no-hitter would have been
much more impressive had Wil-
son gone deeper into the game,
but Wilson was on a short leash
in preparation for this weekend's
four-game. series against Ohio
State, and Maloney pulled him
after five innings.
When asked about his perfor-
mance, Wilson made it clear it
wasn't a one-man show.
"Once again, my offense just
gave me a big lead again right off
the bat and it just makes my job a
whole bunch easier," Wilson said.
"I have one of the best defenses
behind me and they just make all
the plays. I give all the credit to
them."
There was one player both Wil-
son and Maloney were quick to
commend for the sophomore's five-
strikeout performance - catcher
Chris Berset.
Offensively the freshman had a
brilliantday,going3-for-4fromthe
plate and finding holes as Maloney
pointed out. But he received praise
for his defense, too.
"Chris Berset today was just a

wall," Wilson said.
Said Maloney: "What I was most
impressed with, he had two blocks
on strikeout pitches that were
nasty from Wilson. And Wilson
needs to have confidence tobe able
to throw them and for a catcher to
block those."
One of Maloney's goals was to
get the pitching staff ready for this
weekend's series.
"We had to get guys in there
to get 'em back," Maloney said.
"I didn't want to go into the Ohio
State series having guys that
hadn't played in two weeks, basi-
cally,10 days."
That would explain why four
Michigan pitchers took the mound
in the day's first game. Senior
Andrew Hess, sophomore Chris
Fetter and sophomore Michael
Powers each pitched two innings
before sophomore Ben Jenzen
closed the game with two emphat-
ic strikeouts.
All four pitchers will most likely
see significant action this week-
end.
Offensively, Berset was just a

fraction of the team's firepower
that would produce nine runs on
13 hits in the second game.
And the team wasted no time
beginning the hit borage.
Sophomore Jason Christian hit
a single on the game's first pitch off
pitcher Corey Chaffins, who wears
the number seven.
The Loveland, Ohio, native,
started a three-run inning in
which the Wolverines sent seven
batters to the plate.
At that point, it was obvious
Michigan's offensive wasn't hurt
by the seven-day break.
The combined hitting and
pitching efforts put the team in
good spirits after the game. But
with a weekend series against its
archrival just around the corner,
it would be easy for Michigan to
forget about its game today against
Toledo.
But, Wilson and his team-
mates have other ideas.
"We got Toledo today, which
we lost to last year," Wilson said.
"So we got to get a little bit of
redemption there."

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