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April 16, 2007 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-04-16

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

TheMihianDaiy mchganaiycmPondyApil16,207AY5

Monday, April 16, 2007 - 5B

BUCKEYES
From page 1B
stepped into the batters' box to
face Michigan's hard-throwing
closer, sophomore Ben Jenzen.
Then, Jenzen was instructed to
intentionally walk Dew with first
base open. But Jenzen, who had
already been struggling to keep
the ball inside the strike zone, left
the ball too close to the outside
corner and Dew made contact on
a pitch no one expected him to
even swing at.
As the ball . floated toward
leftfield, all the fans - even the
Michigan ones - had no doubt
in their minds that Ohio State (4-
6 Big Ten, 18-9 overall) had just
taken the game after the Wolver-
ines had led throughout.
Consider Michigan third base-
man Adam Abraham a skeptic.
"The ball was hit softly so it
was kind of floating over my head
a little bit so it was a little bit of a
floater and fooled me a bit," Abra-
ham said.
Moments later, Abraham made
what may end up being the Wol-
verines' most important out of the
season.
After retreating for the ball,
Abraham leapt up, and not only
FOOTBALL
From page 1B
three 40-plus-yard field goals, but
sophomores Bryan Wright and
Jason Olesnavage both missed their
first field-goal attempts.
No one in the trio was especially
effective on kickoffs.
Fill the gaps: The scrimmage also
provided a first look at a defense
rebounding from the loss of a group
of NFL-bound stars that last year
formed one of the most fearsome
run-stopping units in the nation.
But if anyone has doubts about
Michigan repeating its stellar per-
formance - it allowed just 564 net
rushing yards all season - defen-
sive lineman Tim Jamison would
like aword.
"There's been a lot of specula-
tion on how the defense is going to
be because we lost a lot of players,
but I'm excited about all the players
returning," Jamison said after the
defense emerged with a 42-41 vic-
tory in Saturday's scrimmage. "We
had a great defense and all, but I
thinkthis defense this year upcom-
ing has the ability to be better. As
longaseverybodygetsbackhealthy,
stays consistent, stays on the field,
works hard during summer condi-
tioning, we should be excellent."
Branch-ing out: The NFL Draft

snagged the ball out of mid air but
simultaneously took all the air out
of the Buckeyes.
Abraham's catch took the Wol-
verines into extra innings, where
Michigan was just 1-2 this sea-
son.
But that was going to change.
After junior Nate Recknagel
singled to right field and sopho-
more Zach Putnam walked, Abra-
ham came up to the plate.
With a smooth stroke, the
sophomore hit a double to the
left-center wall that scored both
Recknagel and Putnam.
Michigan (8-0,22-6) went on to
score four more runs in the inning
before sophomore Michael Pow-
ers sealed the victory by striking
out the side in the bottom half of
the frame.
Putnam started the game for
the Wolverines, but wasn't in
top form. The Ann Arbor native
pitched 8 1/3 innings and allowed
four runs on nine hits.
"You know, we didn't play our
best game by no means," Malo-
ney said. "But we found a way to
win against a team that was play-
ing their heart out in Ohio State.
And our kids battled, and finding
a way to win is a sign of a really
good team."
The momentum from Friday
night's game spread into Satur-
is just two weeks away, but that
didn't stop possible top-10 pick
Alan Branch from demonstrating
his Wolverine pride.
Wearing his varsity jacket, the
330-pound,lane-clogging defensive
tackle chatted with reporters and
signed autographs before heading
into Michigan Stadium to watch his
former teammates.
Branch, who worked out in Ari-
zona with players like Brady Quinn
and JaMarcus Russell, said he has
already interviewed with Tampa
Bay and has trips to Washington
and Cleveland planned for this
week.
"It's a four-month-long job inter-
view," said Branch, who plans on
watchingthis month's NFL Draftin
his New Mexico home. "You can't
get in trouble. You have to keep
your nose clean: You have to pres-
ent yourself well, and I feel like I've
been doing that."
Branch said he can't wait for
draft day, no matter where he ends
up going.
Predictions change so frequently
he doesn't even bother to check
them and he's sick of the lengths
some NFL teams will go to conceal
theirtrue intentions.
"Imeanevery teamis goingto act
like they want you and need you,"
Branch said. "Even Jacksonville,
who has two Pro Bowl defensive

day and Sunday as the Wolverines
handled the Buckeyes, outscor-
ing them 31-10 in the final three
games.
Michigan defeated Ohio State
12-4 on Saturday, led by Abra-
ham's first-inning grand slam.
Senior Andrew Hess allowed just
one unearned run on eight hits to
record the win.
Michigan's momentum carried
over to Sunday.
Sophomore Mike Wilson
pitched six innings of one-hit
ball, and the bullpen fought
through some struggles to record
a 6-3 victory in the first game of
a doubleheader. The strong start-
ing pitching continued into Sun-
day, as sophomore Chris Fetter
allowed just three runs on four
hits to complete the four-game
sweep in Sunday's second game.
With an unblemished Big Ten
record, and bragging rights over
its biggest rivals, Michigan left
Columbus more than happy with
the way it played.
"It's special," Maloney said.
"Ohio State has a great program.
To beat a great team on the road
like that, and sweep them con-
vincingly, we're a pretty good
team. We're not unbeatable, but
we are the team to beat (in the
conference), there's no question
about that."
tackles, was acting like they want
me, so I mean, it's a mind game."
These Rules They Are A-Changin':
One year after changing the rules
to speed up games, the NCAA has
decided to revert back to those used
in 2005.
The clock will once again stop
on possession changes and will not
start on kickoffs until the receiving
team touches the ball.
"I think we need to get out of
the habit of changing the rules
every year," Carr said. "I thought
last year's rule changes were in
the best interest of the players, and
that's really what the rules should
be for."
Notes:Carrsaidhehadnoupdate
onthestatusofwidereceiverAdrian
Arrington, who did not participate
in spring practice for disciplinary
reasons.... The biggest cheer of the
day occurred when Mallett took
his first snaps at quarterback. The
freshman had trouble finding his
touch, often throwing wide or long,
but did connect with wide receiver
David Middleton for a touchdown.
... Henne, defensive tackle Will
Johnson and wide receiver Greg
Mathews all won awards for their
performances this spring. ... Carr
said he met new men's basketball
coach John Beilein and is confident
in the former West Virginia coach's
ability to lead the Wolverines.

Wind
can't
stop
'M b at s
By ANDY REID
Daily Sports Writer
COLUMBUS - The Michigan
baseball team lives bythe big inning.
That was never more clear than
the first game of its doubleheader
against Ohio State yesterday.
The wind was blowing fiercely
toward home plate, making it dif-
ficult for batters to find base hits.
Through the first four innings, the
Wolverines consistently made con-
tact, butthe wind kept the ball high,
creating easy fly outs. Michigan had
eight pop ups in the four innings,
including six in a row to open the
game.
But as it turns out, even Mother
Nature couldn't stop the Wolver-
ines.
Though the winds didn't die
down, the Michigan bats came alive
in the top of the fifth. It began with
sophomore Kevin Cislo's base hit to
left field. After Ohio State pitcher J.B.
Shuck threw away senior Eric Rose's
sacrifice attempt, sophomore Jason
Christian's bunt advanced Cislo and
Rose to third and second, respective-
ly. Then senior Brad Roblin drew a
walk and junior Nate Recknagel con-
nected forthe game's first extra-base
hit, a double that cleared the bases.
"On my previous at bat, Shuck
threw me the same exact pitch
sequence," Recknagel said. "So I

Junior Nate Recknagel had a bases-clearing double in yesterday's doubleheader.

knew he was going to try to jam me
with the fast ball, and this time I was
ready for it. I connected well with
it."
Sophomore Adam Abraham
capped off the scoring with a deep
single to center field, plating Reck-
nagel.
The four-run inning was too
much for the Buckeyes to overcome,
and the Wolverines took their third
straight game of the series.,
WINNING WAYS: Michigan coach
Rich Maloney wants to win 40
games. With that mark, the Wolver-
ines could be a lock for the NCAA
Tournament. But if Michigan keeps
this pace, 40 wins may be just an
afterthought.
The Wolverines have gone on a
tear recently, winning 16 straight
games. The last time Michigan
didn't come out on top was nearly a
month ago, a 3-2 loss at East Carolina
on March 17.
That's notthe onlywinningstreak
the Wolverines have at the moment.
Including last weekend's sweep,
Michigan has won11straight regular
season games against the Buckeyes.
Under Maloney, the Wolverines now
have a 15-2 regular-season record

against Ohio State.
PICTURE PERFECT: The energy was
palpable throughoutthe game in the
opening contest between Michigan
and Ohio State, with a crowd of near-
ly 2,500 creating a red force behind
home plate.
The Buckeyes'fans did everything
in their power to will Ohio State to
victory, but it was Michigan that fed
off that energy, sparking a six-run
inning in extra frames to pull out an
improbable win over the Buckeyes.
But the ensuing celebration was
something straight out of a movie.
After beating its bitter rival in the
Buckeyes' stadium, the Wolverines
celebrated under a full fireworks dis-
play over the centerfield wall.
Dubbed "Fireworks Night," Ohio
State had planned to enjoy the show
after a victory, but it was Michigan
that reaped the benefits of the show,
as the Wolverines stood together on
the infield to watch and rejoice the
win.
"It feels amazing," Rose said. "I
tell you what - itcan'tgetany better
beating your archrival at their place
in extra innings and then watching
the fireworks after the game. It's a
great win forus."

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