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April 02, 2009 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-04-02

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, A pril 2, 2009 - 5A

Big bats help Blue notch
first two conference wins

Junior Mike Dufek went 3-for-5 with three doubles and three RBl, including the game-winner, in yesterday's win over Oakland.
'M' gets hot in fifth, comes back
from -0 deficit to top Oakland

By RYAN KARTJE offense's hands to manufacture
Daily Sports Writer key runs.
Three hours and forty-five
Michigan baseball coach Rich minutes into the game, with the
Maloney peered up at the score- sun going down in right field,
board during the middle of the Dufek slammed a pop fly deep
third inning against Oakland yes- into centerfield. Oakland cen-
terday. terfielder Justin Wilson lost his
He said later he was embar- footing and the strong wind blew
rassed at Dufek's ball past his glove. Sopho-
what he OAKLAND 13 more centerfielder Ryan LaMarre
saw, and MICHIGAN 14 beat the throw to home to notch
so was the eventual winning run.
the rest of his clubhouse. Dufek's third double of the day
After dropping two games to was the difference, as the slugger
sub-.500 Mid-American Confer- led the offensive surge with three
ence teams, the Wolverines found RBI in the Wolverines' 15-hit
themselves down 8-0 at home to effort.
another team they were supposed Maloney used five pitch-
to beat. ers up to that point - including
"Itwas alowpoint for allofus," the three-hurler third inning -
Maloney said. "I didn't want to and with the final half-inning
say anything; I just hoped some- approaching, Dufek approached
one would step up." his coach.
Maloney's silence must have "He told me he wanted the
spoken louder than any mid-game ball," Maloney said. "They were
speech could have - because so tired of losing. There was no
with two outs in the bottom of doubt in my mind, (to put him
the fifth inning, the Wolverines in)."
rallied with a nine-run offensive As Michigan's closer for the
explosion and solid play down the second day in a row, Dufek
stretch' to win in marathon fash- allowed just one hit to end the
ion, 14-13. game in swift fashion and regis-
After last weekend's series ter his second save of the season.
against Iowa, both senior out- "He was lights out, and he's
fielder Kenny Fellows and junior been doing it all season," Fellows
first baseman Dufek expressed said. "For him to come out and
their displeasure that the offense give us that double and go back
couldn't complement the pitch- onto the mound and finish it, that
ers' solid efforts. was huge."
When each Wolverine pitcher But Dufek's double wasn't the
in the Grizzlies' six-run third only gamechanger yesterday.
inning lasted just one out yes- With the bases loaded in the
terday, and junior reliever Jeff fifth inning, Fellows slammed the
DeCarlo left the game with an ball down the third baseline to
ERA over 17, both Fellows and score two and spark the Wolver-
Dufek knew that it was in the ines' comeback. Fellows, who has

the highest batting average on
the team at .374, has coupled with
Dufek to stimulate the offense for
much of the season thus far.
"It came from all angles today,"
Dufek said. "And then you see the
other guys doing it, and it boosts
the confidence that a lot of guys
didn't have. Our hitting was con-
tagious."
Senior second baseman
Kevin Cislo, who was originally
scratched from the lineup after
tweaking his shoulder against
Bowling Green on Tuesday, told
Maloney that he wanted to be a
part of the effort. And in the top
of the ninth inning, the tri-cap-
tain got his wish.
Maloney said that his captain's
determination told the tale of the
comeback effort.
"We were down so far men-
tally," Maloney said. "Psychologi-
cally, we needed that game. So
when two guys approach me and
say they need to come in, that says
something."
With an important three-game
series against Penn State loom-
ing this weekend, the Wolver-
ines needed a mental comeback
to maintain strong positioning in
the Big Ten.
At this time last season, the
Wolverines had won eleven
straight games after a 5-5 start,
a turnaround that led them to a
42-12 record and a top seed in the
Big Ten Tournament. Wednes-
day's win could be that catalyst
that Michigan need to make the
same kind of run.
"We've been making mistakes,"
Maloney said. "But we're still 17-8
- 17-8 with a whole new roster.
That's something."

Viefhaus and St.
Clair guide team to
doubleheader sweep
in State College
By MIKE FLOREK
Daily Sports Writer
With the sky permanently stuck
in a depressing shade of gray and
the stadium bleachers nearly
empty,the
Michi- MICHIGAN 9
gan soft- PENN STATE 1
ball team
resumed
its quest MICHIGAN 11
PENNSTATE 3
for Big
Ten
supremacy during yesterday's
doubleheader against Penn State.
With the temperature in the 40s
in State College, it was the Wolver-
ine bats that impressed the minis-
cule crowd of 75 as Michigan won
9-1 and 11-3.
The wins were Michigan's first
in Big Ten play.
After two losses to then-No.
14 Northwestern on the opening
weekend of Big Ten play, Michi-
gan (2-2 Big Ten, 24-9 overall) was
ninth in the conference. The two
wins put Michigan back into the
middle of the pack.
With no postseason conference
tournament for the first time since
1994, the regular-season games
are more important than in years
past.
"If we did (feel pressure), we
didn't show it," Michigan coach
Carol Hutchins said. "We can't get
caught up in the standings. Our
goal is to make it and have a deep
run into the postseason and have
a chance to get it to the (Women's
College) World Series, so we need
to play every game like we're fight-
ing for that."
Junior catcher Roya St. Clair,
who hits fifth in the lineup, led the
way at the plate. She was 4-for-7

CIF EER/Deiaily
Junior Roya St. Clair, shown here against Kent State, went 4-for-7 and hit her
fourth home run of the year in yesterday's doubleheader at Penn State.

and hit a home run in the first
game, her fourth this season.
"We need that from Roya,"
Hutchins said. "She's in the RBI
slot in the lineup. We need her to
stay consistent at the plate ... how-
ever she did it, I hope she stays
with it."
After sophomore pitcher Jordan
Taylor gave up three runs in the
first inning of the second game,
Hutchins swapped one All-Amer-
ican for the other. She brought in
junior Nikki Nemitz, who won the
first game.
Nemitz went on to throw six
scoreless innings and ten strike-
outs against the Nittany Lions
(0-, 9-17).
Junior third baseman Maggie
Viefhaus picked up where St. Clair
left off in the batter's box in the
second game, going 3-for-4, driv-
ing in five runs and adding her,
fifth home run of the year.
'I've been striking out a lot late-

ly," Viefhaus said. "I was just try-
ing to put it in play and she put it
over the plate, and I got the good
part of the bat, and it went out."
Michigan will have justtwo days
to prepare before Purdue comes to
Ann Arbor for a two-game series
this weekend. The Boilermakers
are 3-1 in Big Ten play and sit at
second in the conference behind
Northwestern.
"Getting games in helps us more
than anything," Viefhaus said.
"We're at the point in the season
where you don't really need to
practice anymore. You're either on
your game or you're not."
The Wolverines will play in
their optimal weather conditions
again this weekend - the forecast
projects the temperature in the
high 40s.
The only difference from yester-
day is that it looks like more than
75 people will likely be in atten-
dance at Alumni Field.

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