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April 13, 2009 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2009-04-13

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.comh

April 13, 2009 - 3B

From page 1B
allowing three runs through two-
thirds of the third inning. The relief
staff was caught in the same funk as
sophomores Kolby Wood and Matt
Miller gave up seven runs in five
innings. Their efforts cost the Wol-
verines a one-run lead that they had
held for the first five innings.
In similar fashion, Maloney need-
ed to use four more pitchers yester-
day after none of his staff could stay
consistent over multiple innings.
Twenty hits later, the Wolverines
(4-5, 19-13) left the field with their
confidence in tatters.
With the team's best reliever,
sophomore Tyler Burgoon, and its
clutch defensive catcher, junior
Chris Berset, both out with injuries,
Michigan couldn't find a rhythm.
Even Maloney couldn't avoid the
In the sixth inning of Saturday's
From page 1B
Taylor cruised through yester-
day's first three innings, striking out
at least two batters in each frame
before running into trouble in the
With the contest still scoreless,
the Gophers' leadoff batter reached
base on an infield single. The next
batter, first baseman Malisa Barnes,
smashed a two-hopper to the left
side of the infield. Junior third base-
man Maggie Viefhaus, ranging to
her left, couldn't corral the ball as
it caromed into short left field for
another single.
With runners on first and sec-
ond and no outs, Minnesota (4-6
Big Ten, 21-24 overall) was primed
for a big inning. Taylor had little
margin for error. Just like pitch-
ing to Strike Out, she had to hit her
Showing pinpoint control and
overpowering movement, she did
just that, striking out the next three
batters to extinguish the threat.
"Usually when runners get on
base, I go into a different mode,"
Taylor said. "I really focus on shut-

game, senior tri-captain Kevin
Cislo was called out at second base,
drawing thunderous boos from the
packed house atRay Fisher Stadium.
Maloney stomped out to contend the
call and was ejected from the game
after an extended argument with
the umpire.
Cislo said the ejection was moti-
vating, but the momentum swing
wasn't enough to overcome the
four-run deficit that the Wolverines
accumulated in the inning.
"(Maloney's) showing how much
passion he has for us to win," Cislo
said. "He wanted us to win.... We
just couldn't get over the hump."
Maloney praised the efforts of
Miller and junior reliever Alan
Oaks, but he also acknowledged that
their solid pitching was "too little,
too late" after both couldn't counter
huge offensive innings for the Illini.
"We couldn't stop the bleeding,"
Cislo said. "If we could just stop
those big innings, it's a completely
different ballgame."
ting down the batters."
The performance also served
notice to Michigan's offense. With
Taylor keeping the Wolverines in
the game, the onus shifted to the
lineup to push a few runs across the
Junior catcher Roya St. Clair's
leadoff home run jump-started a
four-run barrage in the bottom of
the fourth inning, and Michigan
(6-2, 29-9) added three more runs in
the seventh. But Taylor didn't need
the insurance. She didn't allow a hit
or walk in the final three innings.
The win ran her season record to
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins
said that she was pleased with Tay-
lot's performancebut cautionedthat
it will take more than just a couple
games for Taylor to fully regain the
form that made her an All-American
last year.
Michigan's lineup is potent at
times, but the Wolverines' chances
for a deep postseason run rely on
a dominant one-two combination
of Taylor and junior pitcher Nikki
While honing her motion with
Strike Out is a part of reestablishing
that dominance, there is also a men-
tal aspect to her technique.

Former walk-on Fellows
emerges as leader for Blue
Daily Sports Writer

In the fall of 2004, then-fresh-
man Kenny Fellows showed up to
the open Michigan baseball tryouts
hoping to take his career to the
collegiate level. While Michigan
coach Rich Maloney saw talent in
the speedy young player, he didn't
have enough room on his roster
and had to cut him.
For a year, Fellows worked out
on his own and played catch with
friends from his dorm to prepare.
And in the fall of 2005, he showed
up again to the varsity baseball try-
outs, hoping to make the team and
knowing that if he didn't, he would
be back the following year.
"I knew I had nothing to lose,"
Fellows said. "I had been play-
ing baseball my whole life, and I
basically made the decision I was
going to keep trying out my whole
While Maloney didn't offer him
a spot on the team that fall, he did
offer Fellows an extended tryout,
where he could scrimmage with
the team during their practices
that fall. Fellows was given another
chance to prove himself.
That spring, Fellows was added
to the Wolverines' roster but only
saw action in four games, record-
ing virtually no statistics.
"He had no ar iwhatsoever,
that's all everyone talked about,"
senior second baseman Kevin
Cislo said. "But his improvement
throughout the past two or three
years has been remarkable ... And
without him this year, our team
would be very different."
Now, as a fifth-year senior, the
speedy Fellows has stepped out

Fifth-year senior Kenny Fellows has the Wolverines' second-highest batting average this season.

of the walk-on spot and become
a team leader. He's started all 32
games this season in the outfield,
and he boasts the team's second-
highest batting average at .345.
Fellows, who bats in the second
position, had a strong series this
pastweekend against Illinois, going
5-for-12 from the plate and scoring
two runs. His most notable contri-
butions came in the Wolverines'
losses, where he batted 4-for-7 and
scored a run in each loss.
He and the three other batters
in the top half of the Michigan
lineup did as much as they could
in the team's two losses to Illinois.

In both games, the quartet batted
7-for-15, while the bottom five hit-
ters batted 3-for-20 in Saturday's
loss and 6-for-20 yesterday. The
top-heavy performance paralleled
to many of the Wolverines' games
this year.
"(Fellows) had to prove to Coach
that he could play here," Cislo said.
"Then he proved to the entire team
and now to this league and our
opponents that he can play with.
Fellows quietly leads by exam-
ple, hoping others will follow in
his wake as he makes himself bet-
ter every day in the Wolverines'

quest to be Big Ten Champions.
"You have to have that resil-
iency, that intestinal fortitude,
because a lot of the other (schol-
arship) players will get opportu-
nities before you," Maloney said.
"That's just how it works. You
have to keep working and believ-
ing in yourself, and I think Kenny
has been a great testament of
And in a season where the
Wolverines are experiencing
unexpected struggles, the strong
resiliency of a quiet walk-on may
prove to be more of an advantage
than Michigan expected.

Football fans flock to Alumni Field to see softball game

Wolverines earn
weekend sweep over
Golden Gophers
Daily Sports Writer
As 50,000 fans filed out of the
Big House after the Michigan foot-
ball team's spring game Saturday
afternoon, many of them headed
for Wilpon Sports Complex, where
both the Michigan baseball and
softball teams
were scheduled NOTEBOOK
for 3 p.m. games.
The bleachers at Alumni Field
filled up early in anticipation of
another Michigan win. And the
Wolverines served up the victory
in a 4-1 extra-inning game to open
their weekend series against Min-
"The crowd today - wow," Mich-
igan coach Carol Hutchins said
Saturday. "They were fabulous. In
all those innings where we were
getting it going, you could feel it.
It was electric. You feel a lot more
pressure to win in front of all those
fans, because you don't want to let
them down."
The contest was a pitching duel
until the fourth inning and a tied
ballgame until junior pitcher Nikki
Nemitz's walk-off home run in the
eighth sealed Michigan's victory.

Yesterday saw fewer fans, as
nany attended church and cel-
ebrated Easter. But that didn't
stop the Wolverines (6-2 Big Ten,
29-9 overall), who capitalized on a
couple of hot innings in which they
scored all seven of their runs, clos-
ing out the game 7-0. The Wolver-
ines finished the weekend against
Minnesota with a nine-game win-
ning streak.
"I think we are getting right up
to our peak right now," freshman
centerfielder Bree Evans said.
FEELING FRESH: Freshman des-
ignated player Amanda Chidester
has the highest batting average
on the team. It is no surprise that
pitchers do whatever they can to
avoid throwing to the freshman,
who is tied for first on her team
with six home runs.
Pitchers who tried to pitch
around her ended up paying aprice.
On Saturday, Chidester reached
base after being hit by a pitch. Yes-
terday, she hit a sacrifice fly that
scored Evans.
The Wolverines scored all seven
of their runs yesterday in two
innings, and another freshman had
a large role in that run production.
Freshmansecond basemanSteph
Kirkpatrick asked Hutchins earlier
in the year if it was in her plans
for Kirkpatrick to hit. Hutchins
responded that she would indeed
be hitting as soon as she started to
"You recruit (freshmen) to come
in and make an impact," Hutchins
said. "I expected all three of them
to be capable of that but that doesn't
mean that it always happens right

off the bat."
After hitting at the end of the
lineup earlier this year, Kirkpatrick
was moved to the leadoff position
where she found her groove.
She tallied three hits yesterday
and scored two runs. The two-
inning, seven-run escapade was
largely a freshmen job. But with
the powerful trio of Chidester,
Kirkpatrick and Evans, it may not
be that surprising.
"We can't believe that it's all
three of us - that we are contribut-
ing so much," Evans said. "But our
upperclassmen are helping us so
much. Theydon'ttreatuslikefresh-
men they just treat us like a player
on the team so we don't think too
much about us being freshmen."
DOING IT ALL: After Find-
lay's hole-in-one home run into
a trashcan just outside the fence
last weekend, junior pitcher Nikki
Nemitz followed suit Saturday. In
the bottom of the eighth, she hit a
walk-off homer right at the light
post on the other side of the fence.
The ball actually bounced off the
post and back into the stadium, but
it didn't matter. Nemitz and two
baserunners jogged home to end
the game 4-1.
Nemitz had already struck out
14 players and allowed just two hits
all game, but that wasn't enough
for her. Working the count helped
her get into prime position for the
game-ending blast.
"I was like, 'I'm going to hit this
ball,' " Nemitz said. "I ended up get-
tingto a3-1countwhichgets me even
more pitches. I was like, 'I'm going to
hit this.' Ijust took one and hit it."

Junior pitcher Nikki Nemitz dominated on the pitching mound and at the plate, hitting a game-winning home run Saturday.

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