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April 16, 2009 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-04-16

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, April 16, 2009 - 9A

Pitching leads 'M'
to five-inning mercy

By MICHAEL FLOREK
Daily Sports Writer
EasternMichiganmade the short
bus ride to Alumni Field yesterday
to play the Michigan softball team.
Exactly an hour and a half later, the
Eagles were thankful the bus ride
back to Ypsilanti, was short, too.
The
abbrevi- EASTERN MICH. 0
ated com- MICHIGAN 9
mute left
little time to dwell on their hitless
outing.
Michigan's pair of ace pitch-
ers, sophomore Jordan Taylor and
junior Nikki Nemitz, combined for
a no-hitter in yesterday's 9-0 win
over Eastern Michigan.
After three hitless innings,
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins
pulled her starting pitcher, Taylor,
for fellow All-American Nemitz.
Hutchins told the pitchers before
the game they would split time, and
Nemitz was ready to go. She struck
out four in two scoreless innings to
finish the combined no-hitter in a
mercy-rule shortened, five-inning
game.
The pair would have enjoyed a
combined perfect game had it not
been for one small mishap. Just one
Eastern Michigan runner reached
S FTALL

base the whole day after fresh-
man catcher Amanda Chidester
lost track of a third strike. The ball
bounced off the backstop, and by
the time Chidester located it, the
runner had already reached safely.
Taylor had her third consecu-
tive strong outing after struggling
for much of the last month. And
her newfound success could reach
another level soon; she is currently
developing a backdoor curveball.
"We've been working on it all fall
so today is the first time I actually
got to throw it," Taylor said. "We
only threw it twice, but both times
it was successful."
The offense gave their pitchers
plenty of support, scoring nine runs
in the first three innings.
After consecutive walks by
juniors Roya St. Clair and Maggie
Viefhaus, sophomore Dorian Shaw
stepped to the plate and got the
scoringstarted with a home run.
The ball traveled well beyond
the scoreboard, clearing the pine
trees behind the centerfield fence
and nearly landing in the baseball
stadium.
"I'm pretty good at reacting
inside because I have relatively
quick hands," Shaw said. "I was
lookingfor (a pitch outside), because
she was throwing everybody in the

right-handed batter's box a lot of
outside pitches. I just reacted and
that's what I need to start doing
more."
The three-run shot was her sev-
enth of the year and her first since
Mar. 28.
"I wasn't really seeing the ball
very well," said Shaw, referring to
the past few weeks. "I was so eager
to hit it, and I'm watching it halfway
to the plate and not all the way and
that will mess you up every single
time. I was popping a lot straight
up in the air, miles high, and it just
finally started to level out."
The blowout gave Hutchins a
final chance to get some of her
reserve players extended playing
time before the heart of conference
play begins.
The lopsided win extended
Michigan's win streak to 10 games
just before the tough stretch start.
The Wolverines, third in the con-
ference standings, need help to win
the conference after getting swept
in their Big Ten opener against
Northwestern.
Sitting one game behind the
Wildcats, the Wolverines can pres-
sure the Big Ten leaders this week-
end, as they head to Champaign ARIEL BOND/Dai
for a two-game series against the Sophomore first baseman Dorian Shaw hit her team-leading seventh home run on the season in a 9-0 win over Eastern
Illini. Michigan yesterday. Shaw was one of two Wolverines that notched a multi-hit game in the five-inning mercy victory.

Walk-on grabs her first hit in a maize-and-blue uniform

Sophomore's first after her first collegiate hit. the batter's box for her third at-bat
.t kBut when Michigan coach Carol when Hutchins called on Ryan, a
Hutchins waved towards the walk-on, to pinch hit.
in third inning dugout in the bottom of the third "From the very beginning, I
inning yester- thoughtI mighthave agood chance
against Eastern day with the of playingtoday," Ryan said. "I was
Wolverines trying to prepare myself for it, but
By AMY SCARANO up 6-0 against it was just a spur-of-the moment
Daily Sports Writer Eastern Michi- thing."
gan, Ryan Ryan looked comfortable in the
Sophomore Alycia Ryan wasn't grabbed her box, and her performance showed
even sure she'd ever get to wear a gloves, helmet it. After a foul ball to left field, she
Michigan jersey when she arrived and bat for just RYAN wrote the first page in her story as
in Ann Arbor less ever than two the third time a Michigan athlete.
years ago, much less run down this season. "I'm just going to remember that
the first-base line in front of a few Junior rightfielder Angela Find- ball getting over the shortstop's
hundred fans in maize and blue lay was already on her way toward glove." Ryan said. "Because once

I saw it get past her glove, I just
had my eye on first base. I sighed
in relief."
The bases were loaded when
Ryan came up to hit, and she tal-
lied her first career RBI when
she sent junior designated hitter
Dorian Shaw home for the Wolver-
ines' seventh run of the day.
In high school, Ryan started
every game in three different
sports - soccer, basketball and
softball. She wasn't sure if she
wanted to play basketball or soft-
ball in college, so she took time to
make a decision.
By the time she picked softball,

most schools had already finished
their recruiting.
Ryan applied to Michigan
because being a Wolverine was a
family legacy, but originally, she
had no intention of becoming one
herself.
"When I found out that I got
into Michigan, I just thought it
was an education that I couldn't
turn down," Ryan said. "I didn't
know if I was going to make the
team or not. But it was a risk that
I was willing to take. I just thank
God that I made the team. I feel
very blessed."
After a day of tryouts at the

beginning of her freshman year,,
Ryan was told to come back for:
day two. She continued to prac--
tice with the team for three weeks
before she was told she had made
the roster.
She has been practicingfive days
a week for the last two years but
has never had much of a chance to
leave the bench - until her third-
inning single flew over Eastern
Michigan pitcher Staci Skodinski's
glove.
"Oh, it felt good," Ryan said
reflecting on her first collegiate'
hit. "They all gave me high fives
and were pretty excited for me."

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