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April 14, 2010 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-04-14

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8A - Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Taylor continues dominant
season, grabs fourth award*

Sophomore John Lorenz hit one of the Wolverines' three home runs yesterday in the team's 8-4win over Toledo. EM CHU/Day
ecta home runs helps
Blue down hot Toledo tea-m

By BEN ESTES
Daily Sports Writer
In the bottom of the first inning, fresh-
man centerfielder Patrick Biondi halted
in the middle of the
base path, anxiously TOLEDO 4
watching the ball MICHIGAN 8
that junior leftfield-
er Ryan LaMarre had just launched deep
to right.
After a few seconds of indecision,
Biondi slowly turned and began the jog to
home. LaMarre had just hit his first home
run of the season, and Michigan took the
first lead of the game 2-0.
And the Wolverines (4-2 Big Ten, 19-11
overall) would never lose that lead, rolling
to an 8-4 victory over Toledo on Tuesday
afternoon.
Michigan capitalized on the wind blow-
ing out to right field, hitting three long
balls on the afternoon. After LaMarre's
round-tripper, senior catcher Chris Berset
added one of his own off the black exten-
sion in center.
It was the Wolverines' first back-to-
back jacks since LaMarre and then-junior
first baseman Mike Dufek accomplished
the feat Feb.20 of lastseason against Jack-
sonville State. Sophomore third baseman
John Lorenz added a solo shot of his own
in the second inning of yesterday's game.
Berset added another RBI on a sacrifice
fly in the seventh to finish with two on

the day. He said he was thrilled to match
LaMarre, as he had to keep step in their
friendly rivalry.
"There's always that (trash) talk,
because he cane back and he missed all
these games and he comes in and takes
my 'three' spot," Berset said. "I wasn't too
happy about that. He had to make up for it,
but he sure enough did. He's playing great
right now."
While the Wolverines held a 5-2 lead
going into the fourth, the Rockets (8-1
MAC, 21-10 overall) made things inter-
esting. Toledo scored two runs in the top
of the frame to chase Michigan's starting
pitcher, junior right-hander Matt Miller,
off the mound after just 3.1 innings.
But senior left-hander Eric Katzman
relieved Miller and proved more than
ready to answer the call.
The Harrington Park, N.J. native was
coming off his worst appearance of the
year when he started at Indiana April 4,
lasting just 0.2 innings before getting the
hook. He rebounded Tuesday, tossing five
hitless innings and shutting down the
Rockets' potent offense into the ninth.
"They got a lot of left-handed hitters
and my thing, my M.O., is that I'm good
against left-handed hitters," Katzman
said. "That's why I went in there. Coach
(Rich Maloney) told me before the game
you're the first one in. I just mixed it up
and changed speeds and was able to go."
And Maloney was pleased with his

southpaw's performance.
"Very encouraging," Maloney said. "We
need some guys to step up. We had (sopho-
more right-hander Brandon) Sinnery on
Sunday, and Katzman today, and hope-
fully we can keep (getting) some different
guys. That's what you need to have."
Toledo came in hot, riding an eight-
game winning streak and not having lost
since a tough 4-3 result against Ohio State
on March 3L
The Rockets also had a better record
and a better RPI than the Wolverines (80
to 82), meaning they potentially could
have been considered the favorite to win
the contest.
But Michigan - winners of 13 of its last
15 games - had also played well recent-
ly, and certainly didn't appear to be the
underdog in its decisive victory.
"Great win," Berset said. "Great pitch-
ing and everything, great defense, great
win. We came out and swung the bats and
we needed to. Toledo's a good team. It was
a great win."
BIONDI MAKES IT: With 19 stolen
bases, Biondi came in tied for thefreshman
single-season record mark with Bruce Fox,
who reached that number in 1955.
With his swipe of second base in the
first inning, Biondi broke the mark to take
sole possession of first place. He added
another steal the next inning to give him
21 for the year, breaking the tie for 10th-
place all time in a single season.

By CASANDRA PAGNI
Daily Sports Writer
Sweeping conference opponents and
earning Big Ten weekly awards has become
a recent standard for the No. 2 Michigan
softball team.
But junior pitcher Jordan Taylor - who
pitched a five-inning perfect game this Sat-
urday against Minnesota - refuses to allow
the Wolverines or herself to become com-
placent.
"In these type of games, a lot of teams
have a tendency to expect things to happen
and expect everyone else to do it," Taylor
said through the Athletic Department, after
her perfect game.
"It can be a struggle to stay focused.
Pitchers can get a little lazy when they think
the hitters aren't as good. For me, it helps to
make little individual goals. I made a deal
with my mom at the beginning of the season
that if I threw a perfect game, she would get
me a little gift; I actually just upped the ante
(Saturday), so that was good timing."
In addition to the gift from her mom,
Taylor's weekend performance earned her
another prize - her fourth Big Ten Pitcher
of the Week title this season. The junior has
started 19 games for Michigan this season,
throwing 15 complete games in that span
and keeping her cool on the mound along
the way.
"Your pitcher sets the tone for the
defense," Michigan coach Carol Hutchins
said. "(Taylor) is going to be in command of
the game, get ahead of hitters and put them
away - a strikeout is great defense. But I
think the pitcher can give the team a lot of
confidence, and I know our kids are confi-
dent in (Taylor)."
The Wolverines gave Taylor plenty of
run support en route to her perfect game, as
Michigan cruised to a 9-0 victory over the
Golden Gophers. Saturday's game was the
fifth time a Wolverine pitcher tossed a per-
fect game, and Taylor sealed herself a spot
in the record books with her fifth career no-
hitter.
Taylor has shown great poise from the
mound this season and has earned a 16-2
record.
Leading the Big Ten with 190 strikeouts
in 125.1 innings pitched, the junior was
named one of 25 finalists for the 2010 USA
Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award
this past week. With two no-hitters under
her belt already this season - the first com-
ing against Oklahoma State on Feb. 19 -
Taylor boasts a dominant 1.17 ERA.
"(Taylor) makes defense a lot easier for
us," senior captain Maggie Viefhaus said.
"When she makes a mistake, it's an aggres-
sive mistake. It's so great playing behind the
pitchers we have."
The junior had a target on her back enter-

JAKE FROMM/Daily
Junior pitcherJordan Taylor received her fourth
eig Ten Pitcher of the Week award this week.
ing this season, as her coaches and team-
mates expected the righty to build upon
her strong performances last season. After
posting a 1.40 ERA and 19 wins in 2009,
Taylor has continued her dominance on the
mound in 2010.
In the game against then-No. 8 UCLA
in February - a 13-inning, 4-2 victory for
Michigan - Taylor flashed some of her best
stuff. Striking out 18 hitters, the hurler's
13-inning effort was a career-high.
"Hutch had really been instructing us to
stay one-pitch focused," Taylor said after
the first series of the season against UCLA.
"But that's always a little easier said than
done. For the first time ever, I felt likeI was
able to focus on one pitch at a time and not
worry about the outcome.
"I was more focused on my pitches and
them working then on UCLA hitting it.
I was actually able to put that one-pitch-
focus mindset into action. So, it was a great
start to the season, and I'm hoping I'll be
able to carry that same mindset into the rest
of the season."
While her UCLA outing helped the Wol-
verines start the non-conference schedule
outstrong, thejunior'sperfect-performance
against Minnesota kept the team undefeat-
ed in conference play.
"(The perfect game) is a big confidence
builder and momentum pusher," Taylor
said. "You need games like that over the
course of a season. The UCLA (game) was
a good game like that at the beginning of
the year, and the Arizona game was a good
one. You just need those to keep going, oth-
erwise you'll pull your hair out. Today was
agood day."
As long as Taylor keeps pitching the ver-
sion of 'Michigan softball' she's shown this
spring, the Wolverines can expect to con-
tinue winning - and Taylor can expect to
take home a few more awards of her own.

"
"

*I

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