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April 15, 2010 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-04-15

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10A - Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Who is softball's No.l starter?

Speierman starts for
Wolverines, finds

0

By LUKE PASCH
Daily Sports Writer
The question has been posed
before: who is the number-one
starter for the No. 2 Michigan soft-
ball team?
It's really not a critical question.
The rotation consists of two equal-
ly dominant hurlers, and thus the
players and coaches don't really
ask it.
But sometimes people get curi-
ous.
With each complete game shut-
out that junior Jordan Taylor and
senior Nikki Nemitz throw, the
question becomes more difficult to
answer.
They're both All-Americans.
They both have an ERA below two.
Taylor has 16 wins in 21 appear-
ances, and Nemitz has 13 in 17.
But in the beginning of the sea-
son, the answer wasn't nearly as
ambiguous. Taylor was the hot
hand. And it appeared that she
had assumed the number-one spot
over the elder Nemitz.
As Nemitz stumbled to a 1-3
record to open the season, Taylor
surged ahead and won in her first
five starts before taking a loss in
a 2-1 pitchers' duel to then-No. 6
Missouri.
Taylor consistently got the nod
for three games in the five-game
weekend road trips. She stifled
some of the strongest top-to-bot-
tom lineups in the nation. And her
only two losses have come against

same dominant results

Senior Nikki Nemitz started the season 1-3, but has been arguably the Wolverines' best pitcher as of late.

top-15 opponents.
Even with those conspicuous
indicators, Michigan coach Carol
Hutchins wouldn't answer the
question.
"I have two All-American pitch-
ers," Hutchins said.
But everybody could see it. The
early-season box scores revealed
the number-one and number-two
pitchers.
Now, it's not so easy.
Since Big Ten play opened three
weeks ago, both pitchers have been
tossing the ball phenomenally.
Nemitz has won all three of her
starts, giving up just one run. Tay-
lor has won all four of hers, and
she also upped the ante by throw-

ing her first career perfect game at
Minnesota last weekend.
As Nemitz's resurgence
becomes reality, and as the Wol-
verines inch closer to postseason
play, the question pops back into
relevance.
Who will be number one on
May 21, the first day of the NCAA
regionals?
Who knows? Only one thing
remains certain - you're not going
to find out from Hutchins.
INJURY REPORT: Sophomore
shortstop Stephanie Kirkpatrick
has been inactive for the last six
games with a torn meniscus in her
left knee.
Hutchins revealed today that

she will likely be out for at least
the next two weeks, but she is
expected to be ready for postsea-
son action. She is scheduled for a
minor surgical procedure today.
"She was going to try to play
through it, but she's just not
mobile enough," Hutchins said.
"The good thing is we know she'll
work really hard."
With her absence from the
field, the defense has been moved
around quite a bit, as senior Molly
Bausher - an everyday center-
fielder - has temporarily filled
in at shortstop. Sophomore Bree
Evans moved from left to center,
and senior Kristen Larsen came
off the bench to occupy left.

By ALEX HERMANN
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan softball team took
a short break from pummeling Big
Ten schools
to play its C. MICHIGAN 0
second MICHIGAN 8
Mid-Amer-
ican Conference opponent of the
year yesterday.
But the result was still the same,
as the Wolverines beat Central
Michigan 8-0.
One thing was noticeably dif-
ferent for Michigan, as freshman
pitcher Stephanie Speierman took
the mound in her first career start.
The righty gave up no runs and
allowed just one hit through five
innings.
"I was very excited," Speierman
said after the game. "I was a little
nervous the first inning, and then I
sort of settled in. Then it was play-
ing softball."
The lone hit was a disputed
grounder to the third baseline in
the fifth inning. Senior third base-
man Maggie Viefhaus made a div-
ing catch to corral the ball but
couldn't get it to first base in time.
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins
came out to discuss whether or
not the ball had rolled foul or not.
The tough call notwithstanding,
Hutchins remained impressed with
the young pitcher's one-hitter per-
formance.
"I wanted to see what she could
do when the game was more mean-
ingful, as opposed to coming in a
mop-up type of inning when we've
been ahead," Hutchins said. "I was
really pleased with her. I thought
she was composed, she made her
pitches and she did a really nice
job."
The defense behind her was
excellent also, as Speierman struck
out just three batters, allowing the
Chippewas (17-3) to put plenty of
balls into play. The defense did not
commit an error.
"The whole team in general
was doing a great job, which I
really appreciated," Speierman
said. "Knowing that the defense is
behind me definitely makes it eas-

ier."
The defensive performance was
even more impressive considering
sophomore shortstop Stephanie
Kirkpatrick has missed the last six
games due to injury. This has forced
Hutchins to rotate the defense with
senior Molly Bausher moving from
centerfield to fill Kirkpatrick's posi-
tion in the infield.
"This seems to have happened
almost every year," Bausher said.
"Somebody has gone down and
somebody has to fill in - and that
somebody usually is me. Yeah, it's
tough to deal with, but having to
deal with it in previous years has
kind of given me an understanding
and (made me) comfortable withO
the situation."
Bausher also got it done at the
plate, capping off a six-run fifth
inning with a two-run RBJ double
to centerfield, effectively ending
the game due to softball's eight-run
mercy rule.
It was the fourth game in a row
Michigan (7-0 Big Ten, 31-5 over-
all) has ended the game in the fifth
inning and the seventh time in the
last nine games.
Junior first baseman Dorian
Shaw was the other major contribu-
tor in the fifth, nailing a home run
into the Alumni Field scoreboard
with two teammates on base. The
homer was her 14th of the season,
which leads the team and ties her
career high from last year.
But outside of that, the offense
- or at least the hitting - was non-
existent. Still, Wolverine batters
reached base on nine walks, despite
having just four hits on the day.
The only one of those hits that
came before the fifth inning was
sophomore Amanda Chidester's in
the first. Central Michigan's pitch-
er loaded the bases with three-
straight walks, givingChidester the
opportunity to drive in two runs on
a single.
Michigan has now won 10
straight and 23 of the last 24.
"Our team is very competitive
and we're explosive and it is hard
to keep us down," Hutchins said.
"They have a lot of confidence in
their game right now."

----------

Looking for something more added. "Professore Vacanti would've liberty. thinking of hiding in a closet for the just a
authentic than local favorite Pizza been proud of me. Or maybe I "Did we eat too many rest of its life hoping to be forgotten said
ADX'EIRTISIN G Barn, the group had decided to should say would've been feiro di Doritoes? Maybe. Throw a little and never found. Presi
venture out and Icy a new place. me." Frisbee around? Sure. But teachers were
PLASS TAKES7professore Vacanti re d t deserve to have a little fun too. And letter,
it's not like it hurt anyone," said the you h
ON LAW FIRM ~year-old Fineman. "In fact, I
[hiJnk the students should be thank- GREEK Greek
AS CLIENT - .I was so hungover the next day as run
A local college adv [ [at I just gave everyone A's SYSTEM Some
g the law nyway. I think it worked in their syster
entire law firm! The RUNNING OUT it alw
spending their ee bile students are demanding Engli
help the lawyers ga s, Here's no word yet on how OF LETTER said I
"We just d iu
Brian Fats. "WL
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we really look forwa.f Elf A l
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AT RESTAU- like we time-warped into Italy or Dr. Denise Carrol's. Where was became agitated n confronted b
something. The waiter came over everyone during the last-minute Book on who w orth more.
and started talking in Italian! Um... question frenzy? Apparently, tailgat- altercation ensu that involv
what? I had no idea what to do." ing. several blows toF ehead o

bout every option out there,"
National Greek Board
dent, Henry Boggins. "There
only about 18,000 possible
combinations to begin with, se
ad to know it was coming."
The news certainly left the
k System in a state of turmoil,
mars began to fly immediately.
suggested a move to a 4-lettei
m, while others questionedawhy
'ays had to be Greek. "I think
sh is a pretty good language,"
Debra Boomgarden. "I mean,
United States, not a
stic country."

6

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And if he doe I'll probably
guy to do t? sr me too."
r Mick 'arcConnelly has
ed that he will no longer buy
ing. Instead, he says with
dence, "I'm gonna rent."
Mick tells the story of renting
partment, which is "waaaany
er than buying one", which led
nting movies, renting cars and
renting his textbooks.

0

What began as a typical dining-ol
experience quickly turned into
scary situation yesterday whe
sophomore Danny Rivers and hi
friends realized that the Italia
restaurant that they had chosen ft
lunch... was completely Italian
speaking.

C

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