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February 25, 2011 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-02-25

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The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Friday, February 25, 2011-- 5

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycomFriday, February 25, 2011 - 5

BASEBALL
Blue faces Rutgers seeking first win

SOFTBALL
No-hitters routine for
Wolverine ace Taylor

By DANIEL WASSERMAN
Daily Sports Writer
While practicing in Port
St. Lucie, Fla., the Michigan
baseball team got a glimpse of
NASA's space
shuttle, Dis-
covery, taking Michigan
off.
This week-
end, the Wol- Matchup:
verines (0-3) Michigan 0-3;
hope to see
another take- When: Fri-
off - their sea- day 2 P.M.
son. Where: Port
After being St. Lucie, Fla.
swept to open
the season,
Michigan now turns its atten-
tion to Rutgers (1-2) for a three-
game set.
"It's definitely important to
get in the win column," senior
pitcher Kolby Wood said Thurs-
day. "We need to get that first
one on the board to get some
confidence going because we
saw a lot of good things (last
weekend), but we just couldn't
put it all together at the right
times.
"So if we can get one (win) on
the board, just build some con-
fidence, it'll go from there. We
have a young team. So I think
it's important to get some con-
fidence going early."
While scoring runs wasn't an
issue for the Wolverines - they
averaged six runs a game - poor
pitching and defense proved to
be a killer. Michigan made two
errors a game on its way to giv-
ing up nearly 12 runs per game
in losses to No. 21 Louisville, St.

John's and No. 22 UConn last
weekend in Florida.
For northern teams like
Michigan, who are forced to
practice indoors and lack the
opportunity to take real fielding
practice prior to opening week-
end, rust can play a large part in
early season defensive woes.
"I think it had something to
do with not being out there on
dirt (before last weekend),"
junior first baseman Gerrett
Stephens said. "It's a lot differ-
ent than playing on turf, where
we're accustomed to the same
feel every ground ball. We've
got a team that's very, very
capable of being one of the best
defensive teams that we've had.
I think we're going to work the
kinks out defensively to where
that's not going to be a problem
for us."
The Wolverines may have
gotten a blessing in disguise
from the snowstorm that hit the
Midwest Sunday night, delay-
ing the team's connecting flight
home. While stranded in Nash-
ville, Tenn., the team traveled
to nearby Lipscomb University
and practiced on the Bison's
baseball field.
"It's always big being able
to get outside," Stephens said.
"Every chance we get to see live
pitching and to see where your
balls going and take ground
balls in a game situation - it was
really crucial. It was a better
time than being in Oosterbaan
(Field House). I know that."
On Friday, Michigan will
again turn to its ace, sophomore
Bobby Brosnahan, who gave up
five runs and eight hits in five

innings in the Wolverines' 6-3 Mich. native credits the confi-
opening day loss to the Cardi- dence of becoming the Wolver-
nals. ines' full-time first baseman for
After Michigan's other two his successful start.
pitchers - junior Brandon Sin- "I think it was really impor-
nery and sophomore Ben Bal- tant," Stephens said. "Not being
lantine - couldn't get past the in the lineup the past couple'
third inning last weekend, the years to start the year, I was
team will look to new starters kind of feeling like I had some-
this weekend. thing to prove. And also, fol-
Senior Travis Smith will lowing (former All-Big Ten first
make his season debut as the baseman) Mike Dufek, I knew
starter of the first game of Sat- we wouldn't want to have a lack
urday's double-header. of production at (first base), so it
was really important to get my
confidence going and drive in
some runs early."
"I'm (.) looking Michigan will look to
improve its record against the
at it as, 'HOw Big East. The conference's
preseason coach's poll, which
fun is this ranked the Wolverines' oppo-
nents last weekend No. 1-No.
going to be?' " 3, tabbed Rutgers No. 6. The
Scarlet Nights took one of three
games against a top-25 Miami
(Fla.) team.
Either redshirt sophomore To close the weekend,
Tyler Mills, who gave up a run Michigan will go against the
in two innings out of the bull- New York Mets for the fourth
pen last weekend, or Wood will consecutive year. The Mets -
start the nightcap, depending owned by University of Michi-
on whether Mills is needed out gan graduate Fred Wilpon
of the bullpen. - hold a 2-0-1 record against
Wood, coming off elbow Michigan, despite an all-time
tendinitis, will be limited to score of 30-12.
only three innings of work this "For me, I'm going in just
weekend. looking at it as, 'How fun is this
Stephens will look to stay red going to be?' " Stephens said.
hot at the plate. "I haven't started one of these
He drove in eight of Michi- games, just played a few innings
gan's 18 runs last weekend, here and there, so being in there
including the Wolverines' only the whole game, being on first
homer. base and being able to chat it
Coming into the season, Ste- up with a few of the big league
phens had just 12 career starts players, I'm really looking for-
and only 21 RBIs. The Davison, ward to that game."

In 26th season,
'M' coach Hutchins
named to Michigan
Sports Hall of Fame
By MATT SLOVIN
Daily Sports Writer
For most, throwing a no-
hitter in a collegiate softball
game would be a career-defin-
ing moment. Two is the mark
of a rare talent. Three is largely
unheard of.
But when Wolverine senior
Jordan Taylor took to the mound'
last Friday against Long Island
and surrendered no hits, it
seemed like just a typical day of
work.
After all, Taylor's perfor-
mance in Michigan's 6-0 vic-
tory over the Blackbirds marked
her seventh-career no-hitter,
extending a Wolverine record
she broke last year.
During Taylor's dominant
performance - she evert took a
perfect game into the last frame
before issuing a leadoff walk -
she kept her composure, display-
ing the mental toughness that
has led to her fast start this sea-
son. Her 4-0 record and 27-con-
secutive scoreless innings have
been a key contributor to Michi-
gan's early-season success.
"We're very, very pleased with
(Taylor)," Michigan coach Carol
Hutchins said. "She's shown a lot

of great leadership."
Hutchins, currently in her
26th season at the helm of the
Michigan softball team, was
named this week to the Michi-
gan Sports Hall of Fame. She was
inducted with a class of other
former Wolverine football coach
Lloyd Carr and former NFL
great Jerome Bettis. Her tenure
as a Michigan coach is currently
surpassed only by hockey coach
Red Berenson.
This weekend, No. 9 Michi-
gan (10-0) will return to the
Sunshine State for another pre-
season tournament. Five more
games - and a chance to add
on to their undefeated record -
awaits the Wolverines in Orlan-
do at the University of Central
Florida Invitational.
To do so, Taylor, as well as the
other half of the team's starting
pitching tandem, sophomore
Stephanie Speierman, will need
to continue to send frustrated
batters back to the dugout.
The team has received a great
deal of run support in the sea-
son's early stages, including
scoring outputs of 19, 16, 11 and
10. And the team's pitching staff
could not be more pleased.
"It definitely takes off a lot of
pressure," Taylor said.
With no nerves - or hits
allowed - the wins may keep
coming in droves for the Wol-
verines. And with its ace Taylor
safely intow, atrip to the College
World Series in Oklahoma City is
not out of the question.

'M' heads northin search of
CCHA regular-season title

LOG ON TO MICHIGANDAILY.COM FOR ALL YOUR
MICHIGAN SPORTS UPDATES OVER BREAK

By STEPHEN J. NESBITT
Daily Sports Editor
After four months of confer-
ence play, the long haul of the
CCHA slate has come down to
a screeching halt - two teams
separated by
a single point Michigan
entering the
final weekend. at Northern
And the No. Michigan
10 Michigan
hockey team is Matchup:
right there for Michigan
21-9-4; North-
the photo fin- ern Michigan
ish. 14-15-5
"We're not When: Priday
in the driver's 7:35 P.M.
seat, but we're
in the front Where: Berry
seat," Michi- Events Center
gan coach Red
Berenson said Tuesday. "We have
a chance to finish high, and we
want to do it."
This weekend, the Wolver-
ines square off against Northern
Michigan in Marquette, Mich. in
their final regular-season series
- Michigan's final opportunity
to catch conference frontrunner
Notre Dame. The eighth-ranked
Fighting Irish, who face Western
Michigan in a home-and-home
series this weekend, are a point
ahead of the Wolverines in the
standings.
For Michigan (18-7-1 CCHA,
21-9-4 overall), a team that has
already secured both a share
of second place in the confer-
ence and a first-round bye in the
CCHA Tournament, the chase
atop the league is incentive
enough to power through one
last pair of games.
"We want to finish first,"
sophomore forward Chris Brown
said. "It's motivation and it's
going to give us a little more edge
this weekend - knowing that we
do control our own destiny."
But the series also serves as
a last-ditch chance for the Wol-
verines to fine-tune their power-
playunit.
After failing to convert on
22-consecutive man-advantage
situations, Michigan broke
through with a pair of goals on
four attempts in the back half of
a series sweep against Ohio State
last weekend.
And though the power play
showed signs of life against the
Buckeyes, it has a golden oppor-
tunity to improve against North-

Submit your photos to the
Michigan Yearbook to be
featured in a video played at
Spring Commencement.
Photos should befamilyfriendly
and showcase your greatest memories
ofyour time at Michigan.

MARISA MccLAIN/Daily
Senier Leuie Caperusso has nine goals and 15 assists solfar this season.

ern Michigan. The Wildcats are
the most-penalized team in the
conference and have the low-
est penalty-kill percentage at 79
percent - an ideal combination
to jump start the Wolverines'
power play.
"We need to not think about it
as much, again, just react on the
power play," Brown said. "We're
trying to do too many set plays
when we need to just play hock-
ey. I think if we do that, on an
Olympic-sized rink, get a couple
opportunities, I think we'll score
a couple more goals."
And goals may be easier to
come by against Northern Michi-
gan (12-11-3, 14-15-3), who boasts
the second-most goals allowed
(102) in the conference - only
one fewer than Bowling Green.
Last week, Berenson moved
senior forward Scooter Vaughan
- a former defenseman - back
to the point on the top power-
play unit, in large part due to
his offensive success this season
along with his defensive roots
and speed that could eliminate
counterattacks.
Replacing senior defense-
man Chad Langlais on the point,
Vaughan represents the only
right-handed shooter on the blue
line during the power play.
"Scooter's got a good shot and
he's got some puck luck going
right now," Berenson said. "He's
got a lot of momentum and I

think he's a good fit up there."
While Michigan counted
on a late power-play goal from
senior forward Carl Hagelin in
the waning seconds of overtime
last Saturday in the Wolverine's
5-4 victory against Ohio State,
senior forward Louie Caporusso
emphasized the importance of
emphatic - not dramatic - per-
formances against the Wildcats.
"That was a big win for us on
Saturday, but we don't want to
win like that every night," Capo-
russo said. "That's just not good
hockey. We didn't play good
hockey throughout the whole
game. It's not as much about win-
ning as how you win."
Added Berenson: "We have
something to prove, obviously.
We know we need to play better
than we played last weekend. So
it's week after week after week -
we're going to have to keep get-
ting better if we're going to be
any kind of playoff contender."
The Wildcats' arena doesn't
feature an out-of-town score-
board, so Berenson won't need to
worry about his players becom-
ing distracted with the Fighting
Irish's results.
"Notre Dame's a great team,
and there's nothing that we're
going to do that is going to
change whatthey're goingto do,"
Caporusso said. "We've got to
concentrate on ourselves - Fri-
day night, Northern Michigan."

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