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April 11, 2011 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-04-11

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2B - April 11, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

0

After four tough years,
it's time to let go

Eighth-inning comeback sparks
Blue's second Big Ten victory

I'll be honest. On several
occasions, in this column,
I've lamented - whined
even - about the last four years
of Michigan sports.
And at times, it has outright
sucked to know that these last
four years
have rendered
the football
team a mess,
the basket- '
ball team a
mediocre suc-
cess and the
hockey team RYAN
an incredible KARTJE
tease.
It's hard
not to be
upset. For those of us who have
been here for four years, the first
major sporting event we experi-
enced as students was a loss to
Appalachian State - the worst in
the history of Michigan football.
The last: Saturday's national
championship loss to Minnesota-
Duluth - one of the toughest
losses in the history of Michigan
hockey.
Standing in the front room of
the Blue Leprechaun on Saturday,
I thought it would be avenged.
It seemed this was a cruel joke,
one that would deliver its we-
were-just-kidding punchline
when Shawn Hunwick raised the
national championship trophy
Saturday night.
Alas, it was not meant to be.
So I trudged home, absolutely ill
from another tough loss. I was in
Fort Wayne during Michigan's
double-overtime regional loss
to Miami (Ohio) last year, and
I could only imagine this felt
worse.
But as I let the pain of this final
tragic punctuation to the last four
years hit me, I started to let go.
Let go of Appalachian State.

Let go
Rodrig
Let
DeSha
expect
Evan T
for tha
buzzer
Morris
Let
down.
30-sho
Wayne
I've
always
go. But
ily pur
to refle
us to o
low po
T
We
pu
star
If th
lachiar
domin,
victory
his Gat
favorit
as muc
wouldr
same f,
If th
there w
and the
been n
If th

of Toledo. Let go of Rich If there were no Evan Turner
uez. shot with 2.2 seconds left, maybe
go of Manny Harris, this year's team would've never
wn Sims and the sky-high had the same fire. Maybe Manny
ations of 2010. Let go of would've stayed - and maybe
urner's buzzer beater (and that wouldn't have been a good
t matter, Josh Gasser's thing.
beater). Let go of Darius If there were no Darius Mor-
s's last-second miss. ris miss, then there would be
go of Billy Sauer's melt- no enormous chip on the point
Let go of Air Force's guard's shoulder - one we'll
t deficit. Let go of Fort all see when the 2011-12 season
. Let go of St. Paul. begins.
always been an optimist, if there were no Billy Sauer
pretty quick to let things meltdown against Notre Dame,
these things weren't eas- there would've been no Bryan
ged. That is, until I started Hogan. And if there were no
ct on the things that got Bryan Hogan and his headcase
r came as a result of those performance against Air Force,
ints. there probably would've been no
Shawn Hunwick.
And if there were no Shawn
Hunwick, you'd better believe
hese things there would be no NCAA regional
in Fort Wayne last season. And
ren't as easily absolutely no national champion-
ship hopes this season.
t You see, all the pain and the
disappointment and the letdowns
rted to reflect. have made us, as sports fans,
stronger and have yielded some
of the happiest sports moments of
the last four years.
ere were no loss to Appa- So don't lament the last four
n State in 2007, Michigan's years; instead, remember the
ant Capital One Bowl characters and the moments that
'over Tim Tebow and would've never been if Michigan
ors - who were massive beat Appalachian State or Billy
es - would've never meant Sauer stood on his head in 2008.
h to any of us. Lloyd Carr This downtrodden period may
n't have gone out in the define our sports experience here
ashion that he did. in Ann Arbor, but don't let that be
ere were no RichRod era, a bad thing. And definitely don't
could be no Brady Hoke pain yourself with "what if's."
ere definitely would've Because, when you really take
o Denard Robinson. a closer look, we've had one hell
ere were no disappoint- of a ride.

By NEAL ROTHSCHILD
Daily Sports Writer
With one out in the eighth
inning against Purdue, the
Michigan baseball team's night-
mare season looked to only get
worse.
The MICHIGAN 0
Wolver- PURDUE 8
ines, down_
5-1, were MICHIGAN 2
headed PURDUE 4.
for their
10th loss in MICHIGAN 6
their last PURDUE 5
11 games.
They hadn't scored more than
five runs in a game for nearly
a month and were about to get
swept by a conference rival.
Michigan would have fallen
to 1-5 in the Big Ten, and a cou-
ple more bad series would have
effectively shut the door on its
season.
But then, the Boilermakers
opened it back up.
A one-out error by second
baseman Eric Charles led to
four unearned runs in the eighth
inning, allowing Michigan to tie
the game 5-5. Each of the runs
scored with two outs.
Two innings later, redshirt
junior Garrett Stephens depos-
ited Sean Collins's 0-1 pitch over
the left-field wall to put Michi-
gan ahead, 6-5.
Freshman right-hander Alex
Lakatos let two reach base in the
bottom of the 10th inning, but he
slithered out of the jam to give
the Wolverines (2-4 Big Ten, 8-21
overall) a much-needed win in
West Lafayette.
"For the kids to come back
today (after losing Saturday) and
make plays like they did and get
some big hits, it says a lot about
them," Michigan coach Rich
Maloney said. "It would have
been easy to fold up shop and
they didn't. That was an awe-

some win for us."
Though the offense finally
came through to give the Wol-
verines a chance to win, the
defense kept it from losing the
game.
With the game tied, 5-5, in the
bottom of the ninth inning and a
man on first base with one out,
sophomore center fielder Patrick
Biondi made a spectacular run-
ning catch on the warning track
before throwingto firstto double
up the Purdue third baseman
Cameron Perkins. Had the ball
dropped, Perkins would have
likely come around to score the
game-winning run.
"Off the bat, I thought it was
hit pretty well," Biondi said. "I
opened up to my glove side and
the wind was blowing straight
toward left so I knew it was
going to turn back over. And I
turned back and whipped my
head around at the last second
and I was able to make the catch.
The ball carried a lot further
than I thought."
Added Maloney: "It was truly
one of the greatest catches I've
seen."
And in the 10th inning, Pur-
due put runners on second and
third base with one out. Stephens
came home with Boilermaker
shortstop David Miller's ground
ball to gun down the potential
tying run.
After Purdue jumped out to
a 5-1 lead in the second inning,
junior pitcher Brandon Sinnery
kept the Wolverines in the game
by throwing 5.1 innings of score-
less relief. Lakatos then tossed
3.2 more scoreless innings to
pick up the win.
Maloney said that Sinnery.
would likely take Mills's place
in the conference rotation after
Mills was shelled for five runs in
an inning of work.
The victory was especially
crucial consideringthat the Wol-

verines let Satqrday's game get
away. Behind a strong perfor-
mance from redshirt sophomore
Bobby Brosnahan, Michigan
took a 2-0 lead going into the sev-
enth inning.
But the left-hander loaded the
bases in the seventh and Lakatos
could not limit the damage when
he entered in relief Purdue (3-3,
10-11) scored four runs in the
frame and kept Michigan hitless
the rest of the way to get the 4-2
victory.
On Friday, the Boilermakers
pitching held Michigan to five
hits in an 8-0 rout.
But in a season in which Mich-
igan has been hard pressed to
find much reason for optimism,
Sunday's win could make a big
"It would have
been easy to
fold up shop,
and they didn't."
impact on team morale.
"It's huge," Biondi said. "It
would have been a really longbus
ride home if we got swept. But
everyone's pretty excitedthat we
were able to get that win and it
makes it a good bus ride home."
Michigan hopes to ride this
high into Ray Fisher Stadium as
it takes on Bowling Green and
Toledo during the week before
hosting Illinois this weekend.
"It shows a lot that we got
down and we were able to hang
in there and come back in the
end," Biondi said. "That shows
what kind of guys we have on
the team and hopefully this will
carry over and give us some
momentum next week."

I06

ment in Manny and DeShawn's
last season, no one would've been
that surprised by Michigan's
incredible underdog run this
year.

- Kartje thinks Michigan
basketball or hockey will bring
home a national championship
in the next four years. He can be

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