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April 14, 2011 - Image 7

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0 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Thursday, April 14, 2011- 7A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Thursday, April 14, 2011 - 7A

Rockets silence Wolverines'bats

SOFTBALL
Taylor tosses one-
hit shutout for M'

By ZACH HELFAND
Daily Sports Writer
Michigan coach Rich Malo-
ney looked towards Toledo's
dugout after the Rockets' .3-1
victory over the Wolverines and
saw what his team should be.
Toledo (7-2 MAC, 18-15 over-
all), after all, got off to a poor
start, just
like Michi- TOLEDO 3
gan. The MICHIGAN 1
Rockets sat
at just 7-15 before taking off on
an 11-game winning streak.
"We just watched that team
right there, they've won 11 in a
row," Maloney said Wednesday.
"At some point, they started
correcting some of those things
that we're still having - that
big inning. That's what (Toledo
coach) Cory (Mee) was talking
to me about prior to the game
... Their offensive stats are the
same as ours."
The inconsistencies, though,
continued for the Wolverines
on Wednesday. Michigan (2-4
Big Ten, 9-22 overall) is now
more than halfway through the
season and still appears schizo-
phrenic. One day, like in Tues-
day's 13-3 shelling of Bowling
Green, the team looks great.
The next, like against Toledo, it
barely musters four hits.
The pitching staff threw 23
great innings against Purdue,
but it allowed three or four crip-
pling frames.
On Wednesday night, the
second inning was the dagger.
Freshman right-hander Jake
Engels surrendered four hits and
a walk, and the Rockets capital-

ized for three runs. The cushion
was more than enough for the
Toledo staff, led by sophomore
right-hander Jared Locke.
"That's the story of our sea-
son," redshirt senior second
baseman Anthony Toth said.
"It's one inning a game a lot (of
times) has killed us. It's just
been one inning. Today is a per-
fect example."
The Michigan bats, which
looked so potent just a day ago,
were lifeless. Aside from junior
designated hitter Coley Crank's
third-inning home run with the
bases empty, the Wolverines
barely had any scoring opportu-
nities.
Locke, whose only mistake in
seven innings of work was the
pitch to Crank, kept the Michi-
gan batters guessing. In the sev-
enth, he struck out freshman
right fielder Michael O'Neill
with a pitch on the outside of the
plate.
O'Neill didn't like the call
and let home plate umpire Gene
Klotz know it. Klotz immediate-
ly tossed O'Neill, who became
the first Wolverine to be ejected
from a game this season.
It has been a frustrating year,
and an especially frustrating
game for the lineup, considering
how well it performed Tuesday.
"I was hoping that after we
got those runs yesterday, I was
really hoping that today we'd
have came out and just beat
them," Maloney said. "That
would have been a great thing
for our confidence. But noth-
ing's been easy for this group."
Michigan actually put a small
rally together in the eighth

ByMATT SLOVIN
Daily Sports Writer
Following the Michigan soft-
ball team's 3-0 victory over Cen-
tral Michigan Wednesday, senior
hurler Jordan Taylor said her
secret is to "stay even-keeled."
Judging by her calm and col-
lected reaction to her one-hit
shutout in
which she CMU 0
complete- MICHIGAN 3
ly over-
whelmed the Chippewa lineup,
it's safe to say her secret worked.
Taylor struck out nine, keeping
her team in the lead despite a lack
of offense.
"I thought Jordan Taylor had
an outstanding game," Michi-
gan coach Carol Hutchins said
Wednesday. "She was on her
game, and thankfully because the
rest of us weren't."
The Wolverines pushed across
an early run, after a single from
junior center fielder Bree Evans
scored senior designated hitter
Alycia Ryan. It was just the latest
in a string of productive at-bats
for Evans, who was 3-for-3 on the
evening.
Michigan (5-1 Big Ten, 37-3
overall) clung to its 1-0 advantage
as its bats went quiet for several
innings. But Central Michigan fell
completely silent. Just two Chip-
pewas reached base - via a walk
and a single - off Taylor, who
spun another gem for the Wolver-
ines.
"I wouldn't say it was my most

dominant (appearance this sea-
son)," Taylor said. "I try to keep
the approach the same."
Michigan found some insur-
ance in the sixth inning when
Ryan crushed a two-run home
run over the right field fence. Any
chance that the Chippewas (5-3
MAC, 20-13 overall) could touch
up Taylor virtually vanished.
The win was the Wolverines'
fourth in a row and came against
a formidable non-conference foe.
"Central's a good team,"
Hutchins said. "They're having a
great year. After the game, I told
(Central Michigan coach Margo
Jonker) this was some of the best
enthusiasm her team's had. They
came to play and I was really
impressed with them.
"I could see us pressing and
trying to meet expectations, but I
urged themto get into our process.
The season gets harder. It's going
to keep getting harder. That's why
you need to rely on your process."
This weekend, Michigan trav-
els to Champaign to take on an
Illinois team that boasts a 6-2
Big Ten record. Taylor will be
called upon to start at least one of
the two games. If she remains as
dependable as she strives to be, it
may very well be another success
ful weekend for the Wolverines.
"It seemed easy (last weekend
against Purdue), but it wasn't at
easy (Wednesday)," Hutchins
said. "In softball, you rely on your
pitching and your defense because
hitting is hard. Taylor's been con-
sistent. We rely on her."

MARISSA MCCLAIN/Daily
Junior designated hitterColeyCrank provided Michigan's only offense of the
game, a third-inning solo home run to left ceoterfield.

inning. With two outs, Toth,
who has been mired in a deep
slump, singled to right field and
received a supportive ovation
from the crowd.
"It was a relief, it was a relief,"
Toth said. "There's no hold-
ing back or sugar-coating it -
I've obviously been struggling
beyond any point that I've ever
struggled before. So it felt good,
and hopefully it's a sign that I'm
coming out of this little funk
that I'm in."
A walk to sophomore center-
fielder Patrick Biondi put the
tying runner on base for red-
shirt sophomore second base-

man Kevin Krantz.
For a moment, Krantz's liner
seemed destined to go over
sophomore left fielder Tyler
Grogg's head and off the wall to
tie the game.
But it was just for a moment.
Grogg barely had time to react
but made a last-second leap
backward to come down with
the snow-cone grab.
"(Krantz) scorched that ball
and the guy makes a heck of
a play," Maloney said. "It was
scorched. That's the way it's
been. Even when we have a
chance, most of the time it just
hasn't worked out."

Kicking game 'a work in progress' for Hoke

By TIM ROHAN
DailySportsEditor
Brady Hoke may as well be
standing by the side of the road
wearing an orange apron and a
hard hat, with orange cones sur-
rounding his kicking game.
"It's a work in progress," he
said Wednesday.
Aside from Will Hagerup at
punter, Hoke is still figuring out
many special teams positions,
from minor details to gigantic
ones - like who his kicker is
going to be this fall.
"From the mechanics of snap-
ping the ball to the mechanics of
punting the ball," Hoke said of
what still needs to be worked out.
"(Hagerup) has a tremendous leg
on him. We've got to keep work-
ing on consistency. We're still
working on who the long snapper
is going to be. So those guys are
competing on a daily basis.
"From a placekicking stand-
point, that's a huge competition
with four guys in there. Who the
holder is - there's so many
things and elements that have
to go into it. We have a lot of
work to do in that area and
really find out who that per-
son's going to be."
Brendan Gibbons, Seth
Broekhuizen, Jeremy Ross and
Kris Pauloski are the four kick-
ers competingfor the spot.
Last year, the trials and
tribulations of the Michi-
gan kicking game were well
* documented, as Gibbons and
Broekhuizen shared the duty.
Gibbons earned the start-
ing nod in the season opener
against Connecticut and pro-
ceeded to miss his first field
goal of the year - a 43-yard
* attempt early in the second
quarter.
Maybe it was an omen of
what was to come, as Gibbons
also missed an extra point that
game and finished the season
with three more missed field
goals - ending 1-for-5 on the
season.
His replacement, Broekhui-
zen, didn't fair any better,
finishing 3-of-9 on field goal
att mpts last season.
Afnd Ross and Pauloski have
never kicked in a game for
Michigan.
"I can't tell you who's
where," Hoke said of where
they stack up against each
other. "We chart everything,
every day. And at the end of
spring, we'll look at it a little
bit and see the accuracy, the
mechanics of snap to kick and
all of those things."
During the spring game Sat-
urday, Michigan fans will get

their first look at the competition
that didn't look so promising dur-
ing last year's spring game either.
Hoke said he hopes that through
the natural progression of the
game, his kickers will be placed
into situational roles. If not, he
said he will take time at the end to
put them through those types of
drills, to "see how they handle it."
Even though the kickers have
had only one chance to kick in
the Big House this spring, Hoke is
more worried about continuing to
work on the details of the game,
rather than how they handle
inclement weather - Saturday's
forecast includeswind gusts up to
22 mph and an 80-percent chance
of rain.
"It becomes a difference, how
much wind and where the wind's
coming from and those kind of
things," Hoke said. "But as far as
the mechanics of where the plant
foot's going to be and how you're
going to swing your leg through,
that's got to be consistent."
Last Saturday, when Hoke had

his team practice in the Big House
for the first time this spring, he
said they kicked 14 or 15 times
during the team's competition.
But location might not matter
if the kickers are still working on
fundamentals.
"I looked into Glick (Field-
house) and the posts were the
same height and the hashes are in
the same place, so it really doesn't
matter," Hoke said.
One kicker who spectators
won't see this Saturday is incom-
ing freshman, Matt Wile.
The San Diego native was set
to play for Hoke at San Diego
State before Hoke took the job at
Michigan.
Then Hoke and his assistants
were able to convince the 6-foot-
2,200-pound kicker to change his
commitment and follow them to
Ann Arbor.
There's certainly room to add
him to the mix.
"Sure, sure, every freshman
has a chance to compete," Hoke
said. "The opportunity is there."

MAX COLLINS/Daily
Redshirt sophomore Seth Broekhuzien, shown here punting in the loss to Ohio State on Nov. 27, 2010, missed six of the
nine field goals he attempted in the 2010 season.

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