8 - Friday, April 13, 2012
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Michigan enters Spring
Blue heads to State College
Game with team
quite a v
to be c
urday's event he'll be operating the same
offense as the starter for a sec-
11 be run like ond year ina row.
Robinson proved last season
a practice, due that he could play in an adapted
pro-style system, but he was
inconsistent inthe passinggame
and committed too many turn-
By BEN ESTES overs.
Daily Sports Editor In Saturday's Spring Game,
Hoke will be looking for Robin-
ichigan football coach son to continue to build on the
oke prepares for his sec- efficient play he displayed in
ing Game at the helm, late-season wins over Nebraska
re more answers than and Ohio State.
is for the first time in "You know, I think he's done
chile for the Wolverines. a good job with ball security
team bounced back in a (this spring), which he's been
last season from after a pretty good (at)," Hoke said. "I
ar stretch of mediocrity think in his decisiveness and
ormer Michigan coach throws, I think he's made some
odriguez, collecting 11 pretty good throws. I can't say
d its first BCS bowl vic- I've seen him make a bad throw,
ce the 1999 season. but maybe (it's happened) once
'urse, Michigan has to or twice where you're going,
several key players - 'What the heck was he looking
mong them, defensive at?' as a coach, but I think he's
Mike Martin, defensive done a good job."
n Van Bergen and center But if there is one weak spot
tolk - but unlike years for Michigan, it's depth. The
re's no air of uncertain- team still isn't deep enough for
the program. Hoke's liking, particularly along
run-up to spring games the offensive and defensive
Rodriguez's tenure, lines.
ere constant questions That means the Wolverines
ie defense, player attri- won't be able to.run a true game
, simply, the team's abil- on Saturday. Instead, it will be
more of a scrimmage, though
in the twilight of for- score will be kept and there will
d man Lloyd Carr's time be plenty of ones-against-ones
h, the issue of when he and twos-against-twos.
be stepping down and The team will also run
he Wolverines would through different in-game
orward hung over the situations, so the affair could
ring the spring. resemble a glorified practice at
ly, the program seems times. All told, Hoke expects to
in stable footing, and run about 60 plays.
e is that more evident "There'll be a blue team and a
the quarterback posi- white team," Hoke said. "I want
to move the ball all over. It's not
-Hard Robinson, Michi- going to be a true drive (situa-
s its first three-year, tion). We'll do some punt before
some PAT stuff. The kids have
been over there doing some of
that, but just to do it in the sta-
dium (will be good)."
The Spring Game is just one
event of what Hoke has termed
Victors' Weekend. The program
will be welcoming back about
350 former players, beginning
with a gathering on Friday
Before the scrimmage on
Saturday, about 100 of those
players will be participating in
the annual alumni flag-football
Later, the program will hold
what it has termed Victors'
Night, where former coach Gary
Moeller will be honored.
If it were up to Hoke, though,
the weekend might look a little
Some college coaches have
floated the idea of scrimmag-
ing other teams in the spring
instead of just playing against
themselves, believing it would
be more beneficial for those
Hoke said he'd prefer an NFL
During training camp every
summer, NFL teams are per-
mitted to bring in an opponent
for multiple days, during which
they practice and scrimmage
with each other.
"I think it would be a great
idea, to be honest with you,"
Hoke said. "I don't know (if it's
feasible) from a budget stand-
point and all those things, if
you're traveling and doing those
kinds of things, (or) who you
would do it with. (But) I like
In lieu of intersquad competi-
tion, the Wolverines will have to
make due with their own roster.
With the offseason ahead, Sat-
urday marks the last real chance
for Hoke and his staff to assess
that roster before fall camp
By STEVEN BRAID
Daily Sports Writer
Battered, beaten and bruised,
the Michigan baseball team will
match up against Penn State in
weekend, Michigan at
with its roster Penn State
that has been
depleted by Matchup:
growing list When: Friday
of casualties 5:05 .M.,
- including Satarday 2:05
junior short- 1:05 P.M.
stop Derek Where: Med-
Dennis, sopho- ar MField
fielder Michael TV/Radio:
O'Neill, fifth- BTN (Fri.)
right-hander Travis Smith, fifth-
year senior right-hander Kolby
Wood and redshirt junior left-
hander Bobby Brosnahan - the
Wolverines (2-4 Big Ten, 15-19
overall) will need to see produc-
tion from unexpected sources if
they want to leave State College
with a series win.
"Somebody's going to have to
step up," said Michigan coach
Rich Maloney. "Some guys are
going to have to take advantage of
the opportunity - an opportunity
that theyusually don't get."
And after Wednesday's 6-2 loss
to Toledo, you can now add fresh-
man left fielder Will Drake to the
list of infirmed. Just three days
after O'Neill went to the bench
with a bruised left hand, Drake
came up limping after grounding
out to second base. Though Drake
hasn't been officially ruled out for
any of the three games against the
Nittany Lions (2-4, 13-19), Malo-
ney isn't too optimistic.
"I don't know the extent of it
because I haven't talked to the
trainer, but he was hurting pretty
bad when he was coming off,"
Maloney said. "I have a feeling
that he will be out for a while.
I don't know that for a fact, but
that's just my guess."
Adding insult to injury, Michi-
Michigan coach Rich Maloney is dealing with a rash of injuries on his team.
gan enters the weekend on a
three-game slide, having scored
just three runs in its last two
games. Though the injuries to
O'Neill and Drake have had a sig-
nificant impact on the lineup, the
Wolverines' offensive woes have
been a problem all season. In the
past 10 games, they have scored
more than four runsjust twice.
"We're going to have to pitch
really well, play good defense and
scrap at the plate," Maloney said.
"We're going to have to scrap at
the plate and make the most of our
Michigan will lean on its pitch-
ing staff to get it through the
weekend. Fifth-year senior right-
hander Brandon Sinnery will be
handed the ball on Friday, tasked
with snapping the skid. In his
last start, a 4-0 victory against
Michigan State, the right-hander
allowed nine hits but didn't give
up a run in 8.1 innings of work.
Freshman left-hander Trent
Szkutnik is scheduled to start on
Saturday, and the Sunday starter
has yet to be determined.
Penn State will also be looking
to bounce back from a nonconfer-
ence loss this weekend. The Nit-
tany Lions fell to Pittsburgh on
Wednesday, 5-3, which snapped
their six-game winning streak.
But since losing 14 of their first 17
contests, Penn State has turned
around its season and is now 8-2
The Wolverines will look to
limit the production of first base-
man Jordan Steranka. Steranka
is the only Nittany Lion batting
above .300, and he leads the team
in batting average (.358), RBIs (22)
and home runs (4). Besides Steran-
ka, the batting order is barren. As
a team, Penn State ranks near the
bottom in the Big Ten in almost
every major offensive category.
On the mound, Penn State will
likely throw out Joe Kurrasch,
Steven Hill and John Walter.
Kurrasch's 2.49 ERA and .217
opposing batting average rank in
the top five in the conference, and
Walter's 44 strikeouts place him
Though the roadtrip will con-
clude a stretch of eight games inl10
days, redshirt sophomore second
baseman John DiLaura doesn't
think weariness will be a problem
for the Wolverines.
"(Fatigue) is a little bit of a fac-
tor," DiLaura said. "I think more
so for the pitchers because they've
been throwing a lot, but I think
once we get out there on Friday
night, the adrenaline will kick in
and we'llbe fine."
starter at quarterback
had Henne. And for the
e in Robinson's career,
"We'll work that part of the
game in the stadium. We'll do
'M' refocused heading into
weekend matchup with MSU
By DANIEL FELDMAN
Daily Sports Writer
After getting upset by Western
Michigan on Wednesday, the No.
20 Michigan softball team will try
to bounce back
gan State (0-9 MSU V
Big Ten, 11-27 Michigan
The Wolver- Michigan 27-11
ines (8-1, 27-11)
will travel to When:Sat-
East Lansing Sunday 1
this weekend P.M., 3 P.M.
to play a single Where: Kobs
game against Field (Sat.),
the Spartans. Alumni Field
The series will (Sun.)
then conclude TV/Radio:
on Sunday back MGoBlue.com
in Ann Arbor
with a double-
Though Michigan State is
winless in conference play,
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins
won't let that deter her game
plan and preparation.
"I think Michigan State plays
up to the competition well,"
Hutchins said. "They'll be
extremely hungry, and hopefully
our kids don't think it's a gimme
because they're winless."
Despite Michigan State's will
to win, the Spartans will have to
overcome a glaring weakness in
its pitching staff.
Michigan State possesses
a 6.81 team ERA - more than
two runs behind the next clos-
est school, Indiana - while the
Wolverines lead the Big Ten with
a 1.96 ERA.
Sophomore Cassee Layne and
freshman Carly Nielsen are the
two pitchers who will most likely
take the circle this weekend for
Layne has still made 20 starts
for Michigan State this season,
recording a 7.43 ERA.
Due to such a high ERA, she
has managed to throw just two
complete games. In her latest
start, against Eastern Michigan
on Wednesday, Layne went one
Senior first baseman Amanda Chidester is leading the offensive charge.
inning and gave up five runs.
Nielsen relieved her and pitched
the remainder of the game while
only allowing one run.
Nielsen, who owns a 5.81 ERA
this season, has started 12 games
while posting a 3-11 record.
Things look better in the
circle for the Wolverines' two
freshmen. Right-hander Sara
Driesenga and left-hander Hay-
lie Wagner have combined to
pick up all but one of Michigan's
27 wins this season, throwing 23
complete games and five shut-
outs between them.
The duo is a big reason why the
Wolverines are on top of the Big
Ten standings with an 8-1 record.
"They definitely workveryhard
and they need to continue to work
to get better," Hutchins said ear-
lier this season.
"They've done a nice job of
picking each other up - they
both had to come in and save each
other, and I think they work very
Another reason for Michigan's
success has been the team's abil-
ity to get extra-base hits - espe-
cially home runs. After hitting a
season-high four home runs in last
Friday's game against Ohio State,
the Wolverines are now tied for
second in the conference in the
The two big bats for Michigan
have been senior first baseman
Amanda Chidester, who has seven
home runs and 33 RBIs, and junior
second basemanAshley Lane, who
leads theteamwith 10 home runs.
On the other hand, Michigan
State ranks ninth out of 12 teams
in the Big Ten in home runs with
A bright spot in the Spartan
lineup comes from their No. 2 bat-
ter, junior center fielder Kylene
Hopkins, who leads the team in
hits (44) and batting average (.411).
On paper, Michigan seems
to have the upper hand in this
weekend's series, but following
Wednesday's shutout loss against
Western Michigan, anything is
"We need to show up and play
our game and not worry who we're
playing and what their record is,"
Hutchins saidbefore Wednesday's
But after that game, Hutchins'
attitude on the Michigan State
"If they think they're going to
show up and win, they're going to
get their butts kicked," Hutchins