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April 16, 2012 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-04-16

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6B - April 16, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

SOFTBALL
ue holds Spartans I
scoreless in sweep

By ALEXA DETTELBACH
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan softball team
found its groove. Again.
In a season that has seen
the offense as both a dominant
force and a weakness, it's hard
to guess
which Wol- MICHIGAN 8
verine team MSU 0
will show
MSU 0
up on any MICHIGAN 2
given day. M
So when MSU 0
Michi- MICHIGAN 5
gan (12-1
Big Ten, 30-11 overall) took the
field at Michigan State (0-12,
11-30) on Saturday in the first of
a three-game series, it was any-
body's game.
Except it wasn't.
The 20th-ranked Wolverines
started slow, but after an eight-
run fifth inning, the game ended
with the mercy rule and an 8-0
Michigan victory.
"I thought (that in) the first
four-and-a-half innings we
looked just like Wednesday" said
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins
on Saturday, referencing the
team's 1-0 loss to Western Mich-
igan earlier in the week. "We're
not commanding (the) zone and
it really looks like we're not
focusing. It took us until we got
a couple runs on the board (in
the fifth) to get a little bit of con-
fidence and a little momentum
going, and then we took some
really healthy cuts."
Their momentum carried over
to Sunday, when they played a
rain-delayed double header at
home and won 2-0 and 5-0.
"We should talk about the
zeros," Hutchins said. "That's a
big deal to shut them out three
times in a row."
The second game on Sunday
took a strange turn in the second

inning. Freshman catcher Lau-
ren Sweet hit an RBI double to
left center, but Hutchins made
a mistake with the numbers in
the lineup on the scorecard,
negating the run and ending the
inning.
After the situation was sorted
out, Michigan took the field and
quickly got three batters out, but
it wasn't until the bottom of the
fourth inning that its offense
started to mesh again. With
two outs and runners on second
and third, junior shortstop Amy
Knapp hit an RBI single that
sent two runners home.
The offense took control in
the sixth inning, when freshman
right-hander Sara Driesenga hit
a solo home run and Sweet hit a
two-run home run.
The story of the game, how-
ever, was freshman left-hander
Haylie Wagner on the mound.
She pitched a two-hitter while
striking out five. The most
impressive aspect of her day was
the efficiency of her pitches - in
seven innings she just threw 68
pitches.
"My spins were working, all
my mechanics were working,"
Wagner said. "It's just some-
thing that I've been working
on in the last week, (and) I just
want to jump back up where I
know I can be."
Added Hutchins: "Pitching
has to hold them. And they did.
It was really the key to the week-
end."
In Sunday's first game, the
offense started quickly after
junior second baseman Ashley
Lane notched her 28th RBI of
the season, sending sophomore
right fielder Lyndsay Doyle
home with a single.
In addition, senior first base-
man Amanda Chidester went
3-for-4 to lead the team that had
nine total hits.

Meanwhile, on the mound,
Driesenga allowed six hits,
struck out two and managed to
get out of tight situations when
the Spartans were in scoring
position. Driesenga also contrib-
uted at the plate by going 2-for-3
with an RBI.
"Sara's been hitting since the
first home game of the year, and
she has given me no reason to
think any different," Hutchins
said. "She's done a great job.
She got the bunts down, and she
bombs it over the fence."
Saturday's game was dedicat-
ed to moving past Wednesday's
1-0 loss to Western Michigan,
and the Wolverines did just that.
After going nine innings
without getting a runner to
third base, the Wolverines broke
through in the third inning and
never looked back, getting 11
batters to third base in total.
"We talked a lot on Thursday,
and I just said, 'Look, these are
the things we did in the game
(Wednesday), and we don't do
those in practice,' " Hutchins
said. "I reminded them of that
today before the fifth inning. I
said, 'Look, you don't swing at
some of this stuff at practice. Be
up on the plate more, be up in
front, and obviously that turned
our offense around."
Getting the Wolverines start-
ed on Saturday, senior center-
fielder Bree Evans had the first
two hits of the day. The first
score came from a double by
Wagner that sent two runners
home.
It was Wagner's first at bat
since March 16 and her first hit
since March 3.
"(Wagner's) been hitting the
heck out of the ball, and she's a
good hitter," Hutchins said. "I
expect she'll be in our lineup.
She hasn't been recently, but
she's going to be a hitter for us."

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