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February 15, 2013 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2013-02-15

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6 - Friday February 15, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

After two off
years, back to
basics for 'M'


Daily Sports W
There's a new I
block. In fact, there
of new faces on the
baseball team - 11 f
be exact.
Already, the Wolr
rely on three of thos
in their season-ope
at California this
Jack Sexton at first1
Cronenworth at s
Travis Maezes at thi
the trio of freshmei
in the starting lineu
ing day.
But Michi- M
gan ° coach Ca
Erik Bakich is
the new kid, Ma
though you'd Mi
hardly ret- Cal
ognize this WI
as his first 4:3
season at the urd
helm in Ann Su
Arbor. If you WI
walked into Diz
Oosterbaan TV
Fieldhouse Mt
on a weekday
the site of Michiga
es during the wint
you could immedie
a sense of account
organization perme

kid on the
are plenty
e Michigan
reshmen to
verines will
e freshmen
ning series
base, Jacob
econd and
rd make up
n infielders
p for open-
lichigan at


Junior outfielder Michael O'Neill is
the preseason B1G Player of the Year.

Michigan coach Carol Hutchins and the Michigan softball team will play a set of two doubleheaders in the FAU Kickoff Classic. The Wolverines went 3-t last weekend.
Hutchins, Michigan back in Florida

Romero and the
Wolverines look to
build on earlier trip
to Sunshine State
Daily Sports Writer
By the time the weekend is
over, the No. 14 Michigan softball
team will have made two trips to
Florida, logged 18 hours of flight
time, taken on eight opponents
and played in three doublehead-
ers in just nine days. Fresh off a
3-1 record during the first week-
end of the season, the Wolverines
return to the Sunshine State this
weekend to take on Toledo, LIU
Brooklyn, Maryland and Massa-
chusetts in the FAU Kickoff Clas-
sic in Boca Raton.
Highlights of the opening
weekend included 23 innings
on the mound from sophomore
pitcher Sara Driesenga, along
with an offensive spark from

freshman shortstop Sierra Rome-
ro. Romero's two home runs
- which included a grand slam -
and nine RBI earned her Big Ten
Freshman of the Week honors.
"If you saw (Romero) play at
all this fall, you wouldn't have
to ask why she's starting," said
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins.
"She has the
right men- FAU Kickoff
tality. Sierra
Romero is Classic
very capable Matchup:
of helping us Toledo 0-0;
win." LIU Brooklyn 4-0;
Romero Maryland 0-0;
was one of UMass 0-0;
five Michi- Michigan 3-1
gan fresh- When: Saturday
men to make 11 A.M.,1 P.M.;
her debut Sunday9
last weekend. A 'M., t1AM.
Freshman Where: FAU
Sierra Law- Softball Stadium
rence started
all four games as well, beginning
the weekend in left field before
spending time at second base.
Freshman utility fielder Kelsey

Susalla, freshman
Mary Sbonek and fres
hander Alice Fitzp
earned playingtime in
"We work together
and so even though w
young team, everyone
the team," said junio
Nicole Sappingfield.
or not, it's not like oi
more important thanI
Added Hutchins:
freshmen I want the:
mentality of being h
and say ... 'I'm here
and I'm here to hell
You don't come onto t
take a year off becau
freshman.You onlyge
Don't waste them."
Missing from last
lineup was sophom
and reigning Big Tenl
the year Haley Wagi
has been nursing an,
injury and will rem
bench this weekend.
But given the
ity of many of the'
their freshman clan

outfielder Hutchins has an opportunity to
hman right- mix and match the lineup early on
atrick also in the season.
n the field. ."(Haley's) absence gives us
r really well a chance to rely on (Driesenga)
ve do have a in a role that is good for her to
tis equal on experience," Hutchins said. "The
ir outfielder lineup evolves with the season.
"Freshman We're fairly settled at most posi-
ne person is tions, but first is evolving along
the next," with right and left field. We're
"I. tell the giving opportunities to differ-
m to have a ent people. I think competition's
ere to play good. They've been pushing each
to compete other."
p Michigan. While the lineup will remain
he team and largely in tact for the upcoming
use you're a series, Hutchins expects Fitz-
tfouryears. patrick to get more time on the
mound behind Driesenga this
weekend's weekend.
ore pitcher Michigan will playtwo double-
freshman of headers, beginning Saturday with
ner. Wagner Toledo and LIU Brooklyn and
undisclosed ending with Maryland and Mas-
ain on the sachusetts Sunday. This week-
end will mark the season kickoff
versatil- for three of the Wolverines' four
Wolverines, opponents. LIU Brooklyn comes
s included, in with an 0-4 record.

Junior right-hander Ale
a rare bright spot on the

RELEASE DATE- Friday, February 15, 2013 -

chigan 0-0; Bakich and his staff.
liornia 00 Preseason Big Ten Player
hen: Friday of the Year, junior outfielder
0 P.M., Sat- Michael O'Neill, has repeat-
lay 4 P.M., edly expressed that Bakich's
nday 2 P.M. organizational skills have been
here: Evans the key to getting this program
amond back on track.
/Radio: "Coach Bakich has brought
GoBue.com new life to the team (and)
everyone has bought in,"
O'Neill said. "Everything is
n's practic- just organized. The practice
er months, schedule is posted everyday so
ately grasp everyone knows exactly what
ability and they're doing during practice."
ating from In order to claw back to the
top of the Big Ten standings, a
place the Wolverines haven't
been since 2008, they'll need to
start with being organized and
playing fundamentally sound
baseball during the opening
. "The biggest determinant
for success will be if we can
force contact on the mound,
have quality at-bats at the plate
and make the plays we need to
make defensively," Bakich said.
"For us, it's gonnabe about exe-
cuting the fundamentals."
ENrGAFiiy Bakich and O'Neill both
x Lakatos is emphasized pitching, defense
mound. and timely hitting as the recipe
for success in California, the
bare essentials.
But that's where this team is
at right now - mastering the
Contact at the plate and
1il.COM clean fielding would be a wel-
comed contrast from last sea-
son's offensive and defensive
Last year, offensively, Michi-
gan was dead last in the Big
Ten with 422 strikeouts in 56
On defense, things weren't
;ALE much prettier for the Wol-
s verines, who accumulated 77
us errors over the course of the
I season - good for fourth most
om in the Big Ten.
California sure had the
basics under its belt two years
ago, and it reached the. Col-
lege World Series - a realm
not attained by Michigan since
1984, several years before its
entire roster was born.
As the Golden Bears return
their entire pitching rotation
from last season, the Wolver-
ines' young lineup needs to
stick to basics now, more than
"We're gonna play Michigan
baseball, which is a relentless,
blue-collar, confident approach
to the game," Bakich said.
He seems to have the philos-
ophy down, but the next couple
of weeks should be very telling
for the direction this program
is headed. Early success this
weekend would certainly be a
step forward and a way to stir
up some noise for a team that's
remained dormant in past
' years.
"Just being a young team
this year with a new staff, I
would be a huge confi-
dence boost to come away with
a couple of wins, even a sweep,"
O'Neill said.

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Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
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