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April 15, 2013 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-04-15

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4B - Monday, April 15, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Michigan outscores Spartans
by 29 runs in weekend romp

In five innings, a
21-run explosion

By SIMON KAUFMAN
Daily Sports Writer
Exactly one month after the
Michigan softball team's last loss,
it looked as though its dominance
would finally come to an end in
East Lansing on Sunday.
Down 7-4 against Michi-
gan State in the seventh inning,
junior catcher Caitlin Blanchard
doubled to center field to spark a
rally that would end in a Michi-
gan sweep and the team's 17th
straight victory.
Senior second baseman Ashley
Lane followed Blanchard with
a home run to put the Wolver-
ines within one run. Freshman
left field-
er Sierra MSU 2
Lawrence MICHIGAN 21
stepped up
next and MICHIGAN 11
drove a 2-2 MSU 2
pitch over -
the left- MICHIGAN a
field wall. MSU 7
The score
was tied at seven, and it was time
for extra innings.
Michigan (12-0 Big Ten, 35-7
overall) wasted no time in the
extra frame. After junior right
fielder Nicole Sappingfield
reached on a fielder's choice and
freshman shortstop Sierra Rome-
ro was intentionally walked,
Blanchard came through again
with an RBI single to knock in
the would-be winning run. In
the bottom of the eighth inning,
sophomore right-hander Sara
Driesenga set the Spartans down
in order to clinch the victory.
"The important thing about
this team is that, no matter how
many runs we're up or down, we
just keep fighting and we just
keep persevering," Blanchard
said. "Our offense is what really
does that for us, and when we can
score a lot of runsthat really helps
the defense and the pitching."
The game was the second half
of a doubleheader played on Sun-
day, after agame originally sched-
uled for Saturday was postponed
due to weather. The split series

Six home ru
power Wolver
to first 20-run
since 200(
By ALEJANDRO ZU
Daily Sports Write
Two flags flutter bel
outfield wall of Alumr
One is the stars and strip
United States. Below it is
maize and blue block 'M.
flags billowed in a stron
on Friday afternoon, a ,
helped the Michigan softi
turn a tight game agains
gan State into a blowout.
For an inning and a
Wolverines' 21-2 win ove
gan State epitomized th
in-state rivalry. The seco
Spartans (7-4 Big Ten, 21
all) jumped all over so
pitcher Haylie
Wagner, work-
ing a walk ¬ęT
before lining a 1
double down
the left-field
line and scoring
a run on a wild

ns sail over the wall, over a tent and
into a grove of pine trees that
ines divides Alumni Field from Ray *
Fisher Stadium. With the grand
game slam, the rout was on.
The awe of Romero's blast
didn't last long. After a quick
inning by Wagner, sophomore
NIGA catcher Lauren Sweet launched a
?r shot that almost hit the pole hold-
ing those two flags. Then, the
hind the wind caught junior centerfielder
ni Field. Lyndsay Doyle's sharp line drive
es of the just enough, and it clanged into
a smaller the fence inches above the home-
The two run line.
g breeze Freshman pinch hitter Kelsey
ind that Susalla followed with a rocket
ball team over the right field bleachers,
st Michi- something that Michigan coach
Carol Hutchins had never seen in
half, the her 29 years with the program.
r Michi- Not to be outdone, junior Taylor
e classic Hasselbach belted a moonshot
nd-place that cleared the outfield wall of
-17 over- both Alumni Field and Ray Fisher
phomore Stadium, momentarily interrupt-
ing a baseball
game.
"We were
t was a great definitely firing
feigon all cylinders
feelin ." on offense,"
Hutchins said.
"The wind was

Junior catcher Caitlin Blanchard's seventh-inning double sparked a comeback victory Sunday over MSU.

between the interstate rivals
started in Ann Arbor on Friday
night before moving to East Lan-
sing for the final two games.
Michigan State (7-4, 21-17)
came into the weekend in sec-
ond place in the Big Ten, and for
a moment on Friday afternoon, it
looked as though the 12th-ranked
Wolverines might have found
their first competition since
entering Big Ten play. Michigan
gave up a run to the Spartans in
the first inning but failed to score
in its own half of the first - a rar-
ity for a team that has dominated
in early innings this year.
Then after evening the score
at one, Romero stepped up to the
plate with the bases loaded in the
bottom ofthe second and did what
she has done all year - crush the
ball. On a 2-0 pitch, Romero sent
the next pitch over the left-field
wall to put Michigan up 5-1. The
team never looked back, putting
on an offensive clinic en route to
a 21-2 run-rule victory.
Senior third baseman Amy
Knapp kept it going with an RBI
single - her second hit of the

inning. The Wolverine offense
continued into the third inning
in which it scored 13 runs. Soph-
omore Lauren Sweet, junior
Lyndsay Doyle, freshman Kelsey
Susalla and junior Taylor Hassel-
bach all chipped in with long balls
in the inning - the most home
runs Michigan has had this sea-
son in a single frame. The Wolver-
ines added two more runs in the
fourth before the mercy rule was
put into effect.
In the circle, sophomore left-
hander Haylie Wagner regained
composure after struggling in
the first inning. She pitched four
innings while striking out five
Spartans.
"I just wanted us to settle in
and play our game, and we did
obviously," said Michigan coach
Carol Hutchins. "We were defi-
nitely on all cylinders on offense,
and you don't expect that to be
the norm, but it's certainly excit-
ing. ... The one thing I like about
this team, nothing fazes them.
This team just does their part."
On Sunday, during the first
game of the doubleheader,

Michigan's offense started qui-
etly before producing a big fifth
inning. The Wolverines got on
the board first when Sappingfield
scored on an error in the first
inning, but Michigan State got
the run back quickly off starting
pitcher Driesenga.
Pitching dominated through
the middle innings, with each
side only allowing one additional
run until Michigan came to bat
in the fifth. Michigan scored
two runs by stringing together a
series of hits before finally load-
ing the bases for Romero. The
Spartans had already intention-
ally walked Romero three times
in the game, but now had no place
to put her - and she made them
pay. The freshman sent a shot to
left field - her second grand slam
of the series - to put Michigan
up 8-2. The Wolverines tagged on
three more in the sixth inning to
give them the 11-2 victory.
"We have so much depth in
this lineup," Lane said. "Anyone
can do it at any given time. It's
exciting. This team is very spe-
cial."

pitch. The con-
ference-leading and 12th-ranked
Wolverines (12-0, 35-7) threat-
ened in the bottom half of the
frame, putting runners on second
and third with only one out, but
they failedto bring a runner home.
But when freshman phenom
Sierra Romero - who boasts a.416
batting average and 15 home runs
on the season - stepped up to the
plate, the winds showed signs of
change. The two flags in center-
field started fluttering in the brisk
breeze.
From the crack of the bat, the
crowd knew it was gone and that
the shortstop would trot around
all four bases and into a mob of
teammates at home plate. Rome-
ro smashed a bomb to deep left
center, with a little help from the
wind. Michigan State's left fielder
Alyssa McBride had no chance.
She just turned to watch the ball

blowing out
and you have to adjust your game.
The key is that we're swinging
well and seeing the ball. You can't
always control everything else."
The Wolverines scored 13 runs
in the third inning, and they still
weren't done.
Michigan finished the contest
by setting the mark for runs tal-
lied against the Spartans, scoring
20 runs for the first time since
2000. The last of the six home
runs meant the most to Hutchins,
as junior Katie Luetkens rounded
the bases with a fist pump and a
smile after lining a two-run pinch-
hit drive over the fence - just her
second career hit.
"It was a great feeling, a lot of
emotion," Luetkens said. "Lots
of people want that moment, and
I got the opportunity to have it.
That's something I can cherish
forever."

0

With sweep of Penn State, Blue
tied for first place in the Big Ten

By MAX COHEN
Daily Sports Writer
After the final out was recorded
in its weekend series against Penn
State, the Michigan baseball team
waited for Michigan coach Erik
Bakich in left field to address it as
he does after every game. Normal-
ly, Bakich is met by a team quietly
awaiting his
words. This PENN STATE 1
time, the MICHIGAN 5
Wolverines PENN STATE 2
joyously MICHIGAN 3
engulfed
him, jump- PENN STATE 1
ing up and MICHIGAN 8
down, exult-
ing in victory.
After going five years with-
out a Big Ten series sweep before
sweeping Michigan State last
weekend, Michigan (7-2 Big Ten,
20-14 overall) repeated the feat, as
it handled Penn State in three con-
secutive games, 5-1, 3-2 and 8-1.
With the sweep, the team has won
nine games in a row.
"Even though we hadn't (swept
a series) before, once we got a taste
of it we knew that we could come
out and do it again," said senior
centerfielder Patrick Biondi.
Against the Nittany Lions
(0-9, 7-24), the Wolverine bullpen
played a pivotal role, entering all
three games when the outcome
was in doubt. The relief pitchers
combined to pitch14 innings in the
series while allowing no runs and
six hits. Sophomore right-hander
Matt Ogden led the way, pitching
7.1 innings in his two appearances
and being credited with the win
each time.
"With this hot streak we're on
right now, we're doing our job, and
we trust our coach with pitches,"
Ogden said. "Everyone is trying to
get theirs a little bit and help this
team out."
Ogden was forced into early
action in Sunday's game after

redshirt junior left-hander Logan layed three early runs into
McAnallen labored through the victory. Though freshman left
first inning and got pulled before hander Evan Hill wasn't sharl
recording an out in the second. - he allowed five walks, five hit
Ogden came in with the game and two earned runs in 5.1 inning
tied at one with runners on first - the bullpen ensured that Michi
and second and no outs. Not only gan would hold the early lead
did he prevent damage in the Right-handers senior Kyle Clark
inning by inducing a sacrifice sophomore James Bourque an'
bunt, a strikeout and a groundout, Cronenworth allowed only on
but he pitched five more scoreless runner to reach base in the fina
innings afterwards. 3.2 innings of the game.
His performance allowed the "A goodbullpen is a good recip
Michigan offense to slowly build for any team to get a lot of win
a lead as the Wolverines scored late in the game," Bakich said
two runs in the third and fourth "Having our bullpen be able to pu
innings and added three more zeros up and keep the game righ
insurance runs in the seventh. where it was was critical for ou
Freshman third baseman Jacob success."
Cronenworth led Michigan with Though it's still early in con
three RBI on Sunday as the 8-1vic- ference play, the success of th
tory completed the sweep. bullpen assures that there's no
Ogden earned his other victory one other place to find Wolverine
of the weekend on Friday. After than in left field: at the top of th
sophomore left-hander Trent Big Ten standings.
Szkutnik exited the game after a
dominant 6.2 innings in which he
garnered 12 strikeouts - the most
for a Michigan pitcher in a single
game since Chris Fetter struck out
13 in 2009 - Ogden entered in the
seventh inning with runners on
first and second and recorded the
final out of the inning. Like many ,
teams on winning streaks, some
luck went Michigan's way, as Penn
State catcher Alex Farkes tripped
as he rounded third base and was
thrown out at home.
Down by one run, the Wolver-
ine offense woke up in the eighth
after three straight walks, and LJI4AU L
junior left fielder Michael O'Neill's AUTHORIZED DEALER
infield single with the bases load-
ed. Penn Statetshortstop Taylor *expres 5/6
Skerpon's late throw sailed wide daily l3
of first base, allowing an extra run
to score. The Wolverines would -
add three more insurance runs in JACKSON ROAD**
the inning, and the score would 3870 Jackson Rd
stand pat, as Cronenworth pitched
the ninth inning in Michigan's 5-1 7347479060
victory. Selfstoragespecialiw
On Saturday, Michigan par-

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