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September 03, 2013 - Image 42

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-09-03

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6E - Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Offense goes silent as
Wolverines fall in WCWS
By GREG GARNO and home from freshman shortstop "(Walker) did a great job pitch-
ERIN LENNON Sierra Romero into right field, but ing," Romero said. "It didn't fall
Daily Sports Writers Romero was called for interfer- in our favor. She did a good job
ence at second base. mixing up speeds. She's one of
JUNE 2, 2013 - OKLAHOMA To add insult to injury in the the slowest pitchers we saw, so we
CITY - With her season one out bottom of the frame, Romero just had to adjust."
away from coming to an end, co- attempted to advance to second After scattering three hits
captain Jaclyn Crummey came after tagging up at first base but through the first five innings,
up to bat looking to start a rally. was caught stealing for the Wol- pitching to contact caught up
But after she had played hero two verines' first out. Two batters with Driesenga. The drop-ball
innings before, the senior could later, Washington first baseman pitcher allowed four hits in the
do nothing more than watch Hooch Fagaly - a cornerstone frame en route to all four earned
strike three pass by. of the second-best defense in the runs.
With two outs in the bottom nation - scooped a throw in the "The game plan was the same,"
of the fifth inning, Crummey had dirt to retire junior first baseman Driesenga said. "Just go right at
stepped up to the plate for her Caitlin Blanchard them and trust the defense, trust
67th career at-bat. Sixty feet later, Through the first five innings, myself and trust the movement on
it was Crummey - a pinch runner sophomore pitcher Sara Dries- my pitches. I mean, there is a lot."
her entire career - who stood on egna was business as usual. The Despite the loss, this Michi-
first base as No. 8 Michigan soft- right-hander induced 12 ground gan team - including its depart-
ball team's savior in the Women's balls and scattered three hits ing seniors - will remember
College World Series with her before unraveling in the sixth this season fondly. This year's
second hit of the game and third- inning. team continued the tradition of
career RBI. "She's put this team on sending every recruiting class
Michigan was six outs away her shoulders so many times, to the WCWS at least once since
from forcing a second matchup throughout the preseason, Hutchins took over.
against No. 1 Oklahoma, but two the early season and in the big "Obviously, we didn't accom-
defensive miscues later, the Wol- games," Hutchins said. "When plish our full goal, but I couldn't
verines saw the narrow 1-0 lead she didn't have her best moments, ask to be with a better group of
turn into a three-run deficit. she always came back really girls," said senior second base-
Michigan ultimately fell 4-1 tough. She's a tough kid, a tough man Ashley Lane. "Yeah, we
to No. 11 Washington on Sunday, pitcher and she's only going to get fought. We fought this entire year
concluding its season and send- better and better. But she's a large in this tournament. I'm happy.
ing the Wolverines home after reason why we're here." I'm happy with what we did. My
their first trip to the WCWS since But behind Driesenga, Michi- emotions? They're all over the
2009. gan was unable to connect place, but just mostly because I
"Although the loss always against Washington pitcher Bry- just don't want to be done. I just
hurts, I've got to tell you what anna Walker, who struck out four don't want to be done playing this
- I'm proud of this group," said through as many innings. Unlike sport with these girls next to me
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins. her opponent, Walker was able to with this coach."
"They're great Michigan women retire the Wolverines in the air. Added Hutchins: "They'll
and they represent this Univer- Walker obtained five pop-outs in remember that they committed to
sity with class. They play hard. her first four innings while yield- all the values of this program, and
They play hard for Michigan and ing a single hit to Crummey in the they committed to Michigan, and
they play hard for each other." third. they have sacrificed a lot of their
Whereas the defense sparkled In fact, the Wolverines' first own personal things to be a part
in a 2-0 victory over No. 5 Ari- runner in scoring position came of this great team. Those are the
zona State the night before, the with two outs in the fifth inning lessons that take them to the next
Wolverines' season-long weak- when freshman shortstop Sierra level in their life. They're a part
ness was exploited for four runs Lawrence - who reached on a of something bigger than them-
in the sixth. Sophomore catcher fielder's choice - stole second selves, and they just do a fantastic
Lauren Swee+ launcheda t hrno asce. iobofit",

Beating
JUNE 12, 2013 - In a season
that was expected to be fraught
with losses during a process of
rebuilding, the Michigan baseball
team exceeded expectations by
taking its first steps back into col-
lege baseball relevancy.
From the time his players
arrived on campus in the fall to
the end of the season, first-year
Michigan coach Erik Bakich
instilled a winning culture in a
program that had many more
losses
than wins
in recent MAX
memory. COHEN
Once the On Baseball
season
began, the
newfound expectation of win-
ning became evident while the
Wolverines (14-10 Big Ten, 29-27
overall) consistently battled back
from adversity on their way to
earning the program's first berth
to the six-team Big Ten Tourna-
ment since 2010.
"This team was on a mission to
really bring the winning culture
back to Michigan," Bakich said.
"You prepare and you play with
the expectation that you're going
to be competing for champion-
ships."
The leadership council,
worked throughout the season to
help their coach instill the win-
ning culture among their younger
teammates.
You could see it had paid off
on the final regular-season game,
when the Wolverines not only
earned a Big Ten Tournament
bid, but also trounced Nebraska
in the process. Though Michigan
was eliminated from the double-
elimination tournament after two
games, its appearance demon-
strated the beginning of success
in the program.
"As a coach, your goal is to get
the maximum potential out of
your team," Bakich said. "I felt
like with this particular group,
we squeezed every drop, every
ounce of energy out ofit."
There were times during the
season when using every ounce
of energy wasn't enough for the

all expectations

a

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Wolverines. Michigan took its
lumps, particularly during a
12-game stretch in which the
Wolverines went 5-7 when Bion-
di was out because of a sprained
thumb.
All season long, Biondi encap-
sulated the spirit of the team in
ways not visible in the box scores.
When he returned from his
thumb injury, he couldn't swing
a bat. Yet he was in the Michigan
lineup during the team's sweep
of Michigan State, attempting to
bunt for a base hit each time at
the plate while playing his usual
rangy defense.
"It just captured everybody's
enthusiasm and just really was a
huge sparkplug and a catalyst for
us," Bakich said.
Biondi continued to demon-
strate the new winning mental-
ity of the program by playing
through an injury later in the sea-
son. He even switched to second
base during the final series of the
regular season - the last of his
Michigan career - so that Bakich
could put the best lineup on the
field.
As the Wolverine baseball pro-
gram looks forward, it will have
to do so without Biondi and the
other leaders who helped precipi-
tate the team's change in men-
tality. With Bakich at the helm,
Michigan will look to new lead-

PAUL SH ERMAN/Daily
ers to carry the program into the
next phase of its development as
Biondi and O'Neill pursue profes-
sional baseball careers.
Bakich sees freshman short-
stop Travis Maezes, freshman
second baseman Jacob Cronen-
worth and freshman left-hand-
er Evan Hill as future leaders
because they already established
themselves as workhorses on and
off the field this season. Bakich
looks forward to the arrival of
next year's highly-touted recruit-
ing class, his first at Michigan as
he looks to guide the team to the
next level.
The incoming class drummed
up more excitement when four
of the players were selected on
the third day of the MLB Draft.
Bakich expects them all not only
to come to Michigan, but to help
the program do much more than
earn a bid to the Big Ten Tourna-
ment.
"While everybody was happy
to get to the Big Ten Tourna-
ment, everybody also realizes
that this past year was the worst
year Michigan baseball is going
to have moving forward," Bakich
said.
And he could be right. Espe-
cially since he doesn't have to
spend time implementing a win-
ning attitude.

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