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April 02, 2014 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-04-02

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 7A

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 7A

:Michigan's freshman star

'M' takes second at
Hoya Invitational

Daily Sports Writer
Making the lineup as
a freshman is impressive,
especially when upprclassmen
Even more impressive is a
gymnast who competes in the
all-around after graduating
high school in just three years.
What's extraordinary is
if that athlete wins Big Ten
Freshman of the Year.
Becoming the first Wolverine
since 2006 to earn the honor,
Nicole Artz has consistently
proven to be a key asset to
the No. 7 Michigan women's
gymnastics team.
"I was going to be very
shocked if she didn't win that
award, because week in and
week out, she has been absolutely
rock solid," said Michigan coach
Bev Plocki.
Artz hadn't even expected
herself to be in the lineup this
season, let alone gain recognition
from the conference. The team
was loaded with juniors and
seniors, and coaches made no
promises that she'd, compete
right away.
"It's not something that I
would have thought was possible
at the beginning of the year,"
Artz said.
The Holland, Mich. native
has competed in at least two
events in every meet this season.
A four-time Big Ten Freshman
of the Week, Artz was also
named to the All-Big Ten First
Team. She holds a career-high
score of 9.900 on the uneven
bars and balance beam and has
scored 9.900 or higher seven
times on her favorite event, the
floor exercise.
From her teammates to the
senior leadership and coaching
staff, Artz has had a seamless
transition to the realm of college
gymnastics. The heightened

Freshman Nicole Artz has esceeded evens her own expectatios this season, winning Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

team atmosphere has helped her
the most in her adjustment.
"In club gymnastics ... it's
much more individual-based,"
Artz said. "Here, no matter what
happens, your team is always
going to be there for you."
But despite her success, she
wasn't always perfect. At the
tri-meet against UCLA and
Utah on March 7, Artz fell for
the first time all season on beam
in the leadoff position. The five
gymnasts who followed each hit
their routines, dropping her score
from the team total and resulting
in an event season-high and a win
over two top-10 teams.
"I had tears in my eyes
because I was so happy," Artz
said. "It's just the feeling that
you wouldn't expect or get in
club gymnastics - knowing that
they always have your back."
In a quad meet the following
week, her training ability was
limited because of the flu.
However, her mental toughness
guided her to not only overcome
her beam fluke the previous

week, but also obtain a season-
best score of 9.900 on the event.
Since coming to Michigan,
Artz has upgraded her floor
routine, adding a piked full-in
tumbling pass, which consists
of two back flips in the air with
a full-twist completed in the
first. On bars, she completes
an entirely different routine,
including her first-ever major
release, apiked Tkatchev.
"From a coaching standpoint,
she has absorbed everything
that we've changed, whether
it be new techniques or drills,"
Plocki said. "She has just
embraced everything we've
given her and has grown so
much in her confidence and her
Artz committed to Michigan
the summer after her sophomore
year but had her eyes set on the
program long before that. After
visiting the Donald R. Shepherd
Training Center with the
Region S Hi-Tech Gymnastics
Training Camp in eighth grade,
she was hooked.

"The facility doesn't get much
better than this," Artz said.
The gymnast came to
Michigan in style,boostinga club
career that included winningthe
2012 Junior Olympic National
Championships floor title and
traveling to Rio de Janeiro as
part of the Region 5 All-Star
Team in 2011.
That experience has helped
her all year. While she is the
youngest member of the squad,
Artz looks more like a seasoned
veteran than a freshman on the
competition floor.
"You would never know she
graduated school a year early
unless she told you," said fifth-
year senior Natalie Beilstein.
"She is very mature for her age
and always willing to help out in
any way she can. "
Artz is the type of gymnast
every coach loves - consistent
and reliable. What you see at
meets is an exact replica of what
you see in practice.
And the best part? She has
three years left.

Daily Sports Writer
The cherry blossoms weren't
the only thing blooming in
Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.
Michigan finished second
at the Hoya Invitational at
Georgetown with a total score of
611, just four behind first-place
Pennsylvania. No Wolverine
finished lower than 20th out of
86 golfers.
The match was shortened
from 54 to 36 holes due to
inclement weather Monday and
Sunday's practice round was
also scrapped.
"It was another solid
tournament," said Michigan
coach Jan Dowling. "We
overcame the bad weather in the
first round and played even better
in the second round. I was really
proud of the way we finished."
Michigan's best finish came
from junior Lauren Grogan. She
finished in a tie for second with
a score of 150, just four strokes
behind Pennsylvania's Amanda
Chin. Grogan's performance
included five birdies.
"Lauren played really well
under pressure," Dowling said.
"That was something really
great to see."
Freshman Grace Choi also
put up another impressive
performance. Fresh off her
second-place finish at the Clover
Cup Invitational, she shot a 73 in
the second round to place fourth
with a total score of 151. Choi
had four birdies in the match.
"Although (Choi's) shot
handling wasn't quite what
she wanted it to be, she felt
great about her second round,"
Dowling said. "Her finish was
really strong."
Senior Yugene Lee made
a huge jump with her

performance. Following her
64th-place showing at the
Clover Cup, she tied for 10th
with 155, which included a 75
in the second round. It was her
highest finish since the 2012 Big
Ten Championships, where she
placed second.
Fellow senior Alyssa Shimel
bounced back from finishing
58th at the Clover Cup and
placed into a tie for 20th place
with 158. Her performance
included three birdies and one
Sophomore Catherine Peters
rounded out Michigan's scoring,
tying with Shimel for 20th,
including four birdies.
"Catherine is a great athlete,"
Dowling said. "She had a great
performance and finished much
better than at the Clover Cup."
The Wolverines' second-place
finish was their best showing
of the season and their best
since winning the Rio Verde
Intercollegiate Invitational
in March 2010. Michigan also
finished fourth at the Clover
Cup Invitational two weeks ago.
Dowling attributed the success
to the team buying into what
the coaching staff is selling,
and establishing a good routine,
which has increased confidence.
With the Wolverines' recent
improvement, it's tempting
to look ahead to the Big Ten
Championships, but Dowling is
making sure to keep Michigan
focused on next week's Marsh
Landing Invitational in
Jacksonville, Fla.
"You have to take it one
day at a time," Dowling said.
"We're going to continue to
make adjustments and fine
tune our game so that we can
continue getting better. It will
also be nice to be able to finally
practice outside."

Pitchers bear in-game rest

By JAKE LOURIM Driesenga, who hails from
Daily Sports Writer Hudsonville, Mich., isn't new to
playing in the cold. She isn't even
Sara Driesenga struck out new to big innings. But the 22-0
Penn State right fielder Macy win was the Wolverines' largest
Jones before walking back to the Big Ten victory ever and their
dugout. There she waited. And largest overall since a 25-0 rout of
waited. Morehead State in 1996.
The junior NOTEBOOK The junior spent more than 15
right-hander minutes in the dugout in some
had done her innings. It helped that she was
job, holding down the Michigan in the lineup, so the down time
softball team's 5-0 lead in the was broken up by an occasional
bottom of the first. Then, she at-bat. She paced the offense with
watched as it swelled from 5-0 to a grand slam in the first inning.
6-0, then 7-0 Junior
and before - left-hander
long, 10-0. "You've got to Haylie
A walk, ke Wagner
a single, yourself warm." started the
a single, a other two
pitching games of the
change. A weekend,
single, a strikeout, an error, a but long innings were less of a
stolen base. Through -all of it, problem in her starts, in which
Driesenga sat in the cold. Michigan scored six and 12 runs.
"I worry about that, so we'll In her first at-bat Saturday,
tell them to go run and warm up," Wagner reached on an error and
Hutchins said. "I've had pitchers was replaced by a special pinch-
go throw during innings when runner. In her second at-bat, she
v'r lng." dobled ann had to run in order

to avoid being taken out.
"That's the way the game falls,
so you've just got to make the best
of it," Hutchins said. "Part of the
deal of playing at a Big Ten school
is you've got to keep yourself
warm between innings."
BACK ON TRACK: Less than a
year removed from three College
World Series appearances,
Driesenga struggled at the
beginning of the season, starting
0-3 with a 3.44 earned-run
average through March 8.
Since then, she has pitched
13.2 innings while giving up only
one run, including a five-inning
shutout against Penn State.
Driesenga and Hutchins
said earlier in the season that
her main problem was a lack of
confidence.Inthe past few weeks,
Driesenga has regained some of
that confidence by getting into a
rhythm in practice.
"Just making sure the ball's
moving, staying sharp in those
aspects," Driesenga said. "Every
pitch in the bullpen does count,
just like it does in the game."
Hutchins agreed that the
junior has recaptured some
of the bite that earned her
three shutouts last postseason,
including two in the regional
"She's starting to throw
with a little better confidence,"
Hutchins said. "She's working
ahead in the count. Her drop ball
is really biting. And honestly,
she's swinging a heck of a bat.
That's just a sign of confidence."
Michigan announced Tuesday
that it will play Detroit in a
nonconference game Wednesday.
The Titans (2-18) should be
a midweek tune-up for this
weekend's home series against
Ohio State. Detroit comes into
Ann Arbor on a 13-game losing
streak, with just two of those
coming against ranked teams.
The Wolverines haven't played
Detroit since 2001 and haven't
lost to the Titans since 1984. They
lead the all-time series, 22-3, have
shut out Detroit nine times and
have scored in double digits on
five occasions.

Logan McAnallen has struggled to a1-3 record sofar this season, but coach Erik Bakich still believes in his potential
Baseball welcomes CMU

Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan baseball team is
riding a new wave of momentum
it hasn't seen
all season.
The CMUa
Wolverines Michigan
have won four Matchup:
of their last CMU 16-10;
five games and Michigan
have a chance 12-15-1
to extend When:
their winning Wednesday
streak to three 6 P.M.
when Central Where: Ray
Michigan visits Fisher Stadium
the brand-new
turf at Ray
Fisher Stadium on Wednesday.
Since beating Indiana nearly
two weeks ago, the Wolverines
have been a completely
different team. Michigan has
increased its quality at-bat
percentage, has been aggressive
on the base path, boasts a near-
perfect fielding percentage, and
its starting pitchers combined
for a 1.08 earned-run average
last weekend.
"I'm pleased with the way
we've played defense in the past
week," said Michigan coach
Erik Bakich. "I'd say we're good
defensively and have shown
flashes of being great, but we're
not elite yet."
Perhaps the biggest plus for

Michigan, though, is its ability
to defend the basepaths. The
Wolverineslimited Iowa -which
led the conference in stolen bases
prior to the weekend series - to
only one steal.
Senior catcher Cole Martin
hasplayedaprincipalrole inthat.
He has thrown out six runners
in 13 attempts - a respectable
45-percentage average. Martin
boasts one of the team's
strongest arms and throws with
near-perfect accuracy. Prior to
the season, Martin was named
to the Johnny Bench Award
Watch List, which is given to the
nation's best catcher, and he's
justifying the selection.
"We're a good base-stealing
team, so our defense and
pitching is good at practicing
against a good base stealing
team," Bakich said.
Left-hander Logan McAnallen
will make his fourth start for the
Wolverines on Wednesday. The
fifth-year senior boasts a meager
1-3 record to date, and has had
an off year. But Bakich knows
McAnallen can be as good as
anyone when he pitches at the
top of his form.
"(McAnallen's) a guy that
relies on his ability to pound
the strike zone, and when he
throws his fastball in, he's very
successful," Bakich said. "He's
one of our toughest guys.
"He's the man's man: He likes

to hunt, fish and work on muscle
cars, and when he pitches like a
guy who likes to hunt, fish and
work on muscle cars, then he's
always very successful."
The Chippewas have yet to
name their starting pitcher.
But the news hasn't been all
positive. Michigan found out
it would be without freshman
third baseman Ramsey
Romano for eight weeks. While
attempting to tag a runner out
on Friday, Romano was slid into
by an Iowa runner. An MRI on
Monday showed he'd broken
two bones in his left hand. It's
unclear whether Romano will
be cleared to return for this
season, or if he can obtain a
medical redshirt.
Freshman infielder Trey
Miller will replace Romano at
third base. Miller has proven to
be successful both offensively
and defensively in the two
games he has started. Miller got
his first career hit on Saturday,
and it was a big one. He lined a
two-run single that ended up
making the difference.
Central Michigan has a
few strong hitters of its own,
headlined by Logan Regnier,
who is batting .365.
"Every game is very
important, and we have to treat
it that way," said junior left
fielder Kyle Jusick. "There's
really no difference."

Junior pitcher Sara Driesenga has rebounded after a poor start to the season.

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