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March 10, 2014 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-03-10

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

March 10, 2014 - 3B

PAUL SHERMAN/Daily
Junior left-hander Haylie Wagner couldn't makeup for Michigan's offensive struggles as it faltered to a 2-3 weekend.
Softball struggles in Classic

M goes 2-3, bats
fall silent
ByMAX BULTMAN
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan softball team
spent its Spring Break brushing
up on basic probability.
The takeaway? Odds are even
the best teams in the nation will
hit a rut sooner or later.
Playing against three top-10
teams in two days, the fifth-
ranked Wolverines faltered
early in the Judi Garman Classic.
Michigan (16-6) couldn't get its
bats swinging for the second
time in three weekends. Only
this weekend, the pitching staff
wasn't able to bail the offense
out every time.
The Wolverines were shut
out to open the weekend, losing
2-0 to No. 10 Arizona State.
Freshman right-hander Megan
Betsa got the start, but allowed
six base runners and one run in
just over an inning before being
taken out in favor of junior left-
hander Haylie Wagner. Wagner
played the role of stopper,
holding the Sun Devils (22-3) to
only one run the rest of the way.
Despite having one of the
strongest lineups in the nation,
on paper, the Wolverines have
struggled to hit the ball lately,
including this weekend. Except
for offensive outbursts against
UCLA and Utah Valley, they've
been held to just 13 runs over

their last eight games.
"We'll be fine when we hit the
ball the way we have in batting
practice," said Michigan coach
Carol Hutchins. "We need to trust
our preparation and our game."
But the Michigan offense
couldn't put runs on the board or,
for that matter, even batters on
base. Senior Nicole Sappingfield's
sixth-inning single was
Michigan's only hit of the game.
There wasn't much time to
regroup, though, before the
Wolverines took the field against
No.6 Washington.
The offense only scored one
run in that contest as well and
fell victim to a new problem.
Whereas Michigan struggled
to get runners on base against
the Sun Devils, it had plenty on
base against the Huskies - it
just couldn't get them across
home plate.
The Wolverines had 10 hits,
all by their first through sixth
hitters, but stranded nine
runners. The bottom of the order
went 0-for-8 with a walk.
Though the pitching staff
bailed out the struggling bats on
multiple occasions before, this
time it could not. Junior right-
hander Sara Driesenga allowed
six runs on 12 hits in 3.1 innings
pitched. Considered Michigan's
top pitcher to start the year,
Driesenga has been inconsistent
early on.
"Sometimes pitchers are in a
groove and sometimes they're
not," Hutchinssaid."(Driesenga)

just has to work through it."
Following a loss to unranked
Houston the next day, Wagner
took to the circle and stopped the
skid, shutting out No. 7 Arizona.
The lefty allowed just four
hits in a complete-game win,
as sophomore left fielder Sierra
Lawrence's two RBI helped the
Wolverines to a 3-0 win.
Hutchins gave the ball back
to Wagner the next morning
against Texas, and she didn't
disappoint, going all seven
innings again and striking out
eight batters. Senior Lyndsay
Doyle went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI in
the 3-0 victory.
But even in the back-to-
back wins, the offense was still
troubling. Doyle's performance
was more than half the
Wolverines' output, putting
pressure on Wagner to pitch as
well as she did.
"I just take it in and throw one
pitch at a time," Wagner said. "I
embrace it and I really enjoy it."
That attitude shone through
for Wagner this weekend.
Her performance in the circle
ultimately salvaged a 2-3
showing for her team.
The woes on offense may not
persist long for the Wolverines,
but their coach plans to make
sure they don't forget about
them completely.
"We had a lot of teachable
moments this weekend,"
Hutchinssaid. "Whenwechange
our behavior then I'll know that
we've learned from them."

'M' splits with Tigers
Michigan showing innings - his shortest outing of Logan McAnallen combined for
the year. Michigan also struggled a convincing 8-2 win.
improvement after fromtheplate,where itwasno-hit Every Wolverine starter had
through five innings and faced a a hit - a notable improvement
slow start to season 6-0 deficit heading into the sixth. from the night before. Glines and
"(The pitcher we faced Friday) junior left fielder Kyle Jusick led
By BEN FIDELMAN was a left-hander that was the team from the three and four
Daily Sports Writer getting up to 94 (miles per hour) slots in the batting order, going a
with a power slider and a really combined 5-for-6 with five RBI.
The final game of the good changeup," said Michigan This offensive dominance has
Michigan baseball team's series coach Erik Bakich. "He had a become commonplace for Glines,
against Princeton looked like it terrific performance. It was one who leads the team with a .369
would leave a nasty aftertaste of those games where we tip our batting-average, .453 on-base
to the weekend when two errors cap to him. That's a kid who is percentage and 12 RBI.
gave the Tigers a 2-0 advantage going to have a chance to play "(I've found success by)
in the top of the sixth inning. The after college." busting my butt in practice,
Wolverines had already dropped The Wolverines' bats were working hard and hitting the
two of the first three games of able to get some momentum ball as hard as I can," Glines said.
the weekend to Princeton, and rolling in the sixth. The bottom McAnallen, who started
a third loss looked imminent. of the batting order put two the season working out of
Then, Michigan showed runners on base, allowing the the bullpen, has been one of
something encouraging from a hot bats of sophomore shortstop Michigan's best arms this year.
sub-.500 team: fight. Travis Maezes, freshman left Through five appearances,
The Wolverines (6-10-1) fielder Zach Zott and junior he carries a 2.89 earned-run
loaded the bases, and with two center fielder Jackson Glines to average and 21 strikeouts.
outs in the bottom of the sixth push three runs across the plate. "I was just trying to focus on
inning, junior outfielder Kevin Two of those runs came on a good tempo and forcing contact,
White sent a fly ball to right field, double-squeeze bunt play from and let my defense work behind
deep enough to bring a runner Glines. It wasn't the first time me," McAnallen said. "Our
home on a sacrifice fly. Next up Bakich signaled for the high- offense went to work and that
was senior catcher Cole Martin, risk play, and it has proved to be gives me a lot of confidence,
who came through with a two- a successful tool so far this year. and it's a little less stressful
out single that drove in another "It's one of our gadget plays," pitching when you have eight
run, tyingthe game at two. Glines said. "They're not runs behind you."
It was all thinking the Moving into the usual college
Michigan the guy is going baseball schedule, where teams
rest of the to score from play three games each weekend
way. After "The guys second, so followed by one mid-week
Princeton (2-5) we just catch match, McAnallen is projected
went down responded well them off to continue in a starting role.
1-2-3 in the . . k , guard." Having a veteran presence that
seventh, the this entire week." A few can be used in both the bullpen
Wolverines Michigan bats and starting rotation will be key
strung warmed up, movingforward.
together a few but problems The second game Saturday
hits and tacked on the clinching occurred in the second half of presented problems, as fifth-
two runs. the lineup, where the fourth year senior right-hander Ben
Sophomore left-hander Evan through eighth hitters went a Ballantine had a shaky outing.
Hill went eight innings, giving combined 0-15. After an early lead for the
up only two runs en route to "With our type of offense, Tigers, the game went back and
the 4-2 win. Sophomore right- we want to run, steal and take forth all the way to the end.
hander Jacob Cronenworth the extra 90 to put pressure Trailing, 6-5, the Wolverines
closed things down in the ninth on teams when you're down a got a runner to second base in
to earn the save. significant number of runs," their last at-bat, but failed to
That finished a weekend Bakich said. "(Being down) bring the tying run home.
at the New York Mets' spring limits your opportunities to take The series against Princeton
training facility in Port St. chances and be aggressive." signaled the end of a Spring
Lucie, Fla., where Michigan lost Though the sixth was Break trip that saw the
a Friday night game, 7-3, split a positive inning for the Wolverines play 10 games in just
a Saturday doubleheader with Wolverines, it wasn't enough to nine days. The team went 5-5,
an 8-2 win and a 6-5 loss and make a difference in the end, as which is cause for celebration
finished off the weekend with a the Tigers took game one, 7-3. after a 1-5-1 start.
4-2 come-from-behind victory Game two was a different "We're moving in a positive
Sunday afternoon. story. Michigan came right out of direction," Bakich said.
Friday,the series didn't start off the gate with two runs in four of "Confidence is restored back
well for the Wolverines. Junior the first five innings. Those hot to where it needs to be after
left-hander Trent Szkutnik gave bats and an effective outing from a disappointing weekend in
up four runs and lasted just two fifth-year senior left-hander North Carolina."

t - _ J

Wolverines fall to eighth

Michigan dominates trip
to Puerto Rico, tops PSU

By ZACH SHAW Things only got worse for
Daily Sports Writer Coon in the consolation round,
as he lost to unranked Nick
Having defeated seven Tavanello of Ohio State, 6-5.
ranked opponents in the regular With a 0-2 Saturday record, the
season and gone a surprising freshman sensation was humbled
6-2 in Big Ten play, the No. 7 in his biggest tournament yet.
Michigan wrestling team was With two weeks to prepare for
primed to make a splash at the the NCAA Championships, Coon
Big Ten Championships this must find a way to regain his
weekend in Madison. confidence if he is to attain his
With six of 10 wrestlers dream of a national title.
making their tournament "He lost two close matches
debut - including top-ranked that could've gone either way,
heavyweight wrestler freshman and that's very frustrating,"
Adam Coon - the weekend was McFarland said. "Looking back,
supposed to be the young squad's this will allow him to refocus and
chance to solidify their mark in get him hungry again. We saw a
the nation's best conference. few things we can work with him
But the opportunity went on to prepare him (for the NCAA
unseized as the Wolverines (6-2 Championship), and he reallyjust
Big Ten, 11-4 overall) slumped to a didn't have the tournament he
disappointingeighth-place finish. wanted. Luckily, he's got plenty
After a season of shocking many of time to refocus and get where
elite programs and posting its he wants to be."
best regular-season record since With the team's biggest
2006, Michigan was shocked weapon eliminated early, the
across the board in its worst Big rest of the team had to step up
Ten finish since 2010 and third- tremendously for the weekend to
worst finish in school history. be deemed any sort of success.
"Obviously, we're disappointed Freshmen Brian Murphy and
in how we performed," Michigan Domenic Abounader proved to
coach Joe McFarland told be particularly up to the task,
MGoBlue.com. "I think that as both exceeded expectations
three-week layoff hurt us a bit, over the weekend. Murphy -
because we were not in that initially seeded No. 8 - battled
competition groove that first his way back from a loss in the
day." quarterfinals in the double-
The biggest disappointment elimination tournament to face
on the weekend was Coon. After top-seeded Isaac Jordan of
going 29-1 in the regular season, Wisconsin for the second time in
the freshman was awarded a No. the weekend, after carrying a 1-1
1 seed and given a first-round score into overtime. A takedown
bye with expectations to run the attempt by Murphy backfired,
table. In the quarterfinals, Coon and Jordan countered for the
was eliminated from contention victory as Murphy settled for
with a 3-1 loss to Penn State's fourth place.
Jonathan Gingrich after a two- Following a 9-1 loss to No.1 Ed
point takedown was waved off. Ruth in the semifinals Saturday,

Abounader could have followed
suit of many wrestlers and taken
Sundayoff Instead, the freshman
went 2-0 over ranked opponents
to take third, the best Wolverine
performance of the weekend.
Despite starting the season
on the bench, Murphy and
Abounader rose to the occasion
to lead Michigan.
In addition to Coon, senior
Dan Yates and freshman Conor
Youtsey failed to perform to their
seeding, both taking seventh in
their weight class. With just 15
points separating the Wolverines
from fourth place in the
conference, every point mattered
heading in, making the early
losses all the more disappointing.
"We weren't as aggressive as
we needed to be," McFarland
said. "I thought there were some
big bright spots, but there were
also some weights that just didn't
perform as they are capable. We
need a much better complete
team effort."
The Wolverines will have
one more opportunity to put
it all together in two weeks at
the NCAA Championships in
Oklahoma City. Michigan's rise
up in the rankings will be put
to the test as the Wolverines
look to avenge last season's
disappointing 33rd-place finish.
With likely eight wrestlers
competing in the tournament,
McFarland is looking for a much
better effort from everyone.
"We're going to have some
hard training between now and
nationals," McFarland said. "We
need it. I think our guys got back
into the competition groove, but I
think we need some hard training
for that last push between Big
Tens and NCAAs."

By CAROLYN KODIS
Daily Sports Writer
It has been a long winter for
the Michigan men's gymnastics
team. Instead of spending
another snowy week training
in Ann Arbor, the team decided
to hit the sun and sand with a
training trip to Puerto Rico.
And Friday, the third-ranked
Wolverines' (10-0 Big Ten, 17-0
overall) trip culminated in a
matchup against the Puerto
Rican National Team and No.
5 Penn State. The week-long
vacation didn't affect Michigan's
successful season, after it
finished the night on top with a
final score of 438.80.
The Wolverines' first rotation
of the night was floor exercise,
where junior Stacy Ervin earned
a 16.10, the first floor score
over 16 points in the country
this season. Not far behind
was senior Sam Mikulak, who

walked away with a 15.60.
On pommel horse, junior Nick
Hunter earned the top score with
a 14.80. On still rings, Mikulak
and senior Jordan Gaarenstroom
tied with a pair of15.10s.
Mikulak again led the way on
the fourth rotation - the vault
- with a 15.30. Freshman and
Puerto Rico native Tristan Perez-
Rivera tallied a 15.20, while
sophomore Konner Ackerman,
who recently returned from an
injury, earned a 15.00 on vault.
On parallel bars, senior Syque
Caesar earned a 15.50 and
Hunter earned a 15.05. Michigan
closed out the night with a solid
performance on high bar, where
Caesar earned the top spot again
with a 14.70.
Though the scores were
lower in the final rotation, the
Wolverines landed all five of their
highbar routines, somethingthey
have struggled to do this season.
"Hitting 5-for-5 on high bar

(was a highlight)," said Michigan
coach Kurt Golder. "Even though
our score didn't reflect that."
This training trip was not
only an opportunity for the
Wolverines to compete against
another top-10 team, but also
a chance to get away from the
cold weather.
"Getting a change in pace from
a long, hard winter is always
refreshing," Golder said. "To
me, it seems like if you kept your
team on campus (during spring
break), it would almost seem like
a punishment."
Golder said the team was able
to balance training time and
relaxation time throughout the
week. In the afternoons, they'd
have a three-hour practice, then
spend the evenings either on the
beach or exploring San Juan.
Now it's back to Ann Arbor for
a return to the road ahead, and
the season, not the weather, is
heating up.

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