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April 14, 2014 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-04-14

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4B - April 14, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

19 and counting:'M' sweeps

Daily Sports Writer
weekend, it seemed the
Michigan softball team had held
back. Two runs in one inning,
one run the next. The result was
two mercy victories, but the
runs never poured on.
Until the seventh inning of
the final game - the last chance
to erase all doubt.
In that frame, the Wolverines
(12-0 Big
Ten, 33-6 MICHIGAN ST. 1
overall) MICHIGAN 9
scored 10
runs and MICHIGAN ST. 0
hit three MICHIGAN 8
home runs,
finishing MICHIGAN ST. 0
off a 14-0 MICHIGAN 14
victory at
Michigan State (2-12, 9-28) for
their 19th straight win.
The bats had been fairly
sluggish in the first six innings
Sunday, managing just three
runs on six hits. Sophomore
shortstop Sierra Romero
went 1-for-3, and sophomore
outfielder Sierra Lawrence's
three-run homer in the third
inning represented the team's
only earned runs.
Four innings later, it was
Lawrence who got the ball
rolling once again, and it didn't
stop rolling until Michigan
State had nothing left.
"Our hits were feeding off,
each other, we were feeding off
each other's energy," Lawrence
said. "It was alot of fun."
After Lawrence's RBI single,
junior catcher Lauren Sweet
and freshman third baseman
Lindsay Montemarano hit back-
to-back home runs. Romero
followed four batters later with
a two-run single.
Then, with the bases loaded
and the game long since
decided, junior right-handed
pitcher Sara Driesenga stepped
up for her 21st at-bat of the
season. She drilled a grand slam
to right-center field, adding

Freshmen make
splash in rivalry
By KELLY HALL baseman Kelly Christner singled
Daily Sports Writer to center field.
Christner also doubled to
EAST LANSING - What the right-center field to start off the
Michigan softball freshmen lack final frame on Sunday and scored
in experience, they make up for when sophomore outfielder
in impact. Sierra Lawrence doubled.
All four freshmen had a part It wasn't just Ramirez's
in the combined 31-1 clobbering impressive at-bats that stood out
of Michigan State this past against Michigan State. In the
weekend. Michigan coach Carol first inning of Saturday's game,
Hutchins has expected them to Ramirez caught a line drive
contribute from the start, and and doubled a Spartan runner

Sophomore Sierra Lawrence blasted a three-run shot Sunday as the Michigan softball tearn dominated the Spartans.

insult to injury.
"They were all loosened up
and swinging well," Hutchins
said. "It's good to see we know
the game is seven innings, not
"We weren't in it the whole
game - early in the game, I
didn't think we were."
In one inning, the series finale
had gone from competitive
pitcher's duel to blowout. The
Wolverines won the series by
a total score of 31-1 - and it
wasn't their most lopsided Big
Ten series of the season.
After the game, Hutchins was
pleased with the seventh-inning
outburst because Michigan
played a complete game, which
hasn't happened much in the
past month.
While the bats took time
to get going, freshman right-
hander Megan Betsa kept the
lead comfortable with a six-

inning, four-hit shutout.
"I don't think I had my best
performance today, but it's
giving the best that I have, and
that's what I did," Betsa said.
"My defense was there to work
behind me."
For the second straight
weekend, the freshman got the
nod in the series finale. She
scattered seven baserunners
over six shutout innings,
lowering her season earned-run
average to1.89.
Betsa did, however, struggle
early for the third straight
weekend. After retiring the
first two batters, she gave up
a single to Michigan State
third baseman Sara Gutknecht
and walked designated player
Stephanie Sanders to bring
Hutchins out to the circle.
"She looks like she tries too
hard, or maybe she gets nervous
that the hitter is going to hit it,

I don't know," Hutchins said.
"But it's not sharp. Her change-
up is her best pitch, and it
bounces in too often for me."
But after that, she struck out
catcher Lindsey Besson and
retired nine of the next 10 as
well, finishing with a six-pitch,
1-2-3 fourth inning.
Betsa negated Michigan
State's strong defense and
pitching early in the game.
Senior outfielder Nicole
Sappingfield was thrown out
at home in the first, and senior
designated player Taylor
Hasselbach was robbed of a
home run at the right-field wall
in the second.
The Wolverines let Michigan
State hang around and play all
seven innings for the first time
of the weekend.
But in the seventh, the
Wolverines kept piling on,
leaving no doubt.

they have.
"I tell them,
we don't bring
you here to be
a freshman, we
brought you
here to help us
win," Hutchins
said. "That's
been my motto
every year. Youc
a freshman or yo
help us win. It's
Against tI
freshman th
Lindsay Monten
solo home runs
started off the f
a long fly ball.
sparked more
teammates that
freshman seconc
Ramirez to scor
the game with tl
a mercy-rule vic
"Us freshman
small class, s
close and all
from sophomoi
have really taker
wings and show
Montemarano s
only freshman
Ramirez got on
throughout t
Saturday, she sin
inning and wa
home plate with
final run when

off first to
help take the
"W e brought junioreright
you here to help hander Sara
US Win. right-hander
Megan Betsa
can choose to be Hutchins' tough practices. One
ru can choose to drill that Michigan practices
a decision you . repeatedly puts the pitcher in a
pressure situation with the bases
he Spartans, loaded and a full count. Betsa
ird baseman also points to the psychological
narano hit two practice as a reason for her
. Saturday, she confidence with runners onbase.
ifth inning with On top of that and her drive
The home run to come in and throw even when
hitting by her practice isn't being held, it's no
allowed fellow surprise that she allowed just
d baseman Abby four hits on Sunday - all of them
e and finish off singles - through six innings.
he eighth run in She still wasn't completely
tory. happy with her performance.
n have a pretty "I don't think I had my best
o we're really performancetodaybutit'sgiving
the older girls the best of what I have and that's
res to seniors what I did," Betsa said.
n us under their Betsa and Ramirez were back-
ed us the way," to-back Big Ten Freshmen of the
aid. Week in February, and it's been
isn't the obvious why since then. Double
who can hit. that with the more active roles
base four times Montemarano and Christner
he weekend. have been growing into, and
ogled in the fifth Michigan has a class of players
s able to cross that will not only make an
the eighth and impact late this season, but for
freshman first the next three to come.

Bottom of order
provides impact

Michigan takes series over Illinois

Daily Sports Writer
CHAMPAIGN - Michigan
baseball coach Erik Bakich likes
players who are on a hot streak.
It has been a consistent theme to
this 2014 campaign: No matter if
it's a hitter or pitcher, if a player's
numbers are trending up, Bakich
doesn't bat an eye at throwing
him in the lineup.
This weekend ,followed suit,
as the Wolverines replaced the
bottom two hitters in the lineup
Saturday after the 7-8-9 slots
put up an abysmal .154 batting
average over the last few weeks.

and took advnntage of it."
Sunday, the duo put together
multiple quality at-bats, which is
something the previous starters
couldn't do.
Jacobson came through in the
top of the ninth with a single in
the seven spot and came around
to score an insurance run with
two outs to secure the 4-2 victory.
"(The bottom of the lineup)
is critical," Bakich said. "We've
gotten consistent production
from the top four guys, and that
was the challenge from the team
Friday night. The top four hitters
in the lineup had way more
quality at-bats than the rest of the

baseman Eric
right fielder
Jackson Lamb
and freshman
Wenson had all
seen much of the
spots as of late.
team was shut o
1-0, in the openir
Illinois series, the
a change - and it
Bakich moved
third baseman Hr
and right fielder
into the lineup ft
games of the serie
The two n
the lineup fit ri
Saturday's 26-run
6-for-12 and cont
bottom three spot
driving in six runs
"We've been
spark, and they
that," Bakich said
been working real
swing and have
Both haven't go
playing time as th
have hoped, nor h
the results that th
hoped for early in
both got opportu

lineup, and we
needed more
consistency in
"W e needed all spots, one
through nine.
more consistency "When you
can have an
in all the spots." entire lineup
that produces,
then you have
a chance to
time in those be dangerous offensively. That's
But when the what we saw yesterday when
ut last Friday, everybody was having quality
ng game of the at-bats." I
coaches made Many of the players that
paid off have been shuffled in and out of
two freshmen, the lineup this year have been
ector Gutierrez freshmen. In the second year
Johnny Slater, under Bakich's lead, the team
r the final two is heavy with freshmen and
s. sophomores eager to earn their
ewcomers to way into the lineup.
ght in during One of those freshmen that
contest, going took advantage of this "hot-bat"
ributing to the mindset was third baseman
s in the lineup, Trey Miller. The freshman
s. had a go-ahead two-RBI hit
looking for a in the eighth inning of a game
provided just in the Iowa series, and shortly
"They've both thereafter was selected to
ly hard on their replace starting third baseman
been patient. Ramsey Romano, who suffered a
tten as much broken wrist.
ley both would Though he struggled after that
ave they gotten hit - hitting just .067 through
iey would have four starts - it only reinforced
the year. They the notion that this is Bakich's
nities to start plan, and he's sticking to it.

Daily Sports Writer
CHAMPAIGN - Cole Martin
had struggled at the plate nearly
all season. But his slump ended
this weekend, as the senior
captain knocked in the go-ahead
run in the
eighth ILLINOIS 1
inning MICHIGAN 0
Sunday to
close out ILLINOIS 9
a series MICHIGAN 17
Illinois. MICHIGAN 4
Led by _
Martin's two hits Sunday, the
Michigan baseball team beat
Illinois, 4-2, to win the weekend
series, 2-1.
Martin's timely hitting, both
Saturday and Sunday, spelled
doom for the Fighting Illini.
Before the weekend, Martin
was hitting .205, but he upped
his average to .252 after tallying
six hits.
"(Martin) played like a senior
and a leader," said Michigan
coach Erik Bakich. "This was
his coming-out party offensively.
He was swinging the bat well
in practice and the hits weren't
falling for him earlier in the year."
Illinois (6-3 Big Ten, 18-13
overall) wasted no time getting
on the scoreboard, when David
Kerianripped aline drive to center
field, scoring Will Krug. The
center fielder hit a frozen rope to
right field on the game's first pitch
and used his speed to advance to
third on a fielder's choice.
Michigan, though, kept an
aggressive approach at the
plate. Sophomore shortstop
Travis Maezes lined a double
to deep left field and scored
on junior outfielder Jackson
Glines' sacrifice fly.
Michigan (6-6, 16-19-1) took
its momentum to the fifth inning,
when Maezes reached base on a
fielder's choice before stealing
second and third. Junior first
baseman Kyle Jusick knocked
Maezes home on a sacrifice fly to
take the lead, 2-1.
Fifth-year senior Logan
McAnallen took the mound for
the Wolverines, making his first

Big Ten start. The left-hander
pitched to contact early, and
he benefited from the strong
defensive play behind him.
McAnallen threw five innings
and allowed only one run.
"We weren't sure in the early
part of the game because he
was getting behind in counts,"
Bakich said. "But he battled
back and competed. He's one of
our tough guys, and we needed
to him to pitch tough - and he
pitched tough."
McAnallen also used a steady
pickoff move to keep the Illini
grounded on the base path. In
the fourth inning, the southpaw
picked off Reid Roper for the
first out of the inning.
McAnallen wasn't the only
Wolverine having success
picking off runners.
In the seventh inning,
freshman left-hander Brett
Adcock picked off the go-ahead
runner, and in the eighth,
sophomore right-hander Jacob
Cronenworth added a pickoff of
his own to end the frame.
Cronenworth's snipe was
""r"an'c cythofthezprp

Prior to the weekend, Illinois
had only been picked off once.
Junior second baseman
Eric Jacob rounded out the
Wolverines' scoring when
Maezes doubled to left.
Cronenworth found his
rhythm early on the hill and
closed out the game, earning his
seventh save.
"We took advantage of
some mistakes, which, in a
close game, are magnified,"
Bakich said. "We showed some
toughness in a lot of spots.
"When we needed our guys to
come through in big spots, our
guys came through in big spots -
in all facets of the game."
What happened Friday:
After losing the series to
Minnesota last weekend and
falling to Notre Dame on
Wednesday, Michigan needed
any spark it could get.
But the Wolverines couldn't
find their footing, losing to
Illinois, 1-0. Sophomore left-
hander Evan Hill surrendered
only one run but was tagged

Hill, who had tossed 12.2
consecutive scoreless innings
before Friday, found his rhythm
early, throwing seven strong
innings. It wasn't enough,
though, as he got no run support.
What happened Saturday:
Michigan came out as a
completely different ball club
on Saturday in Champaign.
Rallying behind Cronenworth's
two home runs, and a season-
high 23 hits, to dismantle the
Fighting Illini, 17-9.
Michigan saw production
from multiple hitters. Freshman
outfielder Johnny Slater went
4-for-6, while tallying 2 RBI,
by far his most offensive
production this season.
Freshman designated hitter
Carmen Benedetti matched
Slater, also going 4-for-6, while
also garnering three doubles.
Freshman Jackson Lamb
finished out the game for
Michigan on the mound,
striking out one and sealing the
It was the first time Lamb

Senior catcher Cole Martin had been out since April 2 with tightness in his elbow, but he went 2-for-4 on Sunday.

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