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April 11, 2014 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-04-11

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, April 11, 2014- 7

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Friday, April 11, 2014 - 7

Handler leads way
for Wolverines

'M' looks for first win over Bucks

DailySports Writer
Erik Bakich's young son Colt
rus Junior Brook Handler made
quite a mark at the Raleigh
Relays Invitational two weeks
ago - or better yet, more than
one mark.
In a field of 64 runners, her
career best time of 4:18.28 in the
1,500-meter run managed to not
only become the top time in the
Big Ten, but also be the second-
fastest time in the nation so far
this outdoor season.
Handler's success carried
her even further, earning her
the Big Ten Athlete of the Week
last week, the first of her career
and the first for Michigan this
season. The last Wolverine to
win the award was fifth-year
senior Jillian Smith last May.

Shannon Osika took second with
4:23.62. Handler earned her
second first-place finish later
in the afternoon in the 3,000-
meter run with a time of 9:28.78,
while freshman Corinne Florie
secured third in 9:37.98.
"I think the scored meets
are a good opportunity to
practice racing because it's not a
situation where you're trying to
run for time like you are at some
other meet where you're trying
to get a mark," Handler said. "At
scored meets, you're just trying
to run for place, which is what
you do at Big Tens. It's a really
high-energy atmosphere and
everyone is there rooting for
each other."
As for her own performance
in the 1,500-meter run this time
around, Handler was happy with
her results, but she knows she

"It was a
huge honor,"
said. "I know
how tough
these awards
are to get in
track because
everyone is
competing so
hard and doing
so well. I know
I definitely
expecting to

has more to do
to drop time.
At the Raleigh
"I have my eyes Relays, for
on theexample, she
set on the 1,500 only took over
the lead on the
this year. ... It last lap instead
1 of getting out
takes a perfect with an early
ra e.lead. With the
ra e 3,000-meter
run, she was
just excited
to get some

Daily Sports Writer
Residents of Ohio don't
usually root for Michigan and
residents of Michigan don't
usually root for Ohio State. But
for five Wolverines, that's been
exactly the case.
Originally from Ohio, redshirt
freshman defender Cooper
Charlton, redshirt sophomore
David Michigan at
freshman Ohio State
attacker Ian Matchup:
King, junior Michigan 4-8;
attacker Ohio State 4-6
David When: Saturday
McCormack 4:30 P.M.
and fifth- .
year senior Stadium
Paras, the TV/Radio:
five moved BTN
across the
states' border when they decided
to play for the Wolverines.
For some, the transition has
been easy.
"My mom is actually from
Michigan," McCormack said.
"I always grew up cheering for
Michigan because my uncle was
a doctor for the football team
and would take me up to a couple
games a year."
But for others, the transition
was just a little bit tougher.
"I didn't really know anything
about Michigan except for its
athletic history growing up,"
Paras said. "I definitely cheered
for Ohio State and had some
Buckeye gear that I had to give
away when I came to Michigan."
Though, McCormack's tie to
Ohio State is minimal, he admits
it hasn't been all smooth sailing.
actually, so we have alittle family
rivalry going," McCormack said.
"Pretty much everyone around
me went to Ohio State or is an
Ohio State fan, so being around
that when I'm home is tough
On Saturday, all five players
will go back to take on the
Buckeyes, but this time, as part of
their rivals.

Junior forward David McCormack will return to his home state of Ohio, but not as an Ohio State fan.

run that fast going into my race
because I had only done one
workout so far. The pressure
was off and 14 of my teammates
also ran in the 1,500, so I think
that's what helped me to do so
Though the Raleigh Relays
was a non-scoring meet, the
positivity and momentum
established allowed the
Wolverines to coast to their
second annual tri-meet between
California and Virginia last
Handler secured the 1,500-
meter run title once again with
a time of 4:20.99, while junior

points for the team.v
Aside from her
accomplishments already,
Handler hasn't stopped short of
setting goals.
"I have my eyes set on the
1,500 (run) this year," she said.
"I'd definitely like to hold serve
or improve in the 1,500 (run)
this year and make it Nationals.
It takes the perfect race, which
is hard to do, but it's something I
would love to achieve."

Michigan will travel to fans to the game. The attendance
ColumbustotakeontheBuckeyes countbrokeanationalon-campus
(1-0, 4-6) Saturday afternoon in and regular season college
the "Showdown at the Shoe." The lacrosse attendance record that
game will take place following had been set the year before.
Ohio State's football spring Attendance has dropped the
game, a replica of the Wolverines' past two years due to inclement
version of the weather.
game. But with the
The past sun supposed
two years, "W e had a goal to be out
Ohio State Saturday in
has been the at the beginning Columbus,
premier home the Buckeyes
game on the of the season to anticipate a
Michigan large crowd for
men's lacrosse beat Ohio State." the matchup
team's - which
schedule, will pose
with the game a different
coming after the Wolverines' aspect to the game that Michigan
spring football game in the has not faced this season: crowd
annual "Battle of the Big House." noise.
Thisyear,the fanfare remains, The Wolverines aren'tworried
but it moves to a different venue. about the crowd noise more
Playing after the spring game than they are about their own
will create 'aproblem of its own performance.
for the Wolverines. "There's going to be a lot
In 2010, the third-ever of people there," McCormack
Showdown at the Shoe, then said. "But we had a goal at the
against Air Force, brought 31,078 beginning of the season to beat

Ohio State and people in the
stands aren't going to keep us
from doing that."
Michigan is winless in four
games after a narrow defeat to
ECAC opponent Fairfield last
In the game, the Wolverines
struggled in the first half before
making a strong comeback in the
second half, holding the Stags to
only one goal.
With Michigan on a losing
streak, Ohio State comes into
Saturday's game on a two game
winning streak. Midfielder
Jesse King leads the Buckeyes in
scoring and has 15 points in his
last two games.
"They're very good in
transition and the sub game,"
McCormack said. "We need
to limit their transition
Michigan had two goals
coming into the season, and one
oo was to b'iio State.
This weekend, the team will get
a chance to do just that, and it
might just come down to one of
its Ohio-grown Wolverines.

'M' readies for Spartans
By MAX BULTMAN disappointments. Michigan sophomore shortstop Sierra
Daily Sports Writer State has lost to unranked mid- Romero, whose .641 slugging
majors including Florida Gulf percentage leads the nation. Big
Long before she ran the bench Coast - a run-rule loss - and Ten opponents have taken note
for the Michigan softball team, SIU-Edwardsville. thus far, walking Romero at least
Carol Hutchins And though the Spartans once per game since conference
called East MSU at have some close losses - No. 11 play started.
Lansinghome. Oklahoma only beat Michigan "I can tell you this much,
And after Michigan State 7-6 - the forecast for this (Michigan State coach Jackie
the Wolverines Matchup: weekend's games is cloudy with Joseph) isn't going to give Sierra
play a home Michigan a chance oflong balls. Romero one pitch - not one,"
contest against State 9-25; "If we get caught talking Hutchins said. "Last year she
the Spartans Michigan about (who beat who), the only got one pitch to hit and she
Friday, 30-6 coaches remind us it's not hit it over the fence for a grand
Hutchins When: Friday- about what the other teams are slam. They'll walk her with the
and company Sunday doing," said senior first baseman bases loaded."
will return Where: Caitlin Blanchard. "We're about But with the Wolverines
to Michigan Alumni Field Michigan softball. So honestly lineup depth, walking Romero
State for what (Fri.); Secchia I don't know what Michigan won't make things much easier.
could become Stadiuam State's record is." Batting behind the All-
a lopsided (Sat.) The Wolverines enter the American shortstop is
weekend series. series on a hitting tear. Their sophomore left fielder Sierra
The two teams find team batting average is .351, Lawrence, who is hitting .363
themselves on opposite ends of good for second in the nation with 35 RBI. After that sits
the Big Ten standings. Michigan and they've hit seven grand senior designated player Taylor
(9-0 Big Ten, 30-6 overall) has slams. Those numbers could rise Hasselbach, who homered three
been a force in conference play against a Spartan pitching staff times in Sunday's doubleheader
thus far, beating its opponents by that's given up at least eight runs against Ohio State.
a combined score of 89-9. in 12 games this season. Perhaps the only player
For the Spartans (2-9, 9-25), Headlining the statistical underperforming , for the
this season has been filled with mismatch for Michigan is Wolverines right now is
Blanchard, who has fallen on a
slump in the last two weeks.
Blanchard, who grew up
supporting Michigan softball,
is familiar with the rivalry and
will look to get out of her rut this
Hutchins, though, is confident
that Blanchard will regain
her form and return to the
consistency she's had during her
four year career in Ann Arbor.
"We've just got to let it run the
course," Hutchins said. "It's like
the flu."
Still, while the Spartans have
not looked good this season, the
rivalry series might bring out
the best in them - a phenomena
the Wolverines are growing
accustomed to.
"I think everyone we play is
fired up to play us," Hutchins
LUNAANNA ARCHEY/Daily said. "But I don't care about the
Abby Ramirez is one ofeight Wolverines with a batting average over .300. other (teams). I care about us."

Wolverines in need of
crucial wins at Champaign

Daily Sports Writer
Wednesday, six errors and
a combined 4-for-30 plate

gave the
baseball team
its worst loss
of the season,
a 9-1 blowout
defeat at the
hands of Notre
The loss
stung because
the Wolverines
hadn't lost a

at Illinois
Illinois 17-11
Friday- Sunday
Illinios Field

midweek game this season.
But with little time to reflect,
Michigan (4-5 Big Ten, 14-18-1
overall) needs to push the loss
from its mind when it travels
to Champaign this weekend if
it wants to make the Big Ten
"Once it's over, it's over," said
senior catcher Cole Martin. "You
can't dwell on a big win or a bad
loss. Once it's over, you got to
move on to the next one - the
next 200 feet we like to call it.
"Our next big challenge is
going to be Friday at Illinois. Not
Saturday, not Sunday, not next
week ... Friday."
Martin hasn't been behind
the plate since April 2, when he
left midway through the Central
Michigan game due to tightness

in his elbow. Though he didn't
play Wednesday, he said he
feels fully healthy and is now
projected to don the catcher's
gear once again.
And after the Wolverines'
season high six errors against
the Fighting Irish, the return
couldn't come sooner. With
Martin back behind the plate,
he should provide the leadership
and experience the defense
needs to minimize errors against
the fourth best hitting team in
the Big Ten.
"I think (we need to) just be
ourselves," Martin said. "You
saw when we were playing well,
we were posting zeroes up on
errors and playing consistently
by making the routine play and
web-jams when we needed to
make them."
The Fighting Illini's catcher
Jason Goldstein leads the team
with a .382 batting average,
good for third in the conference.
Though Illinois (5-1, 17-11) is
stacked offensively, sophomore
left-hander Evan Hill will be up
for the challenge Friday.
Hill's one of two pitchers
who have shown consistency
after he pitched 6.1 innings in
last Saturday's 8-1 win over
Minnesota, when he struck four
batters and allowed just five hits.
But a defense led by Hill and
Martin won't earn Michigan
a win if the Wolverines fail to
warm up their bats. It remains to
be seen who Illinois will pitch in

the series opener, but no matter
who it is, Michigan will have to
improve from Wednesday's .133
team batting average if it hopes
to even its Big Ten record..
To do that, Martin said his
team needs to stick to its usual
approach of getting the leadoff
hitters on base for the big hitters
to drive in runs, but even that
has failed recently. Junior center
fielder Jackson Glines, third in
the lineup, has been put ina two-
out bases-loaded situation twice
in the last week, only to make
nothing of it.
"Every time you go up there,
you're not trying to hit a home
run," Martin said. "You're just
trying to get the barrel on the
ball and get things to happen."
The Wolverines' results this
weekend could determine where
they end in the Big Ten rankings
this season, especially after
being predicted to tie for fifth
with Illinois in the preseason.
The last question remaining is
which team will show up.
It could be the one Hill led
in the win against the Golden
Gophers, when Michigan didn't
allow a run through seven
Or it could be the error-prone
one that gifted four runs in three
innings against Notre Dame
while having the second-worst
batting performance of the
For Bakichandhis Wolverines,
they need to be the former.

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