Page 18 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, May 11 ,1984
1- - 'M's Close plays dual
rersattIt . oe. d
Y- role with mixed resu lts
By ROB POLLARD
At the start of the season Casey Close
figured to be a mainstay for the
Michigan baseball team, at the plate
and on the mound. He has indeed been a
terror at the plate; but he has been a
nightmare on the mound.
"Sometimes you go through years
when you struggle," said Close, whose
batting average has steadily risen
along with his ballooning ERA. "This
year has been a constant struggle for
me, whether it's wildness or not being
able to get guys out."
ONE LOOK AT Close's pitching
statistics shows how much he has
struggled. In 14 games the sophomore
'This team is so
hard to predict. We
could tear up the
(Big Ten) tour-
nament or we
could have a tough
righthander is 4-5 with a lofty ERA of
7.80. In his freshman year he was 5-1
with a 3.51 ERA.
Before this season head coach Bud
Middaugh had hoped that Close would
develop into a solid starter. That has
not been the case._
"I'm disappointed a bit with Casey
(as a pitcher), but during any season
you have disappointments and you have
surprises," said Middaugh.
DESPITE HIS PROBLEMS on the
mound, Close has been anything but a
disappointment at the plate. When not
toeing the rubber, Close-is either in left
field or the designated hitter. He is
currently second on the team in hitting
with a .351 average, trailing only his
roommate, shortstop Barry Larkin.
Close leads the team in extra base hits
with 17, including six homers. His 32
RBIs are third on the club.
His biggest moment at the plate came
last year in a game against Stanford in
the College World Series which Michigan
won, 11-4. In a seven-run ninth inning
rally, Close connected for a grand slam
"When I hit it I thought it might go
out, and when I saw it clear the fence it
was an emotional high. Stanford was
one of the schools I had considered
(before choosing Michigan), so that
made it even more special," said the
Worthington, Ohio native.
AFTER NARROWING down his
choice to Stanford or Michigan, Close
chose Ann Arbor as the place to lace up
his spikes, partly because of the in-
fluence of Middaugh.
"He is one of the best coaches in the
country," Close said of his mentor, and
he was a major reason why I chose to
come to Michigan."
Though he hails from Ohio, Close
never seriously considered attending
Ohio State. "I considered (OSU) a little
bit, but not much. My brother played
baseball there briefly, as a walk on, and
I don't think he got a fair shake."
CLOSE WAS IMPRESSIVE enough
in high school to be drafted by the
Cleveland Indians in the 23rd round, but
he had already signed a letter of intent
to attend Michigan. "It was more of a
a nice gesture on their part," Close said.
When asked to compare this year's
team with the 1983 squad, Close noted
that the experience and power of last
season are lacking.
"This year the team is a lot
younger," the 6-1, 190-pounder pointed
out. "We don't have the home run hit-
ters that we had last year. We can't sit
back and wait for the home run, we
have to make things happen. But if
everything gells, this club can be as
good as last year's."
CLOSE, a communications
major who hopes to go into public
relations someday, feels that the team
is capable of winning-the Big Ten tour-
nament next weekend and ultimately
earning another trip to Omaha.
"This team is so hard to predict. We
could tear the tournament up or we
could have a tough time. We should win
it, but it's been a Dr. Jekyll and Mr.
Casey Close prepares to deliver to the plate in a contest against.Purdue last
year. Though struggling on the mound this year, Close is hitting .351 with six
homers and 17 extra-base hits.
Hyde year, so you never know."
The players' performances on the
field may be inconsistent, but the
relationships they have developed off of
the field are solid.
"I think of the team as a family, as a
bunch of brothers. Eventually the
games become numbers. You may
remember the trips, and some of the
. moments, but I'll always remember my
If Close can perform in his next two
years at Michigan the way he has per-
formed in the first two, he'll have a lot
of moments to remember. Judging by
this year, more of those moments will
occur while he's hitting than while he's
on the mound. In fact it won't even
BIG TEN BASEBALL
Recordsthrough Monday's games
Team W-L Pct. GB
MICHIGAN ....... 8-4 .667 -
MU - -0-7 .533 1/
Ohio St....... 6-6 .500 2
Purdue ............ 5-7 .417 3
Indiana ........... 4-7 .364 32
Astro perfect for 6
Ovea4 Team W-L Pct. GB
32-14 Minnesota ......... 8-4 .667 -
26-20 Iowa .............. 6-5 .545 1/
27-15-1 Wisconsin ......... 6-7-1 .464 21f
4--17 Nwestern .6.... 5-1 .058 2
41-17 Illinois-...... 3-6 .333 3r
MICHIGAN atiPurdas 2)
hioState at Indiana -)
Ilinois at Northwestern (2)
Iowa atMinnesota (2)
-1) Ross, MSU ................
2) Drahorzal, Iowa ............
2) Dietrick, Par .........
4) Eddington, MU. ..
5) Girardi, NU ................
5) Hess, Minn.................
7) Huff, NU ..................
8) Maeller, Ind..-*-*-,**-*
10) Shoulders, Pur.............
MICHIGAN atiPurdue (2)
Illinois at Northwestern (2)
Iowa at Minnesota (2)
Big Ten Leaders
HOUSTON (AP) - Houston's Mike
Scott pitched six perfect innings last
night and Phil Garner rapped a two-run
double, leading the Astros to a 4-2 vic-
tory over Philadelphia that extended
the Phillies' losing streak to five
Scott, 2-1, who came into the game
with a 6.11 earned run average, retired
18 straight batters and took a 4-0 lead
into the seventh when Juan Samuel led
off with a ground-rule double to right
field. One out later, Mike Schmidt
belted a 400-foot home run over the left-
center-field fence, his ninth of the
Cardinals 7, Padres 0
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Joaquin Andujar
pitched a five-hitter for his third
shutout of the season, and St. Louis
scored five runs with the help of three
stolen bases in the eighth inning to beat
San Diego 7-0 yesterday.
Tito Landrum drove in three runs, in-
cluding two with a double in the eighth.
Brares 7, Mets 3
NEW YORK (AP) - Randy Johnson
homered and drove in another run with
a squeeze bunt, and Terry Harper had
two RBI with a double and a sacrifice
fly to lead -the Atlanta Braves to a 7-3
victory over the New York Mets
Len Barker, 3-3, checked New York
on seven hits and seven strikeouts
through 51/3 innings.
Dodgers 5, Cubs 1 -
' CHICAGO (AP) - Candy Maldonado
drove in three runs with a double and a
sacrifice fly, and Bob Welch scattered
seven hits, leading the- Los Angeles
Dodgers to a 5-1 victory yesterday that
broke a three-game Chicago Cubs win-
The victory, combined with San
Diego's 7-0 loss to St. Louis, put the
D-dgers on top of the National League
West by one game.
Avg Name IP
.461 1) Hickerson, Minn........ 19.1
.4 2) Shook, MSU .....26.2
.4333) Mahews WIn. 16.2
.413 4) Miller, NU.............. 20.1
.400 5) Grate, Ind.............. 13.1
.400 6) McCollum, ill........... 10.1
.395 7) KAMIENIECKI, MICH. 20.1
033 ) Jones, Ind......20.0
.392 9) Champagne, III.. 12.2
.387 10) Kampsen, Minn........ 15.0