The Michigan men's track team finished
sixth this weekend in West Lafayette at
the Big Ten Championships. Page 15.
M& AW "
- M-1 stee-qk s tou--dL e
ch gan al Tien crown, ni y bi'Od
Alcaraz bats in winning run as Blue
By Chris Grandstaff
Daily Sports Editor
COLUMBUS - This time not even
Mother Nature could stop them.
The Michigan baseball team broke
into a rousing chorus of "The Victors"
at Ohio State's Bill Davis Stadium just
before the rain could drive them off the
field for one last time.
The Wolverines, thanks to senior
Jason Alcaraz's game-winning single in
the bottom of the ninth inning, celebrat-
ed their first Big Ten tournament chain-
pionship in 12 years right in the face of
the oncoming thunderstorm with a 12-
11 victory over Minnesota.
The storms that had moved
Saturday's championship game to
Sunday were threatening to delay the
game again. But Alcaraz knocked in the
game-winning run with a shot over the
head of Minnesota leftfielder Scott
Howard, and within seconds the
Wolverines were sprawled all over the
field in uncontrolled jubilation.
"We battled all year for this,"
Michigan second baseman Bobby
Scales said. "This feels great."
But it was not easy.
Michigan opened the tournament
against host and top seed Ohio State on
AP PHOTO Thursday night. After opening an 8-2
Theigehigan baseball team celebrates after Jason Alcaraz drove in the game-win- advantage over the favored Buckeyes
ning run to defeat Minnesota and win the Big Ten tournament. The victory secures by the fourth inning, the Wolverines
Michigan an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament - its first since 1989. failed to score another run, and faced a
bases-loaded situation in the bottom of
'M' softball, host and No. 1
seed, first to be eliminated
the ninth. But Michigan's Luke Bonner
struck out Ohio State's Matt Middleton
and then got Joe Wilkens to pop up and
earn the Wolverines an 8-6 upset.
"Ohio State is a great team," said
Michigan coach Geoff Zahn. "We need-
ed to have a great game to beat them,
but all four teams in the tournament are
The Wolverines would find that out
the following day with yet another dif-
ficult game - this time against Illinois.
It looked like Michigan's season
might come to an end against the Illini,
as they trailed 6-5 with two outs and
nobody on base in the bottom of the
But Michigan seniors Jason Alcaraz
and Brian Bush reached base on singles
to keep hope alive. David Parrish then
ripped a double to send the Wolverines
to the championship game as the only
remaining undefeated team.
"You dream about this kind of finish
on the last out," Parrish said. "He threw
me a fastball and I saw it really well"
The Wolverines got all of Saturday
off as rain delayed the championship
until Sunday. But things must have still
appeared cloudy for the Wolverines in
Sunday's first game as the Gophers out-
raced Michigan to a 13-10 victory and
forced a final and deciding game.
In the tournament's final game
Michigan jumped ahead 4-0 by the sec-
ond inning behind the hot hitting of
Alcaraz, Bryan Besco and the always-
consistent Scales. But the Gophers
climbed right back into the game, tying
the score by the fourth.
The Wolverines were not to be out-
done on this day.
The two teams entered the ninth
inning deadlocked at I1, and
Michigan's J.J. Putz never gave the
Gophers another chance for a come-
back by pitching a quick one-two-three
inning to set the stage for Alcaraz.
"These last four games were proba-
bly the most exciting games of my life,"
Alcaraz said. "I was pretty nervous
when I first got up there and I swung
through a couple of pitches. Once I got
two strikes on me I settled down
But the Wolverines had confidence
in Alcaraz's hitting talent all along.
"ie's a great hitter," tournamcs t
MVP Bobby Scales said after the gar.
"You can throw bottle caps at him at
night, and he could be hitting with a
broom stick, and he's going to hit .350''
The Wolverines will now return to
the NC'AA tournament for the first time
since 1989, and they are going in with a
"If we keep hitting the ball like we
are now I don't see how anyone can
stop us," Alcaraz said.
A fact that bodes sell for te
Wolverines w-vho learned this we
end that when it rains, it pours.
By Ryan C. Maloney
Daily Spurts Writer
WEST LAFAYETTE - The
Wolverines may not have performed as
well as their capabilities might sugges
Sunday, but the final result was nothing
short of respectable.
The Michigan women's track team
finished fourth at the Big"Ten meet with
a team score of 107 points. IHtometwn
favorite Purdue captured first
with a 143 points -- clipping second
place Wisconsin by 21 points
Minnesota placed third with a Ill
"We took a couple of hits," Michiga
assistant track coach Mike McGuir
said, "but more than anything Purdu
"They were on a roll, they were con
fident and they had some kids st a
home. IHey, that's what it's all about."
Near the end of day two, Wolverin
hopes were ignited by Brandi Bentley'
See WOMEN, Page
By Stephanie Offen
Daily Sports Editor
There was no joy in Michigan -- mighty
Traci has struck out.
teven before they could score a run,
the top-seeded Wolverines were the first
team eliminated from their own Regional
with back-to-back losses this weekend to
Florida Atlantic and Notre Dame.
Heads were hung after Saturday's 0-1 loss
to the Fighting Irish as Michigan walked
away from Alumni Field - not looking
ahead to Oklahoma City as they had for the
past four years, but reflecting on a season
that ended rather abruptly.
The Wolverines looked as though they
would score the first run of the game in the
third inning when they placed runners at the
corners with one out.
tut instead of producing the clinch hit-
ting that Michigan has relied on, the
Wolverines registered two outs in a row and
stranded both runners.
"That's why we're not in the champi-
onship," coach Carol Hutchins said. "Timely
hitting is-part of it and that is where we fell
sh i si
Michigan fell short again an inning later
With one out, Pam Kosanke was walked and
Melissa Gentile was hit by a pitch.
But it was the eagerness to score that first
run that left Michigan scoreless for the
Kosanke stole third and tried to run home
after the third baseman missed the catch.
The go-ahead run was tagged out.
"I was telling her 'no, no, no,"' Hutchins
said. "I was yelling loud, but it was really
loud out'there and she took off ... it could
have hurt" our chance to win.
Unlike the Wolverines, Notre Dame took
the fourth inning as an opportunity to score.
Leftfielder Lizzy Lemire doubled to center-
field and was sent home by a single to left-
field by pitcher Jennifer Sharron.
"Lizzy's hit was a real-boost for us," Notre
Dame coach Liz Miller said. "We didn't hit
well yesterday, but our bats started to come to
life better and it gave us the confidence that
Myer's RBI would be the only one for the
Irish. It would remain 1-0 going into the top
of the seventh.
Michigan was faced with its final chance
to stay alive in their regional as Rebecca Tune
See REGIONALS, Page 13
Carol Hutchins consoles seniors Traci Conrad (22), Tammy Mika
(right) and Catherine Davie (left) this past weekend. Notre Dame
ended Michigan's season, 2-0, in the NCAA Regionals.