12 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, May 24, 2004 Si
lvi Nine disappointed
in search for two-seed
By Ryan Sosin
Daily Sports Editor
It wasn't exactly a storybook way to end the
There was a villain in the form of rain for
the Michigan baseball team to stave off and a
prize waiting for them had they won in Sun-
day's nightcap. The prize was a No. 2 seed in
Wednesday's Big Ten Tournament. But sloppy
play and missed opportunities put the Wolver-
ines down 5-1. Then the skies opened and
ended the game in the seventh inning, snap-
ping a seven game winning streak and foiling
Michigan's bid for a sweep.
"We had a golden opportunity this year,"
Michigan coach Rich Maloney said. "We just
fell a hair short."
Coming into the weekend, Michigan was on
the bubble for one of the six spots in the tour-
nament. After a pair of wins Saturday, Michi-
gan knew they would be heading to Big Tens,
and they needed Sunday to determine who
they would play. A victory in yesterday's
finale would have meant second place in the
Big Ten standings and a first-round bye. But
continuing a season long theme, the Wolver-
ines failed to capitalize when the needed to.
"Our kids will regroup and they'll battle in
that tournament," Maloney said. "They are
just inches away from putting it all together."
With the loss, the Wolverines will play the
Nittany Lions in the first round.
For the Wolverines to make a run toward the
tournament crown, they will need strong per-
formance from players like freshman shortstop
Leif Mahler and senior designated hitter Bran-
don Roberts. Mahler added 51 points to his bat-
ting average this weekend while Roberts, who
was playing in his last series in Ann Arbor,
turned in a 9-for-13 performance during the
"You need people to make plays," Maloney
said. "And you need someone to star if you're
going to win a tournament."
While the rain prematurely ended the regu-
lar season, its ramifications could come to
haunt the Wolverines as they cope with an
already decimated pitching staff. With the
heavy downpour pushing his start back a day,
Michigan hurler Paul Hammond will have to
pitch again Wednesday on short rest.
In an effort to save their starting pitchers for
the tournament, Maloney decided to set a pitch
count for Saturday's starters, Paul Hammond
and Jim Brauer. As a result the Wolverines put
their bullpen to the test. The Michigan relievers
tossed nine innings. of relief, four of which
came in Saturday's 9-2 early contest. Derek
Feldkamp replaced Hammond as the pair com-
bined on a four-hit shutout. Feldkamp, who has
made eight starts, could be called upon to start
a game in the tournament.
Minnesota and Ohio State earned the top
two seeds for the tournament. The Golden
Gophers split their series in Ann Arbor while
Michigan won three games of a four game set
"The way that we played against both
teams, we know that we can beat them, and
we've had some success against them," Mal-
Despite the loss, Michigan's 19-13 Big Ten
record marks a three game improvement over
last season's 16-14 record. The Wolverines
finished fourth in last year's tournament.
"I think we came into this game
today with Michigan having the
edge," Walker said. "After we ended
Ia, the up pulling out the first game, I
tponed. think we're kind of on even playing
d today ground."
Hutchins neglected to give a pre-
on State diction on the conclusion of the
y night championship game, leaving it to
ree-run her players to decide the outcome.
ficit in "We'll find out," Hutchins said.
Wolver- "How they react is their destiny."
tourna- The winner of today's contest will
se from join the other seven regional cham-
eam on pions in next weekend's Women's
ch Kirk College World Series at Oklahoma
n might City, Oklahoma.
yester- The winning team will face
day will Louisiana State at 11 a.m. on
Michigan freshman outfielder Eric Rose shows his frustration during yesterday's 5-1 loss to Penn State.
Rose went 0-for-3 on the day. Rose stranded three runners on base, yesterday, the most by any Wolverine.
Three keys to a
Big Ten Championship
MICHIGAN WILL OPEN THE BIG TEN
TOURNAMENT AGAINST PENN STATE AT
o a N F E R E N C E MINNESOTA'S SIEBERT FIELD ON WEDNESDAY.
1. Michigan needs to get solid outings from their starting pitchers in order to advance. The bullpen has
been tapped out to help fill the rotation, so the importance of a quality start is even greater.
2. A.J. Scheidt and Kyle Bohm must be productive at the same time. Brandon Roberts is hot, and these
two need to feed off of that.
3. Control the errors. Michigan made a crucial mental lapse in the fourth that cost a run and put Penn
State up, 3-1. Just because they don't always show up on the score sheet, the small things like that are
what holds this team back.
t * Continued from Page 11
In the first inning of the second
game against the Heavers, Ritter gave
up a solo home run to Kelly Petersen
* and a single to Iapala before the con-
test was called because of rain.
Ritter will be on the mound again
for the Wolverines today, completing
yesterday's title game.
Huron W. "I don't think that even just
because we've played the first half
sor. - T u. 1130 a . to 10:00p.m N. University of our inning and we're up a run that
FrL-. -ak~t1 arn.mto 11:O p.. ' we have the edge or advantage,"
--s.Universi Walker said. "I think we're pretty
much on equal footing right now. I
think that the tournament is going to
nilt c be decided (today), not based on
220South r'(atForest Arwhat happened (yesterday)."
Continued from Page 11
After a single by tapa
game was stopped and pos
The game will be continue
at I1 a.m.
Michigan edged out Oreg
in a 3-2 thriller on Saturda
when Tiffany Haas hit a th
home run to erase a 2-0 de
the fifth inning. After the
ines' maintained a perfect
ment record with their con
behind victory over his ti
Saturday, Oregon State Coa
Walker suspected Michigat
have had the edge going into
day's game. But he feels tot
be a different story.
Wolverine freshman third baseman Grace Leutele retreats to second base after
over sliding the bag on a steal attempt in the fourth inning of yesterday's game.