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May 31, 2005 - Image 11

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2005-05-31

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, May 31, 2005 - 11
Blue makes tourney despite loss

"This obviously isn't what we wanted to do here. It just
didn't work out." - Sophomore LeifMahler
By H. Jose Bosch
Daily Sports Writer
CHAMPAIGN - Too little, too late.
Michigan knew that feeling all too well during last Friday's
game against the Boilermakers.
Despite coming back from a six-run deficit with a four-run
eighth inning in Friday's game, the No. 4 seeded Wolverines
dropped their season finale to No. 2 Purdue, 9-7, in the Big
Ten Tournament.
"The team battled like they have all year long," Michigan
coach Rich Maloney said. "It's just unfortunate we couldn't
get over the hump and pull it out. It would have been a tre-
mendous win."
It looked as though the Wolverines (17-12 Big Ten, 41-17
overall) were going to be blown out after the top half of the
seventh when the Boilermakers (17-11, 27-30) tacked on three
more runs to extend their lead to 7-1. In that inning, junior
A.J. Scheidt committed a throwing error, allowing the first
run to cross the plate. The error was the second committed by
Michigan in the game and its seventh in three games.
But the Wolverines would not go down without a fight
- a competitive toughness that has been present in the
team all year.
After Scheidt and senior Matt Butler led off the eighth inning
with back-to-back singles, junior Mike Schmidt worked a walk
from Purdue pitcher Trae Dauby to load the bases. Mahler then
drove a frozen rope into the right-centerfield gap, scoring both
Butler and Scheidt while moving Schmidt over to third base.
Sophomore Eric Rose popped out to the first baseman on
a failed bunt attempt, but the next batter - junior Chris Getz
- was able to bring Schmidt home from third base with a
sacrifice fly to centerfield.
Sophomore Brad Roblin - who had already struck out
twice - tied the game with a triple that landed just in front of
the diving John Phegley of Purdue and rolled back all the way
to the wall. Mahler was able to score from second base.
"That (inning) really defines what this team has been about
all season," Mahler said. "We have a lot of fighters on this
team. There is a lot of heart on this team, and we showed that
in this last game here."
But the Wolverines' momentum came to a screeching hault
in the ninth inning.
Sophomore Brad Seddon had pitched 1.2 innings without
giving up a hit or a run. Then Purdue's lead-off hitter Mitch

Hilligross ruined Seddon's perfect performance when he
popped up a pitch toward the right-field wall.
The heavy winds kept pushing the ball toward the outfield
fence, and Butler was poised to steal a home run away from
Hilligross. As Butler jumped, the ball bounced off the glove
and went over the fence to give Purdue a one-run lead.
Boilermaker centerfielder Mike Coles followed up
with a homer over the left-field fence that had no chance
of being caught. The Wolverines could not overcome the
two-run deficit.
Michigan's first game of the tournament was an early indi-
cation that the competition would be fierce.
Against No. S Ohio State, the Wolverines fell, 7-3, in a
heart-breaking 13-inning pitchers' duel. Senior Jim Brauer
took the hill for Michigan and pitched 10 innings - allowing
only five hits and two walks and striking out six batters while
giving up two unearned runs.
In the bottom of the 12th inning Michigan had its best oppor-
tunity to win the ballgame. Trailing 3-2, freshman Doug Pick-
ens hit a one-out double down the leftfield line. Getz followed
with another double - scoring Pickens - and then advanced
to third base on a poor throw from the leftfielder. Ohio State
intentionally walked Rose and senior Kyle Bohm to load the
bases for Butler - Michigan's biggest clutch hitter.
But the unusual move worked for the Buckeyes. Butler hit
a screaming grounder to Ohio State first baseman Paul Fari-
nacci, who picked it up cleanly and fired it to his catcher Eric
Fryer. Then Fryer gunned the ball back to his first baseman to
complete the unlikely 3-2-3 double play. The Buckeyes scored
four runs in the 13th inning thanks to a three-run home run
from Farinacci off senior Derek Feldkamp.
"That was an outstanding baseball game," Ohio State coach
Bob Todd said. "If you are a baseball fan, you love that game."
Maloney agreed: "It was a great college baseball game.
Someone had to come out on the short end of the stick; unfor-
tunately it was us."
Michigan's lone win of the tournament came against Iowa
on Thursday afternoon. The Wolverines eliminated the Hawk-
eyes from the tournament with an 8-6 victory. Butler and Bohm
each had two hits and drove in two runs for Michigan.
Despite failing to secure the conference's automatic berth
into the NCAA Tournament, Michigan found out yesterday
that it received an at-large bid into the 64-team field.
The Wolverines will be traveling to the Atlanta, Georgia
Regional - along with No. 1 Georgia Tech, No. 4 Furman
and No. 2 South Carolina. Their first game will be against
South Carolina on Friday at 12 p.m.

Senior Jim Brauer didn't allow a single earned run in his 10 innings of work on Wednesday.
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