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May 30, 2006 - Image 16

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2006-05-30

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I

16 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, May 30, 2006

-SPORTS-

All hail the tournament champions:
'M'-Nine caps off dominant season

By Dan Feldman
Daily Sports Writer
When Michigan baseball coach Rich Maloney interviewed for
his position four years ago, the athletic department had one qualm
about his qualifications.
Despite leading Ball State to a combined 81 games over .500
in seven seasons of Mid-American Conference play, Maloney had
never won a tournament as a coach, whether it be there or as an
assistant at Western Michigan.
And the Wolverines had been unable to team up with Maloney
to finish higher than third in either the Big Ten regular season
or tournament.
Until this season.
After winning an outright Big Ten regular season title last
weekend against Iowa, a 9-4 victory over Minnesota on Sunday
clinched the tournament title.
"I'll remember team," said a teary Maloney. "I'll remember Kunkel
sweating when he basically needed (an) IV (but) he just fought through
that heat. I'll remember him turning down pro baseball to be a cham-
pion. I'll remember Paul Hammond realizing a dream. In my mind, he
was our pitcher of the year and what he did was so phenomenal. I'll
remember just the way we played with grit. The grit and the mettle that
we had was just extraordinary. We could've quit several times."
Said Hammond: "(Maloney) was definitely emotional before the
tournament started, and to bring it home to him was really great."
After they were rained out of their scheduled start Thursday,the Wol-
verines suffered an ugly 6-2 loss at the hands of Minnesota on Friday
morning. The loss was their first conference loss at Ray Fisher Stadium
since the season-opening Big Ten series against Northwestern.
"There's a little bit of a lull, but with this team, it lasts for maybe
20 minutes, 25 minutes and then we've got another game to play," said

senior Paul Hammond, after pitching just 2 2/3 innings against the
Gophers. "We always have a very good, forward-looking attitude, so
it'll be easy for us to put this behind us. We've just go to come out and do
the things we do and do them well - pitch well and play defense well
- and we'll be right there."
If "right there" was holdinga Big Ten Tournament Champions ban-
ner in the outfield after wins against Northwestern, Ohio State and two
wins against Minnesota, Hammond was dead on.
But as far as how to get to that point, Hammond may have slight-
ly missed the mark.
The defense was so-so and the pitching was ok.
But the key to Michigan winning the four consecutive games
needed to take the tournament was its offense. They tallied 31 runs
in their final four games.
Michigan coach Rich Maloney said following the team's 8-3 win
over Northwestern: "I like my offensive team. Ireally, really do.
I believe in these guys and we've just been in a lull. We needed
something to break out of it."
After a 3-2 win over Ohio State - their fifth in as many games
against the Buckeyes this year - the Wolverines' batting had to
match Minnesota's, and it did. An 11-9 Michigan victory set the
stage for Sunday's winner-take-all game with the Gophers.
Each Michigan starter had a hit in the final two games against
Minnesota. But freshman Adam Abraham was the team's star. He
not only had three hits, one homerun, 3 RBI and 2 runs, but pitched
5 1/3 innings of relief and allowed just one run to get the win in the
Wolverine's second game against the Gophers.
Abraham made the All-Tournament team as a pitcher and designated
hitter and was named the tournament's most outstanding player. He was
joined on the All-Tournament Team by senior Jeff Kunkel at catcher,
sophomore Nate Recknagel at first base, senior A.J. Scheidt at third base

I

4

Senior Jeff Kunkel holds up the tournament trophy on Sunday.
and junior Eric Rose in centerfield.
Maloney's credo early in the season was "it's not how you start,
but how you finish," and thanks to the team's great weekend, Mich-
igan isn't finished yet.
The Wolverines will travel to Atlanta to play in the NCAA regional
hosted by No. 8 national-seed Georgia Tech. Michigan, a three seed in
the regional, will play second-seeded Vanderbilt Friday at 3 p.m.

Putnam awaits pre-trail for three misdemeanors

4

By H. Jose Bosch
Daily Sports Editor
Freshman Zach Putnam, star pitcher for the
Michigan baseball team, will have to shift his
focus quickly from the baseball field to the court-
house after this weekend's regional.
The Ann Arbor native is scheduled to appear
at a pre-trial conference on June 6 in Michigan's
15th judicial district courthouse.
Putnam faces three misdemeanor charges stem-
ming from an incident last November. According
to court documents obtained by The Michigan

Daily, Putnam faces charges of assault, malicious
destruction of personal property less than $200
and the purchase/consumtion/possesion of alco-
hol by a minor.
The first two counts carry a maximum of 93
days in jail and/or a $500 fine. The minor in pos-
session charge carries community service, atten-
dance at a substance-abuse service and a $100
fine.
Ann Arbor Detective Lt. Chris Heatly told The
Ann Arbor News that Putnam was arrested by Ann
Arbor police shortly after an altercation outside
Touchdown Cafe at roughly 2 a.m on Nov. 12.

Heatly said that Putnam and i group of friends
exchanged words with the occupants of a vehicle
that had driven by the group. Putnam then report-
edly walked up to the vehicle and spit into the
passenger side window. He then challenged the
passenger to a fight, the article said.
Heatly went on to tell The Ann Arbor News
that after the man got back into the vehicle and
rolled up the window, Putnam punched the win-
dow, shattering it.
Putnam did not respond to an interview request
from The Michigan Daily.
But Michigan coach Rich Maloney did make

a statement, saying that Putnam had already
been punished.
"We don't condone that kind of behavior, and
it's not acceptable, Maloney told The Ann Arbor
News. "He has paid his debt to our team."
The June 6 pre-trial date will come just one
day after the last scheduled day of this weekend's
NCAA baseball regionals.
Even though Putnam has struggled mightily
at the plate this season (.167 BA), he has been a
shining star on the mound. He was second on the
team in ERA (2.10) and tied for second with wins
(six) while dropping just one decision.
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