Monday, June 11, 2007
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Putnam just misses no-no
By COURTNEY RATKOWIAK
Daily Sports Writer
It was a nearly flawless pitching
performance for Michigan sopho-
Putnam, OREGON STATE 1
an out- MICHIGAN 01
Michigan coach Rich Maloney
called "one for the ages".
16 groundball outs.
But in the end, it was the
career-low one hit he allowed
Putnam had a no-hitter through
eight innings before an Oregon
State ninth-inning, two-out RBI
single broke a scoreless tie. The
Wolverines couldn't match the run
in the bottom of the inning and fell
1-0 in the first game of the Corval-
lis Super Regional.
With the heartbreaking loss,
Michigan's season and College
World Series hopes could end in
tonight's 7 p.m. game against the
defending national champions.
"All we had to do was score
two runs - which we do 95 per-
cent of the time - and that game
was ours," Maloney said after his
team was shut out for the first time
this year. "It was just unfortunate
because Zach pitched the game of
his life. That game was as good a
game as you'll ever see in Michi-
gan college baseball."
In the top of the ninth inning,
Putnam walked Oregon State right-
fielder Scott Santschi on a full count.
A sacrifice bunt moved the pinch-
runner to second, marking the first
time in the game a Beaver runner
advanced past first base. After Put-
nam's eighth strikeout of the game,
Oregon State second baseman Joey
Wong hit a breaking ball to shallow
leftfield. Junior leftfielder Derek
VanBuskirk threw the ball home as
Santschi sprinted for the plate, slid
with his right hand outstretched
and clumsily rolled on the ground,
his legs flailing, to score the only
run of the game.
Though Putnam called the hit
"upsetting" and the game "bitter-
sweet," he acknowledged his strong
individual performance and said
that he felt the pressure of the no-
hitter in later innings.
"It's not like I can sit here and tell
you that I didn't even know it was
happening," Putnam said. "I obvi-
ouslyknew that,goinginto the ninth
inning, I had a no-hitter going. But
I wasn't so much concerned with
trying to throw the ball by people.
It was more just putting the ball in
play or not giving away any freebies.
I didn't want to walk anybody."
Putnam was countered by the
Oregon State pitching staff, which
held the Wolverines hitless until a
leadoff single by sophomore short-
stop Jason Christian in the fourth
inning. But after advancing to sec-
ond on a two-out balk, Christian
and the Wolverines couldn't capi-
talize on the scoring opportunity.
VanBuskirk reached third base
with two outs in the fifth, but the
inning ended one batter later to
leave him stranded.
The Wolverines' lack of hitting
was a departure from their usually
explosive offense. Though the Wol-
verines were making contact with
Oregon State's pitches, almost every
Michigan at bat resulted in an easy
groundout or fly ball.
Maloney attributed the shutout
Sophomore pitcher Zach Putnam was one out from pitching a no-hitter yesterday.
to the lack of timely hits by the Wol- you can't go out there tryingto hit a
verines,addingthat Michiganwould homer. You'll never get it. But I just
likely need to hit one or more home think we're going to end up having
runs to win tomorrow's game. to do it."
"Unfortunately, I thought we Tonight, with undefeated pitcher
would have had another two or Mike Wilson on the mound, the
three hits if we were playing on Wolverines hope that they will
a different surface because the rediscover their big bats and tally
(turf) just slowed (balls) down and another strong pitching perfor-
gobbled them up," Maloney said. mance in the must-win game.
"If some balls get hit in the air, we "We come off a game like this,
can get some jacks and I think that's and it's not at all like we got out-
going to be significant for us. We played," Putnam said. "I think that
can't try to hit home runs, because See BASEBALL, Page 12
Playing on fast turf, Blue has
few offensive opportunities
Read more online about
the men's and women's
track and field teams
By ANDY REID freshman Jorge Reyes didn't
Daily Sports Writer let a single runner on base until
the fourth - the turf on the
Both the Michigan and Ore- field had a great deal to do with
gon State baseball teams had the easy grounders.
brick walls for infields in the Oregon State's Goss Stadium
opening game of their super is home to an artificial infield,
regional. Or so it seemed. a grass-like substance held in
A total of 28 ground balls place by rubber pellets, much
were handled by the infielders like the playing surface at
- mostly by the second basemen Michigan Stadium.
or shortstops - and routinely Everything in the infield but
tossed over to first base for the the pitcher's mound and the bat-
easy out. More than half of the ter's circle was comprised of the
game's total outs were tallied rubbery material. Groundballs
thanks to a routine ground ball. often became engulfed in a black
While some of the credit for cloud of rubber pellets.
the outstanding defensive per- The explosion of recycled tire
formances from both squads pieces slowed every ground ball
can be awarded to top-notch drastically, making it easy for the
starting talent from the mound infielders to locate the ball and
- Wolverine sophomore Zach execute a throw to first base.
Putnam gave up just one hit in "Reality is, this is the field
eight-plus innings and Beaver they have and it's just slow,"
Michigan coach Rich Malo-
ney said. "With that being said,
we're probably going to have to
find some holes and hit some
balls and probably a couple balls
are going to have to get up in the
Said Pickens: "We're really
not going to do much as far as
change our approach to the
game. We just have to find some
balls that we can drive out."
Finding those pitches is a task
much easier said than done.
Both the Wolverines and the
Beavers sat deep in the infield,
aided by the slow-motion
grounders, and caughtup toballs
hit into> weak spots throughout
the entire game.
If Michigan wants to create
more offense in today's contest,
it's going to have to send some
See OFFENSE, Page 12