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August 13, 2007 - Image 47

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2007-08-13

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The Michigan Daily - Orientation Edition 2007 35

Wolverines best top-ranked Vanderbilt

By ANDY REID
Daily Sports Writer
June 5, 2007 - NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
Michigan baseball coach Rich Maloney just
got a new haircut - and there isn't much hair
left.
That's because of a promise he made to
the Wolverines before their improbable 4-
3 upset of No. 1 Vanderbilt to win their first
NCAA Regional since 1984.
Maloney told his team that if it pulled off
its second win over the Commodores in three
days, he would completely shave his head.
And after the Wolverines exhilarating
win over the top-ranked team in the country
Monday, he's done just that.
Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin decided
he would pull out all the stops in his team's
comeback effort after the Commodores ral-
lied from down 3-1 to tie the game. In the
bottom of the eighth, NCAA Player of the
Year and probable No. 1 overall pick of the
upcoming MLB Draft, David Price came out
of the bullpen.
The crowd of more than 3,500 Commo-
dore fans erupted as Price took his place on
the mound. And he showed what all the hype
was about by quickly taking care of three
straight Wolverine batters.
As the game entered extra innings, the

Vanderbilt faithful jumped to their feet,
practically shaking the stadium with a noise
level never before seen at Hawkins Field. As
the cheap seats boomed with yells of "Black!"
and fans behind the dugout responded with
"Gold!," Price and the Commodores appeared
destined for victory.
Enter freshman Alan Oaks and his .188
batting average and just nine hits all year.
Oaks would go on to change the course of
Michigan baseball history with one swing of
the bat against the best pitcher in the nation.
Maloney, made the decision to pinch hit
Oaks just two pitches before the freshman
stepped up to the plate. And the decision was
all or nothing.
"I told him before he went out there,
'You're not there to get walked. You're there
to get a hit,' " Maloney said. "He has hit mam-
moth home runs in practice."
Ahead in the count 2-0, Oaks took a swing
at Price's next fastball.
The White Lake native put the barrel
on the ball and sent a shot over the wall in
left center. The Wolverines exploded out of
the dugout, crowding around home plate to
shower Oaks with back slaps and high fives.
"I can't really put it into words yet," Oaks
said. "I hardly even remember running the
bases because the adrenaline was pumping.
It's definitely one of the greatest highlights

Freshman Alan Oaks (14) celebrates his 10th-inning homer which would prove to be the game-winner.

off my baseball career, if not the highlight.
"If someone would have told me (about my
game-winning home run) before the game,
I just would have looked at him and said,
'yeah, nice joke.'"
Michigan faced a scare in the bottom the
10th, but junior leftfielder Derek VanBus-
kirk's spectacular catch near the top of the
outfield wall for the second out helped earn
redshirt sophomore Michael Powers the
save.

The Wolverines victory prompted a bench-
clearing, hat-and-glove-tossing celebration,
culminating in a massive maize-and-blue
dog pile on the pitcher's mound.
Maloney's days of running his fingers
through his hair have ended, but the same
can't be said for Michigan's season. The Wol-
verines will play next weekend in a best-of-
three Super Regional at Oregon State. If they
win that, they'll be headed to Omaha, Neb.
- and the College World Series.

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