Tuesday, May 29, 2007 |
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
'M'-Nine backs into NCAA Tournament
By COURTNEY RATKOWIAK
Daily Sports Writer
It was the sixth inning of the
Michigan baseball team's must-win
game in PENN STATE 6
the Big MICHIGAN 5
Ten Tour- OHIOSTATE 4
nament, MICHIGAN 2
verines less than 15 hours removed
from a 4-2 first-game loss Thursday
to sixth-seed Ohio State. With a
man on second, Penn State's Gar-
rett Field hit the ball to the right-
field corner. Field headed toward
second base but stumbled, his hel-
met flying off as he hit the ground.
He rolled twice on the dirt before
getting up and continuing to run.
But Michigan junior rightfielder
DougPickens was still chasing after
the ball. Field rounded second and
r easily beat the throw to third - on a
play where he tripped and fell.
The Nittany Lions (30-25)
couldn'tbe stopped, even whenthey
were lying on the ground. With a 6-
5, ten-inning loss, the top-seeded
Wolverines (39-16) went two-and-
out in the Big Ten Tournament for
the first time since 1996.
"We all feel like a dagger just
hit us," said Michigan coach Rich
Maloney, struggling for words
after the Wolverines' elimination.
"We're ' very disheartened. We
didn't get it done, and we're dis-
appointed because we had many
opportunities in two days but we
just weren't able to get over the top.
... We just couldn't really get any
Michigan struggled to create
momentum and earn victories for
the past two weeks, losing six of its
last nine games. But the Wolver-
ines' recent slide, including the dis-
appointment of this weekend's two
losses, didn't endanger their cam-
paign for an NCAA Tournament
at-large bid. On Monday, Michigan
received its third-straight ticket to
The Michigan baseball team enters the NCAA Tournament after going two-and-out in this weekend's BigTen Tournament.
the NCAA Tournament and will derbilt (51-11) and fourth-seeded a bid. "When you win the Big Ten
play in a regional in Nashville, Austin Peay (39-20). (regular-season title), you ought to
Tenn. The Wolverines are seeded "We have a team that, statisti- be in. That's what you get for win-
second in the four-team regional cally, warrants being in (the NCAA ning a big conference."
and will play Memphis (36-25) on Tournament)," said Maloney when Michigan never led in a game this
June 1. The other two teams in the asked after the Big Ten Tourna- weekend.TheWolverines'strongest
regional are top-overall seed Van- ment about Michigan's chances for See BASEBALL, Page 15
Wolverines' season ends at Super Regional once again
By MICHAEL EISENSTEIN
Daily Sports Writer
WACO, Texas - It was some-
thingnobody saw happening, quick
invisible. BAYLOR 4
Yet, it MICHIGAN 0
was the BAYLOR 0
most cru- MICHIGAN 3
cialpartof MICHIGAN 0
Saturday's BAYLOR 9
Michigan and Baylor weren't
on the field for the Waco Super
Regional. The fans weren't in the
stands watching the game and
enjoying the luxurious confines of
What was it?
The 30-minute layover between
After losing the opener of the
Super Regional (a best-of-three
series) 9-0 to Baylor, the Wolver-
ines bounced back in Saturday's
rain-delayed opening game. Fresh-
man Nikki Nemitz started her first
NCAA Tournament game and gave
up just two hits. Nemitz got the nod
in favor of senior Lorilyn Wilson,
who was shelled early and often
But the break after Michigan's
series-tying 3-0 victory separated
two games that felt as similar as a
Michigan winter and the smolder-
ing heat in Texas.
"(Nemitz) came out and she was
on fire (in the first game)," Baylor
coach Glen Moore said. "(But) for-
tunately I think she had thrown
enough pitches to where that break
stiffened her arm enough to where
her speed came down a little bit
because (her pitches) didn't seem
to be as crisp."
The Lady Bears came out com-
pletely refocused after the layover.
In its first two at bats, Baylor was
all over Nemitz (who also started
the second game). The Lady Bears
matched their game-one hit total
and put two runs on the board.
Wilson replaced Nemitz after the
leadoff hitter sent a deep shot over
the left-field wall in the second
Any momentum Michigan
gained from responding to its first
run-rule defeat in more than four
years instantly disappeared once
the Wolverines went down 4-0,
which proved to be the final score,
after the first two innings.
"They'd seen Nikki a lot, and
Nikki doesn't have a lot of tools
yet, doesn't have a lot of pitches,"
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins
said. "We were certainly con-
cerned that that could happen. It
happened right off the bat, unfor-
tunately for us."
The Wolverines' pitching put
them in early holes in the first and
final games of the series - their
offense showed up for just the
middle game. Michigan produced
three runs and eight hits as a rare
diamond in the rough 16 scoreless
innings on the weekend.
Baylor (50-14), which will be
making its first Women's College
World Series appearance, out-
scored the Wolverines 13-3 over the
weekend, thanks to four homeruns
(eight runs). The closest Michigan
came to a longball was flying out
to the warning track. This after
the Wolverines hit five homeruns
(10 of 16 weekend runs) en route to
winning the Ann Arbor Regional
last weekend. Baylor also matched
Michigan's three-run weekend
total in two different innings.
"In the second game (Saturday)
I didn't feel we set a very good tone
at the plate," Hutchins said. "We
were down 2-0 and didn't have a
real good at bat to start the game
(Alessandra Giampaolo struck
out swinging). And that's where
we needed to have a good at bat,
whether we got a hit or not. We
weren't able to string it together.
"You just have to give Baylor
credit, because sometimes a team
comes out and just beats you. And
they beat us."