Tuesday, May 27, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
A bad day doesn't
spoil duo's future
Sophomore Nikki Nemitz and Michigan dropped two heartbreaking games Sunday, eliminating them from the NCAA Tournament
Hokie hurler shuts own M'
icigan softball coach
Carol Hutchins sat at
the end of the Wolverine
ate head coach
Brundage to her
right. But she
Her players DAN
had already FELDMAN
retreated to the
Across the diamond, ESPN was
interviewing Virginia Tech coach
Scot Thomas as the Hokie players
celebrated in the background.
As she nearly admitted in
the postgame press conference,
Hutchins was rethinking every deci-
sion, especially how she handled her
How she brought in sophomore
Nikki Nemitz to pitch the final
inning of the series's second game,
even though starter Jordan Taylor
hadn't allowed an earned run. The
move surprised Thomas, who said
seeing Nemitz for that inning may
have helped his team adjust to her.
How she started Nemitz in game
three but pulled her after she gave
up just two hits in two-plus innings.
And how she left Taylor in after
the freshman walked three of the
first four batters she faced, just to
give up a two-run double tothe next.
. Hutchins brought Nemitz back
in after the next hitter knocked in a
run, but Michigan trailed 4-0, an in
insurmountable deficit against Vir-
ginia Tech ace Angela Tincher.
What went wrong? Taylor and
Nemitz combined for the nation's
best ERA (0.82 entering Sunday).
Not only did Taylor, a crafty righty
with a great change-up, and Nemitz,
a riseball-throwing lefty, comple-
ment each other in the circle, they
seemed to work well together on a
Nemitz split innings last year
with then-senior Lorilyn Wilson,
but they never seemed to gel. Wilson
could be distant with teammates,
but nobody complained publicly or
to Nicole Motycka, who played for
Michigan (2002-05) and talked with
players on last year's team. But there
still could've been an issue.
"With our team, you're always
pretty guarded with anything that's
maybe not going so well," Motycka
When Hutchins pulled Wilson
in a poor outing, Wilson, naturally
disappointed with her performance,
sulked, which seemed to bring the
team down. But when Hutchins
pulled Nemitz this year, Nemitz kept
her spirits up because she stayed in
the lineup as the designated player.
Taylor faced a similar situation as a -
See FELDMAN, Page 12
By RUTH LINCOLN
Daily Sports Writer
When Michigan coach Carol
Hutchins walked into the postgame
follow- See a photo
ing the gallery with
Wolver- this article
ines' 1-0 ww w.michigndaily,.com
NCAA super regional losses to Vir-
ginia Tech on Sunday, not a single
player accompanied her.
"Just me," Hutchins said calmly
before she took her seat at the table,
which she had shared with her play-
ers at every other postgame press
conference this postseason.
It was just Hutchins there to
answer questions about why her
team lost back-to-back games for
the first time this season.
Only the winningest coach in
Michigan history was there to rea-
son the decision to pull sophomore
pitcher Nikki Nemitz in the final
game and replace her with fresh-
man Jordan Taylor in the third, just
to bring back Nemitz one out and
four Virginia Tech runs later.
And why after taking game one
1-0 on Saturday in a tight pitchers'
duel between Taylor and Virginia
Tech's All-American senior Angela
Tincher, the Wolverine defense fal-
tered and looked the sloppiest it had
See SOFTBALL, Page 12
Powers saves Big Ten Championship, wins Most Outstanding Player
By JASON KOHLER
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan baseball players
all sprinted to the pitching mound,
arms outstretched to embrace junior
relief pitcher Michael Powers.
Moments before, Powers struck
out Purdue second baseman Ben
Wolgamot on a slider to win the Big
Powers was named the tourna-
ment's Most Outstanding Player
after Michigan's 3-2 win over Pur-
due in the championship game
Saturday. He earned a save in all
three of the Wolverines' games. He
pitched six scoreless innings, struck
out nine and allowed four hits.
"Mike wants the ball every day
and never gets it enough according
to him," Michigan coach Rich Malo-
ney said. "It's amazing to pitch like
he did for three straight days.".
The win gave the Wolverines an
automatic bid to the NCAA Tourna-
ment. Sunday night, Michigan was
selected to host a regional for the
first time since 1986. The Wolver-
ines will host No.23 Arizona, No.24
Kentucky and Eastern Michigan.
After dominating the Big Ten all
season, Michigan (26-5 Big Ten, 45-
12 overall) will be the lone confer-
ence team in the big dance.
The Wolverines lived up to their
No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tourna-
ment, going undefeated for the
weekend. They beat Illinois 5-2 in
the first game and defeated No. 2
seed Purdue twice to take the title.
"To come in the tournament and
win three straight, it's about as dom-
inating of a performance as you can
have," Maloney said. "You have to
give them a lot of credit. Everybody
was gunning for them, and they still
found a way to have a marvelous
For most of the season, Michigan
and Purdue (21-10, 32-26) were first
and second in the Big Ten but didn't
play one another until now. They
settled any questions this weekend.
Although Michigan proved
its superiority, Purdue proved it
deserved tobe in the title game.
"Webattled through that Big Ten
and kind of gave Michigan a run
for its money," Purdue coach Doug
Scheiber said. "We hung in there."
In every tournament game, the
Wolverines gave up early leads and
were forced to come from behind.
In the final game, the Boilermak-
ers took a 2-0 lead in the second
inning. The Wolverines tied the
game in the sixth inning on fresh-
man Ryan LaMarre's second home
run of the year. LaMarre recently
replaced Alan Oaks in right field.
An inning later, junior Kevin
Cislo scored the winning run after
Purdue pitcher Andy Loomis threw
a wild pitch.
"It's not like they had any big ral-
lies," Scheiber said. "Youhateto lose
on a play like that."
Powers entered in the eighth
inning and dominated, but not
before a fewtense moments.
Jon Mooreled offthe ninthinning
for Purdue and slugged a ball 380-
feet to center field. But Cislo made a
falling grab to prevent the hit.
On the final out, with the crowd
on its feet, Powers tossed a slider
under Wolgamot's bat, sending the
Wolverines storming the field and
into the NCAA Tournament.