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May 04, 2010 - Image 11

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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2010-05-04

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Tuesday, May 4, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

11l

Larkin honored during Blue's
series win over rival Ohio State

Michigan tested by UK,
wins weekend series

Wolverines take two of
three from Buckeyes
to claim a tie for first
place in the Big Ten
By: CAITLIN SMITH
Daily Sports Writer
With two Buckeyes on base, another
at-bat and only one out, junior right-
hander Tyler Burgoon knew he needed
to make the upcoming pitch the final
one of the game.
Ohio State had climbed back from a
four-run deficit against the Michigan
baseball team and brought the series-
clinchinggame towithinone in the top
of the eighth inning. Before throwing
the pitch, Burgoon was focusing on one
thing.
"Getting the ground ball," Burgoon
said. "I mean, (Ohio State Ryan Dew
is) not the best runner in the world,
and with our middle infield, we'll eas-
ily turn a double play. We've done it
all week and throughout the year and
I have so much confidence that we can
get that job done."
And the Wolverines delivered on
Burgoon's guarantee to secure a 6-5
win and claim the weekend series.
Freshman shortstop Derek Den-
nis gathered the ground ball, sprinted
across second base and threw the ball
to senior first baseman Mike Dufek for
the double play.
The weekend started off with a
freak injury to the Buckeyes two-year
ace pitcher Alex Wimmers. Wimmers
is one of the best pitchers in the Big Ten
this season with a 9-0 record, which
included a 1.6 ERA and 78 strikeouts in
67 innings pitched.
Wimmers was named an 2009 All-
American and Big Ten co-Pitcher of
the Year in 2009 and has continued
to live up to his reputation this sea-
son. But after reportedly tweaking his

TOREHAN SHAtMA/Daly
Former Michigan baseball player Barry Larkin had his No. 16 jersey retired this yast weekend.

hamstring during a pre-game stretch,
he was unable to make it to the mound
this series.
Although the injury gave Michigan
a sigh of relief, Ohio State was still first
"It's definitely disap-
pointing (to lose) .
when we are retiring
Barry Larkin's jersey
to score during Friday's contest. But
the Wolverines immediately respond-
ed in the bottom of the second inning.
with two consecutive doubles.

Dufek led the offensive effort with
a double down the right baseline that
brought in senior catcher Chris Berset.
Then, redshirt senior right fielder Nick
Urban followed suit with a double to
the opposite corner that drove in two
RBI.
As a result of strong pitching per-
formances by senior left-hander Eric
Katzman, redshirt junior Matt Gerbe,
and Burgoon, this three-run rally
proved to be the deciding factor in the
4-1 Michigan win.
The Buckeyes were unable to pro-
duce at the plate, going only 1-14 with
runners on base, while the Wolverines
pitched a combined one run and seven-
strikeout affair.
But on Saturday, the bats swung the
opposite way. With former shortstop
See OSU, Page 12

BY: ALEX HERMANN
Daily Sports Writer
For the first month of conference
play, the No. 2 Michigan softball
team pummeled the dregs of the Big
Ten. But now the Wolverines are
finding themselves in some of the
most competitive matchups theey
have had all season, including their
two-game series against Kentucky
this past weekend
Though Michigan's struggles in
both games were different in char-
acter, the solutionto those struggles
remained the same - timely clutch
hitting, propelling the Wolverines
to a pair of wins, 5-4 on Friday and
8-4 on Saturday.
In the first game, those timely
plays surfaced in the bottom of the
sixth inning as Michigan (40-6
overall) trailed.
Sophomore outfielder Bree
Evans led off, garnering Michigan's
first run of the game on a disputed
play at home. Evans was originally
declared out, but the call was over-
turned when the third baseman
was called for base-path obstruc-
tion. The play was officially scored
as a triple with an error on the third
baseman leading to the score.
"I was a little hesitant to bring
her to third, even though I thought
she had a shot at it because you
don't want to make an out at third
base and ruin your inning," Michi-
gan coach Carol Hutchins said.
"That was big, because for her to
be out on that play, that inning
would not have happened."
From there, momentum car-
ried the team forward as part of
a four-hit,'five-run inning. Senior
third baseman Maggie Viefhaus
reached base on a double while
senior catcher Roya St. Clair nailed
a home run underneath the score-
board in left field.
The inning was capped off by
senior pitcher Nikki Nemitz's dou-
ble, driving in the game's tying and
winning runs
Up until the sixth inning, Mich-
igan hitters had been stagnant at
the plate. The Wildcats had built
their 4-0 lead as the Wolverines
managed just one hit - also from
Evans, in the second inning - and
reached base on balls just twice
otherwise.
"I told them before the sixth
inning ... it doesn't matter if they
get 100 runs - we don't have any,"
Hutchins said. "I got on them
sharply and told them they need
to have better one-pitch focus. We

need to make her put the ball to the
plate."
The momentum from Friday's
game at the plate carried into the
next day against the Wildcats (29-
23).
Clearly, with 12 hits overall and
at least one hit in every inning but
the first, getting consistent pro-
duction at the plate didn't plague
Michigan in the second game.
But making timely plays as
part of an explosive sixth inning
remained one constant for the
Wolverines.
Michigan went into the bottom
of the sixth inning down 4-3, need-
ing to turn some of the hitting pro-
duction at the plate into runs.
And on the very first pitch of
the inning, Nemitz came through
once again, this time with a homer
rocked into the top row of the
right-field bleachers.
"I'm a pitcher, so when I'm bat-
ting I think like a pitcher," Nemitz
said. "I knew she was throwing
that curve ball in on me, either the
first or second pitch, soI was actu-
ally sitting on it. And it was the
first, so I hit the first one - I was
waiting for it."
Junior outfielder Marley Pow-
ers came to bat immediately fol-
lowing Nemitz. The Owosso native
received just her third start of the
year as the designated player, and
in the fourth inning, Powers had a
home run of her own. In the sixth,
she continued to spark the offense
with a double.
Nemitz's abilities at the plate,
along with her start at the mound,
allowed Hutchins to slide Powers
into the eight spot in the lineup.
"That was apparently brilliant,"
Hutchins joked, referencing the
lineup change.
Though the five-hit, five-run
sixth inning gave the Wolverines a
comfortable lead heading into the
final inning, the game was hardly a
comfortable win.
The series sweep against Ken-
tucky represents the second series
in a row where the Wolverines
have played in tough games, a
significant change from the whip-
pings they've put on sub-par Big
Ten and Mid-American Confer-
ence opponents the last month of
the season.
"You don't ever want to get too
high after a win, or too low after a
loss - you don't want to be on an
emotional roller coaster," Hutchins
said. "Some days you have to grind
and that's what we've been doing."

Wolverines lose in Big Ten Tourney finale

BY: MATT KRASNOFF
Daily Sports Writer
It's been a storybook season for the
Michigan women's tennis team this
year, but after going undefeated in the
Big Ten in the regular season, the Wol-
verines fell just a little short in the con-
ference tournament.
No. 4 Michigan took its 14-match
winningstreakon the road to Iowa City

to face off in the Big Ten Champion-
ships, and after ending Northwestern's
11-year reign as conference champi-
ons, the Wolverines were awarded the
number one seed for the tournament.
As the top seed, Michigan received
a bye in the first round, where it faced
Wisconsin in the quarterfinals, and
walked away a 4-1 winner.
On Saturday, the Wolverines found
themselves facing host team, Iowa, in

the semifinals.
The Iowa match marked just the sec-
ond time this season that Michigan lost
the doubles point. And while going into
singles down one point is certainly a
disadvantage, the team viewed it as an
opportunity to challenge themselves.
"We haven't been in that position for
a while," Bernstein said. "We had our
backs against the wall, so it was either
See BIG TENS, Page 12

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