Monday, May 17, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
'M' rallies to clinch series Blue grabs Big Ten title
Wolverines win rubber
match with Wildcats
after falling down
14-0, win in extras
By CAITLIN SMITH
Daily Sports Writer
In the top of the tenth inning Sun-
day senior first baseman Mike Dufek
launched his sixth home run of the
season out of Ray Fisher Stadium.
And it couldn't have come at a better
Dufek's walk-off homer tallied the
final run in
Michigan's NORTHWESTERN 3
monumental MICHIGAN 41
back victory NORTHWESTERN 10
over North- MICHIGAN 8J
which saw NORTHWESTERN 14
15 unan- MICHIGAN 15
for the Wolverines.
The game started off like a breeze
for the Wildcats, as the Wolverines'
pitchers walked in the first four runs
of the game in the top of the second
Northwestern's third baseman
Chris Lashmet eventually took
advantage of the bases-loaded situ-
ation, knocking a grand slam out of
The Wolverines were quickly
down by eight runs, and things
Despite cycling through two pitch-
ers by the third inning, Northwest-
ern still managed to extend its lead
to 14 with a six-run rally in the top of
the third inning.
The initial trio of Michigan pitch-
ers - sophomore right-hander
Brandon Sinnery, senior lefty Eric
Katzman and redshirt freshman
lefty Matt Broder - only lasted a
combined four innings and allowed
14 runs on 15 hits.
But the Wolverines clawed back
into the game, scoring often from the
third inning on.
Down 14-12 in the bottom of the
ninth, Michigan was down to its last
out. Junior leftfielder Ryan LaMarre
had just sent a long ball to center
field, falling just short of a home run.
But senior catcher Chris Berset came
up big, keeping the Wolverines alive
by launching a home run over the
centerfield fence and sending the
game to extra innings.
Then came Dufek's game-winner.
"He threw me a changeup first
pitch," Dufek said. "I took a great big
Junior Ryan LaMarre celebrates with coach R
swing, I swung through it actually.
I was thinking he might come back
with it again, so I moved up in the
box so I could get it before it really
"He did it again and I guessed
right. I got a pretty good piece of it. I
knew it was gone right after the bat.
It was great."
Going into this weekend's series,
the Wolverines were in a four-way tie
for first in the Big Ten with North-
western, Purdue and Minnesota.
"This is one
forget for the
rest of your life."
And at the start of the weekend,
Michigan showed it was worthy of its
On Friday, LaMarre led the
Wolverines offensively to a 4-3
win with two hits, two runs and
two RBI - one of which brought
in freshman centerfielder Patrick
Biondi in the bottom of the seventh
inning to put Michigan up by the
On Saturday, 10 runs on 18 Wild-
cat hits marred Michigan's 10-8 loss
- and its chance for another huge
Irh Maloney after Sunday's victory.
Going into the sixth inning, the
Wolverines were down 7-2.
After Toth began the inning by
popping out to first base, LaMarre
launched his fourth home run of the
Berset and sophomore designated
hitter Coley Crank followed suit to
mark the season's first back-to-back-
to-back home runs.
The Wolverines' hot hitting con-
tinued, as seven straight hitters
The six-run rally brought Michi-
gan out of the hole and into the
But the eighth inning proved to be
trouble for the Wolverines. North-
western had a comeback of its own,
scoring three runs on four consecu-
tive hits off junior right-hander Tyler
Burgoon. Michigan had a chance
to answer with the bases loaded for
Crank, but he struck out to end the
Although the Wolverines were
able to take just one of their two
comeback attempts on the weekend,
they showed they have the necessary
heart to win a conference crown.
"This is one you'll never forget for
the rest of your life," Maloney said.
"Even though it didn't win a cham-
pionship, it's (amazing) just to win a
game when you are down 14 to noth-
"We will go back to the drawing
board and keep working, but what a
victory it was for today."
Iowa in final series to
clinch third straight
regular season crown
By ALEX HERMANN
Daily Sports Writer
This weekend's series at Iowa
marked several important firsts for
the No. 2 Michigan softball team.
It was the first time in history a
pitcher has MICHIGAN 8
reached IOWA 2
the 20-win _
mark in MICHIGAN 6
four differ- IOWA 0
as well as the first time a Big Ten pro-
gram has won back-to-back-to-back
conference championships as Michi-
gan defeated the Hawkeyes 8-2 on
Friday and 6-0 on Saturday.
The Wolverines' Big Ten title,
secured after their first win on Fri-
day, is the program's 13th, leading all
"Just winning this third one,
especially the third one, because it's
never been done before(has been the
most significant for me)," sophomore
second baseman Amanda Chidester
The second milestone - senior
pitcher Nikki Nemitz's fourth twen-
ty-win season - couldn't have come
at a more opportune time: Saturday
was the lefty's birthday.
"It's a great honor to be able to
leave my mark on such a prestigious
university and be among the greats
that Michigan's had ," Nemitz said.
"To be honest, you can't really do
anything without your team because
I can't score and can't play defense
all by myself."
But just as she has all season,
Nemitz did help her pitching effort
by providing some run support at
the plate. She backed up her one-
hit, complete-game shutout by going
2-for-4 at the plate with two RBI.
The offense also got a boost from
Chidester, with three RBI on the
weekend while extending her hit
streak to seven games after having
mild struggles earlier in the year at
"It's coming down to the end of
the season, and I've been working
at it and my team has been support-
ive throughout my whole slump,"
Chidester said. "The coaches and
everyone never gave up on me and it
was just time for me to ... just do it,
"And now it's just about having
fun and I'm not stressing anymore
Friday's game was a little bit of an
oddball for the Wolverines.
Though Michigan only had four
hits on the day, Iowa pitchers gave
Michigan batters 17 free bases on 11
walks and six hit-by-pitches which
the Wolverines capitalized on with
"The key stat in softball on offense
is on-base percentage - you don't
score runs if you're not on base,
you can't, " Michigan coach Carol
Hutchins said. "We found ways to
win. Sometimes we hit home runs,
sometimes we throw perfect games.
In this case we used on-base per-
But one normality on Saturday
was junior pitcher Jordan Taylor's
performance on the mound against
the Hawkeyes (10-9 Big Ten, 25-23
Taylor struck out 14 batters in 25
at-bats and gave up just two runs and
"You have to just
to just attack the
four hits en route to her 24th victory
of the year. The Valencia, California
native leads the Big Ten with 278
strikeouts on the year, 60 more than
her closest rival.
Now the Wolverines (18-1, 46-6)
will look ahead to obtaining their
ultimate goal, a Women's College
World Series appearance and a
national championship, beginning
with the NCAA regionals next week-
Hutchins said that she wished to
see her team play similar to the Con-
necticut women's basketball team,
which won its second consecutive
national championship this past sea-
son as part of its 78-game winning
streak, an NCAA record.
"You just have to stay relentless,"
Hutchins said. "You have to just
attack the other team. You can't get
on your heels when things don't go
your way. And things have been a
little tougher for us - we've had to
grind out victories as of late.
"And I think that's been good for
us because we have to trust that we
can win even if we're not hitting well
because we pitch well, and if we're
not pitching well we can hit well."