Monday, May 17, 2010
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Wolverines grab bid to
NCAA Super Regional
'M' scheduled to host
Tennessee next week
After defeating Notre
* Dame twice, Blue wins
the Ann Arbor
By LUKE PASCH
Daily Sports Writer
In the 2010 renewal of the NCAA
Ann Arbor Regional, the Wolverines
saw ddjS vu.
For the second year in a row, they
were required to beat Notre Dame
twice in order to advance in the
But this time around, the Irish
a fighting WRIGHT STATE 2
chance. MICHIGAN 11
gan domi- NOTRE DAME 0
nated every MICHIGAN 8
both games, MICHIGAN 12
winning 8-0 NOTRE DAME 2
and 12-2 in the regional final on Sun-
Notre Dame entered the tourna-
ment ranked 25th with an impres-
sive 45-10 record, just one win shy
of Michigan's record. They had four
selections to the All-Great Lakes first
team, which was just two fewer than
But neither coach expected to see a
pair of blowouts.
"To come back and attack Notre
Dame the way we did was just out-
standing," Michigan coach Carol
Hutchins said. "I thought it started
in the circle. (Junior pitcher Jordan
Taylor) attacked them."
The Notre Dame lineup, which
was batting .035 higher than Michi-
gan's lineup coming into the regional,
was no match for Taylor. She struck
out 22 Irish batters in 12 innings of
work, walking only one.
And the Wolverine lineup wasn't
intimidated by Notre Dame pitcher
Jody Valdivia, who got the start in
both games and entered the tourna-
ment with 36 wins and a 1.72 ERA.
"They did a good job of jumping on
my pitches that I missed," Valdivia
said. "I didn't help by putting the
runners on-and walking people..L got
behind, and they did a giid job wait-
ing for their pitch and attacking it."
On Saturday, Valdivia was chased
from the mound after a third inning
Junior Jordan Taylor had 22 strikeouts in two games against Notre Dame this weekend.
in which she gave up a pair of three- pair this weekend (Shaw launched
run bombs, one to senior third base- two in Friday's regional opener
man Maggie Viefhaus and the other against Wright State), that goal looks
to senior designated player Nikki more and more achievable. They
Nemitz. share the team lead now with 20
home runs apiece.
Both are one homer away from
e c tying the program's single-season
To comeback home run record.
and attack Notre But as big as the long ball was
for the Wolverines this weekend,
Hutchins has been looking to balance
Dame ... was just it with small ball.
outstanding "We try to make things happen and
catch people off guard," Hutchins
said after the first game with Notre
Dame on Saturday afternoon. "I
know the scouting report on us is that
Viefhaus' shot ended up in the Ray we don't bunt. So, maybe we will."
Fisher baseball stadium outfield, a Hutchins called for four sacrifice
solid 50 feet past the Alumni Field bunts this weekend, including two
center field fence. perfect ones laid down by sophomore
And she wasn't done there. second baseman Amanda Chidester
On Sunday afternoon, Viefhaus to move runners into scoring posi-
went long off Valdivia two more times tion.
- a solo shot in the first and a three- "We always work on bunts in prac-
run blast in the third to help the Wol- tice," Chidester said. "It's something
verines take the lead for good. that we always do, and sometimes we
"If I knew I would tell you," said have competitions with it.
Valdivia when asked how Viefhaus "It's always important, but we
found such success. "I'mgoingtogive haven't really needed to use it. Just
her a lot of credit - I think she does a by practicing it all the time, we were
great job of hitting. able to pull it out whenever we need-
"She makes you miss and then ed it."
waits for that pitch that comes right With Sunday's outcome, Michigan
through the zone." advanced to the NCAA Super Region-
At the beginning of the season, al, which will be a best-of-three
Viefhtas and junior first baseman series against No. 15 Tennessee.
Dorian Shaw set an end-of-season The series will take place in Ann
goal of 50 combined home runs. Arbor and times will be announced
And with five more between the soon.
Wo very different
teams set to collide in
By LUKE PASCH
Daily Sports Writer
With No. 2 Michigan's 12-2 vic-
tory over Notre Dame in the Ann
Arbor regional final, the team
clinched a spot in the NCAA Super
Regional -softball's equivalent of a
And minutes after the win, No. 15
Tennessee's Nicole Kajitani ripped
a pitch over the head of Louisville's
second baseman to drive in the
go-ahead run in
the ninth inning NOTEBOOK
of the Knoxville
Michigan and Tennessee's fates
The two will face off this upcom-
ing Friday and Saturday in the best-
of-three super regional series, and it
will be held at Alumni Field in Ann
Arbor. Next weekend will mark the
third time Michigan has hosted the
super regional and the first since
SCOUTING THE ENEMY: If
there's one thing that stands out
when glancing at Tennessee's depth
chart, it's youth.
The team carries 10 freshmen on
its roster, and six underclassmen
start in the Lady Vols' everyday
And if there's one deficiency with
Michigan's roster, it's youth - the
everyday lineup consists of five
seniors and no freshmen.
But Michigan coach Carol
Hutchins has yet to decide wheth-
er Tennessee's age is a good or bad
"I know they're young," Hutchins
said. "But that concerns me as much
as if they're old. They always have
great talent, and they're always
"So, you know what, we'll focus
on us, as always."
With the age difference will
come two very different styles of
Tennessee.js fast. And the Lady
Vol hitters h ecome TIibly
adept at chopping the ballierW ft
side of the infield and legging out
They drill the ball into the
ground, bouncing it 25 feet into the
air, and by the time the third base-
man comes up with it, she has no
chance at a play at first.
Once they're on base, they run
wild - Tennessee has -stolen 119
bases this season, dwarfing Michi-
But that's not to say that the Wol-
verines aren't willing to give their
opponent a taste of its own medi-
cine. They surprised their oppo-
nents in the Ann Arbor regional
by swiping four bases over three
Michigan will also come into
the series with significantly more
power than Tennessee. After seven
home runs in the regional, Michi-
gan has 81 long balls in 2010, com-
pared to Tennessee's 47.
Senior third baseman Maggie
Viefhaus and junior first baseman
Dorian Shaw are both sitting one
home run shy of the program sin-
Small ball versus
the long ball.
gle-season record with 20 apiece.
MICHIGAN'S PITCHING STRAT-
EGY: Hutchins doesn't appear to
have a strict pitching strategy thus
far in the postseason.
She's only revealed that she'll
give the start to whoever gives the
Wolverines the best shot at win-
And as of now, that means that
junior pitcher Jordan Taylor will
probably get the start in tougher
Senior pitcher Nikki Nemitz got
the nod for the regional opener
against lowly Wright State, and
Taylor was tapped for both starts
against Notre Dame.
In 2005, during Michigan's
championship run, Jennie Ritter
started every game of the tour-
nament. So don't be surprised if
Hutchins goes with Taylor from
And if Nemitz does get the start,
expect Taylor to enter at the first
sign of trouble.