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Tuesday, May 29, 2012
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Tuesday, May 29, 2012
The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

13

By the numbers: deciphering
the 2012 softball season

'M' eliminated from
NCAA Tournament

Dingell & others praise
Research Corridor report

Time for a pop quiz.
When was the last time the
Michigan softball team lost 17
games or more in a season? (Go
ahead and try asking Siri - she
won't have the
answer.) GREG
If you GARNO
guessed 2001, --
then you're cor- On
rect. Give your- Softball
self a point at
home.
Next question: how many years
in a row have the Wolverines been
eliminated in the postseason by
an SEC team? (Google won't be
much help either.) .
Congratulations to those indi-
viduals who said that 2012 was
Michigan's fourth consecutive
year.
Final question: What were the
two offensive categories Michi-
gan led the Big Ten in during
2012? (Don't waste your time
looking on Wikipedia either.)
The answers are: at-bats and
runners left on base.
So what does this all mean?
Well for this year's softball squad,
it was the first time in over 10
years that they had lost 17 times
in a season and were once again
outmatched by an SEC opponent.
Despite good pitching and solid
hitting numbers, Michigan ulti-
mately lost because it left 421 total
runners on base this season.
The Wolverines, facing scru-
tiny for playing an easy schedule
last year, competed against more
ranked opponents ahead of Big

Ten play to be ready for postsea-
son play. They took on teams from
the SEC and Pac-10, risking early
losses for late season victories.
Michigan faced 16 qualifiers in the
NCAA tournament in their first
26 games before arriving home
to play. I overlooked the losses to
unranked teams early on.
And I was rewarded with
middle of the season losses to
mediocre Big Ten teams like Min-
nesota and Illinois, and poorly
played games against Western
Michigan and Eastern Michigan.
Leaving a total of 421 runners
on base this season was a theme
this season - and the players
knew it. Against Illinois, Michi-
gan stranded 29 runners on base
during a three-game series in
which they lost two games.
Michigan coach Carol
Hutchins said they needed eon-
fidence to help build momentum
and said they needed to relax at
the plate, wait for their pitch and
put the ball in play. But in the end,
she was left scratching her head.
"If I knew how, I would have
fixed it by now," Hutchins said
after a May 11 victory over Pur-
due, during which the Wolverines
left 10 runners on base.
But the only thing Hutchins
and Michigan didn't know how
to do, was lose. Having lost just 14
games in the last two seasons, the
Wolverines were in an unfamiliar
place. Seniors Amanda Chidester
and Bree Evans had never lost
more than 12 games in a single
season. This season they lost 12

before the end of April.
Michigan was unaccustomed
to the feeling and didn't post its
longest winning streak until the
end of the season. But this team
still succeeded.
"Our goal this season is to be
the Big Ten champion and con-
tend for a College World Series,"
Hutchins said at the beginning of
the season.
The Wolverines won the Big
Ten title and advanced to the
Super Regional after one of the
toughest Regionals this year.
They lost to the No. 2 team in the
nation on its home field. Let's be
honest - this team knows it's tal-
ented and knows how to win. Its
coach has a proven system of get-
ting her athletes to compete as a
team. No matter what expecta-
tions we as media or fans set, it
won't matter this season, or the
next one. Michigan had its week-
end to reminisce and will move
on to the next without any pres-
sure. I have faith the Wolverines
will come back even stronger next
year, like they did in 2002, when
they came back to make a run
to the Women's College World
Series after losing 17 games the
year before.
Bonus question: Which team
has the reigning Big Ten coach of
the year, pitcher of the year, fresh-
myn of the year, hasn't had a los-
ing season in over 25 years and is
primed to win its sixth consecu-
tive conference championship?
(You won't need any help to
answer this question).

By COLLEEN THOMAS
Daily Sports Editor
The Michigan softball team
looked like it wanted to force a
rubber game.
After just two innings, the 21st-
ranked Wolverines jumped out
to a 3-1 lead on Alabama, but the
2nd-ranked Crimson Tide rallied
late, earning a berth to the Wom-
en's College World Series and
eliminating Michigan from the
NCAA Tournament in a 4-3 final.
Michigan got an early boost in
the first inning from senior first
baseman Amanda Chidester when
she knocked a pitch from Alabama
hurler Jackie Traina over the left
field fence.
That RBI made her just the
second Michigan softball player
to reach the 200 RBI mark in a
career.
The Wolverines tacked on two
morein the bottom of the second
frame on RBIs from senior third
baseman Stephanie Kirkpatrick
and senior center-fielder Bree
Evans - whose 15-game hitting
streak was the longest by a player
all season.
But Michigan's early lead
wasn't enough. Alabama's pow-
erful hitting was too much for
Michigan's pitching staff.
The Crimson Tide worked the
pitch count to their advantage,
forcing Wolverine lefty Haylie
Wagner to throw 128 pitches in
Friday's matchup.
With the score at 3-1, Alabama's
offense got rolling in the top of the
fifth inning on a two-run home
run by shortstop Kaila Hunt,
which tied the game.
Though Wagner was having
success against the Crimson Tide
batters early in the game by pitch-
ing to the corners; she wasn't able
to hold off one of the best offenses
in the nation.
"Earlier in my at-bats, (Wag-
ner) hadn't been throwing to me,
and earlier in the game, I know
that I made mistakes, so I needed
to step up for my team," Hunt said
of her home run. "She gave me the
pitch, and I just took advantage of
it."
But that wasn't the end of the
scoring. Alabama knocked in
another run on an RBI triple in

the top of the sixth.
Seven Michigan batters later,
the Crimson Tide punched their
ticket to Oklahoma City.
"Hats off to Alabama," said
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins.
"(Jackie) Traina notched it up
there late in the game. She wasn't
on her A-game, but boy she got
on it. It's been fun to be here; it's
been a fantastic tournament. I'm
so proud because we came to play.
We came to win, and we didn't get
it done, but that's awll that you
can ask of your kids is to play to
win."
But the Wolverines might not
even come this far if it weren't
for its star duo of freshman pitch-
ers. Right-hander Sara Driesenga
didn't make a single post-season
appearance, but her role as the
designated player in the clean-up
spot was a boost to the Wolverine
offense.
Wagner, however, finished the
season with the record for fresh-
man wins - 32 - and the most
appearances in the circle with
50. Her performance racked in
conference accolades, as she was
named both the Big Ten Fresh-
man and Pitcher of the Year this
season.
But it wasn't the rookie duo
who led the team this season.
"We had a senior class who had
been to the World Series convinc-
ing kids how difficult it is because
their freshman year they just
thought it was easy," Hutchins
said.
"We push them hard every day
and try to get the message through
that you've got to be at your best
when it's difficult. I thought the
seniorsneeded to take it upon
their shoulders that no matter
what we needed them to not only
perform, but they had to be the
heart and soul of the team."
A few weeks ago, a trip to the
Super Regional looked unlikely
for a faltering Michigan squad,
but Hutchins said this team pulled
together in the end.
"I thought the last three or four
weeks of our season, they really
did that, and they started playing
well," she said.
"They started being selfless.
This team was one of my favorite
groups."

Specific plans
for space remain
undecided
By STEVE ZOSKI
Daily News Editor
Just 18 days before he becomes
the longest-serving U.S. con-
gressman in history, Rep. John
Dingell (D-Mich.) stopped by
Ann Arbor to visit local business-
es and participate in a press con-
ference praising a new report that
suggests research at an alliance
of three of the state's universities
is competitive with research at
similar three-way partnerships
between universities throughout
the country.
Dingell joined Stephen For-
rest, the University's vice presi-
dent for research; Jeff Mason,
executive director of the URC;
Kenneth Nisbet, executive direc-
tor of the University Tech Trans-
fer; and Laura Schrader, CEO
of 3D Biomatrix - a biomedical
company that grew from the Uni-
versity and has developed three-
dimensional cell cultures - to
hold the press conference at the
North Campus Research Com-
plex.
The press conference dis-
cussed the findings of an Ander-
son Economic Group report
called "Benchmarking Michi-
gan's URC." The report explores
the state's University Research
Corridor, an alliance forged in
2006 between the University,
Michigan State University and
Wayne State University in order
to accelerate economic develop-
ment.
The report compared the URC
with six similar alliances includ-
ing clusters of universities in
northern California, southern
California, Illinois, Massachu-
setts, North Carolina and Penn-
sylvania.

The URC ranks first in stu-
dent enrollment and number of
degrees granted - 32,157 in the
2009-10 academic year - and
awards the second most high-
tech and high-demand degrees,
according to the report. The
report also found that the URC is
in the lower half of peer groups
for technology transfer activi-
ties, in which university research
receives patents and transfers
into the private sector for com-
mercialization.
Dingell joked before saying
that the University has spear-
headed American innovation.
"My remarks are going to be
extremely brief at this time, and
I will hope that our participants
in this conference are going to
handle everything so that my
remarks will be held to a mini-
mum to inflict the minimum dis-
comfort on my audience," Dingell
said. "Having said these things,
the University of Michigan is a
tremendous engine for economic
development. What this country
needs to do is what the president
has said: 'out-innovate, out-com-
pete, out-educate.' "
Dingell said the URC is critical
to the future of the U.S. and its
place in the world.
"Places like the University
of Michigan or the University
Research Corridor in Michigan
are goingto do the things we have
to have done to have success," he
said. "To see to it that the Unit-
ed States continues to retain its
rightful place and expands that
place in terms of seeing to it that
we produce jobs, the technology
and the opportunities that are
going to make this country the
leader in the world."
Dingell added that the URC
will continue to help create the
jobs of the future, including
"high-tech" jobs that are essen-
tial to human development.
Forrest said that improving

the regional economy will affect
Michigan and, in turn, the entire
United States as well.
"What I see around us is
we're on the edge of an explo-
sion in innovation," Forrest said.
"I believe this explosion will
drive the revitalization and the
diversification of the regional
economy that will have ripple
effects ... across the entire great
lakes region and really across the
entire nation."
Forrest added that the URC
acts as a catalyst for the regional
economy and is at the same level
as the best in the country, accord-
ing to the benchmark study.
"The conditions are right for
this ecosystem that we're build-
ing. The infrastructure is in
place, the connections are there.
The dynamic innovation ecosys-
tem ... is certainly being estab-
lished right here in Michigan
- and the URC is a key element
of that ecosystem," Forrest said.
Forrest said private sector
collaboration is important and
added that there are already
plans to build an industrial park.
"We want to merge our efforts
with the private sector so we can
start an industrial park here in
Ann Arbor that will be mostly
based on technology, but it will be
open-source for all comers from
around the region and around
the world." he said. "I believe
that Michigan is now gaining the
recognition it deserves as a hot-
bed of innovation that will rival
and perhaps even surpass Silicon
Valley."
Prior to the press conference,
Dingell visited Downtown Home
& Garden at 210 S. Ashley St. and
Lily Grace Cosmetics at 306 S.
Main St.
In an interview with The
Michigan Daily after the event,
Dingell said the merchants he
spoke with earlier in the day were
concerned with healthcare.
Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje
was scheduled to attend but was
absent. The city council votes on
the budget today.

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