Thursday, May 8, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Reeling 'M'heads to BIG Tournament
Thursday, May 8, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Rare Botanical Garden plant set to bloom
By JAKE LOURIM
For all of the success the Michi-
gan softball team has had this
season, its past three series open-
ers have been losses to unranked
teams by scores of 10-2, 3-2 and 9-3.
Another stinker like those on
Friday and the Wolverines will be
headed home early from the Big
Ten Tournament in Evanston.
Michigan (18-5 Big Ten, 40-11
overall) heads into this week-
end's tournament after its seventh
straight conference championship,
but the Wolverines have lost five of
their last 11 to fall into a tie for first
Ironically, the sustained success
earlier in the season - including
a 20-game win streak - piled on
pressure that made Michigan tense
for the final three weekends of the
"This is a team that is so afraid of
not winning," said Michigan coach
Carol Hutchins after last Friday's
loss to Wisconsin. "They're so
caught up in their outcomes, which
is not what we teach at Michigan.
We teach process, but they're not
First, it was a two-hit shutout at
the hands of Minnesota. Then, a
four-error performance in a run-
rule loss to Illinois, which was in
last place at the time. Finally, a 9-3
blowout against Wisconsin last Fri-
There have been bright spots for
the Wolverines. Each time, they
responded, most recently with a
10-2 mercy-rule victory over Wis-
consin on Saturday. The next day,
with the outright Big Ten cham-
pionship on the line, Michigan
battled for more than three hours
with Wisconsin before falling in
nine innings, 6-5.
Despite the result Sunday,
Hutchins saw improvement in her
team in its final series of the regu-
Regardless of the past three
weeks, the Wolverines have the
best player in the conference, soph-
omore shortstop Sierra Romero,
as evidenced by her Big Ten Play-
er of the Year award announced
Wednesday. It also has three of
the best pitchers in the conference,
including junior left-hander Haylie
Wagner, who has struggled with
a 1-2 record and 4.79 earned-run
average in her last six appearances
but still won the league ERA title.
As a team, Michigan ranks first
in runs scored, batting average,
ERA and fielding percentage.
If the Wolverines play the way
they played for most of the season,
hardly anyone else has a chance.
If they continue to make mistakes
and play down to their competi-
tion, the field is wide-open.
Here's a look at their chances in
opponents are No. 8 seed Iowa
(9-14, 16-29-1) or No. 9 seed Illinois
The top seed's quarterfinal game
is traditionally lopsided, but that
was the expectation two weeks ago
when the Wolverines rolled into
Champaign. Instead, Illinois mer-
cied Michigan in the first game and
would have wonthe series if not for
a late error in the finale.
The Hawkeyes come in well
below the .500 mark but do boast
shortstop Megan Blank, a first-
team All-Big Ten and All-Defen-
sive Team honoree.
The Fighting Illini seem to be
peaking at the right time, led by
freshman pitcher Brandi Need-
ham's tidy 2.94 ERA. Illinois also
has four hitters who hit above .300
and can get on a roll - just as they
did in the series opener against
This season, that 10-2 loss to Illi-
nois has been the exception rather
than the rule for Michigan. The
Wolverines should coast, barring a
SEMIFINALS: Possible oppo-
nents are No. 12 seed Michigan
State (4-19, 12-36), No. 5 seed
Northwestern (14-9, 32-15) and No.
4 seed Wisconsin (15-7, 33-17).
The Wildcats should take care
of*Michigan State easily on their
home field Thursday, setting up
a quarterfinal matchup Friday
against Wisconsin, which could go
The Wolverines have not yet
seen Northwestern, which has
posed an issue in the past. The
Wildcats rank just behind Michi-
gan in batting average (.334) and
fielding percentage (.970) and first
in on-base percentage. However,
their pitching lags a bit behind
with a 3.75 ERA.
At Northwestern's small, hit-
ter-friendly Sharon J. Drysdale
Field, the Wolverines might have a
chance to go deep.
As they showed last weekend, the
Badgers can pose just as much of an
issue. They have two capable pitch-
ers who each beat Michigan once
last weekend, and they lead the Big
Ten by far with 107 stolen bases.
Wisconsin's contact hitting and
crafty base running allow the Bad-
gers to hang around in games. Last
weekend, they clung to a 4-2 lead
on Friday before breaking out with
a five-run seventh. Sunday, they
matched Michigan run for run
before pulling through with a solo
shot in the ninth.
FINAL: Itcouldbe anyone of six
teams, but the likely opponents are
No.2 seed Nebraska (18-5,40-14) or
No. 3 seed Minnesota (16-6, 38-9).
For NCAA Tournament pur-
poses, the Wolverines should hope
for Nebraska or Minnesota. For
the most part, the top 16 in the RPI
host regionals, and Michigan is on
the outside looking in at No. 18. A
win over the 17th-ranked Gophers
or 19th-ranked Cornhuskers might
push them over the edge.
But neither of those would come
easily. The Wolverines have not
played Nebraska, but they would
run up against some firepower.
The power-hitting Cornhusk-
ers rank right behind Michigan in
runs and lead the league in doubles
and home runs, and have the best
chance of testing the Wolverines'
top-ranked pitching staff. On the
other side, Nebraska has a 1-2
pitching punch of Tatum Edwards
and Emily Lockman, who have
twin 1.94 ERAs.
Michigan took two of three
from Minnesota three weeks ago
at Alumni Field. The key for the
Gophers is pitching. Big Ten Pitch-
er of the Year Sara Groenewegen
finished 12-2 with a 2.27 ERA, and
Sara Moulton was at times even
better, going24-6 with a 1.69 ERA.
A loss early in the tournament -
or even to a lesser opponent in the
final - could send the Wolverines
tumbling further in the tourna-
ment. But a championship could
bring them back to where they
were during March.
The former could mean a short
postseason for Michigan. A cham-
pionship might mean it's just get-
reenhouse roof main ingredient in mezcal, a
drink that's similar to tequila - is
11 be removed to expected to grow five more feet
over the next two months.
omadate quickly - While most agaves bloom with-
in the first 20 years of life, this
)wing specimen particular agave has shown no
sign of blooming in the past eight
By EMMA KERR decades.
Daily StaffReporter , Mike Palmer, manager of Mat-
thaei Botanical Gardens and
Matthaei Botanical Garden Nichols Arboretum, said he still
aring to take the roof off of does not know why the agave
conservatory to accommo- has begun blooming now after so
twenty-foot-tall agave that many decades or how the plant's
on bloom for the first time environment cued sprout such a
ears. tall stalk.
American Agave - the "I think within the next 10 to 14
days, the flower will hit the glass,"
Palmer said. "At that point, we will
take the glass off the roof of the
conservatory and let it go through
the roof. It looks like an aspara-
gus spear on steroids, and it could
grow up to five more feet."
As the agave nears twenty feet,
it will begin sending out out small
branches from its side. From these
small branches, the agave will
flower, likely within the next few
months. Small identical clones of
the agave plant will also begin to
grow from the stalk, called pups.
These pups will then fall off, hit
the ground and root themselves,
forming identical agaves.
American Agave is a mono-
carpic species - once it blooms
and its pups find the ground, this
80-year-old agave will die. It will
be cut down and the glass roof will
be replaced for winter. However,
Palmer is optimistic that its pups
and seeds will become new agave
and thrive in the conservatory.
Though agaves have various
uses, production of mezcal using
agave extract has been increasing
in the United States. Commonly
found in Mexico and other gener-
ally dry, mild climates, the Ameri-
can Agave can be found in nature
with stalks towering over 30 feet
The University's agave arrived
in Ann Arbor in 1934. Alfred Whit-
ing, a graduate student, brought
the young agave from Mexico to
the University's botanical gar-
dens. Since it's arrival, the sprout
has grown to be more than 15 feet
The agave ranks in the top 10
percent of the oldest plants housed
at the Matthaei Botanical Gar-
Students interested in seeing
the agave should visit the Mat-
thaei Botanical Gardens Conser-
vatory, which is open from 10 a.m.
to 8 p.m. over the summer and has
in 80 y
From Page 2
Councilmember Jack Eaton
(D-Ward 4) said that convicts are
often well-suited for certain jobs.
He said employment can be an
effective deterrent against creat-
ing second time offenders.
"It's our policy not to bar con-
victs from employment with the
city," Eaton said. "We have to
accept that some jobs can be per-
formed by people convicted of a
serious crime." -
Kunselman unveils plans to halt
Councilmember Stephen Kun-
selman (D-Ward 3) unveiled a plan
to propose a resolution - should it
be necessary - to stop the opera-
tions of the popular new startup
Uber allows people to find driv-
ers in their respective areas via a
mobile application. Though Uber
does require its drivers to get a
background check according to
state law, because drivers use their
private cars and do not use taxis or
limos registered by the state or city
governments, opponents argue the
application creates potential safety
Kunselman noted that a large
part of his problem with Uber lies
in its lack of attention to issues of
public safety such as providing
proof of insurance as a driver for
"For the life of me, I do not
understand how a for-profit busi-
ness believes that public safety is in
their interest when they're just out
to make a dollar," he said.
Uber has received its share ofA
criticism from many states and cit-
ies across the country for its lack From Page 1
of adherence to regulatory policy.
In February, Detroit City Attorney AAATA has been able to serve its citi-
Melvin Hollowell issued the busi- zens by constantly evolving to meet
ness a cease and desist order. These their needs. The expansion is another
orders request an entity discontin- example of doing so with ridership
ue a specified action to avoid legal at an all-time high and continuing to
Kunselman said he will request Nancy Schewe, president of the
the city attorney's office levy a League of Women Voters of the Ann
cease and desist order and would Arbor Area, also supported the mill-
request the council's action if their age because of the "enormous help"
approval is required. she knew it would provide, especially
Resolution passed to decrease to those who regularly need transport
deer population to local schools, such as the Universi-
City council also unanimously ty, Eastern Michigan University and
passed a resolution to jumpstart Washtenaw Community College.
efforts to limit the city's deer popu- "Great cities need great public
.lation. transportation as part of a means for
However, the resolution is only sustainable growth," Schewe said.
a first step and it is unclear how She said increased access to public
exactly the city will go about con- transportationwould be good for the
trolling the population. community's carbon footprint over
Councilmember Jane Lumm the long-term as well, though she
(I-Ward 2) said many residents acknowledges the expansion requires
are expressing alarm at the grow- "a little extra money to make it work."
ing deer population and the public Though the League itself did not
safety problems they may cause take a formal stance on the issue,
such as crashes or Lyme disease the group sponsored a public forum
from ticks. to educate voters the day before the
"Concerns and frustrations election, where advocates represent-
being expressed are primarily ing both aspects of the tax proposal
related to the damage the deer are were invited to share their views.
causing to our natural environ- Schewe said she was very pleased
ment," Lu mm said. "But there are with the conversation generated and
also concerns about public safety." felt confident the millage would pass,
Mayor John Hieftje jokingly despite the increased funds it would
alluded to the chicken ordinance require.
passed by the city in 2008. Opponents argued that there are
"It's too bad it won't be as simple means of fundingthese new improve-
as it was when we had the chicken ments without increasing taxes,
ordinance," Hieftje said. "We sim- including capitalizing on redundan-
ply banned roosters. I don't think cies within the AAATA budget.
the deer will listen." Members of the group lobbying
against the proposal could not be
reached for comment.
Haylie Wagner has been Michigan's best pitcher for most of the year and will need her best stuff for the Big Ten Tournament.
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Expires: May 16, 2014
Governor Rick Snyder dresses in a traditional Dutch costume and leads the
Tulip Time Volksparade in downtown Holland on Wednesday.