Monday, May 18, 2009
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
ANOTHER STEP CLOSER-
By MICHAEL FLOREK
Daily Sports Writer
Every playoff run needs a hero.
And the Michigan softball
team's journey through the NCAA
Regionals was no exception. Luck-
ily for them, they had an plenty of
heroes as they beat Notre Dame
4-0 to win the regional final Sun-
day for the sixth consecutive year.
The magic started the previous
day when the Wolverines were
down 1-0 with only their last two
outs to play with. Junior Maggie
Viefhaus stepped to the plate, and
four pitches later the ball landed in
the grass behind the grandstand
in right field for a solo home run.
Four batters later, it was an 0-for-3
freshman who had the chance tobe
the unlikely hero.
Withrunners on first and second,
Bree Evans' bloop single sent the
crowd at Alumni Field home for the
day and put Michigan in position to
move on to the Super Regionals.
Evans has a knack for the pres-
sure situations. In the regional
final the next day, she scored the
first and eventual game-winning
run in the sixth inning, and then
followed it up with a clinching
double an inning later that plated
the third run.
"Today I was able to read (Notre
Dame pitcher Brittney Barger's)
pitches better than yesterday,"
Evans said. "I knew coming into
today I really wanted to hit her
because of how I did yesterday, I
didn't have my best outing."
In addition to the newfound
hero, a long-standing one emerged
yet again in sophomore pitcher Jor-
After throwing a seven-inning
complete game and allowing only
one run against Notre Dame on
Saturday, Taylor was called by
Michigan coach Carol Hutchins to
come in in relief of junior pitcher
Nikki Nemitz after Nemitz gave up
a walk in the sixth inning.
"It was a one-run game, and a
runner on base, we've got Jordan,
who they haven't seen all game,
who throws totally different than
Nikki," Hutchins said. "It was a
momentum shift and in a tight
game I didn't want any momentum
going their way.
"I have two great pitchers and
I'm going to use them both every
game if that is what it is going to
take to win."
Taylor allowed only two hits in
1.2 innings and struck out four of
the last five batters.
Taylor struck out Notre Dame's
Erin Marrone but a dropped third
strike allowed Marrone to get on
base. After a single put two runners
on Michigan fans were holdingtheir
breath. But when Taylor got two
consecutive outs, the Michigan fans
exhaled with a roar of approval.
"It makes it a little different just
because the batter has seen the
pitch," Taylor said. "They did a
good job yesterday of startingto lay
off some of my pitches towards the
end of the game. I think that car-
ried on into today and they weren't
Junior Maggie Viefhaus celebrates as Michigan earns a spot in the Super Regionals.
chasing as much."
Nemitz's performance wasn't
far behind Taylor's heroism on the
Nemitz went 5.1 innings, allow-
ing only three hits, but was pulled
in favor of Taylor. Not content
with only pitching a shutout, Nem-
itz found another way to make
her presence felt after leaving the
In her next at-bat, Nemitz took
a 1-0 pitch and sent it to right field
where it clanged off of the foul pole.
"I was just going up there to hit
the ball hard, we weren't hitting
her all day," Nemitz said. "It was
the seventh inning and the last
chance to score and really get the
momentum going our way."
Michigan's quest continues in
the Super Regionals as the fifth-
seeded Wolverines take on Baylor
next weekend at home at Alumni
Field. Hutchins and her team know
that new heroes will emerge, one
way or another.
"We've been in the World Series
eight times and it's never been easy
to get there, but it's getting harder
and harder," Hutchins said. "To
get throughregionals, I don't take
anything for granted, any champi-
sends Blue to second
Finals in 41 years
By NICK SPAR
Daily Sports Writer
As sophomore Lion Kim stepped
to the final tee, Michigan men's golf
coach Andrew Sapp assured him
a NCAA Finals bid was essentially
secured. But even though a finals
appearance no longer hung in the
balance, Kim still felt an adrenaline
rush with each shot.
His par on the final hole of the
NCAA Regionals in Austin, Texas
sealed a trip to the finals for No. 45
Michigan - its first finals appear-
ance since 1997 and second in 41
The five teams with the low-
est 54-hole totals at the University
of Texas Golf Club for the three-
day event qualified for the NCAA
Finals. No. 45 Michigan topped No.
41 Lamar for the fifth and final spot
by three strokes, the same margin
by which it missed the finals last
So Kim had reason to fight his
nerves - he was responsible for fin-
ishing off an accomplishment his
team was so close to reaching last
"I've never been that nervous
over my tee shot on 18," Kim said.
"That's not a feeling I've had for a
See FINALS, Page 11