March 27, 2010
N O T E S
With today's win, the Wolverines improved to 16-3 in the all-time series against Illinois. Michigan has won six straight games against the Fighting Illini.
Michigan extended its home winning streak to 21 straight games at Alumni Field. U-M has not lost at home since day two of the 2008 NCAA Super Regional when the Wolverines lost twice to Virginia Tech on May 25, 2008.
Michigan has homered in 18 of 29 games this season, including 15 of its last 21 games.
Senior third baseman Maggie Viefhaus knocked out two home runs for the first time in her career. Viefhaus is the third different player this season to boast a multi-homer game.
Junior first baseman Dorian Shaw went yard for the 11th time this season with her solo blast in the third inning. The home run upped her career total to 36; she ranks third among Michigan's career leaders in the category. Viefhaus, who upped her career total to 30 home runs with today's performance, claimed a share of the fourth position on the list, tied with Grace Luetele (2003-06).
Shaw picked up her 100th career RBI with her third-inning home run.
Junior RHP Jordan Taylor already boasts nine double-digit strikeout performances this year. She owns 167 total strikeouts this season, averaging 10.6 per game.
Senior centerfielder Molly Bausher went 2-for-3 at the plate to secure her fifth multi-hit game of the season, already matching her season total from a season ago.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Carol Hutchins
On starting the Big Ten season with a decisive win ... "We talk a lot about just staying in our process. Jordan [Taylor] has to be in her process and making her pitches -- and you have to make your pitches against a good-hitting team. Illinois really is a good-hitting team, and they have been for years; this year is no different. Obviously, we had some big hits, and I thought we had a lot of loud outs and great cuts. But we stayed in our one-pitch-softball mode and stayed in one inning at a time. We had several chances to really put the game out of reach, but I also told them that tomorrow Illinois is going to come back. They're not going to be worried about what happened Saturday, and neither are we. We have a whole new game in front of us, and our goal now is to go for the sweep."
On the Wolverines' defensive confidence behind junior RHP Jordan Taylor ... "Your pitcher sets the tone for the defense, and she is going to be in command of the game, get ahead of hitters and put them away -- a strikeout is great defense. But I think the pitcher can give the team a lot of confidence, and I know our kids are confident in Jordan."
On striking early at the plate ... "The game isn't over 'til it's over, and we want to play hard every pitch. We want to hit the ball hard every time, and we want every run we can get. I just want our kids to play hard, because the game is never out of reach. Illinois is very capable of scoring runs. It's big to get on the board first. It puts pressure on the other team. But you've seen us, a number of times, get behind and come back -- any team is capable of that. So, you still have to stay in your moment. Jordan [Taylor] has the command the game, and the offense has to keep coming at them."
On senior third baseman Maggie Viefhaus ... "Maggie is just one of many capable hitters on our team. You like to see your seniors have their best year. She's been having a great year. She's been a little cool lately, so it was nice to see her break out a little bit. Some hitters will be on their game and some won't be. The key is that we don't have them all off their game at once, and it's always great when they're all on their game at once. Maggie works really hard, and she's a great player. So, I'm always happy when they're successful."
On preparing for a good-hitting team like Illinois ... "We take a look at the lineup and do our scouting reports, but the bottom line is Jordan [Taylor] is her own pitcher, as is Nikki [Nemitz], and regardless of whatever someone else threw as a pitch to beat a hitter, we've got to throw the pitches that we throw. I think Jen Brundage, our pitching coach, does a great job calling the game. She's one of the top game-callers in the country, but the pitchers have to execute it. Our philosophy is we just throw our pitch, and I believe our best pitch can beat most hitters. Good-hitting teams like that are going to get some hits and get some runs, but we need to hold them down. Our pitchers' job is to keep us in the game until our offense can win it."
U-M Senior Third Baseman Maggie Viefhaus
On her success at the plate ... "I haven't really been hitting that great lately, so I just went out there with the mentality of see the ball, hit the ball and be aggressive at the plate. That's what I did today."
On preparing for the Big Ten opener ... "We don't really prepare any differently. We have to treat it the same as any other game. It was very refreshing to get it started and come out together like that; everyone did really well, and it was great to really feel that. It was a bit of a stressful week of practice coming back from California, and we felt a little discombobulated with Hutch being out. We kind of forgot all about that, forgot who we were playing and said, 'We're just going to play softball.' And like I said, it was very refreshing to beat them like we did. It shows that we can beat anybody. Hutch teaches us to play one-pitch softball, and that's what we do."
On playing behind junior RHP Jordan Taylor ... "It's awesome. She makes defense a lot easier for us. When she makes a mistake, it's an aggressive mistake. It's so great playing behind the pitchers we have. We'll always have Jordan's back. Illinois had five hits today, but we had 10 hits. And it goes to show you that we can top whatever our opponent throws at us. We're never going to quit, we're never going to stop playing softball, and we're never going to just let our bats go dead until the game is over. We did a great job of that today."