Rounding the Bases #1: U-M Opens 2010 at Elite Invite in Florida
MGOBLUE Nikki Nemitz
MGOBLUE
Nikki Nemitz
MGOBLUE

Feb. 9, 2010

THIS WEEK
NTC DIVISION I ELITE INVITATIONAL (Clermont, Fla.)
Friday, Feb. 12, noon
-- at No. 16 Tennessee (NTC Softball Complex)
• Live Stats | Tennessee website
Friday, Feb. 12, 2 p.m. -- vs. No. 11 Oklahoma (NTC Softball Complex)
• Live Stats | Oklahoma website
Saturday, Feb. 13, 3 p.m. -- vs. Tennessee Chattanooga (NTC Softball Complex)
• Live Stats | Chattanooga website
Saturday, Feb. 13, 5 p.m. -- vs. No. 7 Georgia (NTC Softball Complex)
• Live Stats | Georgia website
Sunday, Feb. 14, 9 a.m. -- vs. No. 8 UCLA (NTC Softball Complex)
Live Stats | UCLA website

The No. 4-ranked University of Michigan softball team kicks off the 2010 campaign with 30 straight road contests, starting with the NTC Division I Elite Invitational this weekend (Feb. 12-14) in Clermont, Fla. The Wolverines will face No. 16 Tennessee (noon) and No. 11 Oklahoma (2 p.m.) on the opening day before squaring off against Tennessee Chattanooga (3 p.m.) and Georgia (5 p.m.) on Saturday. U-M will close the weekend tournament with a 9 a.m. morning slate against No. 8 UCLA on Sunday. All games will be held at NTC Softball Complex.

MICHIGAN BY THE NUMBERS:
Complete Statistics: 2009 Totals

2009: THE SEASON THAT WAS
After falling just a game shy in each of the previous three seasons, Michigan made its long-awaited return to the NCAA Women's College World Series in 2009, capping a typically successful 47-12 season. The Wolverines surged in the latter half of the season, winning 27 of their last 30 games -- a stretch that featured a 21-game winning streak as U-M rebounded from a 0-2 start in Big Ten play to capture the program's 12th league crown outright.

Michigan's greatest strength in 2009 was its pitching, headlined by a two-ace staff of LHP Nikki Nemitz and RHP Jordan Taylor, who combined for a 1.22 team earned-run average and 591 strikeouts. Nemitz netted NFCA All-America first team and Big Ten Pitcher of the Year accolades with her breakout season and established personal-best standards with a 28-7 record, 1.07 ERA and 306 strikeouts. Taylor, who suffered through an up-and-down first half of the season, was dominant down the stretch, boasting double-digit strikeouts in six of her last seven starts while posting a 1.08 ERA and 44 strikeouts in NCAA Tournament play.

The Wolverine bats came on during the second half of the season with more than half of the starting lineup hitting .290 or better. A pair of rookies -- utility player Amanda Chidester (.350) and outfielder Bree Evans (.319) -- ranked among Michigan's leading hitters, while a trio of juniors -- third baseman Maggie Viefhaus, catcher Roya St. Clair and Nemitz -- bolstered the offense with career-best seasons at the plate. Chidester claimed NFCA All-America second team honors in her first collegiate season, while Michigan players occupied more than half of the All-Big Ten first team.

WOLVERINE BITES
A Winning Attitude -- With a 71-17 career record, senior LHP Nikki Nemitz sits just one win shy of Michigan's top-five leaders in the all-time category; Kelly Kovach (72, 1992-95) currently holds the fifth spot. Nemitz is the only pitcher in program history to begin her career with three straight 20-win seasons.

Swing Batter Batter Swing -- Senior LHP Nikki Nemitz and junior RHP Jordan Taylor both ranked among the nation's strikeout leaders in 2009 with Taylor holding the fourth spot (10.5 strikeouts/game) and Nemitz listing eighth (9.9). Both Wolverines have posted 200-strikeout efforts in each of the last two seasons and join former U-M All-Americans Jennie Ritter (2003-06) and Marissa Young (2000-03) as the only Michigan hurlers with multiple 200-strikeout seasons. With 669 career strikeouts, Nemitz lists fourth among U-M's all-time strikeout leaders. Taylor holds the sixth spot with 564 career strikeouts.

Extra Effort -- Senior third baseman Maggie Viefhaus experienced breakout success last season, earning All-Big Ten first team honors with a career-best .313 batting average and 38 runs batted in. More than half -- 55.8 percent (29/52) -- of Viefhaus' hits last season came with extra bases, including career highs in doubles (18) and home runs (10). The effort placed her among Michigan's all-time career leaders in both extra-base categories; she shares the sixth spot -- with Marissa Young (2000-03) and Tiffany Haas (2003-06) -- with 22 homers and, with 36 career doubles, needs three more to crack the top-10 leaders in the category.

The Shaw Show -- Junior first baseman Dorian Shaw used a late surge to pad her home run numbers last season, knocking out five in the NCAA postseason to bring her season home run tally to 14 and claim the fifth spot among Michigan's all-time single-season leaders in the category. Adding 11 long balls from her rookie campaign, Shaw also owns the fifth position among U-M's career home run leaders with 24. She needs four home runs to reach the fourth spot, currently held by Melissa Gentile (28, 1997-2000).

Be With You Shortly -- With the graduation of four-year starter and team captain Teddi Ewing, the Wolverine lineup will feature a new face at shortstop this season. Michigan has several options to replace the All-Big Ten and All-NFCA Great Lakes Region performer with sophomores Stephanie Kirkpatrick and Amanda Chidester listing as the most likely candidates. Kirkpatrick started every game at second base in 2009, while Chidester appeared at a variety of positions -- designated player, outfield, catcher and middle infield -- en route to NFCA All-America second team honors as a utility player.

USA Softball Player of the Year Watch -- The Wolverines boasted a pair of players -- senior LHP Nikki Nemitz and senior third baseman Maggie Viefhaus -- on the preseason top-50 watch list for the 2010 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year.

Captain's Log -- Senior outfielder Angela Findlay and senior third baseman Maggie Viefhaus will serve as the Wolverines' co-captains in 2010. Findlay repeats the distinction, while Viefhaus is a first-year captain.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation -- Senior LHP Nikki Nemitz and senior third baseman Maggie Viefhaus contributed to a gold-medal performance by the USA Softball Women's National Team at the 2009 Pan-American Qualifier in Maracay, Venezuela. Team USA avenged its only loss of the tournament in the championship game on Sunday, Aug. 9, knocking off Canada, 3-1, at Los Delicas. Viefhaus, who appeared in 13 of 14 games, starting 11 at designated player and middle infield, registered a .296 batting average with eight hits, eight runs scored and six RBI. Nemitz appeared in five games and started three, posting a perfect 3-0 record with a team-best 0.00 ERA, 22 strikeouts and just two hits allowed over 14 innings pitched. [ Complete game-by-game results ]

FALL BALL WRAP UP
The Wolverine team posted an overall 6-0-1 fall exhibition record last fall and went 4-0-1 in NCAA Division I games, excluding a slate against Grand Rapids Community College and a home scrimmage vs. Eastern Michigan. U-M's hitting prowess highlighted the fall season as U-M combined for a batting average of .364, boasting a .428 team on-base percentage and a .580 slugging percentage. For additional notes and Hutch's commentary, check out the complete Fall Ball Wrap Up.

WOLVERINE STREAKS
Hitting Streaks

Bree Evans -- two games* (2 hits)
Amanda Chidester -- one game* (1 hit)
Angela Findlay -- one game* (1 hit, 1 RBI)
Nikki Nemitz -- one game* (1 hit, 1 RBI)
Dorian Shaw -- one game* (1 hit)
Roya St. Clair -- one game* (3 hits, 3 RBI)
Maggie Viefhaus -- one game* (1 hit)

Shutout Inning Streaks
none

* - denotes streak dates back to 2009 season

MILESTONE WATCH
Hitting
Dorian Shaw needs three home runs to match Melissa Gentile (28, 1997-2000) for fourth on the U-M career list. She needs five homers to reach the third spot, currently held by Grace Luetele (30, 2003-06).
Maggie Viefhaus needs three doubles to match Stefanie Volpe (39, 1999-2001) for 10th on the U-M career list. She needs four to reach the ninth spot, currently held by Tracy Carr (40, 1993-96).
Maggie Viefhaus also needs six home runs to match Melissa Gentile (28, 1997-2000) for fourth on the U-M career list.

Pitching
Nikki Nemitz needs one win to match Kelly Kovach (72, 1992-95) for fifth on the U-M career list. She needs five wins to reach the fourth spot, currently held by Kelly Holmes (76, 1994-97).
Jordan Taylor needs three shutouts to match Andrea Nelson (25, 1988-81) for eighth on the U-M career list. Nikki Nemitz needs one shutout to reach the 10th spot, currently held by Taylor and Lorilyn Wilson (22, 2004-07).
Nikki Nemitz needs 45 strikeouts to match Lorilyn Wilson (714, 2004-07) for third on the U-M career list. Jordan Taylor needs 38 strikeouts to reach the fifth spot, currently held by Sara Griffin (602, 1995-98).

THE "IN TOUCH WITH HUTCHINS" PODCAST
Every Friday during the 2010 season, head coach Carol Hutchins will offer insider access to her program in the rapid-fire In Touch With Hutch audio podcast. Hutchins will touch on topics ranging from standout performers, Michigan's opponents, game strategy and the other events of the season in each weekly feature. Stay tuned for Friday's premiere episode! [ Check out the latest episode on or subscribe to Michigan Athletics on iTunes ]

TWITTER-TASTIC
Michigan softball is now on Twitter. Sign up and follow the Wolverines (Michigan_softb) with up-to-the-minute news and information throughout the season and beyond. Twitter is a free casual, online social network that is designed to connect businesses, organizations and individuals. Each Twitter post (or "tweet") can be received on a user's cell phone via text or on the web.

2010 YEARBOOK & RECORD BOOK
Beginning with the 2009-10 academic year, the University of Michigan athletics department will no longer print media guides. U-M fans and media can still obtain all the information they're used to, only now it's available online. If you're looking for in-depth historical information, statistics, records, archives, etc., the Record Book is what you'll need. For more of a general overview of a team, the staff and student-athletes, check out the Yearbook. [ Check them both out in our new publications section ]

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: MICHIGAN WOMEN'S SOFTBALL ACADEMY
Michigan will team with the American Cancer Society on Friday, May 7, for the inaugural Michigan Women's Softball Academy. The Wolverines' players and coaching staff will hold clinics at the Wilpon Baseball & Softball Complex to raise funds for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign. The event will run from 5-8 p.m. and conclude with a social mixer and silent auction in the Junge Family Champions Center. Academy participants will receive instructional information, tips on different drills and lessons on how to successfully throw, hit, pitch, catch, field and run the bases. Registration for the softball academy is $100 and open to women and men aged 21 years or older. To register or for more information, please visit www.msoftballacademy.org.

RANK AND FILE
USA Today/NFCA | ESPN.com/USA Softball
The Wolverines will begin the 2010 season ranked among the nation's elite programs, listing No. 4 in the nation according to the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 and placed No. 3 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. It is Michigan's highest preseason ranking since claiming the top spot prior to the 2006 campaign.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
Fri-Sun, Feb. 19-21 -- at Tiger Classic (Baton Rouge, La.)
Fri-Sun, Feb. 26-28 -- at NFCA Leadoff Classic (Columbus, Ga.)

Contact: Leah Howard (734) 763-4423

   

    Credit Card
    Photo Store