The Wolverine

August 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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38 THE WOLVERINE AUGUST 2018 sota by a game. They required big series against third- and fourth-place Indiana and Ohio State, respectively, to pull it off. But they did it, in no small measure because of a freshman left-handed pitcher adept at shutting down hit- ters. Beaubien was a four-time all- state pitcher at Saint Mary Catholic Central High in Newport, Mich. She went 100-11 there over four years, piling up 1,442 strikeouts along the way. But the next level re- quires so much more, she quickly learned. "The biggest part of that transi- tion is the mental part of it," Beau- bien mused. "Obviously, there were physical, pitching things I needed to improve on, which we worked a lot on and I got better at. "But every single game matters, and your competition is so good. It can make people feel a lot of pres- sure. The transition was about ad- justing to that mentally and under- standing you're still playing the same game." Her Michigan coaches worked throughout the year on her state of mind, she noted. "They stressed my approach to bat- ters," Beaubien said. "I just need to attack hitters and not be afraid of my pitches not being perfect every sin- gle time. Be confident that I'm good enough to get people out." She was good enough when the Wolverines took two out of three at Indiana late in the season, a grueling series featuring a pair of nine-inning games. Beaubien went the distance in the final contest, tossing a nine- inning shutout in a 2-0 win. "The series at Indiana stood out, in terms of really having to fight to win those games in extra innings," she said. "The whole series was tough. The Ohio State series definitely stuck out, because that was the weekend we won the Big Ten." T h e l e a g u e - c l i n c h i n g s e r i e s wrapped up the regular season for the Wolverines, leading into a stretch that will spur Beaubien and her teammates on toward next year. Beaubien shut out Michigan State in two regular-season meetings. But in Michigan's opening game of the Big Ten Tournament, the Spartans rose up and sent the Wolverines packing early with a 7-0 decision. "It was definitely really disap- pointing," Beaubien said. "We had a goal to win the Big Ten Tournament. "Once they put up a run, we got tight and didn't have a whole lot of confidence in our ability to score runs. Obviously, they scored a lot of runs. Mentally, we lost the confi- dence that we could win that game, which you can never do." Michigan made the NCAA Tour- nament, but the No. 1 seed at the NCAA Regional in Lexington, Ky., scored a combined two runs in a pair of losses to Notre Dame. The 4-1, 2-1 defeats — wrapped around a win over Illinois-Chicago — left Beaubien and her teammates with no more sea- son to play. "It wasn't good," Beaubien said. "We knew we could beat Notre Dame. We just didn't. As a team, we didn't make the adjustments we needed to have success against their pitching and against their hitters. "I just don't think we had the con- fidence to take a risk and make a change that would have allowed us to be successful against them." To make matters worse, the Irish broke through late in both wins. They scored three in the seventh inning of the first game, and came up with the two runs that put them over the top in the sixth inning of the elimination contest. "As a pitcher, you want to be able to hold any lead," Beaubien offered. "You don't want to let them score, es- pecially late in the game. It feels like it's on you. As a team, we just didn't get it done. "That hurts, obviously. The whole season, we had higher goals than los- ing in the regional. It's a hard way to end the year. "But we did some good things. We won the Big Ten. We can be happy about that, but we also need to learn from where we went wrong at the end of the year, so we can be better next year." Beaubien learned a lot, she as- sured. She'll be back, for three more Filling Out The Top Five Female Rookies Freshman pitcher Meghan Beaubien served notice she'll be a dominant pitcher nationally over the next three years for Michigan. Several of her fellow freshmen also delivered a preview of coming attractions along the way. 2. Sierra Schmidt, Swimming & Diving — Schmidt accomplished plenty for a team that finished fourth nationally. She twice earned honorable mention All- America status, in the 500-yard freestyle (14th at the NCAA Championships) and the 1,650-yard freestyle (11th). She also placed in the top eight in three events at the Big Ten Championships: fourth in the 1,650-freestyle (15:54.39), fifth in the 500-yard freestyle (4:38.68) and eighth in the 200-yard butterfly (1:58.00). 3. Hailey Brown, Basketball — Brown earned National and Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors in mid-January, highlighted by her 23-point, eight-rebound performance against Indiana. The 6-1 forward demonstrated prowess all year, though, averaging 9.0 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. She also assisted the Wolverines in getting where they hadn't been since 2013 — the NCAA Tournament — despite suffering a season-ending injury that forced her to miss the campaign's final six games. 4. Sarah Stratigakis, Soccer — The Big Ten All-Freshman Team choice earned second-team status on the All-Big Ten squad for all classes. She finished second on the squad in scoring with 11 points on three goals and five assists, which tied for the team lead. She also became one of only three Wolverines to earn starts in all 18 matches on the season. 5. Caitlin Muir, Lacrosse — Muir paced Michigan with a dozen assists in her first season with the program. She also posted 18 goals, and notched 13 ground balls, 26 draw controls and three forced turnovers. She missed the team's first three games due to injury, but came on strongly thereafter, starting 13 of the final 14 contests. — John Borton Beaubien "I learned the attitude to take to the mound at this level, the confidence that I'm good enough to beat any hitter in this game."

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