A softball team that fires on all cylinders — offense, defense and pitching — will always be tough to beat.

But senior Nikki Nemitz, a hitting pitcher for the Wolverines, is showing that she can dominate all three phases on her own.

Nemitz was named this week’s Big Ten Pitcher of the Week after throwing a one-hitter on Sunday against Wisconsin. And while the senior was dominant on the mound, her 3-for-5 weekend performance at the plate earned some recognition as well.

“(Michigan coach Carol Hutchins) always says hitting is contagious,” Nemitz said. “If you have momentum, if you’re feeling good on one side of the ball, then you’re absolutely feeling good on the other side of the ball.

“I don’t think pitchers have it any different. Anyone can have that same feeling, because if you’re fielding really well or pitching really well, you’re going to translate that to the plate.”

As a hitting pitcher, Nemitz has seen action from the batter’s box in 26 games this season, while starting 13 games from the mound. Boasting a .294 batting average and a 1.85 ERA, Nemitz has helped her team in countless ways already this year.

“That’s why I love softball,” Nemitz said after the Wolverines’ trip to Louisville in mid-March. “I love being a hitting pitcher. I get to help myself and contribute to the team on both ends of the game.”

The lefty has settled in nicely to the newly renovated Alumni Field during Michigan’s recent four-game home stand, going .545 at the plate while logging two wins on the mound during that stretch.

In the Wolverines’ home opener against Bowling Green, Nemitz was both the starting pitcher and the offensive spark, as she muscled out a grand slam in the bottom of the fifth inning to propel Michigan to a 10-2 victory.

“Every hit is awesome,” Nemitz said after the game. “I got my pitch, and it felt perfect off the bat. I was seeing it well, and I was confident. It’s always a nice feeling to hit it hard and hit it over the fence anyway. That time, there just happened to be three of my teammates on base. I can’t really hit a grand slam without my team.”

A St. Claire Shores native, Nemitz was recruited primarily as a pitcher. Hutchins knew there was pop in her bat as well and gave Nemitz an opportunity to hit during her freshman and sophomore seasons. But the focus remained on consistently improving her pitching game.

“I chose to be a pitcher because I couldn’t handle not being in control of the game,” Nemitz said. “I like that. Pitchers like to be in control of situations, otherwise we wouldn’t pitch. I mean, we’re the ones that touch the ball the most on the field. I like the feeling of being able to help myself. When I hit the ball, I obviously help my own cause and that’s fun. But I also realize that I’m one of nine hitters.”

With pitching as her priority, Nemitz has posted stellar numbers on the mound over her three-plus years as a Wolverine. Last season, as a junior, Nemitz was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year and an National Fastpitch Coaches Association All American pitcher. Last season she went 28-7 with a 1.07 ERA while setting career highs in wins, strikeouts, and opponent averages.

But Nemitz also brought her offensive game to a new level last season, as she averaged .294 with eight home runs and 37 RBI from the batter’s box—all career highs.

While her numbers last year will be tough to beat, as a senior, Nemitz is stating her case for the Big Ten and All American awards once again. As a three-time All Big Ten first team selection—as a pitcher in 2007 and 2009 and as a utility player in 2008— Nemitz is intent on staying on top of her game.

If she continues to find success in all three phases, Nemitz can certainly end her Michigan career with a bang.

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