INDIANA BOYS BASKETBALL SECTIONAL MATCH-UPS TONIGHT

CLASS 4A
East Chicago Central
Lake Central vs. Munster 6:30 pm
Gary West at East Chicago Central 8:00 pm
Chesterton
Lowell at Chesterton 7:00 pm
Crown Point vs. Valparaiso 8:30 pm
Mishawaka
South Bend Adams at Mishawaka 6:00 pm
South Bend Riley vs. Michigan City 7:30 pm
Elkhart
Warsaw vs. Concord 6:00 pm
Penn at Elkhart 7:30 pm
East Noble
Fort Wayne Northrop vs. Fort Wayne Snider 6:00 pm
DeKalb vs. Fort Wayne North 7:30 pm
Homestead
New Haven vs. Fort Wayne Wayne 6:00 pm
Columbia City at Homestead 7:30 pm
Lafayette Jeff
Kokomo at Lafayette Jeff 6:00 pm
Logansport vs. Marion 7:30 pm
Noblesville
Westfield at Noblesville 6:00 pm
Hamilton Southeastern vs. Fishers 7:30 pm
Greenfield-Central
Pendleton Heights vs. New Palestine 6:00 pm
Muncie Central at Greenfield-Central 7:30 pm
Lawrence North
Indianapolis Cathedral vs. Warren Central 6:00 pm
Indianapolis Attucks at Lawrence North 7:30 pm
Southport
Decatur Central vs. Indianapolis Roncalli 6:00 pm
Ben Davis at Southport 7:30 pm
Terre Haute South
Avon at Terre Haute South 6:00 pm
Terre Haute North vs. Brownsburg 7:30 pm
Bloomington North
Martinsville vs. Bloomington South 6:00 pm
Center Grove at Bloomington North 7:30 pm
East Central
Columbus East at East Central 6:00 pm
Franklin vs. Whiteland 7:30 pm
Seymour
Floyd Central vs. Jeffersonville 6:00 pm
Jennings County vs. New Albany 7:30 pm
Evansville North
Evansville Harrison vs. Castle 6:30 pm
Evansville Central vs. Jasper 8:00 pm


CLASS 3A
Calumet
Hanover Central vs. River Forest 7:00 pm
Hammond Noll vs. Griffith 8:30 pm
Tippecanoe Valley
Knox at Tippecanoe Valley 6:30 pm
Bremen vs. John Glenn 8:00 pm
South Bend Washington
South Bend St. Joseph vs. Mishawaka Marian 6:00 pm
South Bend Clay vs. Jimtown 7:30 pm
Lakeland
Fairfield vs. West Noble 6:00 pm
NorthWood at Lakeland 7:30 pm
Woodlan
Angola vs. Fort Wayne Concordia 6:00 pm
Heritage vs. Leo 7:30 pm
Frankfort
North Montgomery vs. Twin Lakes 6:00 pm
West Lafayette at Frankfort 7:30 pm
Mississinewa
Northwestern at Mississinewa 6:00 pm
Oak Hill vs. Peru 7:30 pm
New Castle
Hamilton Heights vs. Yorktown 6:00 pm
Delta at New Castle 7:30 pm
Lebanon
Crawfordsville vs. Danville 6:00 pm
Tri-West at Lebanon 7:30 pm
Owen Valley
Northview at Owen Valley 6:00 pm
Indian Creek vs. Edgewood 7:30 pm
Guerin Catholic
Indianapolis Chatard at Guerin Catholic 6:00 pm
Heritage Christian vs. Brebeuf Jesuit 7:30 pm
Beech Grove
Christel House at Beech Grove 6:00 pm
Indianapolis Washington vs. Purdue Poly Englewood 7:30 pm
Greensburg
Lawrenceburg at Greensburg 6:00 pm
Connersville vs. Batesville 7:30 pm
Scottsburg
Madison vs. Silver Creek 6:00 pm
Corydon Central at Scottsburg 7:30 pm
Princeton
Vincennes Lincoln vs. Southridge 6:30 pm
Pike Central at Princeton 8:00 pm
Boonville
Evansville Memorial vs. Evansville Mater Dei 6:30 pm
Evansville Bosse vs. Mount Vernon (Posey) 8:00 pm


CLASS 2A
Bowman Academy
Whiting vs. Gary 21st Century 6:30 pm
Andrean vs. Illiana Christian 8:00 pm
North Judson
LaVille at North Judson 6:30 pm
South Central (Union Mills) vs. Hebron 7:00 pm
Westview
Central Noble at Westview 6:00 pm
Eastside vs. Churubusco 7:30 pm
Lewis Cass
Pioneer vs. Wabash 6:00 pm
Winamac at Lewis Cass 7:30 pm
Bluffton
Fort Wayne Blackhawk vs. Adams Central 6:00 pm
Whitko vs. Fort Wayne Luers 7:30 pm
Lafayette Central Catholic
Clinton Prairie at Lafayette Central Catholic 6:00 pm
Covington vs. Carroll (Flora) 7:30 pm
Tipton
Eastern (Greentown) at Tipton 6:00 pm
Taylor vs. Eastbrook 7:30 pm
Alexandria
Monroe Central vs. Winchester 6:00 pm
Wes-Del vs. Wapahani 7:30 pm
Hagerstown
Union County at Hagerstown 6:00 pm
Northeastern vs. Shenandoah 7:30 pm
Triton Central
Indianapolis Riverside vs. Irvington Prep 6:00 pm
Eastern Hancock at Triton Central 7:30 pm
Sheridan
University at Sheridan 6:00 pm
Park Tudor vs. Covenant Christian 7:30 pm
Greencastle
Southmont vs. North Putnam 6:00 pm
Parke Heritage at Greencastle 7:30 pm
South Ripley
Hauser at South Ripley 6:00 pm
Switzerland County vs. North Decatur 7:30 pm
Southwestern (Hanover)
Austin vs. Providence 6:00 pm
Brownstown Central at Southwestern (Hanover) 7:30 pm
Paoli
Linton-Stockton vs. Sullivan 6:00 pm
South Knox vs. Eastern Greene 7:30 pm
Forest Park
Crawford County at Forest Park 6:30 pm
Perry Central vs. North Posey 8:00 pm


CLASS 1A
Kouts
Tri-Township vs. Demotte Christian 7:00 pm
Morgan Twp. at Kouts 8:30 pm
Triton
Oregon-Davis vs. Marquette Catholic 6:30 pm
Westville at Triton 8:00 pm
Bethany Christian
Hamilton vs. Lakewood Park 6:00 pm
Lakeland Christian vs. Elkhart Christian 7:30 pm
Caston
Frontier vs. Tri-County 6:00 pm
West Central at Caston 7:30 pm
Southern Wells
Smith Academy vs. Northfield 6:00 pm
Fort Wayne Canterbury vs. Southwood 7:30 pm
Fountain Central
North Vermillion vs. Faith Christian 6:00 pm
Rossville at Fountain Central 7:30 pm
Tri-Central
Daleville vs. Cowan 6:00 pm
Liberty Christian at Tri-Central 7:30 pm
Blue River
Seton Catholic vs. Tri 6:00 pm
Cambridge City Lincoln at Blue River 7:30 pm
White River Valley
Shakamak vs. Clay City 6:00 pm
North Central (Farmersburg) vs. Bloomfield 7:30 pm
Bethesda Christian
Purdue Poly North at Bethesda Christian 6:00 pm
Indianapolis Metropolitan vs. Indiana Math & Science 7:30 pm
Indianapolis Lutheran
Indianapolis Tindley at Indianapolis Lutheran 6:00 pm
Greenwood Christian vs. Central Christian 7:30 pm
Edinburgh
Oldenburg Academy vs. Morristown 6:00 pm
Jac-Cen-Del vs. South Decatur 7:30 pm
Borden
Rock Creek Academy vs. Christian Academy 6:00 pm
South Central (Elizabeth) at Borden 7:30 pm
New Washington
Rising Sun at New Washington 6:00 pm
Medora vs. Trinity Lutheran 7:30 pm
Loogootee
Vincennes Rivet vs. Orleans 6:00 pm
Barr-Reeve at Loogootee 7:30 pm
Tecumseh
Evansville Christian vs. Northeast Dubois 6:30 pm
Evansville Day vs. Wood Memorial 8:00 pm

INDIANA GIRLS BASKETBALL ALL-STATE TEAMS

Senior All-State

Supreme 15

Payton Benge, Plainfield

Aniyah Bishop, Lake Central

Kennedy Fuelling, Norwell

Emma Haan, Zionsville

Talia Harris, Fishers

Rachel Harshman, Mooresville

Denyha Jacobs, Warren Central

Ellery Minch, Mt. Vernon (Fortville)

Jordyn Poole, Fort Wayne Snider

Camryn Runner, Hamilton Heights

Chloe Spreen, Bedford North Lawrence

Reagan Wilson, Noblesville

Faith Wiseman, Indian Creek

Juliann Woodard, Jennings County

Ava Ziolkowski, Crown Point

Large School All-State

Audrey Annee, Center Grove

Allie Caldwell, Zionsville

Lexi Castator, Fort Wayne Northrop

Morgan Cross, Northridge

Lauren Foster, Indian Creek

Makenzie Fuess, Norwell

Chloey Graham, Gibson Southern

Sophie Johnson, Evansville Memorial

Ellie Kelleher, Westfield

Lauren Klem, Franklin Community

Olivia Nickerson, Twin Lakes

Ciara Sims, Fort Wayne Snider

Adrianne Tolen, West Lafayette

Lauren Walsh, Penn

Rachel Wirts, Center Grove

Small School All-State

Bradie Chambers, Linton-Stockton

Kenzie Fulks, Bethesda Christian

Kaiden Hanley, North Miami

Alli Harness, Carroll (Flora)

Keylee Hudson, Eastern Greene

Sydney Jerrells, Linton-Stockton

Sadie Marks, South Central (Union Mills)

Addisen Mastriano, Northeastern

Sophia Morrison, Eastbrook

Sara Parkison, Clinton Central

Samantha Redinger, Argos

Isabel Scales, Caston

Addie Shank, Fort Wayne Bishop Luers

Addyson Viers, Triton

Madison Wagner, Carroll (Flora)

Zoe Willems, Bethany Christian

Underclass All-State

Supreme 15

Laila Abdurraqib, jr., Lawrence Central

Lillian Barnes, so., Valparaiso

Addison Baxter, jr., Columbia City

Myah Epps, so., Homestead

Gracyn Gilliard, so., Munster

Avery Gordon, jr., Brownsburg

Lillie Graves, fr., McCutcheon

Jaylah Lampley, jr., Lawrence Central

Lola Lampley, so., Lawrence Central

Maya Makalusky, jr., Hamilton Southeastern

Brooklynn Renn, so., Silver Creek

Kira Reynolds, jr., South Bend Washington

Gabby Spink, jr., Gibson Southern

Meredith Tippner, jr., Noblesville

Brooke Winchester, jr., Warsaw

Large School All-State

Emma Ancelet, jr., Danville

Lilly Bischoff, jr., Center Grove

Addie Bowsman, jr., Twin Lakes

Gabby Helsom, so., Homestead

Kennedy Holman, so., Hamilton Southeastern

Kya Hurt, jr., Lawrence North

Hannah Menser, fr., Plainfield

Monique Mitchell, jr., South Bend Washingto

Ellie Richardson, jr., Scottsburg

Aniah Smith, jr., Avon

Kaycie Warfel, jr., Pendleton Heights

Leah West, jr., Greensburg

Khala Williams-Thomas, so., Fort Wayne Northrop

Ryiah Wilson, jr., South Bend Washington

Vanessa Wimberly, jr., Lake Central

Small School All-State

Carley Barrett, jr., Lafayette Central Catholic

Ella Bobe, jr., South Knox

Hadley Crosier, jr., Lanesville

Jalyn Davidson, jr., North Central (Farmersburg)

Laniah Davis, so., Marquette Catholic

Carly Davison, so., Clinton Central

Kenzie Garner, jr., Sheridan

Jacklynn Hosier, jr., Alexandria

McKenzie Koch, fr., Eastern Hancock

Lexi Primus, so., North Knox

Emma Simpson, jr., Parke Heritage

Maddie Walton, jr., Andrean

Miley Wareing, so., Fort Wayne Bishop Luers

Ava Wheeler, so., Borden

Laniah Wills, so., Lapel

Honorable mentions

Seniors

Brooklyn Bailey, Triton Central; Madisyn Bailey, Bedford North Lawrence; Molly Baker, Columbia City; Kennedy Blakely, Hammond Central; Allie Blum, New Palestine; Sammie Bolding, Eastern Hancock; Aubrie Booker, Center Grove; Allie Boyer, Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian; Journee Brown, Seymour; Erica Buening, Franklin Community; Jade Carnahan, Lakewood Park Christian; Hailey Cole, Bellmont; Amaya Collins, Frankton; Khalise Collins, Fort Wayne Wayne; Annika Davis, Fort Wayne Bishop Luers; Mya Davis, Heritage Christian; Alex DeLisle, Speedway; Joh’nea Donahue, Fort Wayne Snider; Gabby Douglass, Anderson; Ava Egolf, Tippecanoe Valley; Aijia Elliott, Kokomo; Alivia Elmore, Jennings County; Jayden Flagg, New Prairie; Becca Gerdt, Valparaiso; Arianna Gerkin, Vincennes Lincoln; Sarah Gick, Benton Central;

Aniyah Henry, Hammond Central; Ella Hickok, Hamilton Heights; Carley Higgins, Paoli; Carrie Hiler, Scottsburg; Kyra Hill, Goshen; Hannah Holmes, Northfield; Peyton Honchar, Morgan Township; Olivia Howell, Eastbrook; Natalie Hubbard, Eminence; Chloe Hunt, Western; Kaidin James, New Washington; Jolie Johns, New Prairie; La’Kyra Johnson, Jeffersonville; Avery Kelley, Evansville Memorial; Ava Kerr, Lanesville; Scarlett Kimbrell, Franklin Community; Grace King, Indianapolis Lutheran; Ava Kingery, Portage; Taylor Kneubuhler, Woodlan; Ella Kunz, North Decatur; Kayla Lacombe, Indianapolis Tech; Taylor Lewis, Indianapolis Cathedral; Elle Marble, Jeffersonville; DeLorean Mason, Southmont; Nicole Mears, Franklin County; Kinsey Mennen, Lewis Cass; Julia Meyer, Jac-Cen-Del; Riley Milausnic, Lake Central; Norah Miller, Evansville Reitz; Kamara Mills, Lawrence North; Sydnee Morris, Blackford; Molly Muhlenkamp, Jay County;

Vanessa Nankwenya, Evansville North; Maddie Nipper, Charlestown; Madelyn Poynter, Lapel; Macy Pries, South Adams; Aleyna Quinn, Castle; Alyssa Quinones, Whiting; Mia Robbennolt, Bloomington North; Sophia Saxman, Jay County; Emma Schipp, Jasper; Luane Schoonbroodt, Union City; Molly Schulte, South Spencer; Kyndra Sheets, Columbia City; Ava Shoemaker, Noblesville; Alyssa Simpson, Rising Sun; Annika Smith, West Central; Emma Sperry, Frankton; Kendall Sterling, Seymour; Miranda Stoll, Maconaquah; Mariah Stoltzfus, Bethany Christian; Rachel Tolen, Benton Central; Taylor Turpin, Shoals; Sophia Wascher, Indiana Deaf; Sarah Werth, West Lafayette; Morgan White, New Prairie; Ruby White, Eastern Hancock; Riley Whitlock, Harrison (West Lafayette); Justyce Williams, Jimtown; Ava Wilson, Shelbyville; Brooklyn York, Franklin Community; Mackenzie York, Western; Addison Zimpleman, Caston

Underclass

Kimber Abshear, jr., Monroe Central; Madi Allen, jr., North Decatur; Shelby Allen, jr., Lanesville; Callie Alston, so., Orleans; Alyssa Anderson, jr., Woodlan; Whitney Ankenbruck, so., Homestead; Jillian Barr, so., Delta; Lauren Bear, jr., Tri-West; Olivia Berzai, so., Indianapolis Bishop Chatard; Hannah Bledsoe, jr., Barr-Reeve; Emily Bleke, jr., Bellmont; Mylee Boling, jr., Beech Grove; Kenedi Bradley, so., Chesterton; Joslyn Bricker, so., Warsaw; Chaney Brown, jr., Greenfield-Central; Hylton Brumley, jr., Lanesville; Maddie Carnes, so., Springs Valley; Anna Caskey, jr., Indianapolis Bishop Chatard; Brynlee Clarke, jr., Northview; Kenley Cornelius, jr., Tri; Ashley Cox, jr., DeKalb; Jaci Crick, jr., Mississinewa; Addison Davis, jr., Danville; Juliana Davis, so., Madison; Tenley Davis, so., Chesterton; Nevaeh Dickman, jr., Fishers; Payton DuVall, fr., Franklin Central; Maci Eckerty, so., Springs Valley; Mollie Ernstes, so., Jennings County;

Maryrose Felling, so., Triton Central; Kila Foster, jr., Bremen; Lily George, so., Carroll (Fort Wayne); Rielyn Goodwin, jr., Northridge; Soriah Gouard, jr., Decatur Central; Ava Grant, jr., Center Grove; Lily Graves, jr., Franklin Central; Bailey Hape, so., Evansville Reitz; Bren Hill, jr., South Knox; Kendal Hill, fr., South Knox; Adah Hupfer, fr., Pendleton Heights; Indiah Hutchinson, so., Hammond Central; Chesney Jackson, fr., Charlestown; Denell Jacobs, so., Warren Central; Madison Keith, jr., Trinity Lutheran; Allison Knoebel, jr., Shawe Memorial; Ayla Krygier, jr., Lake Central; Claire Larrison, fr., Greensburg; Julia Lashley, so., Bloomington South; Maya Layton, so., Faith Christian; Ava McGrade, jr., Lakewood Park Christian; Aniyah McKenzie, so., Lawrence Central; Alex McKinley, jr., North Knox; Avah Montgomery, jr., Southridge; Brynn Owens, so., Austin; Emily Parker, so., Boonville; Kylah Patterson, fr., Hammond Morton; Claire Payne, jr., NorthWood; Jayde Pryor, jr., Tri-Township; C.C. Quigley, so., Noblesville; Riley Rarick, so., Borden; Katie Reed, so., Washington; Carlee Rogers, jr., Jasper; Vanessa Rosswurm, so., Norwell; Kamri Rowland, so., Rensselaer Central;

Allison Scheu, jr., Fishers; Paige Schnaus, fr., Gibson Southern; Lyllee Schnell, jr., Northeast Dubois; Emma Schoen, so., Silver Creek; Shelby Seay, jr., North Central (Farmersburg); Katie Sevier, jr., Wood Memorial; Leah Shappell, so., Leo; Miley Sherrill, fr., Bedford North Lawrence; Maddy Shirley, so., Evansville Central; Avery Smith, so., Providence; Madison Sonsini, jr., Greenfield-Central; Jordan Steele, so., Highland; Kayla Stidham, so., Hamilton Southeastern; Jayma Stonebraker, fr., Whitko; Emery Stroud, so., Crawford County; Lilly Sylvester, so., Yorktown; Marissa Trout, jr., Huntington North; Jessa Troy, jr., Penn; Taylor Van Meter, jr., Rensselaer Central; Josie Vaughn, jr. Corydon Central; Rylea Wetz, jr., Seeger; Mylie Wilkison, jr., Greensburg; Berkeley Williams, so., Plainfield; Jacie Wilson, jr., Sullivan; Sophie Wischmeier, so., Brownstown Central; Brooke Zartman, so., Warsaw

MEN’S TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES

#19 WASHINGTON STATE 75 USC 72

#23 GONZAGA 86 SAN FRANCISCO 68

#17 ST. MARY’S 83 PEPPERDINE 57

ELSEWHERE:

OHIO STATE 78 NEBRASKA 69

RUTGERS 82 MICHIGAN 52

LINDENWOOD 67 SOUTHERN INDIANA 63

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL TOP 25 SCORES

#18 UTAH 82 WASHINGTON STATE 67

#12 NORTH CAROLINA STATE 75 #19 SYRACUSE 71 OT

#17 NOTRE DAME 71 #5 VIRGINIA TECH 58

#7 USC 95 ARIZONA 93 2OT

#22 LOUISVILLE 70 FLORIDA STATE 55

#1 SOUTH CAROLINA 98 ARKANSAS 61

#8 UCLA 70 ARIZONA STATE 41

#13 COLORADO 68 WASHINGTON 62

#9 LSU 80 GEORGIA 54

#4 STANFORD 67 #11 OREGON STATE 63

ELSEWHERE:

MARYLAND 79 WISCONSIN 63

SOUTHERN INDIANA 75 LINDENWOOD 38

DETROIT 64 IUPUI 59

NORTHERN IOWA 78 VALPARAISO 59

MICHIGAN STATE 87 ILLINOIS 70

NBA SCOREBOARD

MILWAUKEE 111 CHARLOTTE 99

ORLANDO 115 UTAH 107

BROOKLYN 124 ATLANTA 97

GOLDEN STATE 110 NEW YORK 99

SAN ANTONIO 132 OKLAHOMA CITY 118

PHOENIX 110 HOUSTON 105

DENVER 103 MIAMI 97

LA LAKERS 134 WASHINGTON 131 OT

NHL SCOREBOARD

FLORIDA 4 MONTRÉAL 3

BUFFALO 3 TAMPA BAY 2 OT

TORONTO 4 ARIZONA 2

BOSTON 5 VEGAS 4

CAROLINA 4 COLUMBUS 2

NY ISLANDERS 5 DETROIT 3

DALLAS 4 WINNIPEG 1

NASHVILLE 6 MINNESOTA 1

COLORADO 5 CHICAGO 0

SEATTLE 2 PITTSBURGH 0

LOS ANGELES 5 VANCOUVER 1

ANAHEIM 6 SAN JOSE 4

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

WASHINGTON 3 ST. LOUIS 1

BOSTON 5 DETROIT 2

ATLANTA 12 TAMPA BAY 9

BALTIMORE 9 PITTSBURGH 8

ATLANTA 5 MINNESOTA 0

PHILADELPHIA 5 TORONTO 0

TEXAS 7 MILWAUKEE 5

COLORADO 10 CHICAGO CUBS 9

CHICAGO WHITE SOX 6 KANSAS CITY 1

SAN DIEGO 5 OAKLAND 3

ARIZONA 2 SAN FRANCISCO 1

CHICAGO WHITE SOX 6 SEATTLE 5

LA ANGELS 4 CLEVELAND 1

HOUSTON 2 NY METS 1

MIAMI 0 NY YANKEES 0

CINCINNATI 5 LA DODGERS 4

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER

NO GAME SCHEDULED

COLLEGE BASEBALL SCORES

NEBRASKA 6 COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON 5 (10)

COLLEGE SOFTBALL SCORES

WASHINGTON 8 MARYLAND 0

TEXAS A&M 6 MICHIGAN 0

CAL STATE FULLERTON 5 MICHIGAN 1

NATIONAL SPORTS RELEASES/HEADLINES

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

ANALYSIS: BIG TEN AND SEC POWER PLAY UNDERMINES CREDIBILITY OF PLAYOFF, MARGINALIZES ACC AND BIG 12

The College Football Playoff unveiled a 12-team format in the spring of 2021 that looked like an exciting step in the evolution of the postseason, with potential to lift the sport’s national profile even further while boosting all five power conferences and keeping the other five relevant.

Three years later, the expanded playoff fans were promised is not what they are getting. It has been twisted and distorted by conference realignment and greed, with more changes being proposed that nobody outside of a few beneficiaries want.

There will be at least two 12-team playoffs, this season and next, but the Power Five is now down to four (RIP, Pac-12), dominated by a Big Two: The Southeastern Conference and Big Ten have decided to throw their weight around to protect their own interests with little regard for what’s best for college football.

Last week, CFP officials acknowledged publicly they are already looking into expanding to 14 or more teams, starting in 2026. Those discussions were prompted, at least in part, by the Big Ten and SEC demanding they get more access to the CFP field in the the form of automatic bids.

So now, the conference commissioners who manage CFP are considering a 14-team model that includes 11 automatic bids: Three each for the Big Ten and SEC, two each for the Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Conference, and one for the top team from the Group of Five conferences.

So instead of the current model — which reserves slots for the five highest-ranked conference champions, regardless of conference, and seven at-large bids — the 3-3-2-2-1 model would grant automatic-qualifier status to six teams that don’t even win their leagues.

If you think that sounds bad, it is better than giving the SEC and Big Ten four auto-bids each, which they also suggested.

This is far from a done deal. The commissioners still need to bring it back to their member schools. Expect some pushback, especially out of the Big 12 and ACC.

“I’m not involved in the negotiations of the CFP extension, but it feels as though there’s two conferences that are trying to stack the deck vs. everyone else, and that’s potentially going to create a competitive inequity that I don’t think is good.,” TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati told reporters Wednesday before the latest news about a 3-3-2-2-1 model was even reported. “I don’t think it’s good for college football.”

Objections might not matter. The Big Ten and SEC hold all the leverage. They could very well cut the rest of college football out altogether, do their own playoff and keep all the money — instead of most it, which is what they want.

It’s also notable that expanding the field from 12 to 14 or even 16 is not likely to bring in more money. ESPN has a six-year offer worth about $7.8 billion on the table and another first-round game or two isn’t changing that.

Everything about this screams solution in search of a problem.

The Big Ten will grow to 18 teams next season after having poached USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington from the Pac-12, basically pushing its longtime Rose Bowl partner off a cliff.

The SEC will have 16 teams, adding Texas and Oklahoma. The Big 12 survived the loss of its bell cows by raiding the Pac-12 and the American Athletic Conference, but is now realizing that it is no longer a football peer to the SEC and Big Ten, with their mega-media rights contracts and joint advisory committee.

Of the top 15 teams in last season’s final AP Top 25 college football poll, 12 will reside in either the SEC (seven) or Big Ten (five) next season.

So why are Big Ten Commissioner Tony Petitti and SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey compelled to strong-arm and marginalize the Big 12 and ACC to guarantee access for their third- or even fourth-best teams when it’s likely they would have had those spots through the selection process as at-large bids?

Pressure from within their own conferences, especially the Big Ten, where coaches and athletic directors will be facing fans demanding CFP appearances as a benchmark for a successful season.

The push for automatic access also suggests Petitti and Sankey don’t trust the 13-member selection committee to properly weigh schedule strength.

Sankey probably doesn’t have to worry as much. Two decades of SEC dominance in college football have all but guaranteed it the benefit of the doubt, as last season’s snub of Florida State for Alabama showed.

The Big Ten, which plays nine conference games to the SEC’s eight, wants to ensure its 10-2 and 9-3 teams receive deference over Big 12 and ACC teams with the same or better records.

But at what cost? Automatic access cuts into the credibility of the playoff, something that was already starting to wane with the four-team CFP, which felt like an invitational and too exclusive.

The biggest problem with the four-team playoff was that it reinforced the tiering of a college football and further separated the haves and have-nots.

The 12-team playoff, when it was introduced in 2021, was touted as a way to increase access and maybe, just a little, redistribute some of the power that had been consolidating among a few teams in a few conferences. The first draft of the 12-team playoff emphasized teams actually winning their way into it and treated conferences as relative equals.

Three years later, it looks like an even bigger invitational that will lead to even more consolidation.

GEORGIA TE BROCK BOWERS COULD DELAY 40, WORKOUT TO PRO DAY

INDIANAPOLIS — Georgia tight end Brock Bowers unquestionably is expected to run into the NFL as a first-round pick, but he’s leaning toward staying on the sideline during the NFL Scouting Combine.

The All-American projected as a top-10 draft pick, Bowers plans to make a decision on participating in on-field workouts and athletic testing with his position group before they take the field at Lucas Oil Stadium on Friday.

“We’ll see. If not tomorrow, definitely on Pro Day,” Bowers said Thursday morning. “We’ll see how I’m feeling tomorrow. Just a personal fit.”

The first back-to-back Mackey Award Winner (2022, 2023) given to the top tight end in college football, Bowers had 31 touchdowns (five rushing) in three seasons at Georgia. In 40 career games, he hauled in 175 receptions for 2,538 yards.

Former New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski is the player Bowers said he grew up watching most. He also studied film of dozens of NFL tight ends during his time at Georgia, where he lined up in the slot, as a traditional tight end and even in the backfield as a running back.

“I loved watching Gronk. He’s kind of like a huge role model for me looking at him growing up. And watching (George) Kittle and (Travis) Kelce,” he said.

If Bowers keeps scouts and general managers waiting for his 40 time and position workout that most expect to be stellar, he’s aware the league might return the favor on draft night. Not out of spite, but Bowers can expect to be monitoring his phone as the pecking order is sorted out at quarterback and wide receiver before he’s selected.

Even so, when he goes on draft night isn’t as vital to Bowers as where he winds up.

“I just want to go to a place I’m wanted and be used and hopefully have a good rookie season,” Bowers said.

During what is a return trip to Indianapolis and the stadium where Georgia won the national title by beating Alabama in 2022, Bowers underwent multiple X-rays and MRI exams that team medical staffs will read to sign off on recovery from previous injuries. Bowers missed a month of the 2023 season recovering from ankle surgery but said he’s fully healthy.

With uncertainty around when he could be drafted, Bowers said he already met with at least 15 teams, recalling formal interviews took place with the Bears, Bengals, Broncos, Colts and met with the Titans, a team that piqued his interest.

“That’s a cool place to live, Nashville, Tennessee,” Bowers said with a smile.

If Bowers opts not to work out at the combine, Georgia’s pro day is an annual must-stop for all 32 teams and is scheduled for March 13.

NFL-BOUND LB PAYTON WILSON OUT TO ERASE INJURY CONCERNS

INDIANAPOLIS — Labels are nothing new to North Carolina State linebacker Payton Wilson, a projected first-round pick determined to shed one particular tag before the 2024 NFL Draft.

Injury prone.

“Throughout my career, early in my career, I did have a lot of injuries,” Wilson said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “But these last two years, I’ve stayed really healthy — put on some extra weight. I’ve really honed in on nutrition and maintenance programs to keep me healthy. I think what I have going on is gonna keep me playing a long time in the NFL and I’m not scared of injuries. At the end of the day, they’re inevitable and I’m going to play every single play like it’s my last. Whatever happens, happens.”

Wilson works out with the linebacker group Thursday and has a little extra bounce in his step after a shorter hospital physical with NFL doctors than expected.

Wilson spent his first season at NC State in 2018 recovering from a high school knee injury and played only two games in 2021 because of a shoulder injury.

“What I have going right now for myself, whether it’s like I said with nutrition and my maintenance programs, I feel like I have sustained a good formula to play for a long time in this league,” he said.

At 6-foot-4 and 238 pounds, Wilson’s size and range in coverage are coveted traits in the NFL. Wilson studies San Francisco 49ers All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner closely, and there are elements of their skill sets that match.

“As a linebacker in today’s league, you’re asked to do a lot in the pass game and just being able to be athletic and understanding route concepts and football IQ is so important,” Wilson said.

He allowed a passer rating of 47.2 as the next closest defender last season and has 10.5 sacks and four interceptions since he made changes to stay fully healthy before the start of the 2022 season.

“I’m just excited to get to continue to prove to everyone that I’m one of the most athletic linebackers to ever come through this combine and I’m looking to impress a lot of people,” Wilson said.

A stellar workout, coupled with expected strong interviews from the football junkie, could help remove the durability doubts for some NFL teams this week.

But there’s another label Wilson knows is going to stick, especially in his hometown of Hillsborough, N.C.

“I tell people all the time, in Raleigh, I’m Payton Wilson, but when we go back to Hillsborough, I’m Bryse Wilson’s little brother,” Payton Wilson said.

Bryse Wilson is a pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers who went 6-0 out of the bullpen last season. For two years at Orange High School, Bryse and Payton Wilson were starting linebackers on defense and had games where they combined for 30-plus tackles. Bryse said Payton is the more “violent” and “fast” of the brothers, but Payton says big brother is still stronger.

“I mean he’s one of those country strong dudes who could walk into a weight room right now and probably out-lift all of us,” Payton Wilson said. “Just getting whooped by him growing up and trying to chase his greatness — honestly just try to be better than him — it was just something I always chased. It might not ever happen because of how great of an athlete he is and what he’s done for our hometown. But just continuing to learn from him and the beatings I
took from him when we were little instilled a lot of toughness into me.”

EX-MICHIGAN, CFL LINEBACKER CRAIG ROH DIES AT 33

Craig Roh, a four-year starter on the defensive line at Michigan from 2009-12, has died at age 33 from colon cancer.

His wife, Chelsea Roh, announced his death on Wednesday on social media. The Rohs have a 2-year-old son, Max.

“Craig was the most driven/disciplined person I have ever met,” Chelsea Roh wrote on Instagram. “He gave 10000% into everything he did, including being a wonderful husband/father. Driving away from our first date, I knew in that moment that my life was changed forever. … Even though he left the world at only 33, Craig lived an amazingly full life. I’m not sure how I’m going to live the rest of my days without him, but I will put one foot in front of the other for our beautiful little boy.”

According to a GoFundMe page set up to pay for medical expenses and Max’s education, Roh was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in August 2022.

“Craig did not want to go public with his diagnosis and battle because, in true Craig fashion, he did not want the attention to be on him,” the fundraiser page reads. “From chemo, to targeted therapy, to clinical trials at MD Anderson (in Houston) and in Honduras, Craig was resilient till the very end.”

Roh started a program-record 51 straight games at Michigan after twice being named Gatorade Player of the Year in his native Arizona. He later spent one season with the Carolina Panthers and five in the Canadian Football League, where he won the Grey Cup with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2019.

The Rohs moved to Austin, Texas, where Craig Roh worked at tech startups and also started an online business teaching the techniques of coaching defensive lines.

“I am saddened to hear about the passing of former defensive end Craig Roh, our program’s all-time leader in career starts,” new Michigan football coach Sherrone Moore posted to social media. “My heart goes out to his family during this difficult time. The entire Roh family is in my thoughts and prayers and we hope for peace and comfort for all who knew this great Wolverine.”

IOWA DB COOPER DEJEAN RUNNING, NOT READY TO TEST FOR SCOUTS

INDIANAPOLIS — Iowa defensive back Cooper DeJean resumed running full speed last week and his recovery from a broken fibula in November is on schedule.

But DeJean said at the NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday that he’s not ready for athletic testing or on-field position drills and plans to hold a workout for scouts “sometime before the draft.” He’s unlikely to be ready to participate in Iowa’s pro day scheduled for March 18.

DeJean played cornerback at Iowa but NFL teams are discussing a hybrid role with him that could intertwine responsibilities of a safety, cornerback and slot cornerback.

“I feel like I have the ability to play multiple different positions on the back end,” DeJean said.

Speed and suddenness are trademarks that made him one of the top playmakers for the Hawkeyes, and scouts expect him to test very well eventually in events such as the 40-yard dash, vertical, short shuttle and broad jump.

Where he goes in the 2024 NFL Draft might be dependent upon how the top of the draft shakes out. DeJean said he has met with the Arizona Cardinals, who have multiple first-round picks and another unique secondary weapon in Budda Baker, and the Pittsburgh Steelers among several others.

DeJean peppered Green Bay Packers 2023 first-round pick Lukas Van Ness and another former Iowa teammate, Broncos cornerback Riley Moss, about what to expect this week.

But Big Ten seasoning as a leader of a dominant defense at Iowa might have DeJean ready to step into a starring role immediately. He said the conference delivered big tests every Saturday, but one stands out as the most difficult.

“Marvin Harrison Jr.,” DeJean said of the Ohio State receiver and likely top-5 pick. “The name speaks for itself.”

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

TOP 25 ROUNDUP: NO. 17 SAINT MARY’S SEALS OUTRIGHT WCC TITLE

Augustas Marciulionis scored 17 points and matched his career high of 11 assists and No. 17 Saint Mary’s clinched its first outright West Coast Conference regular-season title since the 2011-12 season with an 83-57 victory over Pepperdine on Thursday night at Malibu, Calif.

Luke Barrett added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Gaels (24-6, 15-0 WCC), who own the nation’s longest current winning streak at 16 games. Alex Ducas had 12 points and 10 rebounds, Mason Forbes had 11 points and Mitchell Saxen scored 10 before fouling out for Saint Mary’s.

The Gaels shot 59.6 percent from the field, had a 37-24 rebounding edge and led by as many as 27 points while beating the Waves for the 15th time in the past 17 meetings. Saint Mary’s, which will be the No. 1 seed for the upcoming WCC tournament, closes the regular season at home against No. 23 Gonzaga on Saturday night.

Jevon Porter scored 22 points for Pepperdine (12-19, 5-11), which led for just 35 seconds. WCC scoring leader Michael Ajayi had just seven points on 3-of-11 shooting for the Waves.

No. 19 Washington State 75, Southern California 72

Andrej Jakimovski and reserve Isaiah Watts each scored 18 points as the Cougars rallied down the stretch to beat the Trojans in Pullman, Wash.

Washington State (22-7, 13-5 Pac-12) didn’t take its first lead until Watts drained a 3-pointer with 2:35 left to make it 68-67. Jaylen Wells gave them the lead for good on a short jumper with 1:58 left, then drilled a 3-pointer at the 1:18 mark for a 73-69 lead.

Isaiah Collier scored a game-high 24 points for USC (11-17, 5-12). Boogie Ellis and Kobe Johnson each missed 3-point attempts that would have tied the game in the final six seconds.

No. 23 Gonzaga 86, San Francisco 68

Graham Ike scored a game-high 26 points and No. 23 Gonzaga celebrated its return to the Top 25 with a win over the host Dons at the Golden State Warriors’ arena.

Nolan Hickman added 22 points for the Bulldogs (23-6, 13-2 WCC), who won their seventh straight game. Ryan Nembhard contributed 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

Malik Thomas scored 21 points for the Dons (22-8, 11-4), who were hoping to beat the Zags and make a late push toward a possible NCAA Tournament at-large berth. Jonathan Mogbo added 14 points and 11 rebounds.

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

IOWA’S CAITLIN CLARK DECLARES FOR WNBA DRAFT: WHAT TO KNOW

The news we thought might not come until March or even April instead rocked the basketball world on the final day of leap-year February: Caitlin Clark will not return for a fifth season at Iowa, and instead will enter the WNBA draft.

Clark made her announcement on Thursday afternoon via social media. She now has 3,650 points, and is 18 from passing LSU’s Pete Maravich for the NCAA men’s and women’s scoring mark.

That could come in what will now be her final regular-season home game on Sunday, as the Hawkeyes face Big Ten regular-season champion Ohio State. Senior day will indeed be an emotional one at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, which has been sold out all season as fans clamor to see Clark and her teammates.

The news is not just big for college basketball, but also for the WNBA. The projected No. 1 picks the past two seasons — Kentucky’s Rhyne Howard (2022) and South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston (2023) — both opted not to utilize the COVID-19 waiver for a fifth season and were indeed picked first. Both were WNBA rookie of the year winners.

Clark is a lock as the top pick, and exactly what the Indiana Fever need: a scoring point guard to pair with young posts like Boston and 2022 No. 2 pick NaLyssa Smith. The Fever haven’t reached the playoffs since Tamika Catchings retired in 2016.

WOMEN’S TOP 25 ROUNDUP: NO. 17 IRISH RUN PAST NO. 5 VA. TECH

Hannah Hidalgo piled up 23 points, 12 rebounds and six assists as No. 17 Notre Dame upset No. 5 Virginia Tech 71-58 on Thursday night in South Bend, Ind.

Maddy Westbeld also had a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds as the Irish (22-6, 12-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) won their fourth straight game while snapping a 10-game win streak for the Hokies (23-5, 14-3). Notre Dame also got 21 points and five rebounds from Sonia Citron.

Georgia Amoore paced Virginia Tech with 20 points, while Elizabeth Kitley had 12 points and nine rebounds. Matilda Ekh also scored 12 points.

Notre Dame outrebounded Virginia Tech 43-29 and outscored the Hokies 15-2 on fastbreaks.

No. 12 North Carolina State 75, No. 19 Syracuse 71 (OT)

Saniya Rivers scored 22 points to help the Wolfpack snap a two-game skid and outlast the Orange in overtime at Raleigh, N.C.

Rivers also had eight rebounds and a team-high five assists for NC State (24-5, 12-5 ACC), while River Baldwin added 13 points and 13 rebounds. Mimi Collins chipped in 15 points.

Dyaisha Fair powered Syracuse (23-6, 13-5) with 26 points. Georgia Woolley and Izabel Varejao each scored 14 points.

It seemed as if NC State won at the end of regulation, but referees signaled for a foul on Wolfpack guard Aziaha James with 0.1 seconds remaining. Alyssa Latham then hit two free throws for the Orange to send the game into overtime.

No. 18 Utah 82, Washington State 67

Kennady McQueen scored 22 points to help the Utes beat the Cougars in Salt Lake City.

Utah (21-8, 11-6 Pac-12) also got 21 points and 12 rebounds from Alissa Pili plus 13 points and six assists from Ines Vieira. Lani White added 11 points and Dasia Young had 10 off the bench.

Bella Murekatete led Washington State (17-13, 6-11) with 14 points, while Kyra Gardner added 13 and Tara Wallack had 11.

Utah jumped out to a 25-10 first-quarter lead and never trailed in the game. The Utes won the rebounding battle 37-28 and shot 44 percent (11 of 25) from 3-point range.

No. 22 Louisville 70, Florida State 55

Nyla Harris and Olivia Cochran each had a double-double as the Cardinals raced away from the visiting Seminoles.

Harris had 11 points and 15 rebounds while Cochrane piled up 16 points and 11 boards for Louisville (23-7, 12-5 ACC). Sydney Taylor added 16 points and Kiki Jefferson scored 12.

Mikayla Timpson had 17 points and 11 rebounds for Florida State (20-9, 11-6), while Ta’Niya Latson added 18 points.

Florida State shot just 2-for-20 from 3-point distance, and Louisville outrebounded the Seminoles 57-32.

NBA NEWS

EMBIID HOPES TO RETURN THIS SEASON

Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid is determined to return this season as he recovers from a knee injury.

Embiid expressed that so long as he’s healthy enough to suit up, he’ll be in the 76ers’ lineup.

“It’s the same mindset: If I feel good, I’m playing,” Embiid told reporters, including The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey.

Embiid declined to offer a timeline on his recovery from a procedure to his left meniscus that he underwent in early February. It was reported at the time that he would be re-evaluated in four weeks.

He was in line for a second straight MVP nod this season, averaging 35.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 5.7 assists in 34 appearances. Because of his near month-long absence, he will not meet the 65-game eligibility requirement for the league’s top individual award.

The 76ers have sputtered without their best player, going 4-8 since Embiid last played against the Golden State Warriors on Jan. 30.

Philadelphia has slipped to sixth in the Eastern Conference with a 33-25 record and is 0.5 games ahead of the 8-seed Orlando Magic.

NBA ROUNDUP: NUGGETS HOLD ON TO BEAT HEAT IN FINALS REMATCH

Michael Porter Jr. scored 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Denver Nuggets withstood a late rally by the visiting Miami Heat to win 103-97 on Thursday in a rematch of last season’s NBA Finals.

Miami used a 14-5 run to pull within 99-95 with 52.5 seconds remaining, and Jimmy Butler scored with 10.7 seconds left to make it a two-point game. Nikola Jokic then made two foul shots and the Nuggets held on for their fifth straight win. The Nuggets snapped the Heat’s five-game winning streak despite playing without guard Jamal Murray for the entire second half due to a right ankle sprain.

Jokic finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, ending his run of four consecutive triple-doubles. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also scored 18 points and Aaron Gordon finished with 16 points and nine rebounds for Denver, which never trailed.

Bam Adebayo led Miami with 22 points and eight boards. Butler added 21 points.

Lakers 134, Wizards 131 (OT)

Anthony Davis scored 40 points and grabbed 15 rebounds and LeBron James added 31 points as Los Angeles got past visiting Washington in overtime.

D’Angelo Russell scored 22 points and Austin Reaves had 12 as the Lakers shook off the pesky Wizards. James, who also had nine assists, is now nine points away from becoming the first player in NBA history to reach 40,000.

Jordan Poole scored 34 points, but the Wizards could not avoid their 13th consecutive defeat. They went 0-12 in February. Marvin Bagley III scored 23 points and Corey Kispert and Kuzma each added 20. Deni Avdija recorded 15 points and 15 rebounds.

Warriors 110, Knicks 99

Stephen Curry produced 31 points and 11 rebounds for Golden State, which never trailed in a win at New York.

Jonathan Kuminga scored 25 points while Klay Thompson (16 points) and Chris Paul (11 points) each got into double figures off the bench for the Warriors, who have won seven straight road games.

Jalen Brunson, back after missing one game due to a neck ailment, scored 27 points to lead the Knicks, who finished 4-8 during an injury-plagued month. Josh Hart added 14 points and 18 rebounds.

Spurs 132, Thunder 118

Victor Wembanyama racked up 28 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and five blocks and Devin Vassell also scored 28 points as host San Antonio ended Oklahoma City’s six-game winning streak.

Jeremy Sochan added 21 points for San Antonio, and Tre Jones scored 17.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 31 points while Jalen Williams added 26, Chet Holmgren scored 23 and Isaiah Joe tallied 15 points off the bench.

Nets 124, Hawks 97

Cameron Johnson scored a season-high 29 points and hit seven 3-pointers as Brooklyn earned a crucial victory over Atlanta in the home debut of interim coach Kevin Ollie.

Dennis Schroder added 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in his best outing since joining the Nets at the trade deadline. Mikal Bridges contributed 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists as the Nets improved to 2-3 since Ollie took over for Jacque Vaughn and moved within three games of Atlanta for the final play-in spot in the Eastern Conference.

Dejounte Murray scored 28 points for the Hawks, who dropped two games behind the ninth-place Chicago Bulls.

Bucks 111, Hornets 99

Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in 24 points and Milwaukee had another convincing victory against Charlotte.

Antetokounmpo shot 10-for-15 and added 10 rebounds and five assists for the Bucks, who improved to 4-0 since the All-Star break, including a 123-85 win over the Hornets on Tuesday. Malik Beasley provided 19 points and Damian Lillard 17.

Brandon Miller racked up 21 points for Charlotte, but it came on 8-for-21 shooting. Grant Williams had 17 points, Miles Bridges posted 15 points and 10 rebounds and Seth Curry supplied 13 points.

Suns 110, Rockets 105

Devin Booker recorded 35 points and seven rebounds to help Phoenix defeat visiting Houston.

Kevin Durant added 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists as the Suns won their second straight game. Jusuf Nurkic had 16 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots.

Jalen Green made a season-high seven 3-pointers while scoring 34 points for the Rockets, who lost for the ninth time in the past 11 games. Fred VanVleet contributed 21 points.

Magic 115, Jazz 107

Paolo Banchero scored 29 points in his return from a two-game absence caused by an illness, lifting Orlando to a home win over Utah.

Banchero made 10 of 16 shots, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out six assists to help the Magic win for the fifth time in six games. Orlando’s Jalen Suggs added 15 points, all in the second half, and hit three clutch 3-pointers in the final three minutes.

John Collins, Collin Sexton and Keyonte George each scored 19 points for the struggling Jazz, who have lost seven of eight games. Lauri Markkanen added 18 points, while Collins hauled in a team-high 10 boards.

NHL NEWS

NHL ROUNDUP: MORGAN GEEKIE’S HAT TRICK LEADS BRUINS PAST KNIGHTS

Mason Lohrei scored the game-winning goal with 4:37 left in the third period and Morgan Geekie netted his first career hat trick as the Boston Bruins held off the visiting Vegas Golden Knights 5-4 on Thursday night.

Boston let a 3-0 lead slip as Chandler Stephenson scored a short-handed goal at 5:01 of the third to tie the game at 4-4. However, Kevin Shattenkirk set up Lohrei for the power-play one-timer that clinched the game following a kill of defenseman Matt Grzelcyk’s minor seconds earlier.

Geekie became the fifth Bruin to net a three-goal game this season.

Jesper Boqvist also scored, David Pastrnak and Shattenkirk each had two assists and Jeremy Swayman made 32 saves for Boston.

Chandler Stephenson had a goal and an assist to lead Vegas, which is 2-5-1 in its past eight games. Paul Cotter, Alex Pietrangelo and Michael Amadio also scored and Adin Hill made 27 saves for the Golden Knights.

Kings 5, Canucks 1

Drew Doughty and Kevin Fiala produced one goal and two assists apiece to pace visiting Los Angeles over Vancouver.

Anze Kopitar and Trevor Moore both collected one goal and one assist, and Brandt Clarke also tallied as the Kings snapped a two-game skid. Cam Talbot made 22 saves and Quinton Byfield collected two assists. Doughty’s first assist of the night was the 500th of his career.

Brock Boeser replied for the Pacific Division-leading Canucks, who are on a 1-5-1 slide. Thatcher Demko stopped 15 shots.

Panthers 4, Canadiens 3 (SO)

Anton Lundell scored the deciding goal in the shootout, leading host Florida past Montreal in Sunrise, Fla.

Florida’s Sam Reinhart posted two goals – No. 40 and 41 – and one assist. He joined Pavel Bure, Matthew Tkachuk and Carter Verhaeghe as the only 40-goal scorers in Panthers history. Aleksander Barkov scored in regulation for the Panthers, and he had the other successful Florida shot in the four-round shootout. Panthers backup goalie Anthony Stolarz made 28 saves through overtime to earn the win.

Montreal, which has lost six of its past seven games, got one goal each from Alex Newhook, Nick Suzuki and 19-year-old Juraj Slafkovsky. Sam Montembeault – a former Panthers goalie — made 32 saves.

Islanders 5, Red Wings 3

Mathew Barzal scored the go-ahead goal in the third period, Brock Nelson scored twice and visiting New York snapped Detroit’s six-game winning streak.

Casey Cizikas and Pierre Engvall also scored for the Islanders, while Ilya Sorokin made 23 saves.

Detroit’s Patrick Kane extended his point streak to 10 games with a goal. Olli Maatta scored the Wings’ two other goals, while Lyon stopped 22 shots.

Maple Leafs 4, Coyotes 2

William Nylander had a goal and two assists as Toronto defeated visiting Arizona in Sheldon Keefe’s 200th win as the Maple Leafs’ coach.

Matthew Knies added a goal and an assist and Tyler Bertuzzi and Auston Matthews also scored for the Maple Leafs, who have won eight of nine. Joseph Woll, making his first start since suffering a sprained ankle on Dec. 7, made 30 saves.

Toronto defenseman Mark Giordano was helped off the ice in the first period when he lost his balance and crashed into the end boards. He did not return. Alex Kerfoot and Logan Cooley scored for the Coyotes, who are 0-12-2 in their past 14 games. Connor Ingram stopped 22 shots.

Hurricanes 4, Blue Jackets 2

Defenseman Brady Skjei collected a goal and an assist to lift visiting Carolina to a victory over Columbus.

Teuvo Teravainen and Sebastian Aho also scored during Carolina’s three-goal second period and Seth Jarvis found the empty net in the third. Spencer Martin, who made 20 saves on Thursday, has stopped 119 of 129 shots to improve to 4-0-1 since being claimed off waivers from the Blue Jackets on Jan. 19.

Columbus’ Alexander Nylander recorded a goal and an assist in his third game since being acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins last Thursday. Cole Sillinger scored his second goal in as many days and Daniil Tarasov turned aside 28 shots for the Blue Jackets, who have lost six of their last nine games.

Ducks 6, Sharks 4

Adam Henrique had a goal and two assists for visiting Anaheim in a win against San Jose.

Alex Killorn had a goal and an assist and John Gibson made 24 saves for the Ducks, who had lost three in a row.

Anthony Duclair had two goals and an assist, Mike Hoffman had a goal and an assist, Mikael Granlund had three assists and Kaapo Kahkonen made 24 saves for the Sharks, who have lost five in a row.

Stars 4, Jets 1

Joe Pavelski and Roope Hintz each had a goal with an assist as Dallas continued its season success over visiting Winnipeg.

The teams entered the night tied atop the tight Central Division, but Dallas was hot from the start, scoring three even-strength goals in the first period to take a 3-0 lead. Pavelski set up Jason Robertson for his 20th goal, then extended the lead later in the period for the Stars, who recorded more than two goals for the first time in six games while improving to 3-0-0 against Winnipeg this season. Logan Stankoven scored the third goal in his four-game NHL career for Dallas, which entered amid a 1-3-3 stretch. Jake Oettinger made 25 saves for the victory.

The Jets had won four straight and seven of eight, but they managed just Vladislav Namestnikov’s second-period goal. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 32 shots for Winnipeg, which has been outscored 9-3 in the three games against Dallas this season.

Avalanche 5, Blackhawks 0

Zach Parise had two goals and an assist for visiting Colorado in a win over Chicago.

Nathan MacKinnon collected a goal and an assist to reach the 100-point plateau, Ross Colton and Devon Toews scored and Justus Annunen made 24 saves for the Avalanche to log his first NHL shutout. MacKinnon picked up his 539th career assist, moving him past Peter Forsberg for third place in franchise history.

Petr Mrazek made 29 saves for the Blackhawks, who have lost five straight (0-3-2) and 13 of their past 14 games (1-10-3).

Predators 6, Wild 1

Roman Josi had a goal and two assists and Juuse Saros made 33 saves as host Nashville beat Minnesota and extended its winning streak to a season-high seven games.

Yakov Trenin and Cole Smith scored eight seconds apart in the first period and Filip Forsberg, Ryan O’Reilly and Ryan McDonagh also scored for Nashville. Gustav Nyquist and Colton Sissons each added a pair of assists.

Connor Dewar scored for the Wild, who lost for the 11th time in their past 13 trips (2-8-3) to Nashville. Filip Gustavsson, who had a five-game road win streak snapped, made 25 saves.

Sabres 3, Lightning 2 (OT)

Buffalo’s Rasmus Dahlin netted a power-play goal 1:42 into overtime and the visiting Sabres beat Tampa Bay to win for the fourth time in five games.

After the Lightning’s Nikita Kucherov went off for hooking Tage Thompson early in the extra session, Dahlin finished a give-and-go with Casey Mittelstadt as Buffalo improved to 8-2-0 in road matches since Jan. 1. Alex Tuch and Thompson also scored and Buffalo goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 21 saves to record his 18th win.

The Lightning got goals from Brayden Point and Mitchell Chaffee. NHL points leader Nikita Kucherov notched an assist to bring his point total to 104.

Kraken 2, Penguins 0

Philipp Grubauer made 33 saves for his first shutout of the season as Seattle defeated visiting Pittsburgh.

Alex Wennberg had a goal and an assist and Oliver Bjorkstrand also tallied for the Kraken, who improved to 5-1-1 in their past seven games.

Tristan Jarry stopped 26 shots for the Penguins, who had a three-game winning streak end.

NHL FINES SABRES COACH GRANATO AND MAPLE LEAFS COACH KEEFE $25,000 EACH FOR ARGUING WITH OFFICIALS

The NHL issued $25,000 fines each to Buffalo Sabres coach Don Granato and Toronto Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe for separate instances of unprofessional conduct directed at officials.

The league deemed Thursday that both coaches crossed the line during games on Tuesday night.

Granato was issued a bench minor in the third period of Buffalo’s 3-2 loss at Florida, after questioning officials for penalizing Zach Benson for tripping, while suggesting they missed several calls against the Panthers earlier in the game.

“At some point, you’ve got to stand up for your team,” Granato said following the game in explaining what sent him over the top. “You’re put in that position as a coach. It’s a tough position to be in. But you can’t sit and watch.”

The same night in Toronto, Keefe was ejected in the final minutes of a 6-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights, which snapped the Leafs’ seven-game win streak.

“Not going there,” Keefe said in declining to explain what set him off. Keefe appeared to be upset by a tripping penalty assessed to Toronto forward Mitch Marner a few minutes before he was ejected, and shortly after the Leafs cut their deficit to 4-2.

They are the second and third coaches fined by the NHL this season, joining Anaheim Ducks coach Greg Cronin, who was also fined $25,000 for the same reason in October.

The money will got to the NHL Foundation.

BASEBALL NEWS

SPRING TRAINING ROUNDUP: FORREST WALL (2 HRS, 6 RBIS) POWERS BRAVES

Forrest Wall hit three-run home runs in back-to-back innings for the Atlanta Braves, who held on for a 12-9 win over the host Tampa Bay Rays in spring training action on Thursday in Port Charlotte, Fla.

Wall chased Rays starter Zach Eflin (0-1) with a bomb to right field in the second inning before expanding Atlanta’s lead to 10-0 in the second by taking Naoyuki Uwasawa to left. Wall is up to three home runs this spring.

David Fletcher stole home for the Braves and went 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI single and two runs. Marcell Ozuna added a solo shot and starter Dylan Dodd (1-0) tossed two spotless innings with two strikeouts.

Tampa Bay trailed 12-2 entering the bottom of the sixth but scored the final seven runs of the game before running out of time. Austin Shenton racked up four RBIs on two infield singles.

Braves 5, Twins 0

Spencer Strider fanned five over three scoreless innings as host Atlanta swept its pair of games by blanking Minnesota in North Port, Fla.

Ronald Acuna Jr. hit an RBI double to open the scoring and Michael Harris II drove in runs on singles in the fourth and sixth innings for the Braves. Atlanta held Minnesota to five hits while striking out 11 batters.

Kody Funderburk (0-1) gave up four runs (three earned) on four hits and a walk while striking out two over 1 2/3 innings in relief of starter Chris Paddack, who had two scoreless, hitless innings.

Orioles 9, Pirates 8

Daniel Johnson drove in Errol Robinson to complete a four-run comeback in the bottom of the ninth as host Baltimore edged Pittsburgh in Sarasota, Fla.

With one out, pinch hitter Silas Ardoin hit a two-run triple to begin the charge, and Robinson singled Ardoin home to tie the game before stealing second. Their heroics made a winner out of reliever Tucker Davidson (1-0), who struck out two while giving up a run on two hits over two innings.

Henry Davis, the No. 1 overall draft pick by the Pirates in 2021, hit a three-run homer off Orioles starter Corbin Burnes in the top of the first. Connor Sadzeck (0-1) blew the save.

Red Sox 5, Tigers 2

Rafael Devers hit a solo home run and finished 2-for-3 with two runs as Boston defeated visiting Detroit in Fort Myers, Fla.

Trevor Story added RBIs on a double and a bases-loaded walk, while starter Garrett Whitlock (1-0) fanned six batters over three innings, yielding a run on three hits.

Ryan Kreidler and Trei Cruz drove in the Tigers’ runs. Reese Olson (0-2) allowed two runs on four hits over two innings but struck out three.

Nationals 3, Cardinals 1

Lane Thomas and James Wood hit back-to-back home runs to lead off the game to lift Washington past host St. Louis in Jupiter, Fla.

Thomas’ homer to left and Wood’s shot to center came off Kyle Gibson (0-1), who later allowed a third earned run on a wild pitch. Nationals starter Patrick Corbin (1-1) struck out four and allowed three hits in three scoreless frames.

Cesar Prieto drove in the Cardinals’ only run of the game on a single in the bottom of the ninth. Both teams managed just five hits.

Phillies 5, Blue Jays 0

Trea Turner went 2-for-3 with an RBI and seven Philadelphia pitchers combined to allow just four hits in a shutout of host Toronto in Dunedin, Fla.

Max Castillo and Kolby Allard (1-0) set the tone by each pitching two innings with one hit, one walk and one strikeout. The final five relievers combined to yield just two hits while accounting for five of the Jays batters’ seven strikeouts. Colin Pache added a solo homer for the Phillies.

Jose Berrios started for the Blue Jays and gave up two hits in two scoreless innings. Connor Cooke (0-1) allowed Turner’s go-ahead hit.

THE PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES ARE SCRAPPING $1 HOT DOG NIGHTS FOLLOWING UNRULY FAN BEHAVIOR

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — For more than a quarter-century, Phillies fans considered dollar hot dog night among the best ballpark promotions — but the team has now decided it was the wurst.

Those dog days of April — when the Philly weather is cold and the wieners are a steal — are going, going, gone.

The Phillies officially ended the popular promotion Thursday and replaced dollar dogs on select dates with a 2-for-1 deal at two April games at Citizens Bank Park.

A statement from the team said the change was made “based on the organization’s ongoing commitment to provide a positive experience for all fans in attendance.”

What wasn’t positive about dollar dog nights?

Armed with projectile frankfurters, some unruly Phillies fans began chucking their favorite Hatfield meat during a game last year, and the dogs soared like cans of corn throughout the stands and onto the field. The demand for the discount dogs also led to clogged lanes — if not arteries — on the concourse, and the cramped spaces led to security and safety concerns.

Who needs snowballs?

An April 11 game last season turned into a Philly food fight when fans — largely good-naturedly — tossed their ballpark franks in several sections, leading to multiple ejections.

“It wasn’t just the throwing,” said John Weber, senior vice president, Phillies ticket operations and projects. “It’s the concourse, the crowds of everybody being at the same X amount of stands. But obviously, you know, the throwing was a little bit of a tipping point.”

To be frank, the Phillies don’t necessarily need the deal these days to pack in crowds. The Phillies started the promotion 27 years ago when they still played at cavernous Veterans Stadium to try and boost ticket sales on an otherwise dreary game night.

But the Phillies stuck with the food-frenzy deal through the decades, even as they rose again to become one of the best teams in the National League. The Phillies topped 3 million fans last season — and scheduled three dollar dog nights for two April and one May weeknight game when attendance is generally down compared to weekend games.

“The idea originally was much more family-orientated, four, five, six people and having a discounted concession item,” Weber said. “As it’s morphed over time, it’s gone more to a younger demographic, which is great as well, especially in the April, May timeframe.”

The Phillies BOGO nights this season are April 2 against the Reds and April 16 against the Rockies.

Aramark did not provide sales totals for 2023.

The company said ahead of the 2022 World Series when the Phillies played the Houston Astros that 1 of every 3 fans eats a hot dog at Citizens Bank Park and an average 6,951 hot dogs were sold per game — enough to line Ashburn Alley five times.

The Phillies kept a running dollar dog sold tally on the scoreboard for each game they were marked down.

The Phillies first caught blowback in 2022 when they tried to scale back from three dollar dog nights to two.

The unpopular move failed to cut the mustard with fans — even in the highest branches of state government. Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey responded to a writer for the Crossing Broad website who complained about the decision with a post on social media that read, “I agree, more Dollar Dog Nights. @Phillies Let’s do this.”

Casey was a hot dog here when one more dog night was added to the schedule.

He took a high road on Thursday, posting on social media, “Double ( hot dog emoji ) sounds like a great way to fuel up for #RedOctober.”

Phillies fans still grilled the decision on social media.

By mid-afternoon, one apparel shop already had a T-shirt made lamenting the decision with the inscription “RIP dollar dog night. Pork Flew. Heads Rolled.”

“Our goal is to always give a great fan experience,” Weber said. “If you were there at the game, it was not a great experience.”

If cheap meats are still your thing at the old ballgame, head across the state to Pittsburgh, where the Pirates will hold at least six $1 hot dog nights. Just a long relay throw south down I-95, the Class-A Wilmington Blue Rocks offer $2 dog Wednesdays.

The Texas Rangers sell dollar dogs at every Wednesday home game and the Minnesota Twins put extra buns in the oven for their $1 dog deal on each Tuesday home game. The Kansas City Royals are among the teams that still offer low-cost hot dogs.

Just not in Philly anymore, where some bad apples spoiled the Phillies’ appetite for a good-dog deal.

“Hopefully our fans will still come out and view two hot dogs for five dollars as a value and support the team in those two April dates that we have,” Weber said.

Hey, there is still a chance in Philly to always snag a free hot dog — just catch one out of the Phanatic’s famed hot dog launcher.

SON OF BLUE JAYS’ ERIK SWANSON OUT OF PEDIATRIC INTENSIVE CARE AFTER BEING HIT BY CAR

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — Toronto Blue Jays reliever Erik Swanson’s son Toby has been discharged from the pediatric intensive care unit.

The 4-year-old boy was hit by a car Sunday in Clearwater and was airlifted in critical condition to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.

Swanson’s wife, Madison, shared the update on her son’s recovery in an Instagram story Wednesday night.

“We have been overwhelmed with a huge amount of love and support over the last few days,” she wrote.

“The most important update is that Toby is out of the PICU and we are continuing to take it day by day.”

Police and fire crews responded to a struck pedestrian call Sunday morning in Clearwater involving a young boy who sustained potentially life-threatening injuries, Clearwater Police said Tuesday in a news release.

“We are so grateful for the speedy first responders to the accident, to the pedestrians that helped as we waited the next step, and to the amazing staff at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital,” Madison Swanson wrote on Instagram. “Someone has truly been watching over my little man.”

The child was struck by a 2024 Ford Expedition being operated by a valet driver near the Opal Sands Resort, according to an updated release issued by public information officer Rob Shaw.

The driver remained on scene and was co-operating with the investigation, the release said. Details on the injuries were not released.

LONGTIME RANGERS COACH HECTOR ORTIZ DIES OF CANCER AT 54

Longtime Texas Rangers coach and former major leaguer Hector Ortiz died Wednesday after a prolonged battle with cancer, the club announced. He was 54.

Ortiz had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2020, but he remained on the minor league development staff for the past three years. He was a member of the major league staff from 2015-20 under former managers Jeff Banister and Chris Woodward. His roles included first-base coach, bullpen coach and catching coordinator.

The club said he was being treated at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, near the Rangers’ spring training home in Surprise, Ariz.

“Mr. Ortiz was a beloved member of the Texas Rangers organization who had an enormous impact as a teacher of the game, a mentor to players and staff, and a loyal friend to so many,” the Rangers said in a statement. “He brought a positive attitude and spirit to the ballpark each and every day, and his influence on the Rangers’ baseball operations department will not soon be forgotten.

Ortiz also coached in the Rangers’ minor league system and in the Puerto Rican Winter League.

A native of Puerto Rico, Ortiz was a catcher over parts of three seasons for the Kansas City Royals (1998, 2000-01) and Rangers (2022). He batted .288 with a .339 on-base percentage, .358 slugging percentage, one home run and 18 RBIs in 260 at-bats over 93 games.

The Los Angeles Dodgers selected Ortiz in the 35th round of the 1988 MLB Draft out of Ranger and Paris junior colleges in Texas.

The Rangers were set to observe a moment of silence for Ortiz before Thursday’s spring training game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Surprise Stadium.

AUTO RACING

WEEKEND PREVIEW: LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

The 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season continues in earnest on Sunday in Sin City, and William Byron already has a leg up on the competition.

With two superspeedway races behind him, the Daytona 500 winner is eager to see how his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet will perform with NASCAR’s intermediate speedway rules package in the Pennzoil 400 Presented by Jiffy Lube at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

“I’m curious to see who’s fast, who’s got the aero advantage or disadvantage, and where all that stacks up,” Byron said on Monday at the Hendrick campus after Daytona International Speedway president Frank Kelleher presented him with the rewards of his Feb.19 Daytona 500 win.

“You can do a lot of work in the wind tunnel and all these things, but when you get to the race track, that’s the proof. So, we’ll see. Hopefully, we’re really good. Hopefully, our car drives well.”

If the No. 24 Camaro performs as it did a year ago, Byron will be a strong contender to win a second race in three 2024 starts. Last season at Las Vegas, Byron swept the first two stages of a Cup race for the first time in his career, led 176 of 271 laps and beat teammate Kyle Larson to the finish line by 0.622 seconds in overtime.

Another driver eager for an excellent result at Las Vegas is Joey Logano, who has three victories at the 1.5-mile track on the north side of the city — tied with former teammate Brad Keselowski for most among full-time active drivers.

Logano won the pole position for the Daytona 500 and qualified second for last Sunday’s race at Atlanta, but his finishes didn’t match the quality of his starts. The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford ran 32nd at Daytona and 28th at Atlanta, leaving him 31st in the NASCAR Cup standings and badly in need of improvement this weekend.

The good news is that Vegas is one of Logano’s best tracks. His average finish there is 10.0 in 21 starts, with seven top fives and 12 top 10s to his credit.

Larson has an even better record Las Vegas than Logano. After finishing second to Byron last March, the driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet won the Playoff race in October by 0.082 seconds over fast-closing Christopher Bell.

In 15 Las Vegas starts, Larson boasts two victories, four runner-up finishes and 11 top 10s — for an average result of 9.9. After crashing out of the Atlanta race for the fourth time in five starts after the reconfiguration of the track, the 2021 series champion should be a contender on Sunday.

–Can any other NASCAR Xfinity driver stop the juggernaut named Austin Hill?

There’s an old axiom that posits that it’s better to be lucky than good.

So, what happens when you have both factors in your favor?

Answer: You’re Austin Hill, and you win back-to-back NASCAR Xfinity Series races to start the 2024 season.

Hill won the rain-delayed United Auto Rentals 300 at Daytona on Feb. 19, taking the checkered flag in the season-opener for the third straight year.

Five days later, he won at Atlanta when Richard Childress Racing teammate and pole winner Jesse Love-and a host of others-ran out of fuel late in an event that went to overtime.

On Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Hill will try to win his third straight race in The LiUNA! (5 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

There’s a streak on the line for Chevrolet, too. Chevrolet drivers have swept two straight Cup/Xfinity/Truck tripleheader weekends and are looking to extend that success in the three national series at Las Vegas.

Las Vegas native Riley Herbst looks to disrupt that string of victories in the No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. Herbst got his breakout Xfinity Series win last year at his home track during a streak of five straight top-four finishes to end the season.

“I’m pumped,” Herbst said. “Not only am I going home, but I’m also going to a track that means the world to me. I started my racing career just next to the big track at the Las Vegas Bullring. That win last October meant everything. I had waited so long for it and, honestly, it just made it that much more meaningful to get it at my home track.

“There’s definitely confidence going into this race, not only from me, but from the entire No. 98 Monster Energy team. We’ve had speed at every race since then, and I know we can go out and contend for the win again. We still have to do everything right, but I’m confident in this team.”

–Can any other driver beat Kyle Busch in a NASCAR Craftsman Truck race?

Of the 32 drivers entered in Friday night’s Victoria Voice Foundation 200 Presented by Westgate Resorts (9 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), only four have recorded victories at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Foremost among them is Kyle Busch, who won last Saturday at Atlanta and extended his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series record to 65 victories. Busch has a track-record four Vegas wins, three from the pole.

He’s also the defending winner of Friday’s race. In taking the checkered flag last year after switching from Toyota to Chevrolet, Busch broke a streak of seven straight Toyota victories at his home track.

Having sold his eponymous Kyle Busch Motorsports, Busch now drives a Chevrolet for the current owner, Spire Motorsports. As a full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver, Busch can compete in only five Truck Series races per season, per NASCAR rules.

“Obviously, my goal every year in the Truck Series is to go five-for-five with the races that I can run,” Busch said. “You can’t be perfect if you don’t win the first one, so we’ve got that one under our belts. Now it’s on to the next one.”

With one victory each, reigning series champion Ben Rhodes (2017), Grant Enfinger (2018) and Christian Eckes (2021) are the other former Las Vegas winners in Friday’s field.

WOMEN’S GOLF

SARAH SCHMELZEL SEIZES EARLY LEAD IN SINGAPORE

Sarah Schmelzel birdied two of her final three holes on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the HSBC Women’s World Championship in Singapore.

Beginning on the back nine, Schmelzel overcame a bogey on the par-4 No. 12 to record five birdies and finish at 4-under-par 68 at the Sentosa Golf Club — The Tanjong Course

“It was good. A little shaky at the start, the front nine made some good par saves, three of them scattered over the front nine. It was about good, then just got some putts to go in on my back nine on the front,” Schmelzel said. “Everything felt good. Working on some stuff so it’s nice to see some hard work pay off. Just keep it going.”

Schmelzel, who is bidding for her first LPGA Tour win, kicked it up a notch during her final nine holes on Thursday. She made two birdies on her first two holes of the back nine and three more over her final five holes.

Schmelzel leads Lilia Vu, Sweden’s Linn Grant and Germany’s Esther Henseleit by one stroke heading into the second round.

Vu turned in a bogey-free round of 69 while Grant collected four birdies against one bogey. Grant, in fact, credited improvements with her ball-striking during her first-round performance on Thursday.

“I was a bit, I would say confused with my ball-striking for the past week. Like this morning, I really tried to take my time on the range and find something that felt, like, good enough, and that I can play with, and I feel — I was trying to be very focused on every shot and not just take anything for granted,” Grant said. “So in my mind, I was just playing very simple, just thinking one shot at a time. Especially with the wind, that’s usually a good way of playing.”

Henseleit rebounded from a 2-over-par start to notch five birdies — including four in a row on Nos. 5-8 — to move into a tie for second place and was pleased after a disappointing T49 last weekend at the Honda LPGA Thailand.

“It’s always great to start off the year, it shows you that you did some good work over the offseason. Yeah, I’ve been playing well. … Couldn’t really get it going on the weekend,” Henseleit said. “But I do have a lot of confidence in my golf game at the moment, and my putter was also really good today.”

Four-time LPGA Tour winner In Gee Chun and fellow South Korean Hyo Joo Kim joined Andrea Lee, Ireland’s Leona Maguire and Chanettee Wannasaen of Thailand in a tie for fifth place at 2-under. The quintet is one shot ahead of a 13-golfer continent that includes two-time defending champion Jin Young Ko of South Korea at 1-under 71.

Patty Tavatanakit, who won last week’s LPGA event in her native Thailand, finished with a 1-over 73 to sit in a tie for 30th place.

MEN’S GOLF

CHAD RAMEY, S.H. KIM SHARE EARLY LEAD AT COGNIZANT CLASSIC

Chad Ramey and South Korea’s S.H. Kim are tied atop the leaderboard at 7-under 64 after one round of the Cognizant Classic on Thursday in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Both Ramey and Kim went bogey-free, with Kim benefitting from an early eagle hole-out while Ramey rang up five of his seven birdies on the front nine at PGA National’s Champion course. Six players were tied one stroke behind the co-leaders, a group headlined by Cameron Young.

Neither Ramey (World No. 253) nor Kim (No. 122) were big favorites entering the week. Ramey missed three of five cuts, and his only PGA Tour win came at the 2022 Corales Puntacana Championship. Kim has won three professional events in Japan and South Korea but none stateside.

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland kicked off a run of three straight Florida tournaments with a 4-under 67. That placed him in a large tie for 16th that includes defending champion Chris Kirk, Ireland’s Shane Lowry, Australia’s Min Woo Lee, Sweden’s Alex Noren and FedEx Cup leader Matthieu Pavon of France.

INDIANA SPORTS RELEASES/HEADLINES

AROUND THE AFC SOUTH AT NFL COMBINE: DECISIONS LOOMING ON DERRICK HENRY, CALVIN RIDLEY, JOSH ALLEN

A year ago, the AFC South was widely viewed among NFL’s worst divisions – the Texans and Colts had top-four picks, the Titans crashed down the stretch of 2022 and the Jaguars won the division with nine victories.

Plenty is different now, with all four teams in the division featuring age-25-and-under quarterbacks and the Texans emerging from a closely contested division as champions in 2023. The AFC South, in 2024, might profile as one of football’s best divisions.

“Our division is definitely really good,” Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans said this week at the NFL Combine. “When you think about the young quarterbacks in our division with the Colts, the Jags, the Titans, and us, we all have really young quarterbacks who all have bright futures. Four really good teams in our division. It’s going to be a battle each and every week that we play each other. I’m excited about it. You want to play against the top competition to see where you stack up, and I’m excited to see our team develop and grow throughout the year and see where we end up.”

So while the Colts have plenty of business to tend to in the coming days, weeks and months, it’s worth taking a peek at what’s ahead for their division rivals. A few things we heard at the NFL Combine this week regarding the Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans:

Derrick Henry, the No. 7 pick and the Titans

Henry, the four-time Pro Bowl running back who’s spent his entire eight-year career in Tennessee, is set to become an unrestricted free agent when the new NFL league year begins March 13. While Henry gave what felt like a farewell speech following the Titans’ season finale in January, general manager Ran Carthon this week didn’t tip his hand on Tennessee’s plans with the star running back.

“I hear that question around town a lot – people will come and the first thing they’ll say is, ‘Hey, we’re not going to lose Derrick, are we?'” Carthon said at the NFL Combine Tuesday. “And I think I’ve probably, in my 12 months on this job, have gotten more Derrick Henry questions than anything. So I understand that piece of it too. But, I have a responsibility to build this team long term. And like I said, we’ll cross that bridge with Derrick and his team when we get there.”

What the Titans do have is the No. 7 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, plenty of cap space, a new head coach (Brian Callahan) and a second-year quarterback (Will Levis) who had some impressive moments in 2023. Carthon said the Titans like the seventh overall pick but are “open” to listening to offers to trade down – relatively standard fare for a team with a top-10 pick and a young quarterback already in place.

As for the cap space, Carthon emphasized a prudent approach to spending in free agency.

“We have to spend wisely,” Carthon said. “We don’t want to just load up and just go spend money. Again, we’re trying to build a long-term, consistent thing, and you can’t do that spending all $90 million out front. We’ve got to be patient. We got to position ourselves that there going to be guys that come free in June and July, like when we got D-Hop (DeAndre Hopkins), that we have to have the space for and be able to afford it. Plus, we have to have money for operating costs moving forward throughout the fall, which I think for most of the season, we’re in the top five in having space available. So, we plan to be active. But we’re going to be patient and let everything come to us.”

What will Jaguars do with Calvin Ridley and Josh Allen?

Ridley (76 catches, 1,016 yards, eight touchdowns) and Allen (17.5 sacks, 33 QB hits, 17 TFLs) were two of the Jaguars’ most productive players in 2023, and both are due to become unrestricted free agents in a few weeks.

General manager Trent Baalke declined to get into his thoughts on using the franchise tag on Allen, who NFL.com ranked as 2024’s third-best free agent.

“I don’t want to speculate on that,” Baalke said, via Jaguars.com. “We’ve got a little over a week to work with here. We’re going to work diligently with his agent to try to come to a resolution on this thing. That’s where our focus is right now.”

The next steps for the Jaguars with Ridley are a little more complicated. If Jacksonville signs Ridley to a long-term extension, they will send the Atlanta Falcons their 2024 second-round pick to complete the trade the two teams agreed to back in 2023; if Ridley has the franchise tag placed on him or does not re-sign with the Jaguars, it’ll be a third-round pick.

“We’re not real concerned with that, whether it’s a second or third round,” Baalke said. “We’re just going to work with the player and see if we can come to an agreement. Whether that’s before the compensation changes or not, that remains to be seen. We’re more focused on the player.”

How will Texans build around C.J. Stroud?

Coming off an AFC South title and Stroud putting together one of the best rookie seasons a quarterback’s had in recent memory, Houston has a strong foundation on which to build in 2024. A lot of what general manager Nick Caserio said, given that opportunity, might sound similar to what we heard from Colts general manager this week as well.

“Free agency is case by case, so you look at the player, you look at his role, what’s the value of the player, have an understanding of the market, what are your options, is that the best thing for the football team? In the end, we’re going to do what we think is best for the Houston Texans team,” Caserio said. “DeMeco [Ryans] has said this countless times, I’ve expressed this countless times. It’s not about one person, it’s not about one player. Every year is different. We’re not really believers in windows. I’m not really sure what that means. It’s about the 2024 season, trying to put the best team together. What are our options? We’ll explore our options and we’ll try to make good sound decisions that make sense for our team.”

The Texans have a handful of top players hitting free agency, like defensive end Jonathan Greenard (12.5 sacks in 2023), tight end Dalton Schultz (59 receptions, 635 yards, 5 TDs), defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (six sacks) and kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn (27/28 field goals). So the question for Houston is how they’ll improve around Stroud – and how much Stroud will improve himself after a remarkable rookie season.

“Very excited about what C.J. did this year, but I’m also even more excited about the things that he can improve on and where he can get better, continuing to lead our team this next year,” Ryans said. “Definitely looking for a huge jump in his growth from year one to year two.”

INDIANA PACERS

GAME PREVIEW: PACERS AT PELICANS

It’s not Deja Vu; it’s Pacers versus Pelicans: Part II.

Playing the same team for a second time in three days, the Indiana Pacers (34-26) will take on the New Orleans (35-25) on Friday at Smoothie King Center.

Indiana, winners of four of their last five games, went up big early and held off multiple New Orleans runs in crunch time in a 123-114 win on Wednesday in Indianapolis.

In the victory, the Pacers led by 14 points in the first quarter before getting outscored by the Pelicans in the second, third, and fourth frames. New Orleans closed within three points in the game’s final three minutes, but the clutch tandem of Tyrese Haliburton and Pascal Siakam down the stretch put the game away.

Siakam led the Blue & Gold with 24 points and 11 rebounds, Haliburton logged 17 points and 13 assists, and center Myles Turner posted 14 points and 10 boards for a trio of Blue & Gold double-doubles.

Turner drew the tough assignment of guarding former All-Star Zion Williamson, who finished with 23 points for the Pelicans. Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram, who went 13-for-13 from the free throw line, led the visitors with 30 points.

A key difference in the first game was the rebounding margin, which the Pacers won 50-40. When the Pacers outrebound their opponent this season, they have a record of 18-5.

The next matchup won’t be any easier for the Blue & Gold, as the Pelicans will have two advantages they didn’t have on Wednesday: their home crowd and a day’s rest between games. The Pelicans, fresh off a road back-to-back, are 22-16 with a day’s rest this season and are 17-12 at home.

New Orleans has been ranked in the top 10 for offense and defense for much of the season, but has largely hung their hat on its stopping power. They are allowing just 112 points per game and were ranked second in steals per game on Wednesday – both numbers the Pacers, the highest-scoring team in the NBA at 124 points per game, bested in the first matchup.

Indiana’s bench, much like it has all season, also proved a major proponent to the first win, as it outscored New Orleans’ second unit by 20 points thanks in part to 16 points from Obi Toppin and 11 by rookie Ben Sheppard.

On Friday, the Pacers could again be without starting forward Aaron Nesmith for a fifth straight game as he recovers from an ankle injury.

With Nesmith out, second-year guard Bennedict Mathurin has played with the starters and thrived, averaging 19.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.

One question mark for the game is how Pelicans starting center Jonas Valanciunas could be used. Valanciunas, averaging 13.7 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, played only seven minutes and did not score Wednesday. The Pelicans did not provide any injury updates during the game on Valanciunas, so he was presumed to be a healthy sit after starting the game.

After taking on the Pelicans on Friday, the Pacers will go to San Antonio on Sunday and Dallas on Tuesday before hosting the Western Conference first-place Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday.

Projected Starters

Pacers: G – Tyrese Haliburton, G – Andrew Nembhard, F – Bennedict Mathurin, F – Pascal Siakam, C – Myles Turner

Pelicans: G – CJ McCollum, G – Herb Jones, F – Trey Murphy III, F – Zion Williamson, C – Jonas Valanciunas

Injury Report

Pacers: Aaron Nesmith – questionable (right ankle sprain), Doug McDermott – out (right calf strain)

Pelicans: Jalen Crutcher – out (G League assignment), Dyson Daniels – out (left knee meniscectomy), E.J. Liddell – out (G League assignment)

Last Meeting

Feb. 28, 2024: The Pacers jumped out to a 20-point lead in the first quarter before holding off a late Pelicans push in a 123-114 win on Wednesday at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

The Pacers never trailed in the game, but after leading 40-26 in the first frame, they were outscored in each of the final three quarters.

After the Pelicans cut their deficit to three points with around three minutes left in the game, Tyrese Haliburton drained a 3-pointer before assisting on three straight baskets to Pascal Siakam to put the game away in crunch time for the Blue & Gold.

Indiana shot 49 percent as a team to New Orleans’ 46.7 percent, which included making 14 3-pointers to the Pelicans’ 11 threes. The Pacers also led the fast-break points differential 21-8 and outrebounded the Pelicans 50-40 (14-4 offensive).

Siakam topped the Pacers with 24 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists, and Haliburton finished with 17 points and 13 assists, and Myles Turner put up 14 points and 10 rebounds. Bennedict Mathurin and Obi Toppin added 16 points each for Indiana.

Brandon Ingram was the high scorer for the Pelicans with 30 points (8-for-20 shooting), which included going 13-for-13 from the free throw line, while Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum each scored 23 points.

With the win, the Pacers snapped a three-game road winning streak by the Pelicans.

Noteworthy

Indiana and New Orleans have split their season series for three straight seasons. A Pacers win would be their first regular season sweep over the Pelicans since their 2018-2019 campaign.

Former Indiana University star and Washington, Ind. native Cody Zeller, who is in his 11th NBA season, has played in 37 games for the Pelicans this season. He is averaging 7.9 minutes per game for New Orleans. He did not play on Wednesday in Indianapolis.

The Pacers are 14-14 on the road this season, including 2-6 at Western Conference arenas. Thirteen of the Pacers’ final 22 games are on the road.

Broadcast Information (TV and Radio Listings >>)

TV: Bally Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (sideline reporter/host)

Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Eddie Gill (analyst), Pat Boylan (sideline reporter/host)

Tickets

The Pacers return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host Anthony Edwards and the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday, March 7 at 7:00 PM ET.

INDY FUEL

FUEL HOST HEARTLANDERS TO KICK OFF MARCH

GAME DAY TIMING:

6:00 P.M.: Doors open

7:00 P.M.: Puck drop

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S MONTH CELEBRATION NIGHT:

Come out to Indiana Farmers Coliseum to help the Fuel honor women in our community on March 1! From players and staff to fans alike, celebrate the women in your life while enjoying an Indy Fuel game!

It’s also a Do317 Night! Enjoy $3 domestic beer and soda, $1 popcorn, and $7 craft beer and speciality T-shirts!

Stick around after the game for postgame autographs in the lobby with select players!

PARKING: Parking at Indiana State Fairgrounds is $10. Fans are encouraged to arrive early to park due to anticipated large crowds at the Fairgrounds.

TICKETS: Tickets for today’s game can be purchased at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum Box Office or online HERE. Kids two and under do not need a ticket as long as they sit on the lap of a ticketed patron.

BAG POLICY: The Indy Fuel now follow the same bag policy as all Indiana State Fairgrounds events. All bags are subject to search upon entering the arena. All bags larger than 14” x 14” x 6” (backpacks, suitcases, duffel bags, etc.) are prohibited. Please plan accordingly to help facilitate a quick and efficient entry process. Please report suspicious bags to an Indiana Farmers Coliseum team member.

You can view the entire Game Day Guide with everything you’ll need to know by clicking HERE.

ABOUT THE HOCKEY:

INDIANAPOLIS- The Fuel will host the Iowa Heartlanders on Friday night for their International Women’s Month Celebration game. Indy will look for their fifth win this season over Iowa in an attempt to hold their spot in the standings.

LAST TIME OUT

The last time these two teams played was February 17, when the Fuel completed a three-game sweep of the Heartlanders in Iowa as part of their seven-game win streak. Kyle Maksimovich had the game winning goal while Zach Driscoll blocked 22 shots.

MAD MARTIN

Jon Martin became the Fuel’s sole leading goal scorer with two goals on Tuesday morning. He will look to score his twentieth goal of the season this weekend to become the first Fuel player this season to reach twenty goals.

ABOUT THE INDY FUEL:

The Indy Fuel, proud ECHL affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks and the American Hockey League’s Rockford IceHogs, have returned to Indiana Farmers Coliseum for their tenth season. Check out all the Fuel’s promotions, theme nights and get your tickets now HERE.

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INDY ELEVEN

INDY ELEVEN CLOSES PRESEASON ACTION WITH 3-1 WIN OVER DETROIT CITY FC

WESTFIELD, Ind. (Thursday, February 29, 2024) – Indy Eleven closed 2024 preseason action with a 3-1 victory over USL Championship Eastern Conference foe Detroit City FC on Thursday afternoon at the Grand Park Events Center.

The Boys in Blue scored three first half goals, getting one apiece from Augi Williams (2’), Callum Chapman-Page (29’) and Aedan Stanley (39’). Detroit was able to grab one back off a 17th-minute penalty kick.

Indy Eleven concludes preseason action unbeaten with a 5-0-1 record and a +16 goal differential.

Complete Preseason Schedule

Tuesday, Feb. 6 at Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC | D, 0-0

Saturday, Feb. 10 vs Chicago Fire FC II | W, 2-0

Tuesday, Feb. 13 vs. Indiana Wesleyan University | W, 5-0

Sunday, Feb. 18 vs. Columbus Crew 2 | W, 7-1

Saturday, Feb. 24 at Lexington SC | W, 1-0

Thursday, Feb. 29 vs. Detroit City FC | W, 3-1

Indy opens the 2024 slate on a two-match road swing beginning at non-conference foe Oakland Roots SC on March 9 before returning home to host 2023 Western Conference Champion Sacramento Republic FC at Michael A. Carroll Stadium on March 23. Single-game tickets are available now for all matches via Ticketmaster. Season Ticket Packages can also be purchased, as well as tickets for groups and hospitality areas. For more information on these options click here. For questions, please email tickets@indyeleven.com or give us a call at 317.685.1100.

2024 Preseason

Indy Eleven 3:1 Detroit City FC

Thursday, February 29 – 1 p.m. ET 

Grand Park Events Center – Westfield, Ind.

Scoring Summary

IND – Augi Williams 2’

DET – Penalty 17’

IND – Callum Chapman-Page (Adrian Diz Pe)  29’

IND – Aedan Stanley (Younes Boudadi) 39’

Indy Eleven Starting line-up: Yannik Oettl, Aedan Stanley, Adrien Diz Pe, Callum Chapman-Page, Younes Boudadi, Tyler Gibson, Cam Lindley, Jack Blake, Sebastian Guenzatti, Augi Williams, Douglas Martinez

Subbed on: Huntler Sulte, Karsen Henderlong, Josh O’Brien, Max Schneider

INDIANA SWIMMING

HOOSIERS HOLD LEAD, WIN THIRD RELAY THURSDAY

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Indiana swimming and diving won its ninth-straight Big Ten title in the 400-yard medley relay, capping a Thursday (Feb. 29) night through which it remains on top of the team leaderboard at the 2024 Big Ten Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships inside the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion on the campus of the Ohio State University.

The Hoosiers have 466 points to sit first in the team race, followed by Michigan’s 437 and Ohio State’s 437. IU trailed through two days in each of its last two Big Ten Championships in 2022 and 2023.

“Well, today was, simply put, a grind for our team,” IU head swimming coach Ray Looze said. Nothing came easy. We had to put everything out there time and time again and just kind of fell short of where we’d like to be. I feel grateful that we are in any sort of position with a lead right now, but I think we all know that we need to do a much better job tomorrow starting in prelims.

“I know we’re going to come out tomorrow and bring a lot more energy and be the team we’ve been all season. I think we’ve accepted at this point, it’s going to be a grinding-type meet, and, sometimes, in athletic contests, you have that, and we have to adapt to our environment.”

Indiana closed the day winning the 400 medley relay for the 30th time in program history and ninth time in as many seasons. The quartet of senior Brendan Burns, junior Josh Matheny, senior Tomer Frankel and junior Rafael Miroslaw have been on each of the last three winning relays and have finished runner-up at the NCAA Championships each of the last two seasons. Their 3:01.61 ranks No. 4 in the country this season and No. 5 in program history – the active quartet owns four of the school’s top six times, including the program record 2:59.09 set at last year’s national meet.

The first three in the group all had the top split in their stroke. Burns went 45.00, Matheny 51.09 and Frankel 43.88. Miroslaw was the second-best anchor, finishing in 41.64.

Indiana has won all three relays to start the meet. The win also marks Burns’ 20th Big Ten Championship and 11th relay title as a member of all three relays at this meet.

The relay came right after IU had two top-five finishes on the 1-meter springboard. Junior Carson Tyler won his second-straight medal on the board as the defending champion took silver with a 405.5 score. Tyler was just 2.75 points behind Minnesota freshman Yutong Wang. Junior Quinn Henninger took fifth place with a 375.60. Henninger has been an A finalist each season. Sophomores Maxwell Weinrich (335.80) and Dash Glasberg (308.90) both earned points out of the B final, placing 11th and 16th.

“Today was a good day for the team,” IU head diving coach Drew Johansen. “There were a lot of ups and downs, and the team never surrendered.

“Max and Dash fighting to get into that B final by hitting their final dives in the prelim was so important to the team as was Carson knowing the rules of the game and requesting a re-dive in the fifth round.”

“I want to give a big shoutout to our divers, two B finals, two A finals,” Looze said. “Carson gave everything he had to try to get the win – they were fantastic.”

“It was great to watch the relay continue to dominate that event,” Johansen said. “This team has shown that they will never give up, and they will fight to the very end. I can’t wait to see what they bring tomorrow.”

Indiana had podium finishes from junior Luke Barr, taking sixth in the 200-yard IM in 1:43.20, and junior Finn Brooks tied for fourth in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 19.37.

TEAM SCORES

1. Indiana – 466

2. Michigan – 437

3. Ohio State – 428

4. Wisconsin – 388.5

5. Minnesota – 271.5

6. Purdue – 254.5

7. Penn State – 229

8. Northwestern – 215

RESULTS

500 FREESTYLE

13. Warren Briggs – 4:20.84 (NCAA B Cut)

t15. Mason Carlton – 4:21.72 (NCAA B Cut)

20. Kai van Westering – 4:22.42

200 IM

6. Luke Barr – 1:43.20 (NCAA B Cut)

10. Jassen Yep – 1:44.00 (NCAA B Cut, Career Best)

13. Toby Barnett – 1:44.32 (NCAA B Cut)

14. Drew Reiter – 1:45.32 (NCAA B Cut)

15. Collin McKenzie – 1:45.34 (NCAA B Cut)

16. Maxwell Reich – 1:45.39 (NCAA B Cut)

50 FREESTYLE

t4. Finn Brooks – 19.37 (NCAA B Cut)

9. Mikkel Lee – 19.48 (NCAA B Cut, Career Best)

13. Rafael Miroslaw – 19.69 (NCAA B Cut)

14. Gavin Wight – 19.71 (NCAA B Cut)

1-METER DIVING

2. Carson Tyler – 405.50 (Silver, NCAA Zone Qualifier)

5. Quinn Henninger – 375.60 (NCAA Zone Qualifier)

11. Maxwell Weinrich – 335.80 (NCAA Zone Qualifier)

16. Dash Glasberg – 308.90 (NCAA Zone Qualifier)

400 MEDLEY RELAY

1. Brendan Burns, Josh Matheny, Tomer Frankel, Rafael Miroslaw – 3:01.61 (Big Ten Champion, NCAA A Cut)

UP NEXT

Indiana will look to set the tone for a great night when they open day three with the morning preliminary session on Friday (March 1) beginning at 10 a.m. ET. The 100 fly, 400 IM, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back, 3-meter dive and 200 freestyle relay will be contested on Friday.

INDIANA SOFTBALL

INDIANA SOFTBALL TO HOST HOOSIER CLASSIC

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. –––– Indiana will host its first home games of the season in the 2024 Hoosier Classic from Friday to Sunday at Andy Mohr Field.

QUICK HITTERS:

After three weekends spent much farther away from Bloomington, Team 51 gets to host their first home games of the season in the Hoosier Classic from March 1-3.

The event will only feature three teams, including Indiana. In-state foe Valparaiso and Bowling Green will both play against the Hoosiers and against one another.

The tournament opens with just one game on Friday when Indiana hosts Bowling Green. On Saturday, there will be three games with Indiana playing both opposing schools, as well as Bowling Green and Valparaiso facing off against one another. Sunday will close out the weekend with a rematch between Bowling Green and Valparaiso and an Indiana-Valparaiso game.

The Hoosiers own an 11-4 record at this point. Indiana opened its first two weekends with 4-1 finishes in the NFCA Leadoff Classic and Troy Invitational. Most recently, it posted a 3-2 mark at the Hillenbrand Invitational.

LAST TIME OUT:

Last weekend, Indiana went 3-2 in the Hillenbrand Invitational in Tucson, Ariz. The Hoosiers defeated Central Michigan, Drake and Marshall while taking two narrow losses to Arizona.

In the weekend’s opening game, sophomore pitcher Sophie Kleiman had her best collegiate performance to date. She was dominant in the circle all game, throwing her first career no-hitter in an 8-0 Indiana win.

Freshman Alex Cooper had her breakout weekend at the plate, hitting her first two career home runs, as well as a total of nine RBI in Arizona.

In addition to Cooper, five other Hoosiers hit home runs in the Hillenbrand Invitational: Brianna Copeland, Cora Bassett, Brooke Benson, Sarah Stone and Chloe Geijer. Copeland and Benson each hit two home runs.

Indiana’s second game with No. 17 Arizona was a marathon, going 14 innings in a tight 10-9 loss. The Hoosiers battled all night, working their way out of four bases-loaded jams in a spectacular effort, despite losing.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS:

Bowling Green has opened the season with a 1-3 mark, only playing in one tournament thus far, the Battle at the Beach in Conway, S.C. The Falcons defeated Furman, but drew losses to Coastal Carolina, Louisville and Furman.

The Falcons have had 21 different players make at least one appearance this season, which includes eight of their ten total newcomers this year.

Bowling Green senior Peyton Dolejs is the only returning Falcon who played in all 50 of their games a season ago. She is currently hitting for a .400 batting average.

Valparaiso currently holds a 3-11 record, picking up wins in the Pinnacle PC Invitational and the Frost Classic.

Between both opponents, Indiana is 21-0 all-time against them. The last time Indiana played Valparaiso was 2022, and the last time it faced Bowling Green was 2017.

SERIES NOTES:

Indiana’s all-time records against their Hoosier Classic opponents are listed below:

Bowling Green: 10-0, Valparaiso: 11-0.

BIG-TIME BRI:

•Junior Brianna Copeland has been dominant as ever both at the plate and in the circle for the Hoosiers.

•Copeland has posted 43 strikeouts and a 1.78 ERA with 39.1 innings of work. She has a 5-3 record and has only allowed ten earned runs all season.

•At bat, Copeland is hitting for a .340 average with four home runs and 14 RBI.

MINNICK MANIA:

• Junior Taylor Minnick picked up right where she left off from her All-American sophomore season in 2023.

•In the first three weekends, Minnick hit for a .400 batting average with with 18 hits and 18 RBI. The junior has logged two doubles, one triple and 15 singles on the season.

CONTROL IN THE CIRCLE:

•Indiana’s pitching staff has been a reliable force for the Hoosiers through the season’s early window.

• Copeland is leading the charge with 39.1 innings of work and 43 strikeouts with an ERA of 1.78. She has only allowed ten earned runs all season and is holding opposing hitters to a .225 batting average.

• Sophomore Sophie Kleiman also has a 0.80 ERA and 29 strikeouts while only allowing four earned runs. Opposing hitters are recording just a .201  batting average against her.

• Senior Macy Montgomery made the best start of her career in a six-inning complete game win over FAMU, throwing 10 strikeouts and only allowing four hits while not giving up a run.

• Junior Heather Johnson owns a 1-1 mark and has been a part of some impressive victories. She made the start in the season-opening win against No. 15 Oregon and a run-rule win over Army.

LEADING IT OFF:

•Indiana redshirt senior Cora Bassett has been a sparkplug in the Hoosier lineup, serving as the routine leadoff hitter.

•In the season’s early going, Bassett is hitting for a .404 batting average with seven multi-hit games including doing so against No. 15 Oregon and No. 5 Clemson.

•In her first at-bat against Clemson, she hit a lead-off home run to put Indiana up 1-0 right off the bat.

PRESEASON ACCOLADES:

• Juniors Bri Copeland and Taylor Minnick both earned national acclaim entering the 2024 season.

• Each appeared in D1 Softball’s Preseason Top 100 Rankings, more commonly called The D100.

• Copeland slotted in at No. 45 and Minnick was at No. 79 in the rankings from D1 Softball.

• Minnick also earned national acclaim from Softball America, claiming the No. 53 spot in their preseason rankings.

•Both Minnick and Copeland experienced breakthrough seasons as sophomores in 2023.

• Copeland was a stud in the circle and at the plate. She was the pitching staff’s ace with a 22-4 record and 148 strikeouts.

• At the plate, she hit for a .318 batting average at the plate, logging a team-high 15 doubles and 14 home runs to go along with 48 RBI.

• Minnick brought a lot of offensive power to the team, she hit 14 doubles, one triple and 12 home runs and 55 RBI.

• The Bloomington, Ind. local reached base in 35 consecutive games in 2023.

• Minnick also ranked second in the conference in slugging percentage (.717) and OPS (1.239).

•The top-level play from the junior duo earned both of them NFCA Third Team All-American status in 2023 as sophomores.

• Indiana is the only Big Ten team that returns two All-Americans into the 2024 season.

HOOSIER DEBUTS:

•All five of Indiana’s freshmen have made their collegiate debuts.

•Alex Cooper and Aly VanBrandt have each established themselves as consistent starters for the Hoosiers.

•Cooper has started every game thus far at either second or third base. VanBrandt has made ten starts and 14 appearances, while also leading the team in batting average with a .433 mark.

•Tristian Thompson has made six starts as the designated player and ten total appearances.

•Ella Carter has made three appearances in pinch hitting scenarios. Savannah Oden has made one plate appearance, charting a hit against Florida A&M.

INDIANA BASEBALL

BASEBALL CENTRAL: FRISCO CLASSIC

FRISCO, Texas. –  Continuing its tough start to the 2024 season, the Indiana Baseball team (6-2) prepares for perhaps its hardest challenge to date. Jeff Mercer’s team returns to Texas for the Frisco Classic as one of three ranked programs in the round-robin event at Riders Park.

No. 16 Alabama, No. 20 Indiana, No. 25 Dallas Baptist and perennial power Arizona meet in one of the premier early season collegiate baseball tournaments at Dr. Pepper Ballpark and Riders Field in Frisco, home of the Texas Rangers Double A-affiliate.

Paired with contests against No. 12 Duke (L, 3-6) and No. 18 Coastal Carolina (W, 7-2) from opening weekend, the Hoosiers will have met four ranked opponents in their first 10 games. A challenging non-conference slate has been a staple of the Mercer era and will provide more opportunities to bolster the RPI in the early parts of the campaign.

Full of offensive talent, the Frisco Classic will showcase some of the game’s brightest starts including reigning Big Ten Player of the Week Devin Taylor (.500 avg., 3 home runs, eight RBI’s). Sophomores Brayden Risedorph and Connor Foley will continue their roles as the Friday and Saturday starters respectively.

Action this weekend will be live from Frisco on Friday (vs. Alabama, 7:00 PM ET), Saturday (vs. Dallas Baptist, 1:00 PM ET) and Sunday (vs. Arizona, 1;00 PM ET). IU returns home to Bart Kaufman Field in Bloomington on Tuesday for 15 of its 21 games in the month of March.

Gameday Info

vs. No. 16 Alabama (Friday, March 1st)

Live Video: t.ly/UE6g4

Live Audio: bit.ly/IUAudio

Live Stats: t.ly/OfByw

vs. No. 25 Dallas Baptist (Saturday, March 2nd)

Live Video: t.ly/UE6g4

Live Audio: bit.ly/IUAudio

Live Stats: t.ly/OfByw

vs. Arizona (Sunday, March 3rd)

Live Video: t.ly/UE6g4

Live Audio: bit.ly/IUAudio

Live Stats: t.ly/OfByw

Probable Starters

#20 Indiana vs. #16 Alabama

• Brayden Risedorph (0-1, 5.62 ERA) vs. Ben Hess (2-0, 2.25 ERA)

#20 Indiana vs. #25 Dallas Baptist

• Connor Foley (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Jaron DeBerry (1-0, 4.50 ERA)

#20 Indiana vs. Arizona

• TBD vs. TBD

Notable

Weekend Recap – at Baylor

• Indiana continued its outstanding start to the season, sweeping Baylor in its own ballpark by a combined score of 29-10. The Hoosiers never trailed in the three-game series and took an early lead in the first inning of all three contests.

Weekend Notes

– First non-conference true road series sweep for IU since 2007 (at Florida A&M)

– Fewest runs conceded in a three-game series since 2019 (10)

– 15 runs scored in the Sunday game (Feb. 25) were most in non-conference road game since 2015

– Best start (6-1) to a full 56-game season since 2018

Moving Up in the Polls

• The Hoosiers find themselves in the four main baseball polls (D1 Baseball, Baseball America, Perfect Game and NCBWA) this weekend after a 6-1 start to the season. IU is as high as No. 20 (D1 Baseball), setting the stage for two more ranked matchups this weekend.

• Friday’s matchup with No. 16 and undefeated Alabama will be a top-20 matchup in Frisco and will also pit IU against former Maryland coach Rob Vaughn. The Hoosiers will then see No. 25 Dallas Baptist on Saturday afternoon, another undefeated program.

• IU’s first three weekends see it play four different top-25 programs. Following the trip to Frisco Classic is a visit from undefeated Troy, one of the top mid-major teams in the entire country.

Sophomore Stud

• Sophomore Devin Taylor is tearing the cover off the ball to begin 2024, reaffirming his case to be one of the top available college bats in the 2025 MLB Draft. Through seven games this year, the Cincinnati native is batting .500 (17-34) with three home runs and eight RBIs.

• He leads an IU lineup that is hitting a collective .312 on the campaign with four players at a .300 average or better. The Hoosiers have mashed 16 home runs this year and have scored 66 runs. He was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Feb. 26 and currently leads the conference in batting average.

Foley’s That Dude

• Facing the task of building the entire weekend rotation from a year ago, sophomore Connor Foley has helped ease the task for Saturdays. Through two starts, he has yet to concede a run and has struck out 14 batters in 10 scoreless innings. He dominated Baylor on Saturday afternoon with six innings and just one hit enroute to the victory.

• Fellow sophomores Brayden Risedorph (Friday) and Ethan Phillips (Sunday) have made consecutive starts in their respective roles as well.

Offense is Rolling

• It should be no surprise that the IU offense is starting to click in the early parts of the season. Despite leaving a number of runners on base, IU has scored 66 runs in eight games and put up at least nine hits in each contest so far.

• Six different players have eight-or-more hits with four Hoosiers (Taylor, Carter Mathison, Josh Pyne and Tyler Cerny) in double figures for hits already this season.

Scouting the Opponent

Alabama (9-0, 0-0)

• Led by former Maryland head coach Rob Vaughn, Alabama is off to a 9-0 start in 2024 including a pair of weekend sweeps over Manhattan College and Valparaiso. These will be the first games the Crimson Tide have played outside of the state of Alabama this year.

• Led by prolific Friday night starter Ben Hess (2-0), Alabama boasts a 1.63 team earned run average through nine contests. It has conceded just 22 runs in the early going and has limited opposing batters to a .192 average.

• Six different players have at least 10 hits on the season including Gage Miller who has a team-best 16 hits, batting .457 (16-35) on the season with five home runs and 16 RBIs. TJ McCants has six home runs in his first nine games.

Dallas Baptist (8-0, 0-0)

• Another of the top-25 teams in this weekend’s field, Dallas Baptist brings a perfect 8-0 record into the Frisco Classic. The Patriots won 47 games in 2023, the most in its program history since moving to the division one level.

• DBU owns weekend sweeps of SEMO and Central Michigan while also picking off Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in midweek contests. The local Dallas team opens with Arizona on Friday afternoon.

• Offense is the story for DBU with a collective team batting average of .345 through eight games. Its top five hitters are all hitting .323 or better with 10+ hits each. Grant Jay and Miguel Santos have combined for nine home runs.

Arizona (4-4, 0-0)

• The Hoosiers’ Sunday opponent has played an extremely challenging schedule in the early portion of the year. Arizona took a weekend series from No. 23 Northeastern to open the year before losing two of three at San Diego. The Wildcats traveled down early and lost a midweek contest at No. 5 TCU.

• Garen Caulfield and Brendan Summerhill lead the offensive attack with 15 hits each in the first eight contests of the season.

Inside the Series

Indiana vs. Alabama

• The two schools have met just once with IU winning a 10-7 neutral site contest in Florida in 1989.

Indiana vs. Dallas Baptist

• These two programs have never met.

Indiana vs. Arizona

• IU and Arizona have never played in baseball but played a 14-inning contest in softball last weekend and played in the 2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Elite 8.

INDIANA TRACK

TWO HOOSIERS, DMR SQUAD QUALIFY FOR NCAA INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Jessica Mercier (Pole Vault), Kenisha Phillips (400m) and the men’s Distance Medley Relay were awarded qualifying marks into the 2024 NCAA Indoor Track & Field National Championships in Boston, Mass., on March 8-9.

Mercier finished Runner-Up in the Pole Vault with a mark of 4.45m/14-7.25 as she shattered the school record for the second time this season to score the Hoosiers eight points. The White Lake, Mich., native holds the the sixth highest mark in the nation. She will head to her second NCAA Indoor Championships and her first with the Hoosiers after earning an entry in 2022 with Michigan. 

Kenisha Phillips also won silver in the 400 meters with a time of 51.72 to break her own school record set earlier this season. The Georgetown, Guyana, native earns a spot in the event with the No. 9 seed to make her first NCAA Indoor appearance.

The men’s DMR team of Camden Marshall, Antonio Laidler, Keefer Sohengen and Austin Haskett ran the 10th fastest time in the nation (9:23.41) at the Alex Wilson Invitational to earn Indiana their 14th straight NCAA qualifying team dating back to 2009. The Hoosiers have finished in the top-eight 11 times along with two runner-ups in 2011 and 2012.

INDIANA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

MOREN NAMED HEAD COACH OF 2024 USA BASKETBALL WOMEN’S U18 NATIONAL TEAM

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Indiana head coach Teri Moren has been announced as the head coach of the 2024 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team.

“I am grateful to be chosen as the head coach of the 2024 U18 National Team,” Moren said. “It is an honor and humbling experience anytime you are asked to be a part of USA Basketball and represent your country. I look forward to leading some of the very best young players in the country and work alongside some excellent colleagues in pursuit of a gold medal this summer.”

Moren will make her head coaching debut with USA Basketball after capturing gold as an assistant coach at the 2023 FIBA U19 Women’s World Cup and 2022 FIBA U18 Women’s Americas Championship. She is in her 10th season as the head coach of the Hoosiers. The Indiana native is the program’s all-time winningest coach while leading them to five NCAA Tournament appearances, two Sweet 16’s and an Elite Eight appearance along with nine consecutive 20-win seasons. In 2023, she guided the program to its first regular season Big Ten championship in 40 years and took Big Ten Coach of the Year honors for the second time in her career.

Coaching selections for the U18 national team were made by the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee, while the USA Basketball Women’s Developmental National Team Committee selected the U17 coaching staff. All selections were approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors. 

Moren along with Notre Dame’s Niele Ivey and South Florida’s Jose Fernandez will lead the USA at the 2024 FIBA U18 Women’s AmeriCup June 17-23 (location TBA by FIBA Americas at a later date). The USA will look to capture its 11th-straight gold medal and 12th overall since the tournament’s inception in 1988.

PURDUE BASEBALL

BOILERMAKERS TO FACE 3 QUALITY FOES AT ECU’S LECLAIR CLASSIC

ROUND ROBIN TOURNAMENT INFORMATION

Purdue (6-2) at the Keith LeClair Classic

Clark-LeClair Stadium / Greenville, N.C.

Friday, March 1 at #11 East Carolina (5-3) at 2 p.m. ET / ESPN+

Saturday, March 2 vs. Southeastern Louisiana (6-3) at 11 a.m. ET

Sunday, March 3 vs. Cal State Fullerton (4-3) at 9 a.m. ET

SERIES HISTORY

All-Time vs. East Carolina: ECU leads 4-3 (All Games in Greenville)

Last Meeting: Purdue 6, ECU 4 (2012 at Keith LeClair Classic)

All-Time vs. Southeastern Louisiana: SELA leads 1-0

Previous Meeting: SELA 4, Purdue 0 (March 2018 in Hammond)

All-Time vs. Cal State Fullerton: First Meeting

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS

Friday: Jordan Morales (Grad, LHP) vs. ECU’s Trey Yesavage (Jr, RHP)

Saturday: Kyle Iwinski (Sr, RHP) vs. SELA’s Dakota Lee (R-Jr, RHP)

Sunday: Luke Wagner (Sr, LHP) vs. CSF’s Chad Gurnea (Fr, RHP)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Weekend No. 3 of the season brings Purdue Baseball back to North Carolina for its first regular-season tournament since 2020, participating in East Carolina’s four-team Keith LeClair Classic for the second time.

The Boilermakers will play their first true road game of the season Friday as they take on No. 11 ECU at 2 p.m. First pitch was moved up two hours due to rain in the forecast for Friday evening. Purdue also has two morning games this weekend, Saturday at 11 a.m. vs. Southeastern Louisiana and Sunday at 9 a.m. vs. Cal State Fullerton. The Boilermakers will be the designated home team Saturday and bat first as the designated visiting team Sunday.

ECU and Fullerton both qualified for NCAA Regionals in 2023 and have been regulars in the postseason. Southeastern Louisiana was in the NCAA Tournament as recently as 2022. Fullerton’s second-year head coach Jason Dietrich is the former pitching coach at ECU.

The Keith LeClair Classic is named after East Carolina’s former head coach from 1998 to 2002. LeClair’s coaching career was short by a battle with ALS, which ultimately took his life in 2006. Purdue also played in the 2012 edition of the tournament, which featured Maryland and Western Carolina as well.

The Boilermakers have played 23 games in North Carolina during Greg Goff’s five-tenure as head coach, compiling a 19-4 record. Nineteen of those 23 games have been played at Ting Stadium in Holly Springs, where Purdue won three of four last weekend vs. George Mason. But the Boilers’ first trip to the Tar Heel State under Goff was also for a round-robin tournament, winning the Campbell Invitational in February 2020. The following weekend Purdue went to Minneapolis for Minnesota’s indoor tournament and that was the last time the Boilermakers played multiple non-conference opponents in the same weekend.

Goff and assistants Chris Marx and Seth LaRue coached many games against ECU during their years at Campbell as part of an annual home-and-home midweek series.

ECU’s Friday starter Trey Yesavage is one of the best pitchers the Boilermakers will face this season as a projected day 1 selection in the MLB Draft this summer. Yesavage struck out 11 over six innings of one-run ball last weekend in a top-25 matchup at North Carolina. The Pirates are 4-0 at home after racking up 29 of their 47 victories in Greenville a year ago.

Jordan Morales has performed like a Friday ace over the first two starts of his grad transfer season at Purdue. The lefty has 12 strikeouts vs. one walk while not allowing an earned run over his first 11 1/3 innings as a Boilermaker. Jackson Dannelley has backed him up with 6 2/3 innings of one-hit relief to close out both Friday wins with three-inning saves.

Entering the weekend, Logan Sutter continues to share the national lead with eight doubles over Purdue’s first eight games.

Southeastern Louisiana has come back to win each of its first two weekend series after dropping the Friday opener. Like Morales and Dannelley for Purdue, Dakota Lee and Jackson Rodriguez have been an effective 1-2 punch for SELA on the mound each of the first two Saturdays, combining for 17 innings of three-run ball. The Lions’ bats have been hot over the last three games, scoring a combined 48 runs in wins vs. UAB, Xavier of Louisiana and Mississippi Valley State.

Fullerton won two of three at Stanford to open the season and dropped two of three at home to Fresno State last weekend. Both CSUF’s Sunday games have been low scoring, losing 4-1 and 2-1. Freshman Chad Gurnea has pitched well in his first two collegiate starts, conceding just two earned runs over 10 innings.

ACTIVE STREAKS

• Couper Cornblum – 28-game on-base streak (since April 15, 2023; final 20 of 2023, first 8 of 2024)

• Logan Sutter – 8-game hit streak (every game of 2024)

• Luke Gaffney – 8-game hit streak (every game of 2024)

• Camden Gasser – 6-game hit streak (every game he’s played in 2024)

• Keenan Spence – 6-game on-base, 5-game hit streaks

• Keenan Taylor – 5-game on-base streak

• Jo Stevens – 5-game on-base streak

• Jordan Morales – 12 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run

REACHED BASE SAFELY MORE THAN THEY WERE OUT VS. GEORGE MASON

Minimum 7 Plate Appearances

• Keenan Taylor: .857 OBP, 3-for-4, 2 2B, 5 RBI, 2 BB, HBP, R

• Aaron Dolney: .714 OBP, 3-for-5, 2 RBI, BB, HBP, R

• Camden Gasser: .588 OBP, 7-for-14, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 3 BB, 6 R

• Luke Gaffney: .529 OBP, 8-for-16, 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, HBP, 6 R

• Keenan Spence: .529 OBP, 6-for-13, 2B, HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 6 R

PURDUE’S RECORD IN NORTH CAROLINA…

• Since 2023: 8-4

• Since 2022: 16-4

• Since 2020: 19-4

• Since 2019: 21-5

• Wins Against: George Mason (2024), Akron (2023), NJIT (2019, 2023), Longwood (2022), Charlotte (2022), Princeton (2022), Campbell (2020), Maine (2020), Villanova (2020)

PURDUE’S REGULAR-SEASON TOURNAMENTS SINCE ITS LAST APPEARANCE AT THE KEITH LeCLAIR CLASSIC IN 2012

• Feb. 28-March 1, 2020 at Minnesota’s Indoor Classic (Minneapolis)

0-3 – Lost 5-1 vs. Duke, Lost 6-0 vs. NC State, Lost 6-5 (in 10) vs. North Carolina

• Feb. 21-23, 2020 at Campbell Invitational (Buies Creek, N.C.)

3-0 – Won 6-4 at Campbell, Won 6-2 vs. Maine, Won 7-1 vs. Villanova

• March 2-4, 2018 at Stetson’s Invitational (DeLand, Fla.)

2-1 – Won 11-1 vs. Central Michigan, Won 12-5 vs. Virginia Tech, Lost 11-6 at Stetson

• Feb. 23-25, 2018 at Notre Dame’s Alamo Classic (San Antonio)

3-1 – Won 5-2 vs. Saint Louis, Won 5-4 (in 10) vs. Incarnate Word, Lost 4-2 vs. Notre Dame, Won 8-7 vs. Notre Dame

• March 11-12, 2016 at Kansas Classic (Lawrence, Kan.)

1-2 – Lost 3-2 vs. Saint Louis, Won 5-0 vs. North Dakota, Lost 8-1 vs. Kansas

• Feb. 19-21, 2016 at Atlanta Challenge (Atlanta)

1-2 – Lost 5-2 at Georgia Tech, Lost 5-2 at Kennesaw State, Won 5-3 at Georgia State

• Feb. 26-28 at Arizona State’s Phoenix Muni Classic (Phoenix)

1-3 – Won 5-3 vs. Gonzaga, Lost 12-2 vs. Gonzaga, Lost 15-5 at Arizona State, Lost 6-4 (in 11) vs. CSU Bakersfield

• Feb. 20-22 at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s College Classic

2-2 – Lost 6-2 at A&M-CC, Won 4-3 (in 12) vs. Sam Houston State, Won 9-7 vs. Sam Houston State, Lost 1-0 vs. Missouri

• Feb. 15-17, 2013 at Big East/Big Ten Challenge

2-2 – Won 11-8 vs. Connecticut, Lost 20-2 vs. South Florida, Lost 9-4 vs. Louisville, Won 5-3 vs. Connecticut

• March 2-4, 2012 at Auburn Tournament (Auburn, Ala.)

3-0 – Won 9-8 at Auburn, Won 10-9 vs. Southern Miss, Won 5-2 vs. Charleston Southern

• Feb. 25-26 at ECU’s Keith LeClair Classic

2-1 – Won 6-4 vs. East Carolina, Lost 11-1 vs. Maryland, Won 14-7 vs. Western Carolina

BIG TEN TEAMS AT THE KEITH LeCLAIR CLASSIC (Since Purdue’s first appearance in 2012)

• 2023: Indiana

• 2022: Michigan & Maryland

• 2020: Indiana

• 2019: NA

• 2018: NA

• 2017: NA

• 2016: Maryland (& Southeastern Louisiana)

• 2015: NA

• 2014: Ohio State

• 2013: Illinois

• 2012: Purdue (& Maryland while still a part of the ACC)

PURDUE WRESTLING

BIG TEN GIVEN 85 BIDS FOR NCAA WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS

INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee announced the automatic qualification allocations for the 2024 conference championship tournaments on Thursday afternoon, giving the Big Ten Conference 85 of the 283 auto bids. 

The Big Ten earned the most spots with at least seven at each weight, taking eight or more allocations in seven of the ten classes. At minimum, the conference will represent 25% of the field and that number could increase with 47 at-large spots to be determined by the NCAA’s committee on March 12 following the conclusion of all conference tournaments. Brackets and seeding will be announced on NCAA.com at 8:00 p.m. ET on March 13. 

Each qualifying conference was awarded pre-allocations to the national tournament based on regular season performance by conference wrestlers through the February 26 cutoff. The pre-allocations were determined by using a sliding scale of the three standards, win percentage, coaches’ rank, and RPI ranking; while never going below the base of .700 winning percentage, top 30 coaches’ ranking and top 30 RPI ranking until reaching the maximum of 29 wrestlers per weight class. For each wrestler that reached the threshold in at least two of the three categories, his conference tournament was awarded a qualifying spot in that weight class.

The Boilermakers will have their chance to wrestle their way to Kansas City next weekend in College Park, Md., at the Big Ten Championships on March 9-10. 

Conference125133141149157165174184197285Total
ACC233222444228
Big 12665666656557
Big Ten 97119910887785
EIWA554435676853
MAC211351222322
Pac-12232332213324
Southern131212111114
Pre-Allocations27282729292829282929283
At-Large656445454447

Ramos is the first Purdue wrestler to enter the postseason as the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the rankings since the NCAA began releasing them in 2012. Blaze’s No. 18 spot in the coaches poll and Clark’s place at No. 20 in the RPI both represent the best marks for Purdue true freshmen heading into tourna

The coaches’ rankings are determined by a vote of 14 coaches in each weight class with two head coaches from each of the seven conferences. Wrestlers must have eight Division I matches in the weight class to be considered with at least one match within the last 30 days. The RPI is a calculation that consists of three factors: winning percentage, opponent winning percentage (strength of schedule) and opponent’s opponent winning percentage (opponent’s strength of schedule). Only matches against Division I opponents at the designated weight class count towards the RPI and a wrestler needs to have wrestled 15 matches to be ranked.

The coaches’ ranking and RPI are two of several criteria that will be evaluated during the at-large selection and seeding process along with head-to-head competition, quality wins, conference tournament placement, results versus common opponents and win percentage.

PURDUE SOFTBALL

THUNDERING HERD INVITATIONAL ON DECK

THUNDERING HERD INVITATIONAL

Friday, March 1

at Marshall | 11:00 a.m. ET

vs. Radford | 4:00 p.m. ET

Saturday, March 2

vs. Butler | 11:00 a.m. ET

vs. Radford | 1:30 p.m. ET

Sunday, March 3

at Marshall | 1:00 p.m. ET

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue Softball team (7-5) head to Marshall for the Thundering Herd Invitational. The Boilermakers will face Marshall, Radford and Butler for a total of five games in three days.

Fans will be able to follow along via live stats on purduestats.com or @purduesoftball on Twitter/X.

PURDUE AMONG THE BIG TEN

Purdue ranks among the Big Ten’s top-5 in five statistical categories including fielding % (#2) and stolen bases (#3)

THAT’S OUTTA HERE

Purdue totaled three homers vs. SIU (2/25), with two by Moriah Polar and one by Olivia McFadden, accounting for five of the team’s 13 runs.

The three homers tie as the second-most in program history and the most since 2016.

MORIAH POLAR’S RECORD-TYING HOMERS

Freshman Moriah Polar registered two home runs in the 13-6 victory vs. SIU (2/25), tying the Purdue program record for home runs in a single game.

Polar is the first Purdue freshman since 2015 to record two homers in a single game.

AMONG THE BIG TEN LEADERS: SAGE SCARMARDO

Sage Scarmardo ranks #2 in the Big Ten in three statistical categories including batting average (.462%), on-base % (.605) and hit by pitch per game (.45). Nationally, she ranks 11th in HBP per game and 17th in OB%.

IN THE CIRCLE: FRESHMAN JULIA GOSSETT

Freshman Julia Gossett leads the team with a 3-0 record and earned a save in the victory at USF in Week 2.

She led all Big Ten pitchers in ERA (0.44) after the first two weeks of play.

Gossett posted six strikeouts vs. SIU (2/24) through her 4.2 innings pitched, setting a career-high and tying a team season game-high.

SCOUTING THE MARSHALL BISON

During the first weekend of the season, the Bison took on Big Ten opponents Penn State and Michigan State. The Bison beat Michigan state twice (1-0 and 10-1) and lost to Penn State (2-5). 

Sidney Bickel has obtained 21 hits and an OB% of .481 in 15 games. She is also 7-for-8 on stolen bases this season. 

In the circle, Bub Feringa has thrown for 30.1 innings, earning an ERA of 2.77. Feringa pitched all seven innings in their first game against Michigan State, only allowing four hits while striking out zero. 

SCOUTING THE RADFORD HIGHLANDERS

The Highlanders are on a three-game losing streak, losing to Georgia, Virginia Tech and Virginia. 

Lexi Roberts is one of three players (Cassi Barbato and Abby Wilson) that has an OB% above .425. Roberts has also recorded 18 hits and is 9-for-9 on stolen base attempts. 

Abby Peace is 1-1 in the circle with an ERA of 3.76. Peace has struck out 17 batters and allowed 24 hits in 13 games. 

SCOUTING THE BUTLER BULLDOGS

Sharing a familiar opponent as the Boilermakers, the Bulldogs lost to South Dakota twice (1-7; 0-5) after Purdue defeated them twice (8-2 and 5-2). 

In 44 at bats, Ella White has acquired an impressive 19 hits, eight RBI and 11 walks to lead the team. Also, White has earned a .705 SLB% and batting average of .432. 

Katie Petran is the Bulldogs’ main pitcher throwing a total of 45 innings and winning all her appearances. In addition, Petran has recorded 26 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.64. 

NOTRE DAME WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

NO. 17 NOTRE DAME DOMINATES NO. 5 VIRGINIA TECH, 71-58

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – It was all Irish. All night.

On Thursday, No. 17 Notre Dame (22-6, 12-5) topped No. 5 Virginia Tech (23-5, 14-3), 71-58. The Irish led for 33:16 of the game and did not allow the Hokies to take a lead after 3:06 in the first quarter. Hannah Hidalgo paced the Irish with 23 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. Sonia Citron had 21 points, all in the second half.

“Phenomenal game,” Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Niele Ivey said after the win. “I have a lot of respect for Virginia Tech, and we were locked in from the beginning of the game. We’ve had so much growth in the last couple of weeks.

“It was a magical night for us.”

The Irish overcame recent first half troubles and came out on fire. Both Hidalgo and Westbeld had 14 points before the break, and the Irish led 36-28 at the half.

Notre Dame entered the game 16-0 on the year when leading at the half, and the Irish are now 17-0. In the midst of a minor Virginia Tech run in Q3, Notre Dame countered every time. Both Westbeld and Kylee Watson continued to keep Hokies post Elizabeth Kitley out of her comfort zone, forcing her to shoot jumpers.

Notre Dame played lights out defense throughout the night. The Irish held reigning ACC Player of the Year Kitley to 12 points and a 4-11 showing from the floor. Shooter Georgia Amoore had 20 points on the night but shot just 7-24.

Ivey played man-to-man for the entire game. It worked. As a team, Virginia Tech shot 36.8 percent (21-57). Notre Dame outscored the Hokies 34-16 in the paint.

“I didn’t want Virginia Tech to get comfortable in the zone,” Ivey said. “They have too many shooters. We showed our individual pride in man-to-man, and it was working, so I stayed in it.”

Notre Dame finishes up the regular season by hosting Louisville on Sunday. The game tips off on ESPN at 2 p.m.

IVEY NAMED ASSISTANT FOR USA BASKETBALL’S WOMEN’S U18 NATIONAL TEAM

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Niele Ivey will serve as an assistant coach for the USA Basketball U18 Women’s Junior National Team this summer, the organization announced on Thursday. It will be Ivey’s debut as a USA Basketball assistant coach after she served as a court coach at the 2023 USA Women’s U19 National Team trials.

Ivey will coach alongside Indiana head coach Teri Moren and South Florida head coach Jose Fernandez. Moren will serve as the team’s head coach this summer. They will head to a to-be-determined location for the 2024 FIBA U18 Women’s AmeriCup from June 17-23.

Ivey is in her fourth year at the helm in South Bend and has accumulated an 82-31 record. She has led the team to back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances over the last two seasons, led Notre Dame to a 2023 ACC regular season title, and was the 2023 ACC Coach of the Year. Prior to taking over the program, Ivey was an Irish point guard and assistant coach for Notre Dame. She is the common link to all nine of the program’s Final Four appearances — two as a player and seven as an assistant.

WESTBELD NAMED TO COLLEGE ALL-STAR GAME PLAYER WATCH LIST

CLEVELAND — Notre Dame senior Maddy Westbeld has been named to the Women’s College Basketball All-Star Game Player Watchlist, Intersport announced on Thursday. Westbeld is among 60 of the nation’s top women’s basketball players who are draft-eligible, and she could be named to the 20-person team should she forgo her remaining year of eligibility and declare for the WNBA Draft.

The 2024 Women’s College All-Star Game will air on ESPN2 on Saturday, April 6 at 3:30 p.m. Cleveland’s Wolstein Center will host. The full watch list can be found here.

Westbeld is having an excellent senior year, as the Ohio native is averaging just below a double-double (14.0/9.3). She is one of just four ACC players posting at least 14 points and 9 rebounds per contest.

As we head into tournament season, Westbeld has stepped up her game even more. Over the last five games, the post is putting up 15.6 points and 10 rebounds per game. She has also recorded 9 steals in that period. Most recently, Westbeld posted 18 points and went 7-9 from the floor in a Sunday win over Boston College.

As a result of her performance this year, Westbeld was named to the Katrina McClain Top 10. The award is given to the nation’s best power forward.

NOTRE DAME BASEBALL

NOTRE DAME BASEBALL ON THE ROAD TO TENNESSEE TECH

The (5-2) Irish will travel to Cookeville, Tenn., for a three-game series at Tennessee Tech (March 1-3). Led by John P. and Catherine Murphy Head Baseball Coach Shawn Stiffler in his second season with the Irish, Notre Dame welcomes 19 newcomers to the roster.

By The Numbers

2            

Shawn Stiffler is in his second season with the Irish, after leading Notre Dame to a 30-24 season in 2023. He owns a 375-224 career record. Stiffler came to South Bend after spending the 10 seasons at the helm of the VCU program.

2            

Two Irish made their debuts in an Irish uniform at FIU. RHP Hagan Ward and RHP Keenan Mork made their first career collegiate apperances. RHP Sammy Cooper and INF Casey Kmet also made their first appearances of the season.

3            

Notre Dame pitchers have combined for three saves, which ranks tied for third in the ACC. RHP Nate Hardman owns two, while RHP Bennett Flynn earned one at FIU.

3            

Three Irish pitchers have been named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List: RHPs Radek Birkholz, Bennett Flynn and Nate Hardman. All three played major roles in the series sweep of Rice.

4            

Notre Dame’s four wins to begin the season is the program’s best start since 2004, when the Irish opened the season 7-0.

4            

D1Baseball tabbed four Irish players among the top national players in their positions. Jack Penney enters 2024 ranked No. 32 among the nation’s shortstops, Simon Baumgardt ranked No. 50 amond third basemen, David Glancy ranked No. 97 among outfielders, and Jackson Dennies ranked No. 105 among starting pitchers.

4            

The Irish are set to face four teams ranked in the preseason Top 25 in 2024, including No. 1 Wake Forest, No. 10 Clemson, No. 13 NC State and No. 15 North Carolina.

9            

Nine of Notre Dame’s 14 home runs this season came from graduate transfers. OF David Glancy leads the team with four, while OF Tito Flores and INF Simon Baumgardt own two, and INF Josh Hahn has posted one.

10          

Jack Penney tied for the Irish team lead with 10 home runs in 2023, and will look to be a major piece of the Notre Dame lineup in 2024. His 1.000 stolen-base percentage (8-8) in 2023 tied for third all-time in single-season Irish records.

19          

The Irish introduce 19 newcomers, featuring 10 freshmen and nine grad transfers, to the 2023 roster.

100       

Perfect Game ranked two Irish players in their Top 100 Lists for each class. David Lally Jr. ranked No. 69 among the nation’s sophomores, and Jack Penney came in at No. 71 among juniors.

.988      

The Irish own a .988 fielding percentage on the season, ranking second in the ACC.

2024

Following the series sweep at Rice (Feb. 16-18), Notre Dame received votes in the National College Baseball Writers Association poll.

Notre Dame’s three wins to begin the season was the program’s best start since 2010, when the Irish opened the season 3-0 with a three-game sweep of Mississippi Valley State.

Notre Dame’s four wins to begin the season is the program’s best start since 2004, when the Irish opened the season 7-0.

New Lineup in 2024

Notre Dame returns five regular starters from the 2023 lineup in DM Jefferson, Brady Gumpf, TJ Williams, Jack Penney and Estevan Moreno.

With the graduation of key pieces of the 2023 lineup (and 2022 College World Series team) in Carter Putz, Zack Prajzner, Jack Zyska, and Brooks Coetzee, new faces for the Irish will earn the opportunity to compete.

Notre Dame welcomes nine graduate transfers and 10 freshmen to the roster in the 2024 season.

Several transfers will look to earn significant playing time, including OF Tito Flores (Michigan), OF David Glancy (St. John’s), INF Josh Hahn (UCLA), INF Simon Baumgardt (Tulane), RHP Will Jacobsen (Harvard), RHP Bennett Flynn (Davidson) and RHP Nate Hardman (Evansville).

The Outfield

Notre Dame returns three experienced outfielders in TJ Williams, DM Jefferson and Brady Gumpf. Williams, one of the top defensive centerfielders in college baseball, led the ACC in 2023 in sacrifice bunts (11).

The three are joined by graduate transfers Tito Flores and David Glancy. Flores is a two-time Big Ten all-tournament team selection, while Glancy led St. John’s with 13 home runs in 2023, and is ranked as one of D1Baseball’s Top 100 outfielders entering 2024.

OF Drayk Bowen also marked his first appearance for the Irish at Rice as a pinch runner.

No. 1 Jefferson: Has played most games as the starting DH for the Irish in 2024, and ties for the ACC lead in HBP (5).

No. 2 Glancy: Has hit two home runs in each of the past two series – at Rice and at FIU. At 0.57 homers per game, ranks tied for fifth in the ACC. Was responsible for Notre Dame’s first home run of the season, a no-doubter into the wind.

No. 6 Williams: A four-year member of the Irish, and a leader on the team, Williams currently leads the Irish with a .500 batting average, ranking tied for fifth in the ACC. He posted the first multi-home run game of his career with two home runs in the 13-4 win at FIU (2/23/24)

No. 7 Flores: Ties for the team lead in RBI (10) on the season. Hit Notre Dame’s first grand slam of the season in the ninth inning of the Rice series finale, cementing the sweep. On the weekend, he posted three hits and two runs, drawing two walks.

No. 21 Gumpf: Has seen action in six games, starting two and notching a hit.

The Infield

Jack Penney and Estevan Moreno will look to build off their success in the infield in 2023. Penney tied for the team lead with 10 home runs before being sidelined by an injury, while Moreno, in a breakout freshman season, became the first Irish player since 2016 to hit three home runs in a single game (4/21/23 vs. Virginia).

The Irish also return Connor Hincks, Casey Kmet, Nick DeMarco and Rory Fox, all of whom saw playing time last season.

Joining the infield are impact transfers Simon Baumgardt and Josh Hahn. Baumgardt is ranked in D1Baseball’s Top 50 third basemen entering 2024.

No. 3 Moreno: Earned four starts in the middle infield so far this season.

No. 11 Penney: Leads the team in walks drawn (9) and ties in stolen bases (3).

No. 12 Hincks: Started six games throughout the infield for the Irish, posting two home runs.

No. 15 Hahn: Recorded the go-ahead RBI after being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the first game of the series at Rice.

No. 18 Baumgardt: Totaled three hits and three runs with four RBI at Rice.

Behind the Plate

With the departure of Vinny Martinez, the catcher position is open entering 2023-24 for the Irish, and multiple players could compete for playing time from the catchers group, which includes senior Tony Lindwedel, junior Joey Spence, and freshmen Carson Tinney, Troy Reader and Davis Johnson.

No. 8 Tinney: Started three games at catcher; hit the first homer of his career to score the go-ahead run in the series finale at Rice.

No. 13 Spence: Started one game at catcher at FIU.

No. 28 Lindwedel: Started three games at catcher.

On the Mound

Senior Jackson Dennies leads a group with another year of collegiate experience under their belts. Dennies will be a mainstay started for the Irish, coming off a season in which he pitched 46.1 innings and posted 49 strikeouts. Dennies is ranked in D1Baseball’s Top 150 starting pitchers in the nation entering 2024.

Caden Spivey, David Lally and Matt Bedford all return for the Irish and will look to see significant time on the mound, in addition to Will Jacobsen, a Harvard transfer and 2023 second-team All-Ivy selection.

Radek Birkholz also returns for the Irish, and will join transfers Bennett Flynn and Nate Hardman in relief roles for Notre Dame.

Jack Findlay continues to recover from an injury.

Rice: The Irish started Spivey (Friday), Dennies (Saturday) and Bedford (Sunday). Birkholz (Friday), RHP Tobey McDonough (Saturday) and LHP Ryan Lynch (Sunday) earned the wins.

Hardman posted two saves on the weekend, a figure which was tied for the ACC lead after the first week.

FIU: The Irish started Spivey (Friday), Dennies (Saturday Game One), Bedford (Saturday Game Two) and McDonough (Sunday) at FIU. Flynn and RHP Jack Radel earned the two wins, and Bedford and Hardman absorbed the losses. Radel’s win was the first of his college career, while Flynn’s win was his first in an Irish uniform. Flynn also earned a save, his first at Notre Dame.

John P. And Catherine Murphy Head Baseball Coach Shawn Stiffler

Shawn Stiffler is in his second season with the Irish, and led Notre Dame to a 30-24 record in his first season. He owns a 375-224 career record.

Stiffler came to South Bend after spending the last 10 seasons at the helm of the VCU program where he accrued a 340-198 overall record, and dominated the Atlantic 10 with a record of 146-71.

He was a monumental piece in VCU’s success where he turned the Rams into one of the most consistent programs in the country, as it is one of just seven programs nationally to earn 34 or more wins in each of the last eight full seasons.

In Stiffler’s 10-seasons at the helm of the VCU program, the Rams won Atlantic 10 Regular Season Championships in 2017, 2019 and 2021. The 2017 A-10 Regular Season Championship was the first in program history at VCU.

Stiffler also led VCU to the NCAA Championship Tournament in 2015, 2021 and 2022.

Stiffler earned American Baseball Coaches’ Association (ABCA) East-Region Coach of the Year honors following the 2015 season in which he led VCU to the A-10 Championship and its first-ever Super Regional..

The 2019 A-10 Coach of the Year guided four Rams to All-American honors, five Freshman All-Americans, 20 ABCA All-Region honorees and 48 All A-10 selections.

Meet the Assistants

Assistant coach Logan Robbins (position players) enters his second season at Notre Dame and joined the Irish after spending seven seasons at Old Dominion in Norfolk, Virginia.

Robbins led the Monarch offense to new heights as hitters finished second in Conference USA in 2021 and 2022, hitting a .301 and a .296 team average, respectively.

In 2021, the Monarchs finish second in the country with 105 home runs, smashing the previous home run record of 67, followed by a 2022 squad that hit 128 home runs as a team, finishing third nationally.

Robbins offense finished in the top 15 nationally in home runs, home runs per game, scoring and slugging percentage.

Robbins played at Western Kentucky University and was a 10th round draft pick by the Atlanta Braves in 2011.

Assistant coach Seth Voltz (pitchers) begins his second season with Notre Dame, having joined the Fighting Irish after spending the 2022 season under Stiffler at VCU, and previously worked as an assistant coach at Wofford College.

Voltz led the Rams to the 2022 Atlantic 10 Championship, winning 17-consecutive games `Hill Regional where they notched wins over North Carolina and Georgia.

VCU finished the 2022 campaign with a 42-20 record, and ranked in the top 20 in Division I in ERA (3.91 – 9th), WHIP (1.29 – 12th) and walks allowed per nine innings (3.12 – 10th).

Voltz was an assistant coach with the Wofford Terriers from 2017-20.

He helped the Terriers win the first Southern Conference Regular Season Championship in program history in 2021, after a 36-21 regular season and a 21-9 SoCon record.

The 492 strikeouts in the 2021 campaign is the second-most in SoCon history and the third-most in program history.

After graduating from VCU in 2012, where he was a four-year letterwinner under Stiffler, he began his coaching career as the Rams’ volunteer coach and then coached as an assistant at UT Martin from   2015-16.

Ryan Munger (position players/catchers) assumes an assistant coach role after serving as Notre Dame’s volunteer assistant coach in 2023. Munger served as an assistant coach at Davidson for the previous seven seasons, and was elevated to recruiting coordinator in July of 2018.

After joining Davidson in the fall of 2013, Munger worked primarily with the catchers and assisted with hitting. In 2022, he helped guide the Wildcats to a 43-13 overall mark, a 20-4 Atlantic 10 Conference record as Davidson earned the 2022 Atlantic 10 Regular Season Championship, finishing a game ahead of Stiffler’s VCU team.

In his time with Davidson, Munger helped lead the program to new heights, winning the most games in a season in program history in 2017, 2018 and further improving that total during the 2022 season. He led the Wildcats to their first-ever conference title in the program’s 115-year history in 2017, and was just the second four-seed to ever sweep an NCAA Regional.

Munger played baseball at Duke and was a team captain in 2012 and 2013.

NOTRE DAME SOFTBALL

IRISH OPEN ACC PLAY AT VIRGINIA TECH

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame softball team will head to Blacksburg, Virginia to open Atlantic Coast Conference play this weekend. The Fighting Irish enter the weekend with an 8-5 record, coming off of a doubleheader sweep of Oregon State and Utah to close out the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic last weekend.

Virginia Tech comes in sporting a ranking in the top 25 in four polls, ranking 20th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll, 23rd in the USA Today/Coaches poll, 16th in D1Softball.com, and 14th by Softball America. The Hokies are currently 12-3-1, coming off of a 4-0-1 weekend with wins over No. 3 Georgia and Dartmouth and two over Radford.

Games are scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m., 2 p.m., and noon, respectively. All games will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra, and live stats will also be available. Links for each of those services are on the Notre Dame Softball schedule page.

BUTLER SOFTBALL

BUTLER SOFTBALL HEADS TO FINAL EARLY-SEASON TOURNAMENT

The Butler softball team will play in its final early-season tournament of the 2024 season this weekend, traveling to the Thundering Herd Invitational at Marshall. The Bulldogs went 3-2 last weekend at the Spring Games in Madeira Beach, Florida.  Scheduled opponents this coming weekend are Purdue, Radford, and Marshall.

Bulldog Bits                                                                                       

         (as of 2-25-24)

Ella White leads the BIG EAST (14th nationally) with 6 doubles and is second (75th) with 19 hits.

Kieli Ryan leads the BIG EAST (5th nationally) with 6 baserunners caught stealing.

Katie Petran leads the BIG EAST (29th nationally) with 5 wins in the circle and is second (74th) allowing only 1.09 walks per seven innings.

Hailey Conger ranks third in the BIG EAST with 18 hits.

Cate Lehner is fourth in the BIG EAST with six stolen bases.

           at the Spring Games

Ella White led Butler with nine hits (.563) over five games that included three doubles, a home run, and six RBI. With her performance, she landed a spot on the BIG EAST weekly honor roll.

Teagan O’Rilley tallied six RBI on four total hits that included two doubles.

Katie Petran earned a pair of complete-game victories over Middle Tennessee and Le Moyne and was named to this week’s BIG EAST Honor Roll. She now has five complete-game wins this season.

The win over Middle Tennessee was Head Coach Scott Hall’s 300th career victory in D1 collegiate softball.

SCOUTING OPPONENTS

Purdue (7-5, 0-0 B1G)

Wins for the Boilermakers include Murray State, South Dakota, UIC, and SIU. Losses include No. 6 Georgia, SIU, and South Dakota State.

Batting leaders include #1 Sage Scarmardo (.538, 2B, 2RBI), #2 Khloe Banks (.467, 7H, 5SB), #95 Kiara Dillon (.400, 3SB), and #8 Kyndall Bailey (.375).

The pitching staff has a combined ERA of 2.38 with 19 Ks on the season.

Marshall (8-7, 0-0 Sunbelt) (not including Wed. game vs. Bellarmine)

Wins for the Thundering Herd include Michigan State, Central Michigan, and Drake. Losses include #12 Arkansas, #23 Arizona, Indiana, Penn State, and East Carolina.

Batting leaders include #11 Sydney Bickel (.447, 3B, 3HR, 11RBI, 7SB), #49 Brooklyn Ulrich (.395, 4-2B, 10RBI), #0 Bella Gerlach (.362, 3-2B, 2HR, 11RBI), and #13 Rielly Lucas (.318, 5-2B, 14 RBI).

The pitching staff has a combined ERA of 2.15 with 8 Ks on the season.

Radford (7-5, 0-0 Big South) (not including Tue. doubleheader vs. Virginia)

Wins for the Highlanders include Dartmouth, Bucknell, and UMass. Losses have come to #3 Georgia, #21 Virginia Tech, and Georgia Southern.

Batting leaders include #14 Lexie Roberts (.432, 8SB), #13 Cassi Barbato (.394, 3-2B, 5RBI), #15 Abby Wilson (.300, 4-2B, 10RBI), and Rachel Smith (.278, 2-2B, 9RBI).

The pitching staff has a combined ERA of 3.74 with 47 Ks on the season.

BUTLER BASEBALL

BUTLER TRAVELS TO MOREHEAD STATE FOR THREE-GAME SERIES AT ALLEN FIELD

INDIANAPOLIS – The Bulldogs are back in action this weekend with a three-game series at Morehead State. Friday’s opener has been moved up to a 12 PM start due to rain in the forecast. Live Stats will be available for each contest however there will not be a live stream.

Weekend Schedule

Friday, March 1 – 12 PM

Saturday, March 2 – 12 PM

Sunday, March 3 – 1 PM

Projected Starters

Game 1 – RHP Justin Hornschemeier vs. RHP Luke Helton

Game 2 – RHP Tyler Banks vs. RHP Grant Herron

Game 3 – RHP Grant Brooks vs. RHP Callum McGill

Scouting Morehead State

The Eagles are off to a 5-3 start to the season after winning a pair of weekend series. Opening Day sent MSU to Davidson, N.C. to face the Wildcats. The Eagles won the first and the last game in that series but would quickly settle at 2-2 after a road loss to Kentucky on Feb. 20. The Eagles once again won Friday and Sunday at North Alabama. The team has won two-straight as they added a midweek win on Tuesday at Northern Kentucky.

Three right-handers will start on the hill for Morehead State this weekend. Luke Helton serves as the ace on the staff. The Friday starter is 2-0 this year with a 1.59 ERA. He has 15 strikeouts in 11.1 innings with the opposition batting just .214. Grant Herron will take the ball on Saturday and Sunday’s starter is slated to be Callum McGill. Herron is 0-1 in his two starts with a 4.66 ERA. McGill has a 1-0 record and 11 strikeouts spread out over nine full innings.

Colton Becker leads Morehead State with a .455 batting average. A starter in all eight games, Becker has three doubles and a pair of home runs included in his team-high 15 hits. Roman Kuntz and Nick Gooden are also players to watch. Kuntz provides power to the lineup with three home runs and Gooden joins Becker as the only Eagles to hit over .300 this year. Once on base, the Bulldogs will need to be aware of MSU base runners. The Eagles have stole 19 bases on 21 attempts over their first eight games.

Last Meeting

Butler hosted Morehead State on April, 11 2018 and the result was a 4-2 Bulldog win. BU scored two in the second and added two more in the bottom of the eighth. Ryan Pepiot was credited with the save in the victory.

Bulldog Bits

– Kade Lewis made the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll

– Billy Wurch leads the team with a .385 batting average

– The Bulldogs are 6-for-6 in stolen base attempts this year

– Ethan Vecrumba leads the club with two stolen bases

– Carter Dorighi is the BU leader in hits with nine

– Joey Urban leads all ‘Dawgs with eight RBI

– Eight different Bulldogs have hit a home run this year

– Lewis, Dorighi, Moroknek, Carter, and Urban have started in all six games

– Cole Graverson leads the team in appearances (3) and strikeouts (6)

– Graverson is the only Bulldog with a save this year

– Ben Whiteside is tied with Graverson with three appearances on the mound

– Whiteside has tossed 7.1 innings along with BU reliever Nick Miketinac

BIG EAST Standings

Creighton 5-0

Seton Hall 5-2

Butler 3-3

Xavier 4-4

St. John’s 2-3

Georgetown 3-5

UConn 2-4

Villanova 1-5

Up Next

The 2024 home opener is set for Tuesday, March 5 at Bulldog Park. Butler will host Purdue Fort Wayne at 3 PM.

IUPUI WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

JAGS FALL IN ROAD CONTEST AGAISNT TITANS, 64-59

DETROIT, Mich. – The IUPUI women’s basketball team fell on the road to Detroit Mercy on Thursday evening, 64-59. Jazmyn Turner and Tahlia Walton both totaled double-digit points to lead the Jaguars’ offense.

Detroit Mercy (16-14, 9-10 HL) started the game off on a 7-0 run, holding the Jags scoreless until the 5:20 mark when Katie Davidson put IUPUI on the board with a layup. After the Titans took a 15-8 lead, IUPUI finished the first quarter on a 6-0 run to pull within one at 15-14.

The Titans outscored the Jags by one in the second quarter to hold a two-point lead at the half, 34-32. IUPUI cut the lead back down to one, outscoring Detroit Mercy 15-14 in the third quarter.

With a close game going into the fourth quarter, the Jags shot just 38.5 percent in the fourth quarter while the Titans shot 46.7 percent to take the five-point victory.

Despite falling, the Jags forced the Titans to commit 14 turnovers with IUPUI turning those into 12 points.

Turner led the Jags with 13 points and seven rebounds while Walton added 10 points. Abby Wolterman totaled nine points with six rebounds while Katie Davidson added eight points.

The Jags will now close out the regular season on the road at Oakland on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 2:00 PM.

BALL STATE SWIMMING

KELLY’S SILVER LEADS WOMEN’S S&D ON DAY 2 OF MAC CHAMPIONSHIPS

ATHENS, Ohio – – Sophomore freestyle sprint specialist Payton Kelly added to her medal count Thursday, taking second place in the 50 freestyle on day two of the Mid-American Conference Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships at the Ohio University Aquatic Center.

Kelly finished the race in 22.40, just 0.08 off her program record pace set at the IUPUI House of Champions earlier this season. It’s her second straight silver medal in the 50 freestyle and her third medal overall as she took third in last season’s 100 freestyle race.

Thanks in part to the strong effort by Kelly, the Cardinals added 53 more points to its 2024 MAC Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships point total and are in fifth place overall at 111. Akron leads the meet with 249.5 points.

Sophomore Callie Tuma started the evening session strong for Ball State, taking seventh in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:56.99. She entered as the event’s fifth seed after turning in the third-best 500 freestyle time in program history at 4:53.15 in the prelims.

Senior Marcella Ribeiro also picked up points for the Cardinals in the 500 freestyle, earning 14th at 5:00.04.

Freshman Alexa Von Holtz made her first appearance in the “B” finals in her MAC Championship individual debut, taking 10th in the 200 IM at 2:02.18.

In the diving well, senior transfer Grace Walker shined in her MAC Championship debut, placing fifth overall with a score of 254.65.

The Cardinals rounded out the day with sixth-place finish in the 400 medley relay as Lilia Newkirk, Laura Wright, Hannah Jones and Elizabeth King combined for a time of 3:43.39.

Action in the 2024 MAC Championships continues Friday with five more individual swimming events, prelims and consolation finals of 3-meter diving, and the 200 freestyle relay. Prelims start at 10 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m.

Ball State Women’s Results on Day 2 at MAC Championships

FRIDAY EVENING FINALS RESULTS

500 Freestyle | Program Record – 4:48.37 by Marcella Ribeiro in 2021

7th – Callie Tuma – 4:56.99

14th – Marcella Ribeiro – 5:00.04

200 IM | Program Record – 2:00.85 by Alexa Von Holtz in 2023

10th – Alexa Von Holtz – 2:02.18

50 Freestyle | Program Record – 22.32 by Payton Kelly in 2023

2nd – Payton Kelly – 22.40

1M Diving | Program Record – 305.48 by Caitlin Locante in 2021

5th – Grace Walker – 254.65

400 Medley Relay | Program Record – 3:39.86 by Pratt, Ruehl, H. Richter, Magley in 2013

6th – Lilia Newkirk, Laura Wright, Hannah Jones, Elizabeth King – 3:43.39

FRIDAY MORNING PRELIM RESULTS

500 Freestyle | Program Record – 4:48.37 by Marcella Ribeiro in 2021

Advanced to A Finals – 5th – Callie Tuma – 4:53.15 (3rd in Program History)

Advanced to B Finals – 16th – Marcella Ribeiro – 4:59.96

Prelims

20th – Kayla Newman – 5:00.97

33rd – Mary Kate Phillips – 5:06.70

35th – Kiran Stauffer – 5:07.58

200 IM | Program Record – 2:00.85 by Alexa Von Holtz in 2023

Advanced to B Finals – 10th – Alexa Von Holtz – 2:02.82

Prelims

35th – Sophia Kuehn – 2:09.93

50 Freestyle | Program Record – 22.32 by Payton Kelly in 2023

Advanced to A Finals – 3rd – Payton Kelly – 22.75

Prelims

21st – Hannah Jones – 23.71

22nd – Haley Sakbun – 23.88

23rd – Elizabeth King – 23.90

30th – Eliza Bader – 24.10

33rd – Natalie Marshall – 24.26

36th – Lilia Newkirk – 24.66

40th – Julia Ofman – 25.06

52nd – Angelina Eliacin – 24.62

55th – Emma Horton – 24.95

60th – Neely Agnew – 25.55

1M Diving | Program Record – 305.48 by Caitlin Locante in 2021

Advanced to A Finals – 7th – Grace Walker – 250.25

Prelims

24th – Leelah Fettig – 210.55

32nd – Ella Penny – 174.30

BALL STATE SOFTBALL

SOFTBALL STARTS FIRST LEG OF SPRING BREAK TRIP FRIDAY AT EKU COLONEL CLASSIC

» THIS WEEK IN BALL STATE SOFTBALL: The Ball State softball team opens its annual spring break trip this weekend at the EKU Colonel Classic … During the three-day event, BSU will play Canisius (10 a.m.) and Purdue Fort Wayne (3 p.m.) Friday, Canisius (12:30 p.m.) and Eastern Kentucky (5:30 p.m.) Saturday and Purdue Fort Wayne (1:30 p.m.) Sunday.

» ROAD WARRIORS: Like all northern teams, Ball State will be road warriors for the first part of the season as the team is slated to play its first 27 games away from Muncie … The program record for consecutive road games to start a season is 33 games set in 2018 … BSU opened both the 2016 and 2019 campaigns with 32 straight road games.

» THE OVERALL RECORD: Ball State enters the EKU Colonel Classic with a 1154-1151-4 (.501) overall record dating back to 1975 … The Cardinals have tallied 30-or-more wins in 16 seasons, most recently a 37-18 mark in 2021 … Of the 16 seasons with 30-or-more wins, 11 have come in the past 16 years.

» A QUICK LOOK AT THE CARDINALS: Led by first-year head coach Helen Peña, the Cardinals currently own a 6-9 overall record … Ball State maintains a .237 team batting average, led by redshirt junior utility player McKayla Timmons who ranks fifth in the MAC and 142nd nationally at .435 … Timmons ranks first in the MAC in both home runs (8) and RBIs (18), with the totals ranking third and 18th nationally, respectively … Graduate third baseman Haley Wynn is second on the team with a .316 average, while redshirt sophomore designated player Jessica Hoffman is second on the squad with 13 RBI … Both also have three home runs … In the circle, the Cardinals own a 4.33 ERA led by senior Francys King who boasts a 3-3 record and a 3.88 ERA over 43.1 innings of work … Senior Alyssa Stramaglia leads the staff with a .255 batting average against over 11.0 innings, while sophomore Bridie Murphy has a team-best 20 strikeouts over her 28.0 innings, to go along with a 2-3 record and one save.

» CARDINALS VERSUS THE EKU COLONEL CLASSIC FIELD:

– Ball State enters the EKU Colonel Classic with a 14-8 all-time record versus the teams it will face in the event … The Cardinals hold a 3-0 lead in the all-time series versus Canisius and a 11-6 edge versus in-state rival Purdue Fort Wayne, while trailing Eastern Kentucky 2-0.

» SCOUTING BALL STATE’S OPPONENTS IN THE EKU COLONEL CLASSIC:

– CANISIUS: Golden Griffins enter the weekend with a 2-5 record after splitting a Feb. 20 doubleheader at George Washington … GW won the opener, 3-2, while Canisius won the nightcap, 4-2 … Christie McGee-Ross leads the squad with a .409 average and has scored a team-high five runs … Kate Wiggins leads the squad with a 2.19 ERA over 16.0 innings of work, while Megan Giese has team-best 22 strikeouts over 22.0 innings, with a 1-3 record and 2.55 ERA.

– PURDUE FORT WAYNE: The Mastodons enter the weekend with a 4-10 overall record after going 2-3 at last weekend’s GATA Challenge hosted by Georgia Southern … Bailey Manos leads the squad with a .383 average and is tied for second on the team with five runs scored … Grace Hollopeter has a team-high 10 RBI, while McKenna Minton has scored a team-best eight runs … Alanah Jones has a 2-4 record in the circle, to go along with a team-best 25 strikeouts, a 6.39 ERA and a .279 average against over 31.0 innings of work … Bracie Brinkerhoff has pitched a team-high 37.1 innings and owns a 1-5 record and 5.30 ERA.

– EASTERN KENTUCKY: The Colonels enter its home tournament with a 10-4 record despite going 1-4 at last weekend’s Utah Tech Tournament … Kennedy Drafton leads the squad with a .469 average and 11 RBI … She is also tied for the team lead with Jaelin Haynes at 13 runs scored … In all, seven players on the squad boast a .292 average or higher … In the circle, Maddie Rutan is the squad’s ace with a 1.71 ERA and a 5-1 record, along with a save, over 41.0 innings of work … She has struck out a team-high 35 batters and is holding opponent offenses to a .191 average.

BALL STATE NEWS & NOTES:

» MAC PRESEASON PROGNOSTICATIONS: Ball State was picked to finish fourth among 11 teams in the Mid-American Conference’s annual preseason poll … The Cardinals, who finished fourth in the league last season with a 17-12 MAC record, are looking for a second consecutive  MAC Softball Championship berth, with the league’s top six teams advancing to Firestone Stadium in Akron, Ohio, for the three-day event which runs May 8-11.

» THE WYNN FACTOR: Graduate third baseman Haley Wynn has taken early advantage of her extra year of eligibility, ranking second on the team with 18 hits so far this season … That raises her career total to 199 which is tied for 10th in program history … Wynn has registered at least one hit in 12 of first 15 games of the season, including three of home runs to up her career long ball total to 22 which is tied for 12th in program history.

» MORE ON WYNN: Haley Wynn is one of the most prolific batters in program history tying for 14th on Ball State’s career charts with a .333 career average … She is also 13th all-time in slugging percentage (.536) and 16th in on base percentage (.410) … In addition, her 146 career runs scored are fifth in program history and 28th among all active NCAA Division I players … She also ranks 28th among active DI players with 39 career doubles which is tied for 10th in program history.

» TIMMONS CLIMBING THE CHARTS TOO: After leading the Ball State offense with a .435 batting average, a 1.022 slugging percentage and a .525 on base percentage through the first three weeks of the season, McKayla Timmons continued her climb up BSU’s career charts … She currently ranks fourth in program history in both slugging percentage (.686) and on base percentage (.456), while her .357 career batting average is fifth on BSU’s all-time list … Timmons, who has blasted a league-leading eight home runs so far this season, including her first collegiate grand slam at Georgia State (Feb. 24), is also one of the program’s top home run hitters with her 24 career long balls tying for 10th in BSU’s all-time list.

» BALL STATE’S BEST THIEF: Senior outfielder Remington Ross enters the EKU Colonel Classic as the greatest base thief in program history with a .961 (49-for-51) career stole base percentage at Ball State … Last season, she went a perfect 23-for-23 in stolen base attempts and ranked second in the MAC and 54th nationally with a 0.47 steals-per-game average … Ross, who is tied for eighth in program history with 49 career stolen bases, had been successful in her previous 36 stolen base attempts before being caught stealing for just the second time in her Ball State career at Georgia State (Feb. 24).

» A SLAMMING FIRST HIT: Redshirt sophomore Jessica Hoffman had just two career at bats when she stepped up to the plate with bases loaded in the 10-8 win over Fordham (Feb. 11) … She proceeded to blast her first career hit over the fence in right center field for her first career home run and Ball State’s first grand slam since April 6, 2022 … A regular in the lineup since, Hoffman has 11 career hits and is third on the team with a .289 average this season … Of her 11 hits, seven have driven in at least one RBI and she currently ranks second on the squad with 13 RBIs.

» KING OF THE PEN: Senior Francys King leads the Ball State pitching staff with a 3.88 ERA over 43.1 innings of work this season … She has earned the victory in three of BSU’s six wins, starting with throwing the final 6.2 innings in the 10-8 win over Fordham (Feb. 11) … She also picked up the victory in BSU’s 6-5 win over Jacksonville State (Feb. 16) and earned her first complete game shutout with the Cardinals in the 9-0 victory at Kennesaw State (Feb. 23) … King has 12 career collegiate pitching victories, with six coming at Ball State and six coming in her two seasons at Tennessee State (2021-22).

BALL STATE TENNIS

MEN’S TENNIS OPENS PLAY IN CALIFORNIA FOR ANNUAL SPRING BREAK TRIP

LA JOLLA, Calif. – The Ball State men’s tennis team opened spring break action in California with a neutral site match against the University of Pacific men’s tennis squad. The Cardinals (5-4) fell to the Tigers (6-1) this afternoon by a score of 6-1.

Today’s matchup was the first time both teams have met. The Tigers opened play by winning the doubles point over the Cardinals. The Ball State No. 1 doubles tandem of Vince Orlando and Nathaniel Webster took two games from the 19th-ranked Justas Trainauskas and Peter Alam. The pair would end up losing by a score of 6-2. The Pacific Tigers claimed the doubles point after winning at the No. 3 slot, 6-4. Although play was abandoned on court two, Mason Tran and Jacks Lancaster were up 4-3.

In singles, the lone Cardinal to earn a point for Ball State today was Sajin Smith at the No. 5 singles position. Smith earned the two-set tie breaking victory after defeating Tommy Czaplinski, 6-1, 2-6, 1-0 (10-8).

The Ball State men’s tennis team continues play at the Pacific Coast Doubles Championship through Sunday, March 3. The Cardinals will play one more dual match on Sunday at a neutral site against Villanova before returning home to start Mid-American Conference action.

INDIANA STATE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

SYCAMORES HEAD SOUTH, CONTINUE FINAL ROAD TRIP AT BELMONT

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Indiana State’s final road trip of the 2023-24 season continues Friday night when the Sycamores face Belmont in the Music City at 7:30 p.m.

The game will be carried on ESPN+ and 105.5 The Legend.

Last Time Out

Indiana State shot a season-high 50 percent from the field Sunday afternoon, as the Sycamores defeated Bradley 74-67 inside Renaissance Coliseum.

Mya Glanton led the Blue and White in scoring with 20 points, while Kiley Bess had 18 points and nine rebounds. Chelsea Cain finished with 17 points, five assists and four rebounds, while Ella Sawyer registered her second career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Indiana State attacked the paint early and often, taking a 17-9 lead after the opening quarter thanks to 12 points between Glanton and Cain in the first 10 minutes. Glanton had 14 by halftime, which allowed the Sycamores to weather Bradley’s second-quarter run to take a one-point lead into the locker room. The Sycamores and Braves were neck-and-neck until the fourth quarter, when Indiana State went on a 12-3 run to begin the final frame to take a double-digit lead. Indiana State’s defense kept Bradley’s 3-point shooting without a basket from behind the arc in the final 10 minutes to seal its second straight win.

Streaking

Indiana State enters Friday’s game having won each of its last two games, including a 74-67 win at Bradley in its last outing. The Sycamores completed a 2-0 conference weekend for the first time since January 2023 with their wins over Evansville and Bradley.

With a win, Indiana State would have its first three-game win streak since January 2022.

Road Warriors

Indiana State has fared better on the road this season than at home. The Sycamores are just one game under .500 in road games this year, while 70 percent of the Trees’ wins have been either on the road or at a neutral site. This season, Indiana State has won at least one game in every MVC road trip.

Since the start of the 2021-22 season, Indiana State has won 16 true road games. When combined with the Sycamores’ neutral-site wins, 56 percent of Indiana State’s wins have come away from home.

Balancing Act

Indiana State’s recent 2-0 weekend was spearheaded by a balanced effort, as the Sycamores had four players score in double-figures in each of their two wins.

Mya Glanton, Chelsea Cain and Kiley Bess all averaged at least 15 points per game in the weekend sweep, while Ella Sawyer averaged 13.5 points across the two wins. Sawyer, Bess and Cain also averaged at least seven rebounds per game, with all four double-digit scorers dishing out multiple assists per game.

Sharing Is Caring

Indiana State dished out a season-high 20 assists in its most recent win over Bradley, with the Sycamores assisting on nearly 75 percent of their made baskets.

The 20-assist game was Indiana State’s first since a March 2023 win over Bradley at home. All five starters for the Sycamores had at least three assists.

Weekly Winner

Indiana State senior guard Kiley Bess was named the MVC Newcomer of the Week Tuesday afternoon by the conference office after helping lead the Sycamores to a pair of wins over league foes.

Bess played an instrumental role in Indiana State’s 2-0 week, nearly averaging a double-double with 15 points, nine rebounds, three steals and 2.5 assists per game across two games. She opened the week with her first career double-double in a 69-66 win over Evansville, recording 12 points and 10 rebounds against the Purple Aces. Bess followed that with an 18-point, nine-rebound showing in a 74-67 win over Bradley. She dished out four assists against the Braves, and also had three steals in each of Indiana State’s two wins during the week. Bess shot 43.5 percent from the field and 81.8 percent from the free throw line.

Bess leads Indiana State in scoring with 11.3 points per game this season, also adding 4.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game. She ranks among the top three on the team in points, assists and steals while also leading Indiana State in minutes played at 32.7 per game.

Belmont at a Glance

Belmont enters the weekend in second place in the MVC, with the Bruins sporting a 20-7 overall record and a 13-3 mark in conference play.

Tessa Miller leads the Bruins in scoring and rebounding at 13.8 points and 6.6 boards per game. Belmont’s offense is a balanced effort, with six different players averaging eight or more points per game. Three Bruins have surpassed 75 assists this season, led by Tuti Jones with 107 (4.0 per game), with Jones also leading the team in steals with 61 (2.3 per game).

Bart Brooks is in his seventh season as the head coach at Belmont and owns a 166-53 career record. Brooks led his teams to either the NCAA Tournament or WNIT in each of his first six seasons. He is a perfect 3-0 against Indiana State.

Series History Against Belmont

Belmont has a 6-2 advantage in the all-time series and has won each of the last three meetings. The Sycamores are 0-2 against the Bruins in Nashville.

Last Meeting Against Bradley (Jan. 14, 2024)

Indiana State limited Belmont to its worst 3-point percentage and third-lowest field goal percentage of the season, but a 6-0 run inside the final 10 seconds of the game allowed the Bruins to squeak past the Sycamores 61-56 inside Hulman Center.

Chelsea Cain and Bella Finnegan led the Sycamores with 10 points apiece, while Kiley Bess added nine. All five starters for Indiana State had at least seven points, with four of the five also grabbing three or more rebounds.

Indiana State’s lockdown defense gave Belmont fits throughout the game, as the Sycamores built an early nine-point lead thanks in part to a pair of threes from Finnegan. The Trees remained in front after an 8-0 run midway through the second quarter, and extended their lead to double-digits late in the third following a 3-pointer from Finnegan and a layup from Cain. The fourth quarter proved costly, as Belmont outscored Indiana State 21-7 to escape with a five-point win.

Up Next

Indiana State’s final road game of the 2023-24 season is Sunday afternoon at Murray State, with tipoff set for 3 p.m.

INDIANA STATE BASEBALL

SYCAMORES CONTINUE ROAD TRIP WITH KEY WEEKEND SERIES AT SOUTHERN MISS

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Indiana State continues its season-opening road trip this weekend with a key nonconference series featuring two 2023 NCAA Super Regional teams as the Sycamores travel down to Hattiesburg, Miss. for a three-game set against Southern Miss. All three games for the weekend are set to be streamed live on ESPN+ with live stats available on GoSycamores.com.

The Sycamores (7-1) earned the No. 14 seed in the 2023 NCAA Tournament and hosted the Terre Haute Regional, before traveling down to Fort Worth, Texas and falling in the Super Regional to TCU. The Golden Eagles (6-3) advanced through the Auburn Regional beating Penn in the championship game to advance on to the Supers. USM hosted Tennessee in the Hattiesburg Super Regional before falling to the visiting Volunteers over the three-game series played at Pete Taylor Park.

The weekend series has been labeled the Mid-Major Spotlight Series by D1Baseball with both teams starting off the 2024 season strong. The Sycamores went undefeated in their Florida swing at the start of the year topping Louisville, UConn, South Florida, FGCU, Michigan State, and Marshall, before getting tripped up with their first loss of the year this past Tuesday at Vanderbilt. Southern Miss took two of three from Marist to star the year, topped Air Force and New Orleans, and took the series against Missouri State this past weekend, before falling to Nicholls State in extra innings.

ISU is looking to bounce back from its first loss of the 2024 season after falling in a run-rule shortened game on Tuesday night in Nashville to No. 9 Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt scored in every inning to take control early in the 20-4 win on a windy day at Hawkins Field.

Mike Sears powered Indiana State’s offense with a three-run home run in the top of the fourth inning for his first big fly of the season against the Commodores. The ball measured out to 460-feet off the bat in one of the longest home runs off the bat of a right-handed hitter at Hawkins Field scoring Parker Stinson and Adam Pottinger to put ISU’s first runs on the board.

Brennyn Cutts took the loss on the mound after going the first inning allowing three hits and two runs while striking out one. Cam Edmonson, Cole Gilley, Brayden Lybarger, and Adam Berghorst also pitched on Tuesday as the Sycamores staff struggled surrendering eight walks and two hit-by-pitch against four strikeouts in the game.

The Sycamores look to bounce back and continue one of the strongest opening stretches to a season in program history after ISU started the season on a seven-game winning streak. It marked just the sixth time in program history dating back to 1924 that the Sycamores won their first seven games of the year and tied for the third-longest streak to open a season. It equaled ISU’s previous-best mark under Coach Mitch Hannahs to open a season dating back to the 2019 year when ISU won 20 of their first 22 contests on their way to going 43-18 and advancing to the NCAA postseason.

Parker Stinson (.357) continues to be one of the hottest bats in the lineup for the Sycamores posting team-highs in batting average, hits (10), and home runs (7), while adding five runs scored. Randal Diaz saw his 27-game on-base streak come to an end on Tuesday, but the ISU leadoff batter also has 10 hits and seven RBIs on the season with a .323 average.

Dominic Listi continues to impress in the early part of the season with the transfer sitting as the only Sycamore to reach base safely in all eight games on the year while posting a .292 average. Listi has also reached base 11 times courtesy of free passes (five walks, six HBPs) on the year to post a .500 OBP. Luis Hernandez and Adam Pottinger both doubled against Vanderbilt and have seen their bats come to life recently. Hernandez paces the Sycamores with eight RBIs on the season, while Pottinger has a team-high four doubles on the year.

The Sycamore pitching staff features two of the top arms in the NCAA over the first two weeks of the season with Jacob Pruitt (0.77 ERA, 20 strikeouts) and Luke Hayden (0.00 ERA, 10 strikeouts) looking to be back on the mound this weekend against Southern Miss. Pruitt entered the week fourth in the NCAA in total strikeouts and is coming off a 5.2-inning, 11-K outing against Marshall where the Sycamore right-hander struck out the first five batters he faced in the contest. Hayden has gone back-to-back outings without an earned run against South Florida and Marshall including going the first six frames in ISU’s 5-0 win over USF on the season’s opening weekend.

Altogether, 14 Indiana State pitchers have combined for a 3.93 ERA on the season over 71.0 innings pitched. The Sycamores have posted an 83:23 strikeout-to-walk ratio allowing opponents to hit .249 from the plate. Cam Edmonson, Adam Berghorst, and Zach Davidson have all made three appearances on the mound this season, while closer Jared Spencer (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 SV) continues to headline the bullpen in late game situations.

The Sycamore defense is looking to bounce back this week after struggling early in the year. Indiana State returns three Gold Glove finalists to the field in Josue Urdaneta (2B), Mike Sears (3B), and reigning Gold Glove winning catcher Grant Magill, but 16 errors over the first eight games have led to 14 unearned runs early. ISU continues to fine-tune the unit that finished third in the NCAA in fielding percentage (.983) in the 2023 season.

Scouting the Opponents

Southern Miss Golden Eagles

Southern Miss was picked second in the Sun Belt Conference preseason poll prior to the start of the season in a vote by all 14 league schools. The Golden Eagles received 173 total points to finish behind Coastal Carolina (193) in the poll, while starting pitchers Niko Mazza and Billy Oldham were named to the SBC Preseason All-Conference team. USM lost six position players from last year’s Super Regional run, as well as several key pieces on the pitching staff last year.

Mazza pitched in 21 games (13 starts) and posted a 5-2 record with two saves to go along with a 4.34 ERA a season ago. The right-hander fanned 89 and walked 46 over 74 2/3 innings and finished fifth in the Sun Belt Conference in opponents’ batting average (.236), ninth in ERA and 11th in innings pitched. He garnered preseason Pitcher of the Year nod by D1Baseball.com, went at least five innings in seven starts during the year and whiffed at least five hitters in 10 appearances.

Oldham appeared in 18 games and made 13 starts for the Golden Eagles in his first season in 2023. The right-hander posted an 8-3 record with a 4.21 ERA and a save. He fanned 89 and walked 23 over 77 innings, while ranking second in opponents’ batting average (.221), tied third for strikeouts looking (26), fifth in fewest walks allowed (23), tied for sixth in wins, seven in ERA, tied for eighth in strikeouts, and ninth in innings pitched among the SBC leaders.

Additional preseason honors for USM came for designated hitter Slade Wilks as the team captain earned Second Team NCBWA recognition. He posted a .289 batting average with 20 home runs and 58 RBI, while adding 12 doubles, two triples and scored 50 times, while walking 30 times.

The Southern Miss offense has struggled early in the season with a team batting average of .229 over their first nine games played. Carson Paetow leads the way with a .269 average with five extra-bases, while Ozzie Pratt is the team’s hits (10) and runs (7) leader while adding three doubles.

The pitching staff has been strong early paced by Mazza (1-0, 2.38 ERA) and Oldham (1-0, 2.70 ERA) on the mound, while Colby Allen (1-0, 1.86 ERA) and Will Armistead (0-0, 2.00 ERA) have also stood out through the first two weeks of the season. Overall, 16 different arms have taken the mound for USM this season in posting a staff 3.62 ERA over 82.0 innings. The pitchers have combined for a 106:30 strikeout-to-walk ratio while allowing opponents to hit .220 from the plate.

Series History

The Sycamores and Golden Eagles have faced each other twice in program history dating back to the inaugural contest in 2004. USM has taken both games against the Sycamores winning by 3-1 (2004) and 2-1 (2005) margins in neutral site contests played in Lake Charles, La. and Beaumont, Texas. It marks the first time the two teams have lined up against each other in Hattiesburg. Of note, both previous contests between Indiana State and Southern Miss occurred on March 5 of the year (2004 & 2005).

INDIANA STATE MEN’S BASKETBALL

SYCAMORES CLINCH SHARE OF REGULAR-SEASON TITLE BEHIND AVILA’S CAREER NIGHT

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Indiana State men’s basketball clinched a share of the regular season Missouri Valley Conference title with a win over Evansville on Wednesday, 85-67.

Robbie Avila dropped a career-high 35 points on 14-for-24 shooting from the floor, beating his previous high of 30. He recorded eight rebounds and five assists in 35 minutes of action, committing only one turnover. Ryan Conwell tallied 15 points making 5-for-8 from three. He secured seven rebounds and three assists.

Xavier Bledson was huge off the bench, scoring 12 points in 28 minutes on 4-for-7 shooting, also grabbing three rebounds and dishing out five assists. Isaiah Swope chipped in 11 points with three triples, five rebounds, and four assists. Julian Larry posted a solid effort across the board with eight points, eight assists, six rebounds, and three steals.

The game was tight from the jump with the scoring being tied at 9 apiece just over four minutes into the game. ISU used a 10-0 run to break the lead open. Larry drained a triple off an Avila assist, then Larry returned the favor by assisting on an Avila layup in the next possession. Bledson made his first three of the game before Avila made another layup to end the run. ISU led 19-9 with 13:07 on the clock.

Back-to-back three-pointers by Bledson and Conwell gave the Sycamores a 16-point lead, its largest to this point, at the 11-minute mark, 27-11.

Evansville used the next six minutes to slowly work back into the game. UE amassed a 16-1 scoring run of its own, cutting its deficit down to a point, 28-27, with 5:03 left in the half.

The Sycamores used yet another scoring run of 12-4 to close out the half. Avila started the 12-4 run with seven-straight points – including scoring on a layup after ISU secured an offensive rebound and converting a tough and-one under the basket. Conwell knocked down another triple at the 1:43 mark and Avila scoring with 17 seconds left to give ISU a 40-31 lead at the break.

The Purple Aces hung tight for the first five minutes of the half, trailing only 50-45. In the next five minutes, ISU logged an 18-5 run to take back control of the game. Bledson and Conwell combined for the first seven points. Larry scored off a layup, followed by Swope draining a three. Avila next converted his second three-point play of the game, then Swope rounded out the run with another jumper from deep. Indiana State led 68-50 with 10 minutes left in the game.

The Sycamore offense continued its power through the last minutes of the game. Bledson made a layup with 6:31 on the clock, and just more than a minute later Avila recorded his third and-one of the game. After another minute of no scoring, Avila then secured this fourth and-one, giving ISU an 80-58 lead with 4:23 remaining. Conwell knocked down his fifth triple of the game with 2:45 to play before Coach Schertz cleared the bench with 1:50 to play. Derek Vorst grabbed an offensive board and put back a layup with 90 seconds left for the final points of the game for Indiana State, leading to the 85-67 victory.

News & Notes

Indiana State clinched a share of the MVC regular season title with the win. ISU hasn’t won a regular-season title since 2000. The Sycamores have a chance to win the title outright with a win on Sunday against Murray State.

The Sycamores finished shooting 40.6% (13-for-32) from deep, the first time shooting above 40% since January 27 (10 games).

ISU assisted on 80.65% of made shots (25-of-31). The 25 assists are the third highest of the season.

ISU shot over 50% from the field for the second time in the last three games (50.8%, 31-for-61).

Indiana State recorded double digit offensive rebounds (10) for only the fifth time this season. The highest mark is 12 set against Southern Indiana.

Robbie Avila is now one of six players in the MVC this season with two-or-more 30+ point games.

Julian Larry played 37 minutes with no turnovers and Robbie Avila recorded 35-8-5 in 35 minutes with one turnover.

Coach Schertz is in 10th for all-time career coaching wins at Indiana State with 59 wins in his third season. With two more wins to get to 61, Coach Schertz will tie Bob King for ninth.

Up Next

Indiana State returns to Hulman Center for the final time in the 2023-24 regular season for Senior Day against Murray State. ISU will honor its two graduating seniors Jake Wolfe and Xavier Bledson, graduate assistant Jeremiah Keene, and student managers Alex and Staley Cisneroz. Tip is set for 4 p.m. ET.

PURDUE FT. WAYNE MEN’S VOLLEYBALL

PURDUE FORT WAYNE FALLS TO NO. 13 LOYOLA CHICAGO

CHICAGO – The Purdue Fort Wayne men’s volleyball team fell to No. 13 Loyola Chicago on Thursday (Feb. 29) 25-23, 25-15, 25-21.

Axel Melendez Watts had a career-high nine digs, helping the Mastodons hold MIVA Player of the Year candidate Parker Van Buren to .077 hitting.

Despite their best player being limited offensively, the Ramblers hit .341 as a team. This included a .565 opening frame.

Mark Frazier was the best offensive option for the Mastodons. He finished with 11 kills on .292 hitting. He had four kills on six attempts in set one. Kaden Fosdick had four kills on eight attempts for the match, with two kills on two swings in the first set.

The Mastodons held close in set one and even led 21-20 after an ace from Frazier. After LUC had three points, the ‘Dons got a kill from Jon Diedrich to tie it back at 23, but the Ramblers took the final two points. The rest of the night was all Ramblers.

Loyola was led by Daniel Fabikovic’s 18 kills.

Purdue Fort Wayne falls to 9-8, 3-5 in the MIVA. The Ramblers improve to 10-8, 5-3. The Mastodons are back in action on Saturday (March 2) when they visit No. 14 Lewis.

PURDUE SOFTBALL

MASTODONS TRAVEL TO EASTERN KENTUCKY TO TAKE ON THE EKU COLONEL CLASSIC

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Purdue Fort Wayne softball travels south for the fourth straight weekend, this time to Richmond, Kentucky, for the EKU Colonel Classic. The Mastodons will be playing Ball State twice, Eastern Kentucky twice and Canisius from March 1-3.

EKU Colonel Classic
Host: Eastern Kentucky
When: Friday, March 1 – Sunday, March 3
Where: Richmond, Ky.
Live Stats: Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3 | Game 4 | Game 5
Watch: Game 2

Tournament Schedule

Friday, March 1

    3 PM ET – Purdue Fort Wayne vs. Ball State

    5:30 PM ET – Purdue Fort Wayne at Eastern Kentucky

Saturday, March 2

    10 AM ET – Purdue Fort Wayne vs. Canisius

    3 PM ET – Purdue Fort Wayne at Eastern Kentucky

Saturday, March 3

    1:30 PM ET – Purdue Fort Wayne vs. Ball State

Series Histories

Ball State: The Cardinals lead the series 11-6. Last meeting: 5/4/2019, L, 3-4.

Eastern Kentucky: The Colonels lead the series 3-2. Last meeting: 2/18/2023, W, 2-1.

Canisius: First Meeting

Know Your Foes

• Ball State has started its season 8-9. The Cardinals are coming into the tournament after doubleheader losses to Georgia Tech during the I-75 Tournament. Ball State won the other three games during the I-75 Tournament over Kennesaw State twice and Georgia State. McKayla Timmons, the Cardinals’ leading batter, is back for a redshirt junior season after being a top batter for the team last year. Timmons is batting .435 with 20 hits, 18 RBI’s and 8 home runs. Francys King, the Cardinals’ best pitcher, is back from last season with a 3-3 start to 2024 with a 3.88 ERA. This improves on her 3-9 record and 3.99 ERA in 2023.

• Eastern Kentucky is off to a 10-4 start to the season. The Colonels started the year by winning out both the Terrier Invitational, beating a familiar opponent in Robert Morris, and the South Alabama Invitational, beating Central Michigan twice. Eastern Kentucky lost four straight, twice to Weber State and twice to Utah State in the Utah Tech tournament. Kennedy Drafton, has been the Colonels leading batter during her freshman season. She is batting .469 with 15 hits and 11 RBI’s. Maddi Rutan, the Colonel’s best pitcher, is off to a 5-2 start with a 1.71 ERA during her freshman season.

• Canisius is 2-5 to start the season. Christie McGee-Ross, the Golden Griffins leading batter, is back for her senior season after being the top batter for the team last year. McGee-Ross is picking up where she left off last season, batting .409 with nine hits at her 22 total at bats. Megan Giese, a Golden Griffins top pitcher, is back for her senior season after being the best pitcher last year. She is 1-3 with a 2.55 ERA to start the season, after a 18-7 with a 2.42 ERA last season.

Bailey and Brayden Banter

This season, Bailey Manos batting .383 with 18 hits and two RBI’s. Brayden Lickey is batting .308 with 12 hits and seven RBI’s, while slugging .410.

Rad Roberts

Kayla Roberts picked up her first collegiate win against Presbyterian last weekend. She pitched 3.0 innings of relief and struck out three Blue Hose.

Gracied By Your Presence

After being named to the UTEP Invitational All-Tournament Team, Gracie Brinkerhoff was named Horizon League Pitcher of the Week on February 20. She finished the week with 15.1 innings pitched and struck out seven batters.

Last Time Out

Purdue Fort Wayne went 2-3 at the GATA Challenge, topping Presbyterian twice. Brayden Lickey batted .333 with four hits and three RBI’s during the tournament.

Up Next

The Mastodons will travel to College Park, Maryland to play in Maryland’s tournament. They will play Bryant, Maryland, Lafayette and Fairfield.

PURDUE FT. WAYNE BASEBALL

MASTODONS TRAVEL TO EVANSVILLE FOR FOUR-GAME SERIES

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The Mastodons travel down to Evansville for a four-game weekend series with the Purple Aces beginning Friday (Mar. 1).

Game Day Information 
When:

Friday, March 1 | 6 p.m. ET 
Saturday, March 2 | 2 p.m. ET & 5 p.m. ET
Sunday, March 3 | 1 p.m. ET 
Where: German American Bank Field at Charles H. Braun Stadium | Evansville, Ind.  
Live Stats:
Friday
Saturday (1)
Saturday (2)
Sunday
Series History: Purdue Fort Wayne has faced Evansville eight times in program history with all eight meetings in Evansville starting in 2006. Evansville has won all eight matchups.
Weather:
Friday – High of 47/low of 41, 63% chance of rain
Saturday – High of 62/low of 46 2% chance of rain
Sunday – High of 74/low of 57, 5% chance of rain

Probable Starters:

Purdue Fort Wayne: RHP Mac Ayres, RHP Carter Sabol , RHP Josh Kuhns, RHP Brody Fine

Evansville: LHP Donovan Schultz, RHP Nick Smith, LHP Kenton Deverman, LHP Kevin Reed

Scouting the Purple Aces: Evansville is 4-4 entering their first home series of the season. They took the opening series 2-1 over a ranked Oral Roberts team before falling 1-2 in a series at New Orleans the following weekend. They’ve also split two midweek contests with a win over Bellarmine and a loss to a ranked Vanderbilt team. Cal McGinnis has led the Purple Aces so far hitting .429 with a pair of home runs and 11 RBI.

B1G Wins: The Mastodons took down No. 20 Indiana on Tuesday night in Bloomington for the first ranked win in program history. It’s the third straight season the ‘Dons have beaten an opponent from the Big 10 conference. 2022 saw the ‘Dons win over Michigan State and in 2021, the ‘Dons topped Michigan.

Fresh Success: Purdue Fort Wayne started four freshmen in the win over Indiana. Sean Kasper made his first collegiate start on the mound while his battery-mate, Grant Sawa, made his second. Nate Simpson collected a hit and scored the third run of the game while Justin Osterhouse hit two home runs. Kasper combined with sophomore Owen Willard, who picked up his first collegiate save, to pitch five scoreless innings with two hits and seven strikeouts.

Masto-bombs: In Tuesday’s win over Indiana, Justin Osterhouse and Ben Higgins each hit two homers and even going back-to-back in the fourth inning. Camden Karczewski added a fifth home run. The three ‘Dons collected eight hits, eight RBI, and scored five runs.

Up Next: Purdue Fort Wayne travels to Butler on Tuesday (Mar. 5) to take on the Bulldogs at 3 p.m.

EVANSVILLE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

UE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL ENDS FOUR GAME ROAD SWING AT MURRAY STATE AND BELMONT

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — The University of Evansville women’s basketball team takes its final road swing of the regular season this weekend.

The Purple Aces head a couple of hours south for their last two road games of the 2023-2024 season. UE first stops in Murray, Ky. for a clash with the Murray State Racers. In the team’s matchup in Evansville, the two teams had an offensive slug fest that ended with the Racers on top after a cold fourth quarter for the Aces. Against Belmont, UE struggled to contain the Bruins offense during its Education Day at the Ford Center.

Murray State comes into Friday’s game with a 9-7 Missouri Valley Conference record for sixth place in the Valley standings. The Racers have a 16-9 overall record thanks to an 11-game win streak from the middle of the season. MSU is currently on a one-game losing streak after a 76-63 loss to Belmont on Sunday afternoon. Senior forward Kaitlyn Young continues to lead the Racers on both sides of the ball, averaging 19 points and 8.2 rebounds a game through 25 games.

The Bruins sit second in the MVC standings behind only Drake with just three losses in conference play. Belmont has a two-game win streak after losing to the Bulldogs two weeks ago at home. The Bruins have only lost to Drake and Missouri State during Valley play and look to maintain their second-place position over the final two weeks of the regular season. Similar to Murray State, Belmont is also led on both sides of the ball by the same player, junior forward Tessa Miller. Miller averages 13.8 points and 6.6 rebounds a game in 29 minutes of playing time. Junior forward Kendal Cheesman is also a threat for the Bruins, averaging 11.1 points and 6.4 rebounds a game.

Despite a close first half, two large scoreless droughts in the third quarter kept the Aces from picking up their first win against the Redbirds since 2017 on Sunday. In the 78-50 loss, UE was able to take advantage of 12 Illinois State turnovers for 17 points or 34% of the team’s scoring at CEFCU Arena. Evansville is still one of the best teams in the Valley at getting to the line during games through conference play. The Aces are second in the conference behind only UIC in free throw attempts per game. UE is currently averaging 22 free throw attempts per game for 15th in the country.

Junior guard Lexie Sinclair continues to improve on the season, having her third double-figure scoring game in four contests. The guard has jumped up her scoring average by over two points since the beginning of Valley play at the end of 2023. Sinclair had her first back-to-back double-figure games this season with 13 points at Indiana State and 10 points at Illinois State. Another junior guard with career numbers recently for Evansville has been Julia Palomo. Palomo matched a career-high six rebounds in Normal along with setting a new career-high in three point attempts with four. The guard is currently on a five-game made three-pointer streak, becoming a threat outside the arc.

EVANSVILLE BASEBALL

BASEBALL RETURNS HOME THIS WEEKEND TO HOST PURDUE FORT WAYNE

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Evansville baseball team will return home to German American Bank Field at Charles H. Braun Stadium this weekend, as the Purple Aces will host the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons in a four-game series.

Evansville will return home with a 4-4 overall record after dropping a 7-3 decision at #9 Vanderbilt on Wednesday night.  The Commodores’ four-run sixth inning proved to be the difference on Wednesday night, as Vanderbilt spoiled a strong start from senior hurler Shane Harris on the mound.  Senior first baseman/outfielder Kip Fougerousse launched his third home run of the year on Wednesday night, and graduate outfielder Mark Shallenberger knocked an RBI double to help lead UE offensively.

Overall, junior second baseman Cal McGinnis continues to lead the way offensively for UE, as he will bring a .429 average into this weekend’s series.  Shallenberger (.394) and senior shortstop Simon Scherry (.393) are not far behind, while Fougerousse is hitting above .355 as well.  As a team, UE is hitting .318 so far this year, and the Purple Aces rank seventh in the country in doubles (seven) and 35th overall in scoring (9.8) entering this weekend’s series.

Purdue Fort Wayne, meanwhile, will bring a 2-6 overall record into this weekend’s series, although the Mastodons produced one of its program’s biggest victories on Tuesday night, as Purdue Fort Wayne knocked off #20 Indiana, 9-6, in Bloomington.  The Mastodons launched five home runs on Tuesday in the win over IU, which was Purdue Fort Wayne’s first against a nationally-ranked team in program history.  Junior infielder Camden Karczewski currently leads Purdue Fort Wayne with a .385 batting average, while senior infielder/outfielder Jacob Walker (.345) and freshman outfielder Nate Simpson (.300) also hit above .300 on the year.

UE and Purdue Fort Wayne have met eight times on the diamond all-time, with Evansville holding an 8-0 edge in the all-time series which began in 2006.  Five of the eight all-time series meetings have been decided by two runs or less.  Evansville will send senior LHP Donovan Schultz (0-0, 9.00 ERA) to the mound in Friday’s series opener.  He is expected to be opposed by Purdue Fort Wayne RHP Mac Ayres (0-1, 12.00 ERA).

EVANSVILLE SOFTBALL

ACES TRAVEL TO CHARLESTON, S.C. FOR WEEKEND TOURNAMENT

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Looking to get back on the winning track, the University of Evansville softball team travels to Charleston, S.C. this weekend for the Low Country Classic.  Between Friday and Sunday, the Purple Aces will play five games, taking on Buffalo, Wofford and the College of Charleston.

Evansville took part in the Best on the Bayou Tournament last week and put together multiple strong performances.  Jess Willsey recorded four hits in the tournament with three of those being doubles.  She finished the weekend with a .538 slugging percentage while picking up an RBI.

While she is batting just .190 on the season, Hannah Hood has appeared to turn the corner with a nice weekend in Louisiana.  Hood recorded three hits in eight at-bats while picking up a double and scoring a run.  Before this weekend, she opened the season 1-of-14 from the plate.

Buffalo will be the first opponent of the weekend.  The Bulls enter the weekend with a 4-6 record highlighted by a 3-2 start to the season at the Cardinal Classic in San Antonio.  Wofford holds an even 5-5 record.  After beginning the season with a 4-1 mark, the Terriers have dropped four of their last five.

Host College of Charleston has gone 4-10 through the opening 14 contests and have dropped seven out of the last eight games.  They earned a 4-0 win over South Carolina State in last weekend’s Cougar Classic.

SOUTHERN INDIANA MEN’S BASKETBALL

EAGLES CLAWED BY LIONS, 67-63

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – University of Southern Indiana Men’s Basketball was stunned by Lindenwood University, 67-63, Thursday evening at Screaming Eagles Arena. The Screaming Eagles fall to 8-22 overall and 5-12 in OVC play, while the Lions are 9-21 overall, 3-14 OVC.

Despite the loss, USI is still in the hunt for a berth in the OVC post-season tournament. A USI win or a Tennessee Tech University loss on Saturday will put the Eagles into the OVC Tournament. TTU plays at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in the early game Saturday, while USI hosts Southeast Missouri State University for the final game of the 2023-24 OVC schedule that night.

The top eight teams at the end of OVC play advance to the league tournament March 6-9 at the Ford Center in Evansville.

USI and Lindenwood traded buckets through the first 12 minutes before a 9-1 run put the Eagles up by six, 18-12. The Lions would battle back to close the gap and tie the score, 20-20 with 5:53 left in the opening half.

Sophomore guard Ryan Hall (Kettering, Ohio) quickly gave USI back the lead, 29-20, and control of the game with back-to-back-to-back three-pointers at the 4:20 mark before halftime. The USI run extended to 12-1 with 2:59 to play when Hall hit his fourth-straight three-point bomb to give the Eagles a 32-21 advantage.

Hall would add his fifth three-pointer to put USI up, 35-26, but Lindenwood would score the final five points of the half to send the Eagles into halftime with a 35-31 advantage. Hall finished the opening half with a team-high 17 points.

To start the second half, USI pushed the margin back to seven points twice (40-33 and 42-35) in the first three minutes. Lindenwood would rally back and cut the USI lead to one, 42-41, with 16:23 to play and would later tie the score, 46-46, with 12:32 left.

USI sophomore guard/forward AJ Smith (Edwardsville, Illinois) put the Eagles back in front, 48-46, with a pair of free throws, but Lindenwood responded with a three-pointer at 9:44 and took its first lead since early in the first half, 49-48.

After the lead went back-and-forth three times in three minutes, the Eagles moved back into the lead, 54-53, on a pair free throws from sophomore guard Jack Campion (Milton, Wisconsin) as USI went on a 7-2 run to lead 59-55. Lindenwood, however, was not done as it would outscore USI, 12-4, in the final 2:46 to defeat the Eagles for the first time in the series between the programs, 67-63.

In the scoring column, Hall led USI with a career-high 22 points after adding five points in the second half. The sophomore guard was eight-of 15 from the field and six-of-10 from beyond the arc. The six three-point field goals made were the most by an Eagle since Jelani Simmons dropped six on Little Rock in February of last year.

Smith followed Hall in the scoring column with 16 points and was the only other Eagle to reach double-digits. He was five-of-10 from the field, including a three, and five-of-six from the stripe.

Next Up For USI:

USI concludes the 2023-24 regular season with Senior Day versus Southeast Missouri State University Saturday. The USI-SEMO is set for a 7:30 p.m. contest, following Senior Day activities after the women’s game.

The SEMO Redhawks are 8-22 overall, 3-14 OVC, after losing at Morehead State University, 72-50, tonight on the road. The Redhawks have lost six-straight after tonight’s action.

USI, which trails the all-time series with the Redhawks, 5-3, lost the opening game of the season series with SEMO in 2023-24, falling in overtime, 93-91, on a last second shot in the extra period. USI junior guard Jeremiah Hernandez (Chicago, Illinois) led the Eagles with a career-high 35 points, while sophomore guard/forward AJ Smith had a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

Fans can find all the ways to follow USI Basketball action by visiting USIScreamingEagles.com.

SOUTHERN INDIANA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

EAGLES TAME LIONS FOR SEVENTH STRAIGHT VICTORY

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – University of Southern Indiana Women’s Basketball secured its 16th Ohio Valley Conference win and seventh consecutive victory Thursday night at Screaming Eagles Arena with a 75-38 win over Lindenwood University.

With Thursday’s win, the Screaming Eagles will head into Saturday’s regular-season finale and Senior Night with a 21-6 overall record and a 16-1 mark in the Ohio Valley Conference. USI already locked up the 2023-24 OVC regular season championship and No. 1 seed in next week’s OVC Tournament, earning a double-bye into the semifinals.

It took a few minutes for the Screaming Eagles to get going on offense Thursday. Senior forward Meredith Raley (Haubstadt, Indiana) helped kickstart the offense with seven consecutive points to give USI a 10-7 lead near the midway point of the opening quarter. Southern Indiana finished the first quarter hitting six of its last eight shots from the field, as freshman forward Chloe Gannon (Manchester, Tennessee) scored six points off the bench in the last four minutes. USI owned a 17-13 lead through the first 10 minutes of action.

Southern Indiana’s efficient finish to the first quarter carried over into the start of the second frame. USI’s run reached 10-0 while holding Lindenwood scoreless for nearly five minutes on the defensive end, increasing the Screaming Eagles’ lead to double digits, 25-15, with six minutes left in the first half. USI ended the first half with another 10-0 run to go into the intermission with a 39-20 advantage. Southern Indiana shot over 60 percent in the first 20 minutes, as Gannon had a team-high 14 points by halftime.

Like the opening minutes of the contest, it took a couple of minutes at the start of the second half for USI to get going. Then junior guard Vanessa Shafford (Linton, Indiana) halted the dry spell with an acrobatic layup and a mid-range jumper, putting Shafford into double figures for the game. Southern Indiana led 45-27 at the halfway point of the third quarter. The Screaming Eagles continued to be efficient from the floor offensively, while the defense remained stout. With five seconds left in the third stanza, freshman guard Triniti Ralston (Louisville, Kentucky) hustled up the court and bounced the ball to senior forward Madi Webb (Bedford, Indiana) for an energizing layup right before the third-quarter buzzer. For the second straight quarter, USI’s defense held Lindenwood to single digits scoring, as USI led 55-29 through three.

In the fourth, Southern Indiana built onto its lead, thanks to a boost from the bench. Back-to-back three-pointers by the Screaming Eagles in the middle of the fourth pushed USI’s lead to 69-30. Meanwhile, the Eagles’ defense did not ease up, challenging Lindenwood’s field goal attempts. At one point in the fourth period, USI held the Lions to a 1-15 stretch shooting. Southern Indiana finished out its 16th OVC victory from there.

Southern Indiana shot the ball at a high percentage Thursday night, connecting at 51 percent (24-47) from the floor and 45.5 percent (10-22) from three. USI was also sharp at the free-throw line, cashing in at 94.4 percent (17-18). The Screaming Eagles dominated the battle on the glass, 41-24. 10 Screaming Eagles found the scoring column in the win, as Gannon led the way with 16 points and Shafford right behind at 13. Southern Indiana scored 39 bench points in the effort.

Lindenwood (7-20, 5-12) was held to 27 percent shooting (15-55) and only 17 percent from long range (3-17). The Lions only had eight attempts at the charity stripe, knocking down five. Lindenwood goes into Saturday sitting one game back of the crucial eighth seed to reach the OVC Tournament. The Lions are a game back of Tennessee State University and Southeast Missouri State University, which Lindenwood split its regular-season matchups against the two schools.

Following Thursday’s win, it was a night of celebration and recognition for USI Women’s Basketball. After the game, the Screaming Eagles got to grab the scissors and cut down a net at Screaming Eagles Arena to commemorate the first-ever OVC title in program history. Later in the evening, USI Head Coach Rick Stein presented Meredith Raley with a commemorative basketball to recognize Raley surpassing 1,000 career points earlier this season.

The Screaming Eagles conclude the regular season at home Saturday at 5 p.m. against Southeast Missouri State. On Saturday, USI Women’s Basketball will recognize senior guards Addy Blackwell (Bloomington, Indiana) and Tori Handley (Jeffersonville, Indiana) as well as team manager Mason Auker for Senior Night.

The game can be seen live with a subscription to ESPN+ and heard on 95.7 FM The Spin (http://957thespin.com). Tickets for Saturday are on sale and can be purchased by visiting the USI Ticket Office online. For more information, call the USI Ticket Office at 812-465-1189.

SOUTHERN INDIANA SOFTBALL

USI HEADS TO THE SUNSHINE STATE FOR THE SPRING GAMES

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – University of Southern Indiana Softball wraps up the main portion of its non-conference schedule at The Spring Games in Madeira Beach, Florida, March 2-5. USI will face Quinnipiac University, Western Michigan University, Monmouth University, Sacred Heart University, and the University of North Dakota in three days of action.

Saturday’s twin bill against Quinnipiac (1-1) and Western Michigan (4-4) will be at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. CT, respectively. On Sunday, the Screaming Eagles will play Monmouth (5-10) at 9 a.m. CT and Sacred Heart (2-4) at 11:30 a.m. CT. USI will conclude play at The Spring Games on Tuesday at 10 a.m. CT against North Dakota (3-13).

The Screaming Eagles will be facing each school for the first time with the exception of Sacred Heart, whom USI played one other time in 1995 when USI won 6-1.

Southern Indiana is 3-7 this season and most recently played at the 2024 Cocky Classic in Jacksonville, Alabama, hosted by Jacksonville State University. Southern Indiana bookended the weekend with 5-4 wins against the University of Southern Mississippi in walk-off fashion and against Jacksonville State. USI also dropped consecutive 12-4 contests in five innings against Jacksonville State and Belmont University. USI’s other result at the Cocky Classic was a 7-1 loss to Southern Mississippi.

Senior catcher Sammie Kihega (Greenfield, Indiana) had a notable performance last weekend, batting 429 with three runs, one double, a home run, and six RBIs. Kihega slugged .714 and had three walks toward a .529 on-base percentage. Sophomore Caroline Stapleton (Shirley, Indiana) also had a good weekend with a team-best nine hits and a .563 batting average. Stapleton had a triple and scored four runs. In the circle, junior pitcher Josie Newman (Indianapolis, Indiana) went 2-1 in three complete games, posting a 4.79 ERA with 17 strikeouts.

On the season, Stapleton leads USI Softball with 10 hits, hitting for a .500 batting average. Stapleton has a team-best five runs scored and a 1.145 OPS. Kihega is batting .310 so far with a team-high seven RBIs and hit her first home run of the season over the weekend at the Cocky Classic. Seniors Lexi Fair (Greenwood, Indiana) and Mackenzie Bedrick (Brownsburg, Indiana) are hitting .276. Fair has three doubles and three RBIs this season.

Newman leads the pitching staff with a 3-3 record and a 3.41 ERA. The right-hander has six complete games in six starts. In 39 innings of work, Newman has struck out 32 batters while holding opponents to a .219 batting average.

All games at The Spring Games can be seen with a subscription to FloSoftball. Live stats and coverage links can be found on the USI Softball schedule page on usiscreamingeagles.com.

SOUTHERN INDIANA BASEBALL

USI HOSTS ST. THOMAS FOR THREE-GAME SET

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — University of Southern Indiana Baseball finishes a seven-game homestand this weekend when it hosts the University of St. Thomas for a three-game set at the USI Baseball Field. The series is scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. Sunday.

Following the USI-St. Thomas series, the Screaming Eagles will be on the road for the next nine games, including visits to the University of Tennessee and the University of Illinois. Links to follow the Eagles during the opening weekend of 2024 can be found on USIScreamingEagles.com and on the USI Baseball Schedule.   

USI Baseball Notes:

USI wins opening home series. The USI Screaming Eagles won its home opening series by taking two of three from Eastern Michigan University. USI won the opening game in dramatic fashion, rallying from five runs down, to win 11-9; lost the middle game, 7-4, and captured the final game and the series, 3-1.

USI dropped to 2-2 during homestand. The Eagles are 2-2 during the seven-game homestand after falling to Ball State University, 10-4.

Hit leaders on homestand. Freshman outfielder Ethan Rothschild led the Eagles last week, hitting .400 (6-15) with three runs score and two RBI. Junior outfielder Terrick Thompson-Allen followed with a .375 average, tying for the team lead with four runs scored and two RBIs.

Pitch leaders on homestand. Freshman right-hander Grant Parson had the best start of the USI hurlers, posting his first collegiate win. Parson allowed one run on four hits and two walks, while striking out seven in 6.0 innings. Freshman right-hander Clayton Weisheit came out of the bullpen to get his first collegiate save and did not allow an earned run in two games and 4.0 innings.

Leaders in week two. Freshman outfielder Ethan Rothschild leads USI after two weeks with a .400 average (6-15), while senior outfielder Ren Tachioka, who has been out for the last three games with an injury, follows with a .368 average. Sophomore shortstop Caleb Niehaus and freshman outfielder Cameron Boyd are tied for the team lead with four RBI each. 

USI predicted 8th in 2024 OVC. The USI Screaming Eagles are predicted to place eighth in the Ohio Valley Conference in 2024. 

USI reached OVC Championship during 1st Division I season. The Eagles earned a trip to the OVC Championship during its first season of transitioning to NCAA Division I. The Eagles lost in the opening round of the tournament.

USI under Archuleta. The Eagles are in their 18th season under Head Coach Tracy Archuleta, who has led the Eagles to two NCAA Division II national championships (2010, 2014) in his 17 years at the helm. He also has been recognized as the Division II ABCA National Coach of the Year twice (2010, 2014); the ABCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year five times (2007, 2010, 2014, 2016, 2018) and the GLVC Coach of the Year twice (2011, 2014) since taking over the program in 2007. He also is the winningest coach in the history of the program with 546 victories in 17-plus years.

Long road coming up. In March, the Eagles will have a long road to go, playing 14 of 17 games away from the USI Baseball Field. 

St. Thomas in 2024. The Tommies of the University of St. Thomas are 4-4 to start the spring after taking three of four from Southeast Missouri State University over the weekend.

Tennessee in 2024. The University of Tennessee is rolling to start the 2024 season, going 8-1 through February 27. The Volunteers, who have five games between now and when the Eagles visit Knoxville, Tennessee, on March 6, have won seven-straight at press time.

USI vs. St. Thomas and Tennessee. USI will be playing St. Thomas and Tennessee for the first time in the history of the baseball program.

VALPO WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

BEACONS FALL AT UNI THURSDAY

The Valpo women’s basketball team kicked off its final road trip of the regular season Thursday night in Cedar Falls, Iowa, falling to host UNI by a 78-59 final.

How It Happened

The game started on a sporting note, as Valpo yielded the opening tip to the Panthers so that UNI’s Emerson Green — who had suffered a season-ending knee injury early in the month — could make an uncontested layup and join classmates Grace Boffeli and Maya McDermott in reaching the 1,000-point career milestone this season. UNI returned the favor to the Beacons, allowing an uncontested basket of their own to even the score before the game got going in earnest.

Valpo led by as many as four in the opening period following a triple by freshman Nevaeh Jackson (Fort Wayne, Ind./Northrop) with 3:33 to play in the quarter.

A 3-pointer from freshman Layla Gold (Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral) with a minute to play in the quarter helped Valpo to a 15-13 lead at the end of the first period.

Another triple from Jackson 100 seconds into the second quarter returned the lead to the Beacons after UNI had pulled in front, but the Panthers came back with 11 consecutive points to go ahead by double figures, 28-18, with 5:27 to play in the half.

Valpo scored the next four to get back to within six, and it was still just a nine-point game with a minute to play in the half after a 3-pointer by senior Ava Interrante (McHenry, Ill./McHenry). The Panthers scored four points in the final minute, however, to take a 40-27 lead into the locker room.

A personal 7-0 run by freshman Saniya Jackson (Fort Wayne, Ind./Northrop) cut what was a 17-point UNI lead to just 46-36 with 6:33 to play in the third quarter. That was as close as the Beacons would get in the period, though, as UNI led 61-44 at the end of the third.

Valpo was unable to get any closer than 13 points in the fourth quarter.

Inside the Game

Valpo held a big advantage from the 3-point line, going 11-of-28 from deep versus UNI’s 2-of-14 clip. It was the sixth time this year the Beacons have hit at least 10 triples in a game.

The Panthers more than made up that deficit inside the arc, however. UNI held a 48-18 advantage in points in the paint and was 29-for-44 from 2-point range, as opposed to the Beacons’ 9-for-26 mark inside the arc.

Valpo dished out 17 assists on its 20 baskets, led by a career-best and Valpo season-high seven helpers from Interrante. Senior Leah Earnest (Stevens Point, Wis./SPASH) handed out four assists as well.

On the flip side, the Beacons committed 26 turnovers — their second-highest total of the season — which led to 27 UNI points.

Saniya Jackson led Valpo on Thursday with 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting, her 14th double-digit scoring effort of the year. Jackson also tied for team-high honors with a season-best nine rebounds and led all players with four steals.

Earnest posted 13 points and nine rebounds to go with her four assists.

Nevaeh Jackson hit a trio of 3-pointers for nine points, while redshirt senior Emma Tecca (Tallmadge, Ohio/Archbishop Hoban [Akron]) connected on two 3-pointers in an 8-point effort to match her season high. Gold tied her season best with seven points as well.

Next Up

Valpo (5-21, 4-13) plays on the road for the final time in the regular season on Saturday afternoon when the Beacons take on MVC-leading Drake in Des Moines, Iowa. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.

VALPO MEN’S BASKETBALL

MEN’S BASKETBALL TO HOST ILLINOIS STATE FOR SUNDAY’S SENIOR DAY

Illinois State (15-15, 9-10 MVC)

at Valparaiso (6-24, 2-17 MVC)

Game No. 31 – Sunday, March 3, 1 p.m. CT

Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) – Valparaiso, Ind.

Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team will finish out the regular season on Sunday by hosting Illinois State at 1 p.m. at the Athletics-Recreation Center. This will be Senior Day for the Beacons as the program will celebrate Connor Barrett, Jerome Palm and Anthony Sciarroni as well as student manager Nate Maxwell and cheer/dance seniors, all of whom will be recognized prior to the game. Head coach Roger Powell Jr. and senior players will address the crowd following the game. Valpo has hopes of sweeping the season series from the Redbirds and continuing the program’s dominance in head-to-head matchups since joining the Missouri Valley Conference. The Senior Day pregame ceremony will begin at 12:44 p.m.

Last Time Out: The Beacons were shorthanded as Cooper Schwieger and Connor Barrett did not play due to illness in a 68-54 loss at UNI on Tuesday night. Jerome Palm tied a career high with 14 points, while Kaspar Sepp was a point shy of a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds, his best effort on the glass in league play. The Panthers outscored the Beacons 42-16 in the paint and led by as many as 25 before Valpo battled back late to cut the final margin to 14.

Following the Beacons: Streaming – ESPN+ – Todd Ickow (play-by-play) and Jamie Stangel (analyst)

Radio – 95.1 FM, WVUR, ValpoAthletics.com, TuneIn Radio App – Noah Godsell (all roles)

Twitter updates – @ValpoBasketball

Links for video, audio and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.

Head Coach Roger Powell Jr.: Roger Powell Jr. (6-23) is in his first season as the head coach of the Valpo men’s basketball program. After helping guide Gonzaga to a 121-13 record during his four seasons as an assistant coach, Powell returned to Valpo, where he was part of head coach Bryce Drew’s staff from 2011-2016 and led the team to 124 wins in five seasons, including a program-record 30 victories and a National Invitation Tournament (NIT) title game appearance in 2015-16. He was part of head coach Mark Few’s Gonzaga staff as the Bulldogs reached the 2021 national championship game after winning their first 31 games of the season. During Powell’s first season on staff in 2019-20, Gonzaga was 31-2 at the time the NCAA college basketball season was halted due to COVID-19. The Bulldogs reached the Sweet Sixteen in each of his final three seasons on staff, including two Elite Eight appearances and the aforementioned trip to the 2021 national title game. Prior to his arrival at Gonzaga, Powell served as the associate head coach at Vanderbilt University under Bryce Drew from 2016-2019. During his stint as an assistant at Valpo, he was part of four Horizon League regular-season championships in a five-year period while also leading the 2012-13 and 2014-15 squads to Horizon League tournament titles and NCAA Tournament appearances. A product of Joliet West High School and a native of Joliet, Ill., Powell capped a prolific collegiate playing career at Illinois with a national title game appearance in 2005 before going on to a successful professional playing career.

Jan. 14 – Valpo 59, Illinois State 50: Cooper Schwieger had his first collegiate double-double with 16 points and a season-high 13 rebounds to help Valpo to a 59-50 victory last month at Illinois State, snapping a 10-game skid with the young team’s first road win and first Missouri Valley Conference triumph in 2023-24. It was Valpo’s best statistical defensive performance in a road game in eight years, holding Illinois State to 32 percent shooting and 5.6 percent from 3-point range.

Series Notes: Valpo holds a 15-9 lead in an all-time series that dates all the way back to the 1939-40 campaign. The Beacons have had great success against the Redbirds since joining the Missouri Valley Conference as they own an 11-2 record and have won 10 of the last 11 with the only defeat in that 11-game stretch coming in overtime. Prior to this year’s nine-point win in Bloomington-Normal, four of the last five games had been decided by five points or fewer with two of those contests requiring OT. Valpo swept last season’s series, blowing out the Redbirds 71-51 on Jan. 21 in Normal before winning 81-76 on Feb. 11 at the ARC.

Arch Madness Plans

If you’re planning ahead to Arch Madness, the No. 12 seed is locked in for the Beacons.

Valpo will play the No. 5 seed at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 7 in St. Louis to open the 2024 State Farm MVC Tournament. If Valpo continues to win, the Beacons would continue to play at 2:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday prior to a 1 p.m. tipoff in Sunday’s title game. Friday’s game would be against the No. 4 seed.

Valpo will play either Southern Illinois, UNI or Belmont in the first round. If Belmont beats Evansville, Valpo will play the loser of the NET tiebreaker between Belmont and the winner of UNI/SIU. If Belmont loses to Evansville, Valpo will play the winner of the NET tiebreaker between Belmont and the loser of UNI/SIU.

Current NET rankings through Feb. 28 – Southern Illinois 107, UNI 121, Belmont 123.

Scouting the Redbirds

Have won four of their last five games with wins over Indiana State, Evansville, UNI and Missouri State.

Knocked off Missouri State 75-74 on Wednesday, Feb. 28 thanks to a buzzer-beating jumper by freshman Johnny Kinzinger with 0.5 seconds remaining.

Led in scoring by Darius Burford (13.2 ppg) who has not played since Feb. 3, while Myles Foster (12.1 ppg) is the other Redbird averaging in double figures.

Picked to finish eighth of 12 in the MVC preseason poll.

VALPO SOFTBALL

STAYS IN-STATE AT HOOSIER CLASSIC THIS WEEKEND

Valparaiso (3-11, 0-0 MVC)

March 2-3 – at Hoosier Classic (Bloomington, Ind.)

March 2 – at Indiana (11-4) – 2 p.m. CT | vs. Bowling Green (1-3) – 4:30 p.m. CT

March 3 – vs. Bowling Green – 10 a.m. CT | at Indiana – 12:30 p.m. CT

Next Up in Valpo Softball: After the far-flung travels of the first three weekends of the season, the Valpo softball team stays a bit closer to home this week. The Beacons won’t have to cross state lines to head down to Indiana’s Hoosier Classic March 2-3, where they will face the host Hoosiers and Bowling Green twice apiece.

Previously: Valpo posted a 1-4 record at last weekend’s Frost Classic. The weekend was highlighted by a 2-1 extra-inning win over Georgetown, as Sydney McDermott two-hit the Hoyas for the program’s first win over a current Big East program since 2016.

Looking Ahead: One final weekend of nonconference play awaits the Beacons next weekend, as they trek west to Omaha, Neb. for Omaha’s Connie Claussen Classic.

Following Valpo Softball: All four games will be broadcast live on BTN+ ($). All four games will also have live stats available, linked at ValpoAthletics.com.

Head Coach Meaggan Pettipiece: Meaggan Pettipiece was hired in September 2022 as head coach of the Valpo softball program and enters her second season in 2024. Pettipiece is in her 15th season overall as a collegiate head coach, most recently spending three seasons at Akron prior to coming to Valpo. Pettipiece, who owns 261 career coaching victories, was an All-American on the diamond and helped California University of Pennsylvania to a D-II national title in 1998 collegiately before playing internationally for Team Canada, including at the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Series Notes: Indiana – The Beacons are 0-11 all-time against the Hoosiers, including a pair of losses in the last matchups at the 2022 Hoosier Classic, 9-4 and 9-0. Kayla Skapyak had a pair of hits over the two games and stole a base, while Caitlyn Kowalski combined to pitch five innings of relief over the pair of contests.

Bowling Green – Valpo trails the all-time series against the Falcons, 6-4. This marks the second straight season and the third time in the last four years the two programs will meet in early-season action – last season, BGSU won 7-2 at the DePaul Dome Tournament, while the Falcons earned a 6-1 win in 2021 at the Thundering Herd Round Robin. Caitlyn Kowalski started in the circle in both of those contests. In last year’s game, Regi Hecker went 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored, Alexis Johnson was 1-for-4 with an RBI and Kayla Skapyak was 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored.

Who’s Back: Valpo returns 12 of 16 letterwinners from last year’s squad for the 2024 season. In all, 69.2% of Valpo’s plate appearances are back for this season and 49.4% of last season’s innings pitched return.

Who’s New: A group of nine newcomers joined the Beacons for the 2024 season. Kam Utendorf transferred in after playing her freshman season at Black Hawk College, joining eight true freshmen on this year’s team.

A Large Roster: The combination of 12 returnees and nine newcomers gives Valpo a 21-player roster for the 2024 campaign. That’s a five-player increase over last season’s group of 16 players, and it is the largest roster the softball program has had since fielding 21 players for the 2008 season.

Finding the Formula: The Beacons have used the early-season tournaments to mix and match lineups, both offensively and defensively. Sophomore Kim Rodas is the only player to start all 14 games in the same spot in the batting order (third). Defensively, senior Kayla Skapyak has started all 14 games in center field, the only Beacon to start every game in the same position. At least three different players have started at least one game at pitcher, first base, shortstop, left field and designated player.

Hitting the Road: This weekend’s games continue a long and winding road for the Beacons before they finally get the chance to play at the Valpo Softball Complex. This is the fourth of five weekends of action prior to the start of Missouri Valley Conference play, as Valpo already played at Texas A&M, Presbyterian and Chattanooga, and will close preconference action next weekend at Omaha. The Beacons will open MVC action with back-to-back weekends on the road as well – at Evansville and at Drake – before finally opening the home slate March 29 against Bradley. All told, Valpo is scheduled to play its first 29 games of the season away from home.

Winning in Extras: Valpo came away with a 2-1 extra-inning win over Georgetown last weekend, scoring one run in the international tiebreak in the top of the eighth before retiring the side in order in the bottom half of the frame. The win was Valpo’s first in extra inning since a 7-5, eight-inning win over Cleveland State March 8, 2020 in what turned out to be the final game of the COVID-shortened season. Valpo had dropped its last four extra-inning games before Saturday’s win.

McDermott Mows Them Down: Freshman Sydney McDermott came to Valpo after earning Ohio All-State honors each of her last three years of high school, and showcased that form in a trio of strong performances last weekend. She opened the weekend engaging in a pitcher’s duel against the reigning Southland Conference Pitcher of the Year, giving up just three hits and one earned run in a tough-luck loss against Texas A&M-CC. McDermott rebounded with a two-hitter, surrendering a single unearned run while striking out a season-best eight, in the 2-1 extra-inning win over Georgetown. She closed the weekend by giving up just one run in 3.2 innings of relief work Sunday against Ohio. For the weekend, McDermott posted a 0.79 ERA and a .175 batting average against in 17.2 innings of work.

Runners on the Move: The Beacons continued their early-season aggression on the basepaths by going 7-for-9 on stolen base attempts over the weekend. After going just 21-for-36 in the steals department last season, Valpo is already 19-for-21 this season. Senior Kayla Skapyak is a team-best 6-for-6 on the bases this year and is up to 17 career steals, while fellow senior Alexis Johnson – who entered the season with just six steals in her first three seasons – already has five thefts on as many attempts through three weekends of play.

Garnica Getting on Base: Sophomore Kaia Garnica failed to reach base in her lone plate appearance against Lehigh in the finale on opening weekend, but since then, she has reached base at least once in nine consecutive games. Garnica – who delivered three RBIs in Valpo’s win over Youngstown State – has drawn four walks and is tied for third in the MVC with three HBP, adding up to an on-base percentage of .400.

Rookies Delivering: Valpo faced a four-run deficit after the top of the first in its weekend finale against Ohio last weekend, but erased the entire deficit in its first turn at the plate thanks to a pair of key two-out hits by freshmen. Cici Wilson delivered a two-run single to get the Beacons on the board, giving her a team-best six RBIs on the year, and Kayden Krug drove in the first two runs of her collegiate career with Valpo’s first triple of the season.

Newcomer of the Week: Sophomore Kam Utendorf became Valpo’s first MVC Newcomer of the Week since May 2019 on Feb. 20 after slashing .643/.706/.786 the previous weekend at Presbyterian. She had a trio of multi-hit games, including three-hit performances in both of Valpo’s victories – going 3-for-3 with two runs scored, an RBI, a walk and a stolen base in the win over Morehead State and 3-for-4 with a run scored, two RBIs and two doublesin the win over YSU. Through three weekends, Utendorf’s .419 batting average ranks second in the MVC.

Offensive Bests: Valpo exploded for 13 runs in its win over Morehead State to open the Pinnacle PC Invitational, the program’s largest scoring output since a 13-0 win over Wagner in March 2019. The Beacons closed the weekend with a 13-hit performance in the win over YSU, the program’s best single-game total since racking up 16 hits in a win over Holy Cross in Feb. 2022.

Multi-Hit Efforts: Three different Valpo players already have at least four multi-hit games this year. Regi Hecker leads the way with five multi-hit efforts, including a pair of three-hit games. After tallying just six multi-hit games in her rookie season, Kim Rodas already has four multi-hit games this year, while Kam Utendorf counts a pair of three-hit games among her four multi-hit outings.

Making Debuts: All nine of Valpo’s newcomers made their debuts in the Beacon uniform in the opening weekend of play, eight of those coming on opening day. Four of those debuts came in the season opener against Tulsa, as Kam Utendorf started at shortstop, Anna Wilming pitched in relief and Cici Wilson & Natalie Bush both appeared as pinch-hitters. Four more debuts came against Texas A&M, as Sydney McDermott started in the circle, Kayden Krug entered as a pinch-hitter and Carson Kuhlmann & Madison Stamper were both defensive replacements. Lana Tellez made her collegiate debut in the nightcap of the twinbill with Lehigh the next day as a defensive replacement.

Hecker Hacking: Senior outfielder Regi Hecker started the 2024 regular season just as she closed the 2023 regular season. Hecker, who paced Valpo last year in batting average, hits, doubles, RBIs and stolen bases, closed 2023 by hitting .412 (14-for-34) with four multi-hit games over the Beacons’ final 12 games of the regular season. Through three weekends this year, Hecker ranks second on the team with a .350 batting average and a .447 on-base percentage.

International Experience: Sophomore infielder Kim Rodas continued her international career playing for Mexico over the summer, as she earned a bronze medal at the 2023 Central American and Caribbean Games. Rodas previously medaled with Team Mexico at the 2021 Junior Pan American Games, where her squad claimed the silver.

VALPO BASEBALL

BASEBALL TO BEGIN SPRING TRIP WITH WAKE FOREST TOURNAMENT

Valparaiso (2-5, 0-0 MVC)

at Wake Forest Tournament

Latham Park (5,100) | Elon, N.C.

David F. Couch Ballpark (3,823) | Winston-Salem, N.C.

Friday, March 1, 3 p.m. CT at Elon (4-4, 0-0 CAA) – RHP Connor Lockwood

Saturday, March 2, 3 p.m. CT at No. 1 Wake Forest (7-1, 0-0 ACC) – TBD

Sunday, March 3, 9 a.m. CT vs. Binghamton (2-4, 0-0 American East) – TBD

Next Up in Valpo Baseball: The annual spring trip has arrived for the Valparaiso University baseball team as the Beacons will spend 19 consecutive days on the road as the team departs on Wednesday, Feb. 28 and returns to Valpo’s campus after a game at Campbell on Sunday, March 17. The first weekend of the spring trip features a tournament in North Carolina. Valpo will start the weekend by playing at Elon on Friday before visiting the No. 1 team in the nation – Wake Forest – on Saturday afternoon. The three-game event will wrap up on Sunday morning as Valpo battles Binghamton in a game hosted by Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Last Time Out: Valpo visited No. 17 Alabama for a three-game series last weekend, dropping all three games to the Crimson Tide, who prevailed 14-2, 13-3 and 11-1 in a trio of seven-inning contests. The highlight of the weekend was the offensive production of Kyle Schmack, who went 5-for-10 (.500) in the series, scored four of the team’s six runs and drove in three.

Following the Beacons: Links to live coverage for all three games will be available on ValpoAthletics.com. Friday’s game will be broadcast on FloBaseball, while Saturday’s contest will be carried by ACC Network Extra.

Head Coach Brian Schmack: Brian Schmack (190-300) is in his 10th season in charge of the program. He ranks third in program history in seasons coached and games coached as he enters 2024 having skippered 482 Valpo games. He enters the season with 188 victories, the third most in program history. Schmack, a member of the 2003 Detroit Tigers, served as pitching coach/associate head coach at Valpo for seven seasons prior to his promotion.

Series Notes: Valpo and Elon have never clashed in baseball, though the two teams did meet on the men’s basketball hardwood with Elon winning 82-78 on Dec. 29 of this season. Binghamton will also be a first-time opponent for the Beacons, who have squared off with Wake Forest on two prior occasions, falling 13-4 and 3-0 in March 2012 in Winston-Salem.

Valpo vs. Ranked Adversaries

Valpo’s game against Wake Forest will be the team’s fourth in a five-game span against Top-25 competition after dropping all three at No. 17 Alabama last weekend.

Valpo’s only three games against a top-25 team last season were a three-game series at No. 22 Southern Miss in March. Valpo won the series opener 6-1, snapping a streak of 15 straight losses to Top-25 teams that dated back to a win over No. 25 Illinois on April 17, 2018.

The win over No. 22 Southern Miss was Valpo’s best win in terms of national ranking since beating No. 9 Arizona State on April 21, 2013.

Since 2012, Valpo has Top-25 wins over No. 22 Southern Miss (March 10, 2023), No. 25 Illinois (April 17, 2018), No. 25 DBU (March 11, 2016), No. 9 Arizona State (April 21, 2013) and No. 4 Arkansas (Feb. 26, 2012).

Valpo did recently play a team that was No. 1 in the country in at least one poll on March 15, 2022 at Notre Dame, but the Fighting Irish were No. 6 according to D1Baseball, which is the industry standard poll. The highest ranked team Valpo has played during the Brain Schmack Era, per D1Baseball, was a three-game set at No. 3 Louisville in 2020.

In The Other Dugout: Elon

Picked to finish fifth of 12 in the CAA Preseason Poll.

Starting pitcher Justin Mitrovich was a member of the preseason all-league team.

Went 33-22 last season including a 19-9 CAA mark.

Lost two of three to Navy during the first weekend of the season before taking two of three from NJIT. Coming off a 6-3 win over UNCG on Tuesday.

In The Other Dugout: Wake Forest

Ranked No. 1 in the nation by D1Baseball and the USA Today Coaches’ Poll.

Went 54-12 last season and 22-7 in the ACC on their way to NCAA Regional and Super Regional crowns and a College World Series Appearance.

This will mark Valpo’s ninth straight game against a team with 30 or more wins last season.

Swept Dayton last weekend before beating North Carolina A&T in a midweek game on Tuesday.

In the Other Dugout: Binghamton

Preseason favorite to win the American East conference.

Were the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament last season and advanced to the championship game in that event.

Were swept at Houston in a three-game series to start the season before taking two of three at UNCG.

First team all-conference selections Tommy Riefler (.371 average last year) and pitcher Gabe Driscoll are back.

Schmacking Extra-Base Hits

As part of a weekend where he hit .500 at No. 17 Alabama, Kyle Schmack homered and doubled in the team’s 13-3 loss to the Crimson Tide on Feb. 24.

Schmack’s home run was his second of the season and the 20th of his collegiate career. He is one home run away from moving into a tie for ninth in program history for career home runs, where he would join five others – Dan Schrum (1999-2002), Jamie Sykes (1994-1997), Dale Polonus (1986-1988), Marc Boggio (1999-2003) and Sam Shaikin (2016-2019).

Schmack, who is in his fifth season in the program, is also among the program’s all-time leaders in career doubles. He moved into sole possession of 10th in program history in that category with his 39th during the aforementioned game at Alabama. That snapped a tie for 10th with Spencer Mahoney (2012-2015), Dale Polonus (1986-1988) and Kurt Gesse (1982-86).

Inside the Schedule

Valpo started the season with a four-game series against an Alabama State team that won 41 games and went 26-4 in the Southwest Athletic Conference last season.

The Beacons played three more in the Heart of Dixie from Feb. 23-25 at Alabama. The Crimson Tide of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) also won over 40 games in 2023, posting a 43-21 mark en route to an NCAA Regional crown and Super Regional appearance.

A challenging early-season docket continues on March 1, when Valpo will play at Elon, a team that went 33-22 last season including a 19-9 mark in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).

Valpo will play a fourth straight opponent and ninth straight game against a team with 30 or more wins last season on March 2 at preseason No. 1 Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons were 54-12, going 22-7 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) on their way to NCAA Regional and Super Regional crowns that resulted in a College World Series appearance.

After a neutral site game on March 3 vs. Binghamton of the American East Conference – another team that finished with a winning record last year – Valpo will visit Jacksonville, a 34-win team last year and a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference.

Valpo will have a three-game series at Campbell (March 15-17) against a team that went 46-15 and 22-5 in the Big South in 2023. The conference champion Fighting Camels reached NCAA Regionals.

The Beacons will make their way to Nashville, Tenn. for a game against preseason No. 6 Vanderbilt on March 26. The Commodores went 42-20 last season, were the runners-up of the College World Series in 2021 and won the national title as recently as 2019.

Other power-five opponents on the docket include April 3 at Purdue and April 16 at Notre Dame.

UINDY MEN’S BASKETBALL

GREYHOUNDS SINK TRITONS, SECURE SECOND STRAIGHT GLVC REGULAR SEASON TITLE

ST. LOUIS – The UIndy men’s basketball team secured its second straight GLVC regular season title on Thursday night, earning a 67-57 victory at Missouri-St. Louis at the Mark Twain Building.

The victory also cements back-to-back 20-win seasons for the Greyhounds for the first time since 2015-16 when they rattled off five consecutive campaigns.

Jarvis Walker led all scorers – again – with 25 points; the junior has now recorded 20+ points in three of the past four games.

INS & OUTS

UIndy built a 19-point advantage at the break, using a 14-4 run in the final six minutes to head to the locker room with a cushion. Ten of those points came from the hands of Walker, who drilled three triples during the stretch.

Jesse Bingham scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half, including the first and final bucket for the Hounds. On its way to a lead of a game-high 21, Sean Craig drilled his first 3-pointer of the night before Walker hit a jumper in the paint with 12:11 on the scoreboard to put UIndy ahead, 50-29.

After an and-1 opportunity for Julian Steinfeld at the 6:08 mark, the Tritons forged a comeback attempt that saw the Hounds’ lead dwindle to eight with less than three minutes remaining. Kendrick Tchoua made a huge block on a driving Matt Enright in the waning moments, as Bingham sunk all four of his final free throw attempts to seal the road win.

The Greyhounds successfully completed the (regular) season sweep over the Tritons and have won consecutive games against the league foe for the first time since 2018-19.

INSIDE THE BOX

– UMSL’s 57 points is the least amount UIndy has allowed since Feb. 3 at Maryville.

– Bingham logged 38 minutes on Thursday, his third-highest mark of the winter.

– Josiah Tynes led the Hounds with eight rebounds, matching his career-high set last season against William Jewell.

– UIndy held UMSL to just four 3-pointers, its lowest total allowed since Jan. 21, 2023, against McKendree.

MORE NOTES

Troy Glover II posted a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds … UIndy has shot at least 50 percent from the field seven times this season, including four times in February … the Greyhounds now lead the all-time series, 28-12.

HOUND BYTES

Head coach Paul Corsaro on winning the GLVC regular season…

“To win the GLVC outright for the second year in a row – and the fact there hasn’t been a back-to-back regular season champion since 2000 – is extremely impressive. I’m proud of the men in our locker room.”

UP NEXT

UIndy concludes the regular season on Saturday against McKendree. As the Greyhounds look for the season sweep, the Bearcats will celebrate Senior Day prior to the contest. McKendree lost in a shootout on Thursday against Lewis, 87-81.

UINDY WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

GREYHOUNDS FALL TO TRITONS IN CLOSE BATTLE

ST. LOUIS – The UIndy women’s basketball team fell to Missouri-St. Louis, 58-56, on Thursday night. The Greyhounds are now 13-14, and 10-11 in conference play going into the final game of the season.

Jada Patton notched her fourth double-double of the season. Patton scored 19 points, 16 of which were in the second half. Near the rim, the sophomore picked up 11 boards.

INS AND OUTS

The Hounds were down seven points going into the final 20 minutes. UIndy was able to go on an 8-0 run near the end of the third to cut the lead to two. Although UMSL was able to fight back with a buzzer-beater three to end the quarter.

Both teams started the fourth quarter trading points. A short 7-2 lead with less than three minutes left, allowed the Greyhounds to close in on the Tritons. A foul committed by UMSL with 25 seconds brought Patton to the line to tie the game at 56-56. Unfortunately for the Hounds, a buzzer-beater jumper by the Tritons ended the game in favor of the home team.

INSIDE THE BOX

– Jada Haines was the other Greyhound to finish in double points. Haines finished with 10 points.

– Caroline Jakaitis was a key player on defense finishing the game with three out of four UIndy blocks.

– The Greyhounds were to grab 39 rebounds during the game and held the Tritons to 37.

– From beyond the arc, the Hounds shot 6-for-15 (40.0 percent). Four Greyhounds were able to sink a three-pointer.

MORE NOTES

Alex Wolff was UMSL’s top scorer during the contest with 12 points in 16 minutes. Mara Rieder also had a successful day on the court. Rieder scored 11 points and had seven blocks. … UIndy continues to lead UMSL, 25-11.

UP NEXT

The Greyhounds will close out the 2023-24 regular season with a matchup against McKendree. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. ET in Lebanon, Ill.

UINDY SOFTBALL

SOFTBALL FLIES OVER CARDINALS WITH DOUBLEHEADER SWEEP

WHEELING, W. Va – The No. 8 UIndy softball team swept Wheeling in a doubleheader on Thursday. The Greyhounds shut out Wheeling, 9-0, in the first game. This is the sixth shutout the Hounds have recorded this season. The second game ended in a mercy ruling with UIndy defeating Wheeling in five innings, 15-4.

GAME 1 | UIndy 9, Wheeling 0

The Hounds got on the board quickly with a single by Shelby Cook but was able to make it home due to an error by the Cardinals. Jocelyn Calvin was on base due to a walk, giving Cook two RBIs. Later in the first inning.  After blanking Wheeling in the bottom of the inning, UIndy finished the inning leading, 3-0.

At the top of the third, Braxton Downs started the inning with a triple. After a Lexy Rees walk,  Downs scored on a Proctor single, while Rees came around on an infield hit by Grace Mosele, increasing the Greyhound’s lead to five.

UIndy pulled away with four more runs in the sixth and seventh frames. Calvin had two singles and two runs in the final two innings.

In the circle for the Hounds was Kenzee Smith. For the sixth time this season, Smith remained in the circle for the entirety of the game. The senior only allowed four hits and three walks and struck out eight batters to earn another shutout.

GAME 2 | UIndy 15, Wheeling 4 (5 innings)

The Greyhounds used the momentum from the first game to get off to a hot start, with five runs in each of the first three innings.

In the first inning, the Hounds scored five runs, three before their first out. The inning featured a ton of extra-base hits, including triples by Calvin and Cook and doubles by Downs and Emily O’Connor.

UIndy’s power at the plate continued into the second inning. The highlight of the inning was a three-run homer by Rees. Calvin had two RBIs in two separate at bats in the frame—one coming on a bases-loaded walk and another on a sac fly—helping push the lead to 10-0.

When all was said and done, this was the highest-scoring game for the Hounds this season. Rees led the team in RBIs with four, while Mosele was not far behind with three of her own. The team had 17 hits during the game, another season high for the Greyhounds. Downs and O’Connor led the team with three each.

Jayden Casebolt was the starting pitcher for the Hounds, improving to 4-1 on the season with the win. She pitched for three innings and allowed two hits and two walks while striking out three batters. Katie Rose stepped into the circle for the final two innings. In only her second appearance in a Greyhound uniform, Rose stuck out two batters and had two walks.

UP NEXT

The Greyhounds will stay in West Virginia to face West Liberty tomorrow. It will be a doubleheader, with the first pitch set for 1 p.m. at the Hilltopper Softball Complex in West Liberty, W. Va.

UINDY WRESTLING

WRESTLING SET TO HOST SUPER REGIONAL 4 TOURNAMENT ON SATURDAY

INDIANAPOLIS – The No. 13-ranked University of Indianapolis Wrestling team will be playing host to this years’ NCAA Super Regional 4 tournament, with ten teams set to converge upon Nicoson Hall on Saturday, March 2, with all the fun set to begin at 10 a.m. ET.

Information, including livestreaming, live results and brackets can be found on TrackWrestling.

For ticketing information, a full meet schedule, and other team information, please visit the official tournament homepage here.

The lineup of teams includes Central Missouri, No. 1-ranked Central Oklahoma, Drury, Kentucky Wesleyan, Maryville, No. 5 McKendree, Newman, Ouachita Baptist and Quincy.

The Hounds are entering with a quality lineup, that being headed up by No. 2 Derek Blubaugh, who currently enters the regional undefeated against DII foes. No. 7 Blake Mulkey at 141 and No. 5 Trey Sizemore at 174 rounds out the ranked wrestlers the Hounds will bring into the tournament.

Alongside Blubaugh, Mulkey and Sizemore, the Hounds will roll out Nathan Smith at 125, Noah Cantu at 133, Jackson Hoover at 149, Owen Zablocki at 157, Dawson Combest at 165, Owen Butler at 184 and Jay Thompson at 285.

MARIAN WRESTLING

MARIAN WRESTLING COMPETES AT OPENING DAY OF NAIA CHAMPIONSHIPS

Wichita, Kan. – The Marian wrestling team opened the 2024 NAIA National Championships on Thursday afternoon, showing struggles on the mat as four of Marian’s seven wrestlers saw their tournament stay come to an untimely end. Of the Knights seven wrestlers, Logan Wagner, Elliott Rodgers, and Audre Beatty were all able to advance their seasons in the consolation bracket.

Anthony Hughes (133)

Anthony Hughes had a rough start in his second appearance at the NAIA National Championships, as the third-year Knight suffered a 21-3 tech fall defeat against No. 5 Jackson Cockrell of Grand View. In the consolation brackets, Hughes would receive a bye before wrestling again, and when returning to the mat the Knight suffered an 11-4 defeat against Jeramiah Steele of Menlo. Hughes’ season ends with an 0-2 mark at the NAIA Championships.

Logan Wagner (141)

Logan Wagner earned a bye in the first round of the NAIA Championships, as the junior’s No. 2 ranking advanced him into the second round of the tournament. In the round of 16, Wagner would suffer an upset defeat, seeing a 7-5 lead after two periods evaporate against No. 15 Hartwell Taylor in the final two minutes as he lost 11-9. Wagner would score a win in the consolation bracket to keep his season alive, scoring a 7-2 win by decision over Domenico DiGena of Reinhardt. Wagner will return to the mat on Friday, wrestling No. 10 Creighton Baughman of Concordia (Neb.). Wagner is 1-1 overall.

Seth Johnson (149)

Seth Johnson made his return to the NAIA Championship stage, but would suffer a loss in his first match as the fifth-year senior was defeated 9-3 by No. 15 Chris Kelly of Southeastern. Johnson’s postseason stretch would end after two matches, as in the consolation round the upperclassman was defeated by Austin Almaguer of Saint Mary, getting pinned in 1:56 to end the tournament with an 0-2 record.

Aundre Beatty (149)

Aundre Beatty had a tough start to his NAIA Championship appearance, as the senior was on the losing end of a 9-4 defeat in his opening match against No. 9 Blake Haney of Grand View. Beatty would rebound in the back draw to keep his season alive, as he scored a win by fall over Irish Furthmyre of Ottawa, scoring a 13-1 lead before the 4:52 victory. The senior would earn another win to stay alive, as No. 7 Victor Guzman of Cumberland fell 4-2 against Beatty. The Knight wrestler holds a 2-1 record after one day, and will wrestler No. 15 Chris Kelly in his return to the mat.

Elliott Rodgers (165)

Like Beatty and Wagner before him, Rodgers would suffer a defeat in his opening match before finding success in the consolation bracket. Rodgers, the 16-seed, suffered a 16-11 loss against Cameron Hargrove of William Penn in his first match, but would rebound in the consolations as he won by fall over Richard Motas of Vanguard. Rodgers’ first win of the tournament came in 4:11, with his second period takedown sticking for the pin. Rodgers would again win by fall, defeating No. 15 Devin Crawford of Montana State-Northern in a 1:16 time. Rodgers will wrestle against No. 7 Braeden Baller of Texas Wesleyan in his first match Friday.

Noah Hollendonner (174)

Noah Hollendonner suffered a defeat in his first match of the day, as the second-year Knight lost by an 18-3 tech fall in his opening round against No. 5 Alex Reynolds of Grand View. Hollendonner would fail to find luck in the consolation round, falling by a 4-3 score in his second match in a loss against No. 11 Tre Morrisette of Life. The junior ended his day with an 0-2 record.

Excell Brooks (285)

Excell Brooks made his first appearance at the NAIA National Championships in his senior year, but suffered a tough loss in his first match of the tournament as No. 6 Antonio Dacosta of Menlo earned a 14-1 major decision win over the Knight. Brooks’ tournament debut fell to the consolation bracket, where after taking a bye in the first round, the senior lost by a 14-0 major decision against Carlos Figueroa of Lindsey Wilson. Brooks would end the tournament 0-2 overall.

The third session of the NAIA Championship will resume at noon ET on Friday afternoon with Wagner, Rodgers, and Beatty aiming to advance further in the tournament.

MARIAN TRACK

MARIAN MEN’S TRACK AND FIELD QUALIFIES THREE RELAYS FOR NAIA ALL-AMERICAN RACES

Brookings, S.D. – The Marian men’s track and field started the 2024 NAIA Track and Field National Championships with a bang, qualifying each of their three relays to the finals later in the week. The Knights’ 4x400m relay squad had the strongest day of the group in program history, setting a new Marian record.

The Knights day started with the 4x800m relay team, as the group of Benjamin Moster, Andrew McDade, Howard Hendricks, and Matthew Riehle qualified for the finals with the eighth-best time of 7:42.17. Marian finished third overall in their heat behind Lewis-Clark State and Kansas Wesleyan, as the group held either second or third place throughout the relay.

In the 4x400m relay, Marian showed their fastest time in program history, as Eli Givens, Olivier Lifrange, Richard Dube, and Raif Miller recorded a school-record 3:14.16 time in their prelim race. The group clocked the third-fastest time in their heat as St. Thomas (Fla.), and Xavier (La.) placed under one second in front of Marian’s team. The group broke their mark set during the Crossroads League Championships by 0.56 seconds, and set the school record by 0.46 seconds, breaking the record set at last year’s NAIA Championships.

The Knights finished their opening day with the DMR, as the team of Robin Aguilar-Gonzalez, Eric Materna, Owen Pittman, and Tristan Trevino burned a 10:04.10 time. Marian is slotted sixth entering the finals on Saturday, as their time was an automatic qualifier by finishing second behind The Master’s in their heat. Marian will be joined in the finals by fellow Crossroads League schools Spring Arbor and Goshen. The group’s time is the second-fastest in program history.

Marian will run in their 3200m relay tomorrow night as they look to score points for the team total. Other events Marian will compete in on Friday include the weight throw, and long jump in field events, while on the track Marian will compete in the 600m, 400m, 200m, 60m, 1000m, and the race walk.

The first event of the day will be the race walk at 12:30 p.m. ET. Marian will run the finals for the DMR and 4x400m relay to end the week on Saturday.

MARIAN WOMEN’S TRACK

WOMEN’S 4X800M RELAY QUALIFIES FOR NAIA ALL-AMERICAN RACE

Brookings, S.D. – The Marian women’s track and field team had a strong opening day to begin the NAIA National Championships, as the women’s 4x800m relay began the meet for the Knights.

Marian’s team of Hanna Reuter, Liz Loichinger, Nora Steele, and Katie Woods earned a first place finish in their heat, clocking a time of 9:13.67 to best the other five teams in their section of the event. Marian’s time is the second-fastest in school history, and for the meet was the third-best time overall, trailing Goshen College by five seconds. The Master’s University clocked the second best time in the preliminary races.

Marian’s quartet will run in the All-American race on Friday night at 6:20 p.m. ET, as they look to give Marian team points for the meet. The Knights will also compete in the 600m, 800m, 1000m, and weight throw in addition to the finals of the 4x800m relay.

ANDERSON MEN’S BASKETBALL

ANDERSON 2024 NCAA TOURNAMENT FIRST & SECOND ROUNDS PREVIEW

The Anderson University men’s basketball team (23-4) is slated to take on the Hope College Flying Dutch (22-6) in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday at Case Western University at 4:45 p.m. in Cleveland.

In the second matchup, the hosts Case Western Reserve University (21-4) will take on Mary Baldwin (17-10) at 7:15 p.m. The winners of the two semifinals clash on Saturday at 7:15 p.m.

Fans can tune into the full preview of the NCAA Tournament First & Second Rounds featuring head coach Carter Collins here.

ANDERSON DIVING

ANDERSON 2024 NCAA D-III CENTRAL DIVING REGIONALS PREVIEW

Anderson University men’s diving senior Matthew Hayward battles in the two-day NCAA D-III Central Diving Regionals, beginning on Friday at 2 p.m. in Granville, Ohio.

Hayward swept the 1-meter diving and 3-meter diving events in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCA) Championships and was tabbed the HCAC Diver of the Year. During the season, Hayward was selected as the HCAC Diver of the Week 11 times.

Haywards posted two 11-dive school records this season, turning in a 1-meter score of 520.65 points and a 3-meter score of 508.80 points.

Fans can tune into the full diving regional preview with Matthew Hayward here.

TAYLOR TRACK

WHITE PICKS UP USTFCCCA ASSISTANT COACH-OF-YEAR HONOR

UPLAND, Ind. – For the third time in the past six years, Taylor’s Quinn White has been named the USTFCCCA NAIA Great Lakes Region Indoor Track and Field Assistant Coach of the Year, this time doing so with the women’s team.

White was previously awarded this top honor in 2019 with the women’s team and again in 2021 with the men’s squad and also claimed the same honor for the women’s team during the outdoor seasons in 2016, 2018 and 2019.

Now in his 14th year as an assistant coach with the Taylor track and field programs, White saw his student-athletes rack up 12 national qualification times in seven events during the 2023-2024 indoor season, with 10 of those times resulting in A-standards.

Additionally, White’s middle-distance and distance athletes raced to three individual titles and two meet records at the recent Crossroads League Indoor Track and Field Championships, helping the No. 8 Trojans to a second-place finish in the team standings.

The highlight moment of the CL Championships for Taylor came in the 5,000-meters, where Mollie Gamble and Audrey Brinkruff finished first and second, while each besting the existing Taylor program and CL Championship record in the event.

White’s middle-distance and distance groups enter the NAIA National Championships ranked top-10 in the NAIA in USTFCCCA #EventSquad rankings in three events, led by a No. 2 rating in the 3,000-meters. TU also rates sixth in the mile and eighth in the 5,000-meters.

The Trojans will look to cap their impressive indoor season with a strong showing at NAIA Nationals on February 29 through March 2.

TAYLOR ATHLETICS | TU MEN OPEN COMPETITION AT NAIA NATIONALS

BROOKINGS, S.D. – The 2024 NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships got underway on Thursday, with the Taylor men’s team competing in two events.

Nathan Burns and Luke Harber started things off in the 5,000-meters, finishing 17th and 30th overall in the prelims. Burns posted his best time of the year by nine seconds, finishing at 14:42.02, but finished seventh in his fast-paced heat and did not advance to the finals. Harber crossed in 15:49.31 for 10th place in his heat.

The team of Ben Eiffert, Bradley Braxton, Nate Conkel and Joel Mumaw also competed well in the distance-medley relay. The group posted their best time of the season by nearly three seconds, teaming to finish in 10:10.59. The mark put the Trojans just two spots outside of advancing to the finals and in 10th-place overall.

The Trojans will continue action on Friday with two more athletes competing. Jake Thompson will start things off in the long jump at 5:15 pm (ET), with Ryan Hanak following in the 3,000-meters prelims at 5:15.

TAYLOR ATHLETICS | TROJANS SET PROGRAM RECORD ON DAY ONE OF NAIA NATIONALS

BROOKINGS, S.D. – The Taylor women’s indoor track and field team opened its stay at the 2024 NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships with a trio of preliminary events on Thursday. TU advanced to the finals in all three, while setting one new program record.

The day started with Audrey Brinkruff and Mollie Gamble taking the track in the 5,000-meters. Each athlete advanced to Saturday’s finals by posting their second-fastest time of the year. Brinkruff opened by crossing in 17:33.95 to take third in her heat, just 1.3 seconds off the lead. Gamble followed, knowing the spot and time to beat in order to advance, and came in 10 seconds ahead of that mark at 17:40.50.

TU then turned its focus to its 4×800-meter relay and distance-medley relay, as each squad comfortably advanced into the finals. The 4×800 team of Emily Johnson, Kaitlin Burden, Abby Mays and Olivia Jeanette highlighted the day for the Trojans by setting a new program-record time of 9:15.34 to end seventh overall in the prelims.

Facing a quick turnaround, Mays and Johnson then teamed with Ashley Hall and Noel VanderWall in the distance-medley relay to finish fifth in the prelims and second in their heat with a season-best time of 12:06.61.

A full day of action awaits Taylor on Friday, with the 4×800-relay returning to race in the finals at 6:20 pm (ET). Prior to that event, TU will compete in the prelims of the mile, 60-meter hurdles, 400 and 3,000, with VanderWall, Patience Sakeuh, Hall and Ahna Neideck all seeking to advance into Saturday’s finals.

Friday’s slate will open at 1:00 pm (ET), with VanderWall racing in the mile.

ROSE HULMAN SWIMMING

VINEET RANADE QUALIFIES FOR 2024 NCAA SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology standout swimmer Vineet Ranade will represent the Fightin’ Engineers at the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving National Championships from March 20 to March 23 at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Ranade qualified for the National Championships in the 200m Freestyle with his best time of 1:37.63 in the Kenyon Fast Chance Invitational last weekend which earns him the 8th seed in the event.

In addition to the 200m Freestyle, Ranade will also swim two more events including the 200 IM and the 200 Breaststroke.

Ranade was the 2023 HCAC Swimmer of the Year, and he has won seven Individual HCAC Championships and 8 Relay HCAC Championships in the last three years.

The computer engineering major was also a 2nd-Team CSCAA Scholar All-American in 2023, and he currently holds eight different school records including the 100 Free, 200 Free, 200 IM, 200 Breast, 200 Medley Relay, 400 Medley Relay, 400 Free Relay, and 800 Free Relay.

The junior from Mountain Vista, California is the first Rose-Hulman swimmer to qualify for the National Championships since Ellie Hong in 2017, and he is the first men’s swimmer from Rose-Hulman to qualify since Orion Martin in 2016.

Ranade is looking to add to a Rose-Hulman swimming tradition that includes 15 All-American awards, four top-5 national finishes, and one national championship performance.

ROSE HULMAN BASEBALL

OTROSZKO TRIPLE AND CIRCUS CATCH WIN IT IN THE TENTH FOR ROSE-HULMAN

AUBURNDALE, Fla. — The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology baseball team brought home an 8-7 win over Moravian on Wednesday in a 10-inning thriller.

Rose-Hulman opened the scoring in the second inning with a 3 spot thanks to an RBI double from Colton Brown and an RBI single from Kade Kline.

Moravian would come right back with two of their own in the third and one run in both the third and fourth innings to take 4-3.

The Fightin’ Engineers would retake the lead in the fifth with a two-run single from Brown.

After the Greyhounds retook the lead in the 7th, Rose-Hulman again battled back with two more runs to take a 7-6 lead.

Moravian would tie the game at 7 with a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to send it to extras, but Tyler Otroszko would call game in the tenth with a triple over the right fielder’s head and scoring the game-winning run on a wild pitch. In the bottom of the inning, Otroszko would make a running catch in foul ground before barreling into the fence for the final out of the game.

The bottom of the order came up huge for the Fightin’ Engineers as Brown, Otroszko, and Mark Serdinak would all add two hits a piece. Brown also contributed 3 RBIs, and Kade Kline added 2 RBIs.

On the mound, Schuyler Wilcox picked up his second win of the season, pitching the final three innings of the game with just one run allowed. Brady Strawmyer pitched four innings strong in the start with just two earned runs allowed and 6 strikeouts, and Brad Nardi recorded three strikeouts in 2.2 innings in relief.

The Fightin’ Engineers improve to 3-2 on the season with their second consecutive victory. The team returns to action on Friday, March 1 with a doubleheader against Grove City at 10:30 AM and 1:30 PM.

ROSE HULMAN MEN’S TENNIS

ROSE-HULMAN MEN’S TENNIS DROPS TIGHT BATTLE WITH DII DAVENPORT

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology men’s tennis drop dropped a close match with Division II Davenport on Wednesday in the 5-4 defeat.

The Fightin’ Engineers opened doubles with a 2-1 victory as Ervin Perkowski and Grant Paradowski dominated the #2 doubles match at 8-2 and Chris Lian and Owen Reynolds held on at #3 doubles with an 8-6 victory.

In singles, Lian brought home his second win of the day to put Rose-Hulman up 3-1 with a 6-2, 6-2 victory at #6 singles.

However, the Panthers held on for wins at the top four singles spots to clinch the match victory.

Perkowski improved to 6-0 at singles with a 7-6(8-6), 6-1 victory at the #5 spot.

The Fightin’ Engineers fall to 5-2 on the season with the loss, and they will return to the courts on Thursday, February 29 at 1 PM for their final match of the spring trip at Warner University.

ROSE HULMAN WOMEN’S TENNIS

ROSE-HULMAN WOMEN’S TENNIS NARROWLY FALLS 4-3 TO DII WARNER UNIVERSITY

BARTOW, Fla. — The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology women’s tennis team dropped their final match of their 2024 spring trip with a narrow 4-3 defeat to the Warner Royals on Thursday afternoon.

Warner started off the scoring early with a 1-0 lead as they won the #1 and #2 doubles matches. In Division I and Division II tennis, the three doubles matches are only worth one point.

In singles, Brooke Carpenter picked up the first win of her career with a walkover at #6 singles.

Camille Clark then netted the second point for Rose-Hulman as she cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 victory at #4 singles.

After a pair of losses at #3 and #5 singles, Rose-Hulman had to have the wins at the top two singles spots. Wynne Aldrich came from down a set to pull out a thrilling three-set victory with a final score of 6-7(2-7), 6-4, 10-3.

At #1 singles, Taylor Goldman picked up the first set, but the Royals’ #1 singles player sent it into a third-set tiebreak to decide the match. In a back and forth tiebreaker, Goldman would fall 10-8, and the Royals would hang on for the 4-3 win.

The Fightin’ Engineers fall to 0-7 on the season with four losses to Division I and Division II programs. They will return to action on Saturday, March 9 as they travel to North Manchester, Indiana to take on the Manchester Spartans in the opening match of HCAC competition.

SMALL COLLEGE ATHLETICS

INDIANA WESLEYAN ATHLETICS: https://iwuwildcats.com/

EARLHAM ATHLETICS: https://goearlham.com/

WABASH ATHLETICS: https://sports.wabash.edu/

FRANKLIN ATHLETICS: https://franklingrizzlies.com/

ROSE-HULMAN ATHLETICS: https://athletics.rose-hulman.edu/

ANDERSON ATHLETICS: https://athletics.anderson.edu/landing/index

TRINE ATHLETICS: https://trinethunder.com/landing/index

BETHEL ATHLETICS: https://bupilots.com/

DEPAUW ATHLETICS: https://depauwtigers.com/

HANOVER ATHLETICS: https://athletics.hanover.edu/

MANCHESTER ATHLETICS: https://muspartans.com/

HUNTINGTON ATHLETICS: https://www.huathletics.com/

OAKLAND CITY ATHLETICS: https://gomightyoaks.com/index.aspx

ST. FRANCIS ATHLETICS: https://www.saintfranciscougars.com/landing/index

IU KOKOMO ATHLETICS: https://iukcougars.com/

IU EAST ATHLETICS: https://www.iueredwolves.com/

IU SOUTH BEND ATHLETICS: https://iusbtitans.com/

PURDUE NORTHWEST ATHLETICS: https://pnwathletics.com/

INDIANA TECH ATHLETICS: https://indianatechwarriors.com/index.aspx

GRACE COLLEGE ATHLETICS: https://gclancers.com/

ST. MARY OF THE WOODS ATHLETICS: https://smwcathletics.com/

GOSHEN COLLEGE ATHLETICS: https://goleafs.net/

HOLY CROSS ATHLETICS: https://www.hcsaints.com/index.php

TAYLOR ATHLETICS: https://www.taylortrojans.com/

VINCENNES ATHLETICS: https://govutrailblazers.com/landing/index

NBA STANDINGS

https://www.foxsports.com/nba/standings

NHL STANDINGS

https://www.foxsports.com/nhl/standings

NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL STANDINGS

https://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/standings/

NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL STANDINGS

https://www.ncaa.com/standings/basketball-women/d1

FOOTBALL HISTORY

Football History Headlines

March 1, 1893- Rawlings Brothers’ store was destroyed by an accidental gunpowder explosion.  The store sold some sporting goods but mainly ammo and firearms. This made the Rawlings brothers to go from a brick and mortar store to a catalog company and propelled them into manufacturing sporting equipment including football safety equipment and footballs.

Hall of Fame

March 1, 1883 – Muskegon, Michigan – The brilliant Yale end, Tom Shevlin arrived into this world. Click his name for more info!

March 1, 1884 – Vince Stevenson the University of Pennsylvania quarterback in the early 1900’s was born. We have more on this Hall of Famer by clicking his name.

March 1, 1926 – Pete Rozelle attended Compton Junior College and then served as a the University of San Francisco’s Sports Information Director. He later became the General Manager of the Los Angeles Rams. In 1960 after the sudden and unexpected death of NFL Commissioner Bert Bell, Rozelle became the surprise successor to lead the NFL. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Rozelle’s accomplishments are legendary, and the NFL’s many challenges during his tenure are well documented. Pete guided the League through such items as blockbuster television contracts, the war with the competing American Football League and the resulting merger, the development of the Super Bowl into America’s premier sporting event and even difficult player issues including strikes and threatened strikes. The NFL became stronger and stronger during his tenure. The Pro Football Hall of Fame named Pete Rozelle as an enshrined contributor in 1985 after 30 seasons of service.

March 1, 1946 – Trenton, New Jersey – The feared defensive end of North Carolina A&T, Elvin Bethea arrived into this world. Bethea was the Houston Oiler third round pick in the 1968 Draft and played for 16 seasons in pro football.  Unofficially, because it was not a stat during his career, Elvin is the franchis’s career sack leader with 105 career QB takedowns behind the line of scrimmage. He was an All-Pro second team four times and played in 8 Pro Bowl games. At the 2003 Enshrinement ceremonies in Canton, Ohio, Elvin Bethea was named for entrance into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

March 1, 2006 – Camden, New Jersey – The outstanding Nebraska halfback, Mike Rozier was born. The NFF states that Rozier rushed for 973 yards in 1981 as a sophomore and was not the feature back of the offense. The following year he became a consensus All-America as he ran for 1,689 yards, and 15 touchdowns. In 1983 his senior year, Rozier was part of a team that averaged over 50 points per game. Mike’s contributions included a nation leading 2,148 yards on the ground, as he was college football’s top dog with 2,486 all-purpose yards and a 7.8 yards per carry average. He also scored an eye popping 29 touchdowns with 11 games where he exceeded the 100-yard mark in rushing. Mike Rozier’s collegiate gridiron accomplishments are forever remembered as in 2006 they were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY

1927      Babe Ruth becomes the highest-paid player in major league history when the Yankees announce he will earn $70,000 per season for the next three years. The ‘Sultan of Swat,’ who had asked for $100,000, meets Colonel Jacob Ruppert at the owner’s brewery in the Yorkville section of Manhattan to finalize the historic deal.

1966      Commissioner William Eckert, citing a rule prohibiting clubs from signing players during their collegiate season, voids the Braves’ contract with USC standout Tom Seaver, who had signed with Atlanta for a $50,000 bonus a week earlier. The Mets will be awarded the future Hall of Famer’s signing rights in a lottery that includes the Phillies and Indians, who also were willing to match the Braves’ terms.

1989      “When he punched Keith Hernandez in spring training last season, it was the only time that Darryl Strawberry hit the cutoff man.” – STEVE WULF, Sports Illustrated journalist. At a photo session, Mets’ outfielder Darryl Strawberry throws a punch at Keith Hernandez, the team’s no-nonsense All-Star first baseman. The spring training scuffle started over comments about salaries, resulting in Straw walking out of camp.

1992      The highest-paid player tag now belongs to Ryne Sandberg, when the All-Star infielder signs a four-year contract extension worth 7.1 million dollars per season. The future Hall of Famer will unexpectedly retire during the season in 1994, walking away from nearly $15.8 million from the record deal he inked today.

1995      “Cleveland got the better of the deals. They didn’t get anybody.” – DAVEY JOHNSON, Reds’ manager.

The Indians send Mike Curtis, Barbaro Garbey, Lee Granger, and Dave Gray to the Reds for “future considerations.” The transaction, which helps Cincinnati add much-needed players to their roster, marks the first trade of replacement players during a baseball strike.

2001      Rusty Greer, now the Rangers’ new leadoff hitter due to the A-Rod deal, signs a $21.8 million, three-year contract extension with Texas. The .307 career-hitting outfielder could make $36 million with incentives and options.

2005      Wearing their regular-season home uniforms instead of the traditional batting-practice spring training jerseys, the Nationals, in their first game ever, beat the Mets in the exhibition opener at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Florida, 5-3. The Expos’ first and last games were against the Mets before leaving Montreal for their new home in Washington, D.C.

2005      In a Capitol Rotunda ceremony, with legislators from the House and Senate and baseball commissioner Bud Selig in attendance, President George W. Bush awards the nation’s highest honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, posthumously to Jackie Robinson’s widow. Rachel, the widow of the courageous ballplayer, accepts the award for her late husband, who died in 1972.

2005      With hundreds of Red Sox Nation citizens in attendance on the south lawn, President George W. Bush praises the team spirit and winning style of the 2004 World Champions during a White House ceremony. Fall Classic hero and Bush supporter Curt Schilling gives the former owner of the Texas Rangers a white baseball jersey emblazoned with the forty-third Chief Executive’s name and the number 43.

2007      Michael Young signs an $80 million, five-year contract extension offered by the Rangers. The deal, which keeps the three-time All-Star shortstop with Texas through the 2013 season, is the second-largest in franchise history, eclipsed only by the $252 million, 10-year deal Alex Rodriguez free-agent signing in December 2000.2007          A chartered bus accident at Interstate 75 and Northside Drive in Atlanta kills five Bluffton University baseball players, the driver, and his wife. The players, Zach Arend, David Betts, Scott Harmon, Cody Holp, and Tyler Williams, were en route to Sarasota, Florida, to play a twin bill with Eastern Mennonite University before participating in the Gene Cusic Classic in Fort Myers.2012     In the first change to the MLB playoff structure since the introduction of wild-card teams in 1995, a new one-game, a wild-card game between the teams with the best records in each league, which are not division winners, will become the initial round of the postseason. The new postseason system, which would have allowed the Red Sox and the Braves to avoid their historical collapses last season, increases the reward of winning a division title but opens the door to the possibility of a third-place team winning the World Series.

BASEBALL YEAR IN REVIEW: 1927 (BASEBALL ALMANAC)

Off the field…

On August 23rd, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts executed two Italian immigrants for a double murder. It was widely believed that the men’s reputation as anarchists prevented them from receiving a fair trial and the case remains one of the most controversial in American history. On April 15, 1920, a paymaster for a shoe company in South Braintree, Massachusetts, and his guard were shot and killed by two men who escaped with over $15,000. It was thought from reports of witnesses that the murderers were Italians. The suspects, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were later arrested. Neither, however, had a criminal record, nor was there any evidence of their having had any of the money. In July of 1921, they were found guilty after a trial in Dedham, Massachusetts, and sentenced to death. Years later it was determined that Sacco was probably guilty of the crime, but that Vanzetti was innocent.

American Aviator Charles Lindbergh astounded the world on May 21st by landing in Paris after a solo flight from New York across the Atlantic in “The Spirit of St. Louis”. Upon his return to the United States he received an unprecedented welcome, was promoted to colonel, and made a nationwide tour to foster popular interest in aviation. Lindbergh later married Anne Morrow, the daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico and made several more historic flights with her. After the kidnapping and death of their son in 1932, the Lindberghs moved to England where Charles collaborated with Alexis Carrel on the invention of a perfusion pump that could maintain organs outside the body.

In the American League…

With an all-star lineup known as “Murderer’s Row”, the New York Yankees outscored its opponents by nearly four-hundred runs and hit .307 as a team. Babe Ruth set the original single season mark with sixty home runs which was more than any other American League team had combined. Outfield counterparts, Earle Combs in center and Bob Meusel in left, hit .356 and .337 respectively. Lou Gehrig had his first big season, batting .373 with forty-seven home runs and a league leading one-hundred seventy-five runs batted in. Second year man Tony Lazzeri ranked third in the loop with eighteen home runs.

On May 30th, Washington Senators ace Walter Johnson tossed the final shutout of his career (number one-hundred ten) with a three hit, 3-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox. The “Big Train” went on to retire at the end of the season, but eventually returned to the majors as a manager for both the Senators and Cleveland Indians.

In the National League…

On May 3rd, Jess Barnes (Brooklyn Dodgers) and Virgil Barnes (New York Giants) combined for the first match-up in Major League history between two brothers. Jess pitched the last seven innings, surrendering runs in the seventh and eighth, while Virgil allowed twelve hits in the first seven 2/3 innings, and finished with a 7-6 loss.

Chicago Cubs shortstop Jimmy Cooney pulled off a rare unassisted triple play in the opener of a Memorial Day doubleheader against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cooney first caught a Paul Waner line drive, then stepped on second to retire brother Lloyd Waner and finally tagged Clyde Barnhart who was attempting to get back on first. Amazingly, the feat would be duplicated the following day by Detroit Tigers first baseman Johnny Nuen against the Cleveland Indians.

Pittsburgh Pirates slugger Paul Waner set a new National League record after finishing fourteen straight games with at least one long hit (twelve doubles, five triples, three home runs). The following day, his twenty-three game hitting streak also came to an end.

Around the League…

During a May 14th game between the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals, a section of ten rows in the right field stands at the Baker Bowl collapsed spilling hundreds of fans onto spectators below. There are many injuries, but the one death that occurred was caused by the crowd’s ensuing stampede, not the collapsing bleachers.

The New York Yankees grand finale for the 1927 season, the World Series, was the quickest ever played and lasted only seventy-four hours and fifteen minutes. They became the first American League team to sweep a World Series, and it was only the second four game sweep in World Series history (Braves over Athletics in 1914). The Yankees trailed a total of only two innings during the entire series out scoring the Pirates 23-10. Pittsburgh, only once, managed to score more than one run in an inning (during Game 4).

TODAY IN NBA HISTORY

March 1, 1978

John Drew of Atlanta committed 14 turnovers in a game at New Jersey, an NBA record. Jason Kidd of the Phoenix Suns tied the record by committing 14 turnovers against New York on November 17, 2000.

March 1, 1981

Calvin Murphy of the Houston Rockets missed a free throw in San Antonio, ending his NBA record consecutive free throw streak at 78. Murphy’s record was broken by Minnesota’s Micheal Williams, who put together a streak of 84 consecutive free throws through the end of the 1992-93 season. The streak eventually grew to 97, before Williams missed a FT attempt early in the 1993-94 season.

March 1, 1986

The New York Knicks retired Hall of Famer Earl “The Pearl” Monroe’s uniform No. 15. Monroe starred on the Knicks’ 1973 NBA championship team.

March 1, 1996

Atlanta’s Lenny Wilkens became the first coach in the NBA to reach 1,000 career victories when the Hawks downed the Cleveland Cavaliers 74-68.

March 1, 1998

Miami head coach Pat Riley became the fifth coach to record 900 career wins with a 85-84 win over New Jersey.

March 1, 1999

Philadelphia’s Larry Brown coached his 1,200th NBA game as the Sixers defeat the Washington Wizards 104-91. Brown becomes the 12th coach to coach 1,200 NBA games, joining Pat Riley, Don Nelson and Lenny Wilkens as the only active coaches with 1,200 games coached.

March 1, 2009

Deron Williams of the Utah Jazz dished 20 assists in a 112-104 win over the Golden State Warriors.

NUMBERS IN SPORTS

4 – 9 – 7 – 26

March 1, 1903 – A rule revision was unveiled by the Major League Baseball Rules Committee. The new standard stated that pitcher’s mound must not be more than 15 inches higher in elevation than the baselines or home plate.

March 1, 1910 – National Baseball Commission prohibited giving mementos to players on winning World Series teams. The reasoning as to why has since been lost to time. Sports Casting.com Website shares that the decision was later reversed, as the 1922 New York Giants received rings for their World Series title. 

March 1, 1919 – Future Hockey Hall of Fame center Newsy Lalonde, wearing the Number 4 sweater,set an NHL playoff record with 5 goals in the Canadiens’ 6-3 win over Ottawa in NHL Championship Game 3 in Montreal

March 1, 1954 – Future Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder Ted Williams, Number 9 fractured his collarbone on the first day of Boston Red Sox spring training. That unexpected injury kept the brilliant slugging left fielder  out of Red Sox lineup through the middle of May that season.

March 1, 1967 – MLB Commissioner William Eckert approved the Baseball Writers Association of America’s plan to name a Cy Young Award recipient from both the National and American Leagues.

March 1, 1969 – New York Yankees legend Mickey Mantle, Number 7 announces his retirement due to persistent knee injury. The future hall of Fame nominee finished 18-season career with 536 home runs and .298 batting average, many All-Star selections and was a 3-time American League MVP.

March 1, 1969 – Number 7, Phil Esposito has a goal and assist in Boston Bruins’ 8-5 win over NY Rangers to give him 99 points for the season, breaking the NHL record for most points in a season (97) held by Stan Mikita

March 1, 1970 – Minnesota North Stars coach Charlie Burns becomes the final player/coach in NHL history.  He set this mark when he played in the North Stars’ 8-0 win over Toronto Maple Leafs and wore the jersey Number 9, and in fact he remained in the dual role for the club for the entire final month of the season.

March 1, 1970 – TheBoston Bruin’s Bobby Orr, Number 4 became the first defenseman in NHL history to score 25 goals in a season during a 3-1 Boston victory over the visiting St. Louis Blues.

March 1, 1986 – Quebec Nordique’s  star, Number 26Peter Stastny becomes just the second player in NHL history to score 100 points in each of his first 6 seasons, with an assist in an 8-4 Nordiques’ loss to the visiting Buffalo Sabres

TODAY IN SPORTS HISTORY

MAR 1

1919 — Newsy Lalonde of the Montreal Canadiens sets a Stanley Cup Playoff record by scoring five goals in a 6-3 win against the visiting Ottawa Senators. The record is matched four times.

1934 — Primo Carnera retains his world heavyweight title with a unanimous 15-round decision over Tommy Laughren in Miami.

1948 — Top-ranked NYU, the nation’s only unbeaten basketball team, is upset by Notre Dame 64-59 at New York’s Madison Square Garden. In a game with 17 lead changes, the Fighting Irish hold Dolph Schayes to nine points and Kevin O’Shea scores 18 for Notre Dame.

1955 — Allen Fieldhouse, home of the Kansas Jayhawks, hosts its first basketball game and the Jayhawks beat rival Kansas State 77-66.

1969 — Tuesdee Testa becomes the first female jockey to win a race at a major American Thoroughbred track when she rides Buz On to victory in the third race with at Santa Anita Park.

1973 — Robyn Smith becomes the first woman jockey to win a stakes race when she rides North Sea to victory in the Paumonok Handicap at Aqueduct Race Track in New York.

1981 — Calvin Murphy of the Houston Rockets misses a free throw in San Antonio, ending his NBA record consecutive free throw streak at 78.

1983 — Tamara McKinney becomes the first American woman skier to win the overall World Cup championship.

1987 — The Boston Celtics becomes the first NBA franchise to post 2,000 victories when they beat the Detroit Pistons 112-102.

1988 — Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers becomes the NHL’s all-time assist leader, breaking the longtime mark of Gordie Howe. In his ninth season, Gretzky picked up assist No. 1,050 in a game against the Los Angeles Kings.

1991 — Pat Day becomes the sixth jockey in history to earn $100 million in purses when he rides Wild Sierra to a second-place finish in the first race at Oaklawn Park.

1996 — Atlanta’s Lenny Wilkens becomes the first NBA coach to reach 1,000 career victories as the Hawks beat Cleveland 74-68.

1997 – Puerto Rican boxer Héctor Camacho stops Sugar Ray Leonard in 5th round in Atlantic City, NJ to retain IBC middleweight title; only time Leonard’s is KO’ed and sends him into permanent retirement

2000 — With 26-year-old rookie Dean Barker at Black Magic’s helm, New Zealand sails into America’s Cup history, becoming the first country other than the United States to defend the oldest trophy in sports.

2001 — Jackie Stiles of Southwest Missouri State becomes the NCAA career scoring leader in women’s basketball, running her career total to 3,133 points with 30 in Southwest Missouri State’s 94-59 victory over Creighton.

2014 — Jaromir Jagr becomes the seventh player to score 700 NHL goals during New Jersey Devils’ 6-1 victory over the New York Islanders.

2015 — Kiley McKinnon and Mac Bohonnon give the United States its first ever World Cup title double in aerials skiing. McKinnon becomes the first U.S. woman to win the World Cup since Nikki Stone in 1998, while Bohonnon was the first American men’s winner since Jeret “Speedy” Peterson in 2005.

TV SPORTS FRIDAY

AUTO RACING

7:25 a.m.

ESPN2 — Formula 1: Practice, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain

10:55 a.m.

ESPN2 — Formula 1: Qualifying, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain

4:30 p.m.

FS1 — NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Qualifying, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas

6:30 p.m.

FS1 — NASCAR Xfinity Series: Qualifying, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas

9 p.m.

FS1 — NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: The Victoria’s Voice Foundation 200 presented by Westgate Resorts, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas

COLLEGE BASKETBALL (MEN’S)

6 p.m.

CBSSN — Bowling Green at Ohio

7 p.m.

ESPNU — Fairfield at Marist

9 p.m.

ESPN2 — Dayton at Loyola of Chicago

10:30 p.m.

CBSSN — Fresno St. at Nevada

11 p.m.

FS1 — Air Force at Utah

COLLEGE GYMNASTICS (WOMEN’S)

6 p.m.

ESPN2 — Alabama at LSU

7 p.m.

SECN — Auburn at Georgia

7:30 p.m.

ESPN2 — Michigan at Oklahoma

8 p.m.

PAC-12N — UCLA at Stanford

10 p.m.

PAC-12N — Arizona St. at Oregon St.

COLLEGE HOCKEY (MEN’S)

6 p.m.

BTN — Penn St. at Ohio St.

8 p.m.

CBSSN — W. Michigan at N. Dakota

8:30 p.m.

BTN — Michigan at Minnesota

COLLEGE LACROSSE (MEN’S)

5 p.m.

ACCN — Penn at Duke

8 p.m.

ACCN — Princeton at North Carolina

GOLF

2 p.m.

GOLF — PGA Tour: The Cognizant Classic, Second Round, PGA National Members Club, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

9:30 p.m.

GOLF — LPGA Tour: The HSBC Women’s World Championship, Third Round, Sentosa Golf Club – Tanjong Course, Singapore

HORSE RACING

3 p.m.

FS1 — NYRA: America’s Day at the Races

4:30 p.m.

FS1 — NYRA: America’s Day at the Races

LACROSSE (MEN’S)

10 p.m.

ESPNU — NLL: Toronto at Las Vegas

MLB BASEBALL

1 p.m.

MLBN — Spring Training: NY Mets vs. St. Louis, Jupiter, Fla.

8 p.m.

MLBN — Spring Training: Cleveland vs. LA Dodgers, Phoenix

NBA BASKETBALL

7:40 p.m.

ESPN — Dallas at Boston

10:05 p.m.

ESPN — Milwaukee at Chicago

NFL FOOTBALL

3 p.m.

NFLN — NFL Scouting Combine: Defensive Backs and Tight Ends, Indianapolis

NHL HOCKEY

7 p.m.

NHLN — Philadelphia at Washington

SOCCER (MEN’S)

11:45 a.m.

FS2 — Saudi Pro League: Al-Ittihad at Al-Hilal

TENNIS

8 a.m. TENNIS — Dubai-ATP, Acapulco-ATP Semifinals; Santiago-ATP, Austin-WTA, San Diego-WTA Quarterfinals