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Staley leads South Carolina over UConn for second NCAA title

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Dawn Staley hoisted the championship trophy high, strutted around the court and stopped for a brief victory dance. She handed over the hardware to South Carolina’s student band, then headed back to midcourt for more merriment.

The Gamecocks hit all the right notes this season, and they finished with a masterpiece.

Staley’s team buttoned up on defense and dominated on the glass, beating UConn 64-49 on Sunday night to end the Huskies’ undefeated streak in title games. Destanni Henderson scored a career-high 26 points, Aliyah Boston added 11 points and 16 rebounds, and the Gamecocks handed Geno Auriemma’s Huskies their first loss in 12 NCAA title games.

“We played every possession like it was our last possession,” said Staley, the first Black men’s or women’s coach with two Division I titles. “They were determined to be champions today.”

A year ago, South Carolina lost in the Final Four when Boston missed a layup before the buzzer.

“Honestly, I’ve been thinking about this since last season. Everyone had a picture of me crying,” said Boston, who was the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. “Today, we’re national champions and I’m in tears.”

With Staley calling the shots in a Louis Vuitton letterman jacket, South Carolina took UConn to school on the boards and capped a wire-to-wire run as the No. 1 team in the country in The Associated Press poll. The Gamecocks also won the championship in 2017 with A’ja Wilson leading the way.

This time it was Boston – the AP Player of the Year – and her fellow South Carolina post players who dominated on the game’s biggest stage. The Gamecocks outrebounded UConn 49-24, including a 21-6 advantage on offensive boards.

“We knew tonight that if we didn’t hold our own on the boards, that it was going to be a really bad night for us,,” Auriemma said. “And that’s exactly what happened.”

They also clamped down on star Paige Bueckers and the Huskies on defense, just like they did all season long.

“They deserved it 100%,” Auriemma said. “They were the best team all year.”

Kentucky rebound hawk Tshiebwe named Naismith Player of the Year

Kentucky center Oscar Tshiebwe has been named the 2022 Naismith Men’s Player of the Year after recording one of the most audacious seasons on the boards in over a generation.

The Congo-born big man led the NCAA in rebounding and became the first Division I player since 1979-80 to average at least 15 points and 15 boards per game.

Tshiebwe averaged 17.4 points, 15.2 rebounds, 1.8 steals, and 1.6 blocks for the Wildcats this season. Kentucky went 26-8 before a shocking first-round loss to Saint Peter’s in the NCAA Tournament.

It’s yet another major award for Tshiebwe, who was already named the AP Men’s College Basketball Player of the Year, the Sporting News Player of the Year, and the NABC Player of the Year. The 22-year-old also won the Oscar Robertson Trophy as the United States Basketball Writers Association’s top player.

He’s only the second Kentucky player to capture the Naismith Trophy after fellow big man Anthony Davis’ win in 2012.

Doncic leads Mavericks to 118-112 victory over Bucks

MILWAUKEE (AP) Luka Doncic continues to feel right at home when he’s facing the Milwaukee Bucks, even when his Dallas Mavericks are on the road facing a fourth-quarter deficit.

Doncic scored 32 points and matched a season high with 15 assists to help the Mavericks defeat Giannis Antetokounmpo and the defending champion Bucks 118-112 on Sunday.

“Obviously, when you play against superstars like Giannis today, you always have extra motivation,” Doncic said. “He’s a champion, a two-time MVP.”

Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 28 points and 10 rebounds. Milwaukee was essentially at full strength Sunday after resting all of its usual starters in a 153-119 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night.

Doncic flirted with a triple-double before finishing with eight rebounds. In six career games against the Bucks, Doncic has averaged 26.8 points, 11.3 assists and 9.2 rebounds with three triple-doubles.

“He’s one of the most talented players in the league, one of the most talented players probably ever to play this game,” Antetokounmpo said.

Antetokounmpo added that “we tried to make it tough for him, but he played well.”

Dallas’ Dwight Powell added 22 points and 13 rebounds – one off his career high – and the Mavericks bounced back two days after a 135-103 loss at Washington.

“On the road against the champs, it’s a hard place to win, especially after we had that performance in Washington,” Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. “This group in the locker room knows they can respond.”

After a basket by Bobby Portis briefly gave the Bucks a one-point lead early in the fourth, Doncic led the Mavericks back by scoring or assisting on each of Dallas’ first 11 points in the final period.

Doncic hit a 3-pointer to put the Mavericks back ahead 93-91 with 9:04 left. He made a pair of free throws just over a minute later to make it 95-91. He capped the 8-0 run by finding Dorian Finney-Smith for a corner 3-pointer with 7:20 left.

Antetokounmpo made two free throws to cut the margin to five, but Doncic found Reggie Bullock for a corner 3-pointer that extended Dallas’ lead to 101-93 with 6:55 remaining.

“He’s able to pick apart whatever a defense is throwing at him,” said Jalen Brunson, who scored 15 points for the Mavericks.

Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday sank a 3-pointer to cut the Mavericks’ lead to 101-98 midway through the fourth quarter. Powell responded by converting a conventional three-point play to make it 104-98 with 5:52 remaining.

The margin didn’t drop below five the rest of the way.

Jaylen Brown scores 32 points; Celtics rout Wizards 144-102

BOSTON (AP) Jaylen Brown scored 32 points, Jayson Tatum had 22 and the Boston Celtics cruised to a 144-102 victory over the Washington Wizards on Sunday in their regular-season home finale.

Jockeying for one of the top seeds in the Eastern Conference, Boston posted a season-high 39 assists en route to its 13th win in 16 games with three games left in the regular season.

“Man, we’ve come a long way,” Brown said his team’s resurgence.

The Celtics were struggling with a 16-19 record in late December. They’ve gone 33-11 since.

“I’m feeling comfortable. I’m being aggressive, just trying to take it to the next level heading into the playoffs,” Brown said. “Making the right reads and the right passes. Shots fell tonight, which is good.”

Derrick White added 17 points, Grant Williams 16 and Payton Pritchard 14 for the Celtics, who finished 28-13 at TD Garden. Tatum had seven assists and six rebounds, while Brown added seven boards with five assists.

Boston closes with a tough road trip to Chicago, Milwaukee and Memphis.

“It’ll be a great test,” coach Ime Udoka said. “This all kind of leans into going into the playoffs, and it’ll keep us sharp and focused.”

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kristaps Porzingis each had 17 points for Washington, and Ish Smith finished with 16.

Eliminated from playoff contention earlier this week, the Wizards had won four of five.

“I think we got hit and we were playing catch-up the entire game,” Smith said. “That train continues to move. They’ve been playing the best of anybody in the NBA since January 1.”

Appearing bored by the lack of challenge by Washington, the crowd started the wave in the final quarter, something rarely seen at home games.

Cavs cry foul after Embiid scores 44 in Sixers’ 122-108 win

CLEVELAND (AP) Joel Embiid did plenty of damage on his own. The Cavaliers, though, felt the big man got some unwarranted help.

Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff was highly critical of the officiating after Embiid scored 44 points – and made 20 trips to the free throw line – in Philadelphia’s 112-108 win over the Cavs on Sunday night.

“That game was taken from us,” Bickerstaff said. “We deserved to win it.”

Embiid added 17 rebounds and James Harden had 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in his second triple-double with Philadelphia as the 76ers locked up a playoff spot.

Embiid was questionable coming into the game with a sore ankle. But not only did the 7-footer play, Embiid dominated down the stretch, scoring 12 points in a key sequence of the fourth quarter.

He also made 17 free throws, added five blocks, made three 3-pointers and had three assists in 38 minutes of another MVP resume builder.

Embiid won’t allow himself to get caught up in the debate.

“If it happens, great,” he said of winning his first MVP. “If it doesn’t, I don’t know what I have to do. I’ll feel like they hate me. I feel like the standard for guys in Philly or for me is different than everyone else.”

Bickerstaff wasn’t taking anything away from Embiid or Harden, but he was upset with what he thought was a major discrepancy in fouls. Cleveland was called for 28 to Philadelphia’s 19 in a physical game with playoff-level intensity.

“The one thing you can’t defend is the free throw line and that’s absurd,” Bickerstaff said, referring to the Sixers’ 42 attempted foul shots. “Our guys deserved way better than they got tonight.

Jokic gets 38, leads Nuggets past LeBron-less Lakers 129-118

LOS ANGELES (AP) Nikola Jokic had 38 points, 18 rebounds and six assists, and the Denver Nuggets moved into fifth place in the Western Conference with a 129-118 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.

Will Barton scored 25 points and Aaron Gordon added 24 points and eight rebounds for the Nuggets, who capitalized on LeBron James’ absence with a fourth-quarter surge to grab their fourth win in five games.

“Very satisfying, knowing the situation, four games to go (when) you’ve got people right behind you, pushing you,” Denver coach Michael Malone said. “This was an important road win. We’ve been a great road team all regular season long. … When it mattered most, we were able to get stops.”

Denver moved a half-game ahead of Utah for the fifth spot in the playoff picture, getting further insurance against being forced into the play-in tournament.

“I think it’s a really important win for us,” Jokic said. “I’m just glad that we’re winning. If we’re playing bad and we’re winning, that’s the most important thing. I think it was really collective play that we did together, but hopefully we can keep it up to separate further and be even better.”

Anthony Davis had 28 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the 11th-place Lakers, whose play-in hopes waned further with their sixth consecutive loss. Los Angeles has lost 28 of 38 since Jan. 7. Russell Westbrook added 27 points and Carmelo Anthony had 17.

The Lakers were competitive against a superior opponent, yet couldn’t overcome the absence of the NBA’s leading scorer, who sat for the fourth time in six games to rest his sprained left ankle. James dropped 38 points in the Lakers’ loss to New Orleans on Friday night, but determined he couldn’t recover from that exertion quickly enough to face the Nuggets in an early game.

“We don’t worry about the math,” coach Frank Vogel said. “We worry about the next game. Learn the lessons from this game, take them to the next game and hopefully get a win against Phoenix (on Tuesday).”

Knicks rout Magic 118-88 with help from Barrett, Toppin

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) The New York Knicks came to Orlando after a bad home loss to Cleveland on Saturday. They left Sunday feeling pretty good about themselves.

RJ Barrett scored 27 points, Obi Toppin matched his career-high with 20 and the Knicks routed the Orlando Magic 118-88.

“We know that we’re better than our record (35-44) has shown this year, and to come out and have a big road win, especially after what happened yesterday, was a great feeling,” Barrett said.

“We didn’t play our best as a team last night, and we talked about that today,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “But this team has played pretty well since the All-Star break … and I thought we bounced back today.”

Toppin and Alec Burks scored 12 points each in a 37-point third quarter for the Knicks, who made 12 of their first 13 shots in the period.

Burks finished with 19 points and seven rebounds, and Immanuel Quickley had his first triple-double (20 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) in 34 minutes off the bench.

“He’s really out there doing it all,” Barrett said. “He’s poised, and he’s been great for us.”

Moritz Wagner led Orlando with 18 points and nine rebounds in the Magic’s sixth straight loss. The Magic (20-59) played short-handed to start with and then lost guard Cole Anthony early in the first quarter. Anthony reinjured a big toe.

“We’ve just got to play through these things. That’s why you get paid a lot of money,” Wagner said. “I do feel bad for the guys that are hurt, though, just to put it in perspective.”

After Ignas Brazdeikis hit a 3-pointer to put Orlando up 45-44 with 3:51 left in the first half, the Magic went more than seven minutes without a field goal.

Edwards has 33, Towns 28, Timberwolves beat Rockets 139-132

HOUSTON (AP) Anthony Edwards scored 33 points, Karl-Anthony Towns added 28 and the Minnesota Timberwolves built a huge lead and held on for a 139-132 win over the Houston Rockets on Sunday night.

It’s the second straight victory for Minnesota, which is in seventh place in the Western Conference with three games remaining.

Towns was disappointed that the Wolves let Houston get back in it late.

“We have to understand that we didn’t play defense up to our standards,” he said. “Mentally we were making too many mistakes. We’re not happy and proud of the showing that we gave tonight… but all in all we did get the win.”

The Timberwolves led by as many as 25 in the fourth and were up by 16 with about five minutes to go before Houston scored the next eight points, with five from Josh Christopher to get within 132-124 a couple of minutes later.

D’Angelo Russell made a layup for Minnesota before Towns added a basket to make it 136-126 with about a minute to go.

Houston coach Stephen Silas became irate at the officials for foul calls after that and went onto the court screaming at the referees and had to be restrained. He was issued two technical fouls and ejected from the game.

“I’m usually very good with the referees,” Silas said. “Tonight was different.”

Alperen Sengun had been called for offensive fouls on consecutive possessions before Silas became enraged after a foul wasn’t called on a shot taken by Jalen Green. Towns lifted his arms above his head and yelled in the direction of the booing crowd as Silas was being led away.

Spurs top short-handed Blazers to strengthen play-in hopes

SAN ANTONIO (AP) Keldon Johnson scored 28 points and the San Antonio Spurs defeated the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers 113-92 on Sunday night to strengthen their bid for a play-in berth.

Coupled with the Los Angeles Lakers’ loss to Denver, San Antonio’s magic number for clinching 10th place in the Western Conference is two games. The Spurs (33-45) also hold the tiebreaker over the Lakers (31-47) with a better conference record.

“If we don’t win, it’s different,” Johnson said. “As long as we just take care of business and not really focus on anybody else, just focus on ourselves each and every game, we’ll be fine.”

San Antonio won a two-game weekend series with Portland to complete a four-game sweep of the Trail Blazers. It was the sixth win in seven games for the resurgent Spurs.

Portland has lost seven straight as it limps to the close of the season.

The Blazers struggled to maintain any consistency offensively without Damian Lillard, Jusuf Nurkic, Josh Hart, Eric Bledsoe, Anfernee Simmons and several other injured players.

“Beating someone four times is tough no matter who is out there,” said Spurs forward Keita Bates-Diop, who finished with 12 points. “He obviously got into us at halftime to stay focused and stay to our principles.”

Keon Johnson and Ben McLemore had 19 points each to lead Portland.

San Antonio’s Zach Collins had 18 points and 13 rebounds for his first career double-double. Tre Jones added 18 points. The duo started in place of injured starters Dejounte Murray and Jakob Poeltl.

With Booker resting, Sarr, Pokuveski lead Thunder past Suns

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Backup center Olivier Sarr scored a career-high 24 points and Aleksej Pokuveski recorded his first career triple-double to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 117-96 victory over the NBA-leading Phoenix Suns on Sunday night.

Sarr came off the bench to shoot 9 of 12 from the field, including 5 of 6 from 3-point range. The other 7-footer, Pokuveski, had 17 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds while playing point guard for the bulk of the game.

In the first half, Pokuveski struggled to run the offense, committing five turnovers. Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said he didn’t say anything to the second-year player before the second-half turnaround in which he continually set up teammates and turned it over just once.

“One thing Poku has worked on since he’s been here is having a steady, reliable offensive game in terms of decision making,” Daigneault said. “So when he goes out there and kicks it around the way he did, we trust at this point, he knows how to course correct and he obviously did settle in.”

Pokuveski is getting the chance to run the offense with Josh Giddey and Tre Mann sidelined for the remainder of the season and he said it took some time for him to get comfortable.

“The first half wasn’t the best for me, and I was just being more aggressive and making better decisions,” he said. “It’s something I couldn’t do last year or the beginning of this year.”

Sarr, who is on a two-way contract with the Thunder, continually pulled the Suns’ big men away from the basket and even got the opportunity to complete a four-point play when Cameron Johnson fouled him on a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.

Lowry has 16 points, 10 assists as Heat beat Raptors 114-109

TORONTO (AP) Kyle Lowry kept his tears in check, then took care of his old teammates from Toronto.

Lowry had 16 points and 10 assists against his former team, Max Strus scored all of his 23 points in the second half, and the Miami Heat beat the Raptors 114-109 on Sunday night.

“It’s something I’m going to cherish for a long, long time,” Lowry said after being showered with love throughout his first game in Toronto for more than two years. “I got the win, so that made it better. Even if I didn’t win, it would have been a great night, a special night.”

Victor Oladipo scored a season-high 21 points, Tyler Herro had 18 and Bam Adebayo 16 as the Heat won their fourth straight and remained two games ahead of Boston atop the Eastern Conference standings. Each team has three games remaining.

Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam each scored 29 points, and Scottie Barnes and Gary Trent Jr. both had 19. But Toronto lost for the first time in six games, and OG Anunoby sat because of a sore thigh.

The Raptors have the same record as fifth-place Chicago but the Bulls hold the tiebreaker. Toronto is 2.5 games ahead of seventh-place Cleveland after the Cavaliers lost at home to Philadelphia on Sunday. Sixth place is the last guaranteed postseason spot, with teams finishing in the Nos. 7-10 spots headed for the play-in tournament.

Miami shot 6 for 20 from 3-point range in the first half, then went 12 for 18 from distance in the second half.

“We didn’t play defense worth a darn,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said.

Leading 113-109 with 13 seconds left in the game, Miami turned the ball over in their own half but VanVleet missed a 3 that would have cut the deficit to one point.

Miami’s Jimmy Butler sat because of a sore left big toe a day after getting 22 points in Saturday’s 127-109 win at Chicago. The Heat were also without center Dewayne Dedmon (sprained right ankle), forward P.J. Tucker (left knee), and guard Gabe Vincent (right big toe).

Warriors win second straight, beat struggling Kings 109-90

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) Andrew Wiggins scored 25 points, Jordan Poole added 22 and the Golden State Warriors held off the Sacramento Kings 109-90 on Sunday night.

Nemanja Bjelica had season highs of 19 points and 12 rebounds to go with his six assists in the Warriors’ second straight win – something they hadn’t done since early March.

“We’re playing for seeding at this point and we really want to get as high as we can in the standings,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “I don’t care how we got here, we got here. We’ve had all kinds of injuries and adversity. Our guys have stuck together and competed, and here we are.”

Harrison Barnes had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings, who were eliminated from playoff contention for an NBA-record 16th consecutive season.

“I’ve been here the last two years and I can tell you in my opinion things are headed the right way,” Kings interim coach Alvin Gentry said. “There’s some work to be done but everybody here is willing to put in the hours and put in the work and find a way to get the monkey off the back.”

Sacramento lost all four games against Golden State this season.

One day after coming back from a 21-point deficit to beat the Utah Jazz and clinch a playoff spot, the Warriors nearly went the opposite way, letting a big lead slip away. Sacramento trailed by as much as 26 but got within 93-86 late in the fourth quarter following Damian Jones’ short jumper.

Draymond Green found Gary Payton Jr. cutting along the baseline for a layup and Wiggins followed with a 3-pointer for the Warriors. After Jones scored for the Kings, Green fed Jonathan Kuminga for a dunk and Wiggins hit another jumper.

Kuminga finished with 17 points as the Warriors won their 50th game of the season.

“It was a huge weekend for us just getting back to playing our brand of basketball,” said Green, who picked up his 14th technical this season. “It’s great to be back where we are. Now we have to continue to build and try to roll into these playoffs.”

Clippers prevent Pelicans from clinching play-in spot

LOS ANGELES (AP) Marcus Morris Sr. scored 22 points, Ivica Zubac got his 22nd double-double of the season with 16 points and 14 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Clippers prevented the New Orleans Pelicans from clinching a spot in the play-in tournament with a 119-100 victory Sunday night.

The Clippers clinched the eighth seed with the win. Minnesota is the seventh seed but is only 1 1/2 games behind Denver for the sixth spot.

Morris made four 3-pointers for the Clippers, who were 21 of 44 from beyond the arc. It is the first time in franchise history they have made at least 20 in back-to-back games. Los Angeles made 23 3s and set a franchise record for points in a 153-119 victory over Milwaukee on Friday night.

The Clippers made all eight of their shots from the perimeter in the first quarter. According to Sportradar, it is the first time since at least 1996 Los Angeles has had a perfect quarter with seven or more attempts.

Paul George had 15 points, seven assists and five rebounds in his third game back for the Clippers, who had six players in double figures. All of George’s field goals were 3-pointers.

CJ McCollum had 19 points and Brandon Ingram added 15 for the Pelicans, who had their three-game winning streak snapped. New Orleans could have wrapped up a play-in tournament berth with a win after Denver defeated the Los Angeles Lakers earlier in the day.

The Clippers trailed 25-21 before going on a 32-8 run over a nine-minute span to take control. The spurt included six 3-pointers.

Padres acquire LHP Sean Manaea in trade with Athletics

PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) The San Diego Padres bolstered their rotation on Sunday, acquiring left-hander Sean Manaea in a trade with the Oakland Athletics.

San Diego got the 30-year-old Manaea and minor league right-hander Aaron Holiday from Oakland for pitching prospect Adrian Martinez and minor league infielder Euribiel Angeles.

Manaea went 11-10 with a 3.91 ERA in 32 starts last year. He had two shutouts and struck out a career-high 194 batters, ranking eighth in the American League.

The addition of Manaea could lead to another move for San Diego, which was already flush with starting pitching before the trade with Oakland.

The A’s are rebuilding after going 86-76 last year, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2017. Right-hander Chris Bassitt, slugging first baseman Matt Olson and third baseman Matt Chapman were traded last month.

Martinez played for Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso last year, going 8-5 with a 3.38 ERA in 26 games, 22 starts. The right-hander finished with 122 strikeouts in 125 innings.

Martinez, 25, missed the 2016 season following Tommy John surgery and the 2020 season because of the pandemic.

Angeles played for Low-A Lake Elsinore and High-A Fort Wayne last year, batting .329 with four homers, 64 RBIs and 19 stolen bases in 105 games. The 19-year-old right-handed hitter was signed by the Padres out of the Dominican Republic in 2018.

Manaea was selected by Kansas City in the first round of the 2013 amateur draft. He was traded to Oakland in the July 2015 deal that moved Ben Zobrist to the Royals.

Manaea is 50-41 with a 3.86 ERA and 641 strikeouts in 129 career games, including 128 starts, in six seasons. He agreed to a $9.75 million, one-year contract last month, avoiding arbitration.

Holiday, 21, was selected by Oakland in the 13th round of the 2021 amateur draft. He went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in three relief appearances with the A’s affiliate in the Arizona Complex League last year.

Yanks get RH Miguel Castro from Mets for LH Joely Rodriguez

NEW YORK (AP) New York’s baseball teams have swapped relievers, with the Mets sending right-hander Miguel Castro to the Yankees for left-hander Joely Rodriguez on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Castro had a 3.45 ERA over a career-best 69 appearances last season, going 3-4 with 77 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings. He’ll make $2.62 million this season after signing a deal this month to avoid arbitration.

Rodriguez gives the Mets a needed southpaw for the bullpen after Aaron Loup left for the Los Angeles Angels in free agency.

The 30-year-old Rodriguez was traded from Texas to the Yankees last season and combined to post a 4.66 ERA in 52 appearances. He was sharp for New York down the stretch, going 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in 21 games after the trade. He’s owed $2 million this season.

The deal is the 18th between the franchises and only the third since 2005. The Yankees acquired right-hander Gonzalez Germen from the Mets for cash in December 2014, and they also got infielder/outfielder L.J. Mazzilli from the Mets for outfielder Kendall Coleman in April 2018.

Frank Gore intends to retire with 49ers, join San Francisco front office

The league’s third all-time leading rusher is close to hanging up his cleats for good.

Frank Gore told TheSFNiners.com this week that he is planning on signing a one-day deal with the San Francisco 49ers, the team that drafted him, and retiring from the NFL. It’s only a matter of time.

“We still trying to figure out when I’m going through my one-day contract, to sign, do my retirement,” Gore said. “I told (owner) Jed York I always want to be a Niner. So we working on that right now.”

Gore has not played in the NFL since the 2020 season, when he tallied 742 total yards and two touchdowns on 203 touches for the New York Jets, his fifth NFL team. Gore, a third-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, spent the first 10 years of his career in San Francisco, rushing for at least 1,000 yards in eight of those campaigns and being named to five Pro Bowls. Since then, the now-38-year-old back has played for Indianapolis, Miami, Buffalo and New York.



Aidan Hutchinson

Michigan · Edge · Senior

Hutchinson is an ultra-productive edge rusher with ideal size, quickness and polish. He stood up this past season in defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald’s system at Michigan. As a pass rusher, he has a quick first step and a wide array of hand moves to generate pressures/sacks. He’s collected wins with dip/rip moves, quick hand swipes, long inside-arm bull rushes and swim moves. He can feel when OTs overset and he is quick to counter inside. He also has the ability to grab and control the wrist of his opponent. He doesn’t have elite bend at the top of his rush, but once free, he has an impressive closing burst. In the run game, he holds the point of attack and his effort is nonstop on the backside. Hutchinson isn’t in the same class as the Bosa brothers, but he’s not far behind.



Ickey Ekwonu

N.C. State · OT · Junior

Ekwonu is a thick, powerful tackle prospect with a nasty play style. In pass protection, he carries his hands low but he delivers a quick, powerful punch to stun edge rushers. He is quick to kick out and handle speed on the edge, but he’s had issues oversetting, resulting in pressures. He can sink his weight and absorb bull rushers. He is at his best in the run game. He rolls his hips on contact and uproots defenders with force. Ekwonu is quick out of his stance on pulls and delivers knockout shots at the second and third levels. He constantly blocks to and through the whistle. He’s not a finished product in pass protection, but the tools are all there. Worst-case scenario, he slides inside and becomes a Pro Bowl-caliber guard.




Sauce Gardner

Cincinnati · CB · Junior

Gardner is a tall, long cornerback with elite movement skills and toughness. In press coverage, he uses his length to successfully re-route wideouts. He has abnormal fluidity for such a huge cornerback (6-foot-3, 200 pounds). He can completely open his hips to mirror and match underneath. He’s rarely out of position, but if it happens, he has an incredible burst to recover. From off coverage, he is fluid and explodes out of his plant and drive. He has natural ball skills; he can find it and play it. His overall awareness is excellent. He is very willing as a run defender and blitzer. Although he’ll miss an occasional tackle, the aggressiveness and want-to are easy to identify. Overall, Gardner has a unique skill set for his size, and I see similarities to four-time Pro Bowler Antonio Cromartie coming out of Florida State.




Kyle Hamilton

Notre Dame · S · Junior

Hamilton has rare height (6-4), length and fluidity for the safety position. Against the pass, his versatility is a major asset. He has exceptional instincts from the deep half and his range is off the charts (see: INT vs. Florida State). He eats up ground quickly with his long stride and has the athleticism and speed to mirror tight ends and slot wideouts all over the field. Hamilton is an explosive blitzer from depth. He can find and play the ball with ease. Against the run, his burst and angles to the ball are highly impressive, but he will go low and miss a few tackles. I love his competitiveness and production covering punts. Hamilton has all of the tools to emerge as a Pro Bowler early in his career.




Garrett Wilson

Ohio State · WR · Junior

Wilson is a highly competitive wideout with route polish and excellent run-after-catch ability. He doesn’t have elite speed, but gets to his top speed very quickly in the route. He is very crisp at the the top of routes, creating a lot of separation. The Ohio State product makes several plays above the rim and really plays much bigger than his size (6-foot, 188). He does have a few concentration drops, but I believe that is correctable. Wilson is at his best after the catch, as he can make defenders miss, power through tackles or utilize a stiff arm. I love his competitive nature. Overall, Wilson has a complete skill set and reminds me of Stefon Diggs.




Travon Walker

Georgia · Edge · Junior

Walker is a versatile edge defender with exceptional length and athleticism. He primarily aligned on the edge, but played inside, too. As a pass rusher, he isn’t ultra-explosive, but he’s smooth and powerful. He loves to widen the offensive tackle with his upfield rush before using his inside arm to jolt and walk him back to the QB. He also flashes a quick swipe move to create pressures. He’s very disruptive, but he’s left some sacks on the field because of missed tackles. The Bulldogs dropped him into coverage quite a bit, and he’s made some incredibly athletic plays, including one particular pass breakup versus Florida. Against the run, he dominates with his length and power at the point of attack. He destroys tight ends. I believe Walker’s best football is ahead of him.




Evan Neal

Alabama · OT · Junior

Neal is a massive left tackle (6-foot-7, 350 pounds, per school measurements) with strong hands, quick feet and awareness. In the passing game, he has the foot quickness to handle speed rushers. He uses his length to keep his chest clean and has a firm anchor versus power rushers. He can bend his knees and sink his weight, but there are times when he gets too aggressive, lunges and winds up on the ground. In the run game, Neal has strong hands and lower power to generate movement at the point of attack. He has the athleticism to adjust at the second level and in space on screens. Overall, I’d like to see Neal improve his patience and balance, but he has all of the tools to emerge as a frontline starting tackle early in his career.




Drake London

USC · WR · Junior

London is a jumbo-sized wideout with a rare catch radius and outstanding toughness. He has lined up outside and in the slot. He doesn’t have ideal speed, but he’s very quick off the line and at the top of his route. He is a nuanced route runner, and it’s impressive to see how quickly he can get in and out of breaks at his size (6-5, 210). He dominates on 50/50 balls, making spectacular grabs (SEE: Colorado game). London understands how to use his big body to shield off defenders before attacking the ball. After the catch, he seeks out contact and fights for extra yards. He plays with an edge as a blocker, as well. Overall, some will have concern with his lack of top speed, but he reminds me of Mike Williams coming out of Clemson.




Jermaine Johnson II

Florida State · Edge · Senior (RS)

Johnson transferred from Georgia to Florida State for his final college season and put up monster numbers for the Seminoles. He has ideal size, length and quickness. As a pass rusher, he has a quick get-off, but he needs to lengthen his stride and gain more ground. He uses his length to snatch/pull tackles (SEE: sack/forced fumble/TD return vs. Clemson) to collect sacks. He also has a steady bull rush to walk tackles back to the quarterback. He does have hip tightness when he gets to the high side of his pass rush. Against the run, he uses his length to keep blockers away from his frame and he sets the edge consistently. He runs well and his effort is very good on the back side. Overall, Johnson should be a three-down player early in his career.




Kayvon Thibodeaux

Oregon · Edge · Junior

Thibodeaux has ideal size (6-5, 258), length and explosiveness. He moved up and down the line of scrimmage in the Ducks’ scheme, but primarily stood up on the edge. He shows a tremendous burst off the snap and excels using his inside arm to stab, create space, close and finish. He also has an effective shake/bull move to rock and displace offensive tackles. Thibodeaux does have some ankle tightness at the top of his rush; he isn’t an elite bender. Against the run, he easily stacks blocks vs. tackles and tight ends while locating the football. He has speed to close from the back side but his effort is spotty. Overall, Thibodeaux doesn’t have ideal flexibility, but his blend of speed and power should translate successfully at next level.




Jordan Davis

Georgia · DT · Senior

Davis is an enormous defensive tackle prospect with surprising quickness and athleticism. As a pass rusher, he’s primarily a pocket-collapse player rather than a polished technician. He’s able to bend, latch on and walk opposing linemen right back to the quarterback. He flashes quick hands, and I believe he has upside to develop into more of a threat. He is at his best versus the run. He is immovable inside, locks out blocks and eliminates space for runners. He has outstanding block recognition, handles double teams and possesses surprising range. He makes plays down the field, which is incredible to see at his size. Not every team will value his skill set, but I think he can be a dominant force in the right scheme.




Devin Lloyd

Utah · LB · Senior (RS)

Lloyd is a tall, rangy linebacker with excellent versatility and production. He split time between lining up on the edge and at inside linebacker. Against the pass, he can run and mirror TEs all over the field. He is very instinctive as a zone dropper, able to anticipate, drive and make plays on the ball. His ball skills are special for a linebacker (SEE: pick-six against Stanford). Lloyd is an effective blitzer off the edge, displaying a burst to close and wreak havoc in the backfield. Against the run, he plays downhill and uses his length to play off of blocks and collect tackles. He has excellent lateral range. He does have some stiffness in space, but is a reliable tackler. I love Lloyd’s play speed, passion and aggression. He has Pro Bowl potential.




Nakobe Dean

Georgia · LB · Junior

Dean is an undersized linebacker with exceptional instincts and play-making ability. Against the run, he is quick to read, flow and fill for tackles. He is two steps ahead of everyone on the field because of his combination of knowledge, vision and instincts. He has excellent speed and range. He is a firm, chest-up tackler with a high batting average in space. Against the pass, he has the athleticism to match up with RBs and TEs underneath. He has good feel and burst to close as a zone dropper. He is an outstanding blitzer, utilizing timing and the ability to slip blockers for sacks/pressures. The Georgia staff raves about his leadership. Dean reminds me a lot of Jonathan Vilma coming out of Miami.




Trent McDuffie

Washington · CB · Junior

McDuffie is a slightly undersized cornerback with tremendous quickness, awareness and toughness. He’s been successful relying on a variety of techniques. In press, I’ve seen him use a quick two-hand jam, bail or patiently sit and mirror. He is a very fluid mover and carries vertical routes with ease. In off coverage, he primarily plays from a side shuffle, where he can see through the wideout to the quarterback. He can anticipate and drive on the ball very quickly. McDuffie is rarely out of position and that’s probably why he doesn’t get much action to his side of the field. He is an aggressive run defender and a sure tackler in space. He’s also an explosive blitzer and he’s been productive on punt and kickoff teams. Overall, McDuffie is one of the safest players in the draft.



Derek Stingley Jr.

LSU · CB · Junior

Stingley has ideal size (6-1, 195), speed and fluidity for the position. He had a monster freshman season, but his play was inconsistent in 2020 and 2021. He is at his best in press coverage, as he effectively re-routes wideouts with a one- or two-hand jam. He has easy speed to carry vertical routes and can flip his hips smoothly to redirect on underneath routes. Stingley is always in position downfield, but he’s given up some plays on 50/50 balls. From off coverage, he has a smooth pedal and explodes out of his plant/drive. His instincts are excellent, but I do have concerns with his effort and execution as a tackler. Overall, Stingley has all of the tools to be an elite cover man, but he needs to play with more urgency and aggression.




Chris Olave

Ohio State · WR · Senior

Olave has average height and a lean/wiry frame for the position. He is a very smooth mover and has terrific speed. Against press coverage, he relies on his foot quickness to win, but he does get caught and re-routed on occasion. He needs to add upper-body strength. He is an excellent route runner — fluid in and out of breaks — and creates a lot of separation. Olave is at his best in the vertical passing game. He can find another gear when the ball is in the air, tracking it naturally, and he can finish consistently. He displays burst after the catch, while lacking the strength to pull through tackles. Overall, Olave needs to get stronger, but he’s a home-run hitter with outstanding route polish.




Jameson Williams

Alabama · WR · Junior

Williams is a tall, lean and explosive wideout. Everything he does on the field is sudden and fast. He explodes off the line in his release; just when you think he’s reached top speed, he taps into a gear that very few possess. He turns quick-hitters into long touchdowns and climbs on top of coverage in every game viewed. He is at his best on runaway routes, but flashes the ability to efficiently get in and out of breaks. His hands are inconsistent, though. He lets too many balls get into his body and that results in drops. After the catch, Williams destroys pursuit angles with his speed. His production as a gunner on the punt team speaks to his competitiveness. He suffered a torn ACL in the College Football Playoff National Championship, but once healthy, Williams could emerge as one of the premier deep threats in the NFL.




George Karlaftis

Purdue · Edge · Junior

Karlaftis has outstanding size, power and instincts off the edge, but he doesn’t have ideal length. As a pass rusher, his best weapon is converting speed to power. He explodes upfield before jolting tackles with his hands and powering through them. He also will flash a nifty arm-over or spin move on occasion. He has a GPS system to feel and locate the QB once the passer tries to escape the pocket. Even if Karlaftis gets stuck early in the play, he refuses to stay blocked and creates late pressure. He isn’t a bendy/loose athlete at the top of his rush, though. Against the run, he sets the edge easily against single blocks and he shoots gaps to split double teams. Overall, Karlaftis reminds me a lot of another former Boilermaker, Ryan Kerrigan.



Dax Hill

Michigan · S · Junior

Hill is a versatile safety with outstanding instincts and play speed. He spends time aligned in the middle of the field or covering in the slot. From the deep middle, he has very good anticipation and range. He is a fluid, smooth mover and he can close downhill in a hurry. In the slot, he has the hips to open up and mirror. He excels in underneath zone coverage, showing the ability to sort through traffic and make plays on the ball. He is an explosive blitzer and delivers some big hits upon arrival (SEE: Wisconsin game). He is a very dependable tackler in space. Overall, Hill is always around the ball, whether it’s a run or pass. He reminds me of Packers safety Darnell Savage when he was coming out of Maryland.




Devonte Wyatt

Georgia · DT · Senior

Wyatt is a thick/square defensive tackle with excellent quickness. He flashes some big-time ability as a pass rusher, getting off the ball with nice burst and leverage. He has collected pressures/sacks with quick arm-overs, nifty spins and power. He is really dynamic when he changes directions, crossing the face of his opponent. His stats don’t jump off the page, but that was more the result of all the talent around him on Georgia’s defense. Against the run, he keeps a low pad level and controls the point of attack. He has excellent range. Wyatt has tremendous upside and could emerge as the top interior lineman in this class.




Treylon Burks

Arkansas · WR · Junior

Burks is a big (6-2, 225), physical wideout with outstanding run-after-catch ability. He was used in a variety of alignments in the Razorbacks’ offense — outside, in the slot, at running back and as a Wildcat QB. He caught a lot of bubbles, slants and flat routes. Arkansas liked to get the ball in his hands as soon as possible to let him display his speed and physicality after the catch. He wasn’t asked to run a full complement of routes, but he’s a fluid athlete and should be able to do more at the next level. He likes to cradle-catch balls on his frame, which leads to some drops, but he flashes the ability to high point and finish. Burks will need some time to develop, but he has A.J. Brown-type upside.




Trevor Penning

Northern Iowa · OT · Senior (RS)

Penning has ideal size and length for the position. In pass protection, he has average quickness and knee bend, but uses his length to keep defenders away from his chest. That length also allows time for his feet to catch up against edge speed. He’s not always square, but he’s able to run defenders around the pocket. He gives a little ground versus power before settling down. He has excellent awareness vs. twists and stunts. In the run game, Penning has the power to wash defenders down the line of scrimmage. He takes good angles to the second level, but is a little clunky in space. His effort to finish is outstanding in both the run and pass game. Overall, Penning isn’t an elite bender, but his combination of length, strength and awareness is very intriguing.




Charles Cross

Mississippi State · OT · Sophomore (RS)

Cross is a left tackle prospect with ideal size, length and balance for the position. In pass protection, he has average foot quickness and knee bend, but he always stays attached to blocks. He absorbs power rushers after hopping back a few steps. Cross is very aware versus twists and stunts, and he has enough athleticism to slide and redirect to cover up counter moves. In the run game, he doesn’t roll his hips at the point of attack, but stays on his feet and flashes upper torque to turn and dump defenders. He takes outstanding angles working up to the second level. Overall, Cross doesn’t have elite agility or power, but he gets the job done. He should emerge as a quality starter early in his career.




Kenny Pickett

Pittsburgh · QB · Senior (RS)

Pickett has ideal size, athleticism and accuracy for the position. He has a lot of twitch in his lower half, which shows up in his ability to avoid defenders inside the pocket or escape to make plays. He has a quick release and incorporates a variety of arm angles. He doesn’t have elite velocity but makes up for it with outstanding anticipation. He has quick eyes to get to his third progression. His accuracy is excellent but there have been a few occasions when his eyes are faster than his feet, which affects his ball placement. He is very poised and comfortable throwing on the move. He doesn’t panic and he delivers strikes. He has excellent speed and elusiveness as a runner. There will be talk about his hand size and throwing with a glove — neither topic concerns me. Overall, Pickett reminds me of a more athletic Matt Hasselbeck.



Jahan Dotson

Penn State · WR · Senior

Dotson is a slightly undersized wideout (5-11, 184) with outstanding quickness, deep speed and hands. He is a very fluid, loose route runner with the ability to accelerate in and out of breaks. He tracks the ball beautifully down the field and has another gear if needed. He attacks the ball and makes some outstanding catches away from his frame. After the catch, Dotson has the speed to pull away and makes defenders miss tackles with his elusiveness. He doesn’t have the strength to break tackles consistently. His overall play strength is the only real concern with his transition to the next level, but he has the ability to produce both outside and in the slot. Dotson is ready to make an immediate impact for his drafting team.




Boye Mafe

Minnesota · Edge · Senior (RS)

Mafe is an ascending edge rusher with an enticing blend of speed and power. He steadily improved throughout the season, culminating with an outstanding performance at the Reese’s Senior Bowl. As a pass rusher, he has an explosive first step and his hand usage has started to come together. Early in the year, he was thinking too much and segmented in his movement. But as the season went on, he played much faster and connected his feet and hands. He can generate speed to power, and he is an excellent finisher once he gets to the top of his rush. He can stack blocks and hold the point of attack in the run game. Overall, Mafe is still a raw prospect, but he’s trending in the right direction and provides double-digit sack upside.




Malik Willis

Liberty · QB · Senior (RS)

Willis is a thick, sturdy quarterback with elite arm strength and play-making ability. He has quick feet in his setup and he throws from a wide, firm base. He usually releases the ball out of a 3/4 arm slot and it jumps out of his hand. He generates incredible RPMs and flashes the ability to fit passes into tight windows. His accuracy is inconsistent. At times, he gets too wide with his feet and the ball sails to the perimeter. He has shown the ability to change ball speed, but he can improve on layer throws. He misses out on some completions because his throws are too flat. He’s effective extending and creating against pressure (which he faced a ton of). He’s outstanding on QB draws, powers and zone reads. He has a burst and pulls through tackles. Overall, Willis is still a work in progress, but he has the most upside on any QB in this class.




Kenyon Green

Texas A&M · IOL · Junior

Green is a big, powerful prospect with nimble feet and versatility. The 6-4, 325-pounder lined up at four of the five OL positions in 2021, and is at his best at guard. In pass protection, he has quick feet and can bend and drop his weight before shooting his hands. He has a very firm anchor versus power rushers. When he’s uncovered, he looks for work and delivers some de-cleating shots. In the run game, Green rolls his hips on contact and has the ability to wash defenders right down the line. He has the quickness to reach and seal on the backside. He is also very quick to the second level, but will get overaggressive at times and hit the deck. Overall, Green’s ability to create a firm pocket should be highly coveted around the league.




Breece Hall

Iowa State · RB · Junior

Hall is a big, smooth runner with outstanding patience and balance. He has a unique style — almost walking to the line of scrimmage before finding a crease, getting skinny and exploding through. He has outstanding contact balance, absorbing defenders and driving his feet for extra yards. He is elusive in space. He doesn’t possess elite top-end speed, but he still hits some home runs (SEE: first play from scrimmage vs. Kansas State). He is an outstanding weapon in the passing game as a clean route runner with exceptional hands. Check out his one-handed catch vs. Oklahoma. He is firm in pass protection, but has been late to identify blitzers at times. Overall, Hall has an ideal skill set for today’s game.




Andrew Booth

Clemson · CB · Junior

Booth is an athletic, quick-footed cornerback with very good ball skills. In press coverage, he doesn’t throw his hands to re-route, but does a nice job of staying in the hip pocket of the wideout. He is fluid to open up and has enough speed to stay in phase versus vertical routes. He has been inconsistent in off coverage. Occasionally, he’s caught flat-footed and gives up plays over the top. However, he’s very good on balls thrown in front of him. He has some pop out of his plant and he can find and play the ball. He’s a willing tackler, but he had some costly misses in the games I studied. Overall, Booth is still a work in progress, but I believe he’ll develop into a solid number No. 2 cornerback.




Kenny Walker III

Michigan State · RB · Junior

Walker is a strong, compact runner with excellent burst and balance. He excels running between the tackles. He is patient, setting up blocks and exploding through the line of scrimmage. He can absorb contact and powers through tacklers. Walker has enough speed to capture the perimeter and he hit a lot of home runs in the MSU offense. He wasn’t much of a threat in the passing game, where he was utilized primarily on screens and checkdowns. He needs to improve his anchor in pass protection. Overall, Walker is a dynamic runner with plenty of growth potential in the passing game.




Tyler Linderbaum

Iowa · IOL · Junior (RS)

Linderbaum is an athletic center with excellent awareness and intangibles. In pass protection, he plays with a wide base and keeps his hands in tight. He has quick feet to slide and mirror and he can eventually settle/stall power rushers after giving some ground. He is very patient and effective versus twists and blitzers. There are a few rare occasions when he lunges and puts himself in a bad position. In the run game, he plays with quickness, leverage and physicality. He can torque/turn/dump defenders with his upper-body strength. He is very agile working up to the second level on combo blocks. Scouts rave about his makeup and leadership. Overall, Linderbaum should have a similar impact as Creed Humphrey did as a rookie in 2021.




Quay Walker

Georgia · LB · Senior

Walker is an enormous off-ball linebacker (6-4, 240) with a nice blend of speed and physicality. In coverage, he is fluid and plenty fast enough to match up with tight ends and running backs. In zone coverage, he doesn’t have great anticipation, but once he diagnoses what’s happening, he closes quickly. When he rushes off the edge, he doesn’t have much of a plan — but his speed/effort is outstanding. He is a violent run defender; he attacks blockers, thuds off them and makes plays. He has exceptional burst and range on plays to the perimeter. Overall, Walker is a size/speed, run-and-hit linebacker with his best football still ahead of him.




Zion Johnson

Boston College · IOL · Senior

Johnson has ideal size, length and intelligence for the guard position. In the pass game, he is quick out of his stance, plays with balance and absorbs rushers. He doesn’t have violent hands to shock defenders, but he stays square and anchors down versus power rushers. In the run game, he takes excellent angles and successfully walls off defenders at the first and second level. He isn’t an explosive, dominating presence but he consistently gets his man blocked. He plays with outstanding awareness in both the run and pass game. Overall, Johnson should be a steady, reliable starter very early in his NFL career.




Matt Corral

Mississippi · QB · Junior (RS)

Corral is an undersized QB (6-2, 212) with excellent athleticism and a strong arm. He has quick feet in his setup and creates a lot of force from the ground to generate velocity. He has fast hands in the RPO game and a compact delivery. There are a lot of schemed winners in this system, and he delivers the ball accurately for big plays. He does an excellent job avoiding pressure to create with his legs or simply throw the ball away. His accuracy did suffer when he was forced to move and reset. He protected the ball better in 2021, throwing 10 fewer interceptions than he did in 2020. He is an explosive ball-carrier on scrambles and designed runs. However, he takes too much punishment because of his reckless/aggressive style. Overall, Corral has an intriguing skill set, but the size combined with his play style is a concern.




Arnold Ebiketie

Penn State · Edge · Senior (RS)

Ebiketie is a long, twitched-up edge rusher with a nonstop motor. He has an explosive get-off and routinely rocks offensive tackles with the power in his hands. He charges upfield before powering through the outside shoulder. He also has a violent swipe move and will occasionally cross the face of the tackle with a nifty inside counter move. He can really corner and finish at the top of his rush. He isn’t as dominant against the run, however. He ducks his head too often and gets washed by OTs and TEs. He lacks ideal block awareness, too. Still, the effort is always there to hustle and chase from the back side. Overall, Ebiketie is a gifted rusher who should rack up pressures/sacks while he learns to play the run with more consistency.




Kyler Gordon

Washington · CB · Junior (RS)

Gordon is a smooth athlete with an aggressive/physical play style. In press coverage, he doesn’t like to use his hands, but he is very smooth/fluid to open up and stay in position. He has excellent speed and can gear down efficiently to work back downhill. He is very instinctive in off coverage. He is aware of down/distance and that allows him to take some chances and drive on the ball. He did lose one 50/50 battle in the tape I studied, but he has excellent ball awareness/skills. Against the run, he is often used as a blitzer and he collected a handful of tackles right at or behind the line of scrimmage, including a big-time stop on the goal line against Michigan.




Travis Jones

Connecticut · DT · Senior

Jones is a big, powerful defensive tackle with surprising quickness. Against the pass, he can generate immediate knockback and collapse the pocket. He uses a long inside-arm maneuver to walk centers right back to the quarterback. He flashes an explosive club move, but he needs to continue to add to his arsenal of pass-rush techniques. Against the run, he is stout versus both single and double teams. He can sink his weight and resist pressure on angle blocks. His effort is solid. Overall, Jones took his game to another level at the Reese’s Senior Bowl and he has the ability to play on the other side of the line of scrimmage against both the run and pass.




Christian Harris

Alabama · LB · Junior

Harris is an explosive linebacker with intriguing upside, who improved every week. Against the pass, he’s been asked to cover RBs, TEs and occasionally slot receivers. He has the speed to match up and can find/play the ball, as evidenced by a deft pass breakup vs LSU. He is quick to identify screens and then explodes to make the play. He is an excellent tackler in space. Harris is also a very dynamic blitzer, rocketing through gaps for sacks and pressures. Against the run, he isn’t an instant key/diagnose player, but once he sees it, he has a burst to the line of scrimmage. He flashes the ability to aggressively take on blockers with his shoulder, but he gets stuck and swallowed too often. I’d like to see him use his hands more. Overall, the arrow is pointing up for Harris. His best football is ahead of him.




Jalen Pitre

Baylor · S · Senior (RS)

Pitre is a versatile safety with experience playing deep and in the slot. He has excellent quickness, instincts and toughness. He has the fluidity to match up in man coverage underneath and he’s a dynamic blitzer. When aligned deep, he is quick to key/read and takes proper angles. He is a very reliable tackler. He doesn’t possess an elite size-speed combination, but he makes up for it with his natural feel for the game. Overall, I see Pitre as an immediate-impact defender.




Tyler Smith

Tulsa · OT · Sophomore (RS)

Smith is a thick, explosive tackle prospect with tremendous upside. In the pass game, he has quick feet, powerful hands and plays with knee-bend. He has issues at times because he doesn’t stay square and hooks defenders with his outside arm, resulting in penalties. This is fixable. He is dominant in the run game. He can roll his hips on contact and finish with regularity. He has a nasty/violent play style. Smith has the tools to be an incredible guard, but I would give him a shot to stick at tackle. Overall, there are some rough areas to smooth out but this is a very gifted athlete with the right play temperament.




Bernhard Raimann

Central Michigan · OT · Senior

Raimann has a fascinating story. He was a foreign exchange student from Austria, and he developed himself into a tight end prospect. In his third season at Central Michigan, he made the transition to left tackle. He is a fun player to study. In the passing game, he has enough foot quickness to handle speed rushers, and his combination of core and hand strength jumps off the screen. When he lands his punch, the play is over. He will occasionally get too wide with his base, which left him susceptible to counter moves. He is a mauler in the run game. He has knock-back power and looks to finish consistently. Overall, Raimann has picked up the position incredibly fast and should be a reliable starter early in his career.




Nik Bonitto

Oklahoma · Edge · Junior (RS)

Bonitto was a loose, explosive and versatile defender for the Sooners. Against the pass, he has excellent snap anticipation and burst to win right away. He can really dip, bend and close at the top of the pass rush. He is fluid and fast in everything he does on the field. He has shown the agility to peel off and mirror tight ends in coverage, too. Oklahoma used him quite a bit to spy athletic QBs. Bonitto explodes to the alley and collects tackles when those QBs attempt to take off. Against the run, he needs to win with quickness. He will get pushed around and give up the edge. Overall, Bonitto is an exceptional athlete with pass-rush production and cover ability. If he adds some strength, he could emerge as a Pro Bowl talent.




Skyy Moore

Western Michigan · WR · Junior

Moore is an undersized wideout (5-10, 195) with excellent quickness, play strength and route polish. He split his time between lining up outside and in the slot for WMU. He is very sudden in his release and doesn’t waste any steps at the top of routes. He attacks the leverage of cornerbacks and creates a lot of separation out of the break point. He has strong hands to attack the ball and he’s very tough/sturdy after the catch. Moore bounces off tacklers on quick hitters and jet sweeps. He has excellent top speed when he gets in the open field. Overall, the lack of ideal size is the only knock on Moore. He should emerge as a dangerous playmaker very early in his career.




Christian Watson

North Dakota State · WR · Senior (RS)

Watson is a long, rangy wideout with excellent fluidity and explosiveness. He lined up outside and was primarily used as a vertical weapon at NDSU. He gains ground in a hurry with his long stride, and he can change speeds when the ball goes up in the air. He ran by everyone he played against last season. Watson showed surprisingly good route skill at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in February. He was able to win with quickness off the line and showed the ability to efficiently drop his weight and burst out of the break point down the field. He has a large catch radius, too. Overall, I thought Watson was a solid vertical/stretch receiver based on his game tape, but the Senior Bowl performance showed a more well-rounded talent. He could emerge as one of the best pass-catchers in this class.




Lewis Cine

Georgia · S · Junior

Cine is a tough, physical safety who plays much bigger than his size (6-2, 199). He spent a lot time aligned in the deep half of the field versus the pass. He has good instincts and range to put himself in position to make plays, but he struggles to catch the ball. He was inconsistent in man coverage against tight ends. He gives up separation out of the break, but he has the ability to recover and locate the ball in the air. Cine is at his best against the run. He takes excellent angles to the ball and explodes to the alley for big hits. He brought a lot of energy to the Georgia defense. Cine is still developing in coverage, but I love his toughness and energy.




David Ojabo

Michigan · Edge · Sophomore (RS)

Ojabo was a very productive edge rusher for the Wolverines despite sharing play time. He has ideal size, explosiveness and fluidity for the position. He has a dynamic get-off and once he gets to the top of his rush, he can bend and flatten to the quarterback. His hands are still a work in progress. The dip/rip move is his bread and butter, but he needs to add to his arsenal. He does flash the ability to generate power and is an outstanding finisher, often dislodging the ball upon arrival. He is raw against the run. He turns his shoulder instead of using his hands to hold the point of attack. Overall, Ojabo is still learning how to play the game, but he has as much talent as any pass rusher in this draft. Unfortunately, his 2022 season is now in doubt after he suffered a torn Achilles at Michigan’s pro day.




Sam Howell

North Carolina · QB · Junior

Howell is a thick, compact quarterback with excellent arm strength, toughness and athleticism. I love the urgency in his drop before he settles at the top of the pocket. He has a quick release and he can really power the ball outside the numbers and down the field. He does this despite very little engagement from his lower half. He transfers his weight too early, with his back foot way off the ground. He has the ability to layer the ball accurately in the intermediate area of the field and he throws a beautiful, lofting deep ball. He has the athleticism to extend and create plays. He also has been effective on designed QB runs, bouncing off tackles and showing surprising burst in the open field. Howell does take too many sacks (at least 33 in each of his three seasons, including 48 in 2021) and tried to force too many throws this past season. However, his entire supporting cast left after the 2020 campaign and that had an impact on his production in 2021. Overall, he has NFL-starter ability.




Perrion Winfrey

Oklahoma · DT · Senior

Winfrey is a long, athletic interior lineman who plays the game with passion and energy. He is a tough evaluation because of the scheme at Oklahoma. There is a lot of slanting and lateral movement. That results in some penetration and disruption, but it also gets him washed out of a lot of plays. His pad level is too high, but he has the foot quickness to beat blockers and he flashes some power in his hands. He was much more impressive at the Reese’s Senior Bowl. Winfrey was allowed to work up the field and he was pretty dominant, bringing home the game MVP award. In the run game, he has the length to stack and control single blocks, but he needs to improve his awareness versus angle blocks and double teams. Overall, Winfrey isn’t a finished product but he has Pro Bowl potential.




Logan Hall

Houston · DT · Senior

Hall is a long, rangy defensive tackle with room to add weight. As a pass rusher, he comes off the ball a little too high, but he’s incredibly quick and has an assortment of maneuvers to generate pressure. He has a violent club/swim move, a rip move and pure power. He also has an explosive counter move, showcasing his agility. Against the run, he can get skinny to slip blocks and make plays in the backfield. He has big-time burst and lateral range. However, he does struggle versus double teams. He’s too high and can be uprooted. He plays with excellent effort, though. I think he might benefit from a move to the perimeter, keeping him away from the noise/chaos inside. He reminds me of Marcus Davenport coming out of college.

Panthers beat Sabres 5-3 to clinch playoff berth

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Jonathan Huberdeau set Florida’s single-season points record, and the Panthers clinched a playoff berth with a 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.

Huberdeau scored his 24th goal to extend his point streak to eight games and raise his season total to 97, one more than teammate Aleksander Barkov’s record set in 2019.

“He’s a tremendous player, and he deserves it the way he’s been playing,” said Barkov, who had two assists and is second on the Panthers with 72 points. “It couldn’t happen to a better guy. We still have a lot of games left, so it’s going to be a lot of fun to see where he’s going to end up.”

Anthony Duclair scored twice as the Panthers (48-15-6) established a franchise record for victories. Winning for the seventh time in eight games, Florida closed a back-to-back trip by improving to 20-9-6 on the road.

“Obviously, to clinch, it’s fun,” Huberdeau said. “The rest of the season is really important as well. Want to finish first, get home-ice advantage, and just to get good momentum into the playoffs.”

MacKenzie Weegar had a goal and an assist for Florida. Anton Lundell also scored, and Spencer Knight made 26 saves. Claude Giroux had two assists.

The Panthers are the first team in the league to qualify for the postseason and have reached the playoffs in a third straight season for the first time in the 28-year history of the franchise.

“We have eyes on bigger prizes here,” interim coach Andrew Brunette said. “It’s a nice accomplishment and well-deserved, and we should celebrate a little bit. … We’ve got some big games coming down the stretch, and we have to make sure we are on top of our game here the next month.”

Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist for the Sabres, who are on the cusp of of missing the playoffs for an NHL-record 11th consecutive season. Tage Thompson and Kyle Okposo also scored, and Dustin Tokarski stopped 35 shots.

Buffalo lost an eight-game point streak (5-0-3), its longest in three seasons. The Sabres will be eliminated from the playoffs with another loss, or a win by the Washington Capitals.

Eriksson Ek sets career high in goals, Wild top Capitals 5-1

WASHINGTON (AP) Joel Eriksson Ek scored his career-best 20th and 21st goals of the season and added an assist, and the Minnesota Wild cruised to a 5-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Sunday night.

Marcus Foligno built on one career-high with his 20th goal and set another with his 16th assist for the Wild, who have won nine of their last 10 games while earning a point in the other.

“Smart puck management, a lot of good decision-making has been put into these wins,” Foligno said. “And each line has contributed, which is nice.”

Tyson Jost and Nicolas Deslauriers also scored as second-place Minnesota extended its lead to five points over third-place St. Louis in the Central Division. Jordan Greenway had three assists and Cam Talbot made 25 saves to extend his point streak to nine games.

Garnet Hathaway scored midway through the third period for Washington to end a stretch of eight unanswered goals allowed, dating back to Monday’s 6-1 loss to Carolina.

“It’s hard to paint it with one brush,” Washington coach Peter Laviolette said. “It wasn’t good enough again. Obviously the start. It might’ve been the only two chances we gave up, but they were mistakes, they were early on, and it’s not the way you want to start the game.”

Vitek Vanecek stopped 14 shots for the Capitals, who are 11 points ahead of the New York Islanders for the second Eastern Conference wild-card playoff spot.

Eriksson Ek now has 12 points in his last 14 games to move past his previous career-best of 19 goals set a season ago. He recorded his first of the evening 36 seconds into the game when he dashed onto Greenway’s layoff to create a break, then scored through Vanecek’s pads.

On the prowl? Tiger arrives at Masters, unsure of playing

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) A comeback unlike any other for Tiger Woods might start at the Masters.

Just over 13 months since Woods damaged his right leg so badly he said doctors considered amputation, Woods arrived at Augusta National on Sunday afternoon and warmed up on a range where there were more photographers than players.

Woods hit balls for about 20 minutes and then got in a cart and headed to the course, which is closed Sunday afternoon to everyone except players and caddies.

Already a star attraction, the hype over the five-time Masters champion is higher than ever after a violent single-car crash that looked as though it might end his career.

Still to come is the decision on playing.

In a tweet Sunday morning announcing he was coming to Augusta to resume preparations for the Masters, he said it will be a “game-time decision” whether he competes.

The Masters does not have a firm deadline to commit like regular tour events. It is an invitation tournament, and players typically notify the club only if they do not plan to play.

Tee times are published Tuesday.

“Knowing Tiger the way I know him, if he wasn’t totally like … pretty much feel he has a chance to win, he wouldn’t tee it up,” Mark O’Meara said. “The thing about Tiger Woods is usually when everybody thinks he can’t do something, that’s when he does it.”

If Woods decides to play – he played 18 holes at Augusta National five days ago – it would be his first competition against the world’s best players since Nov. 15, 2020, when the Masters was moved to autumn because of the pandemic.

Photographers and media waited at the far end of the viewing area on the range near the caddie house to see when he would arrive. Woods showed up on the other end, shaking hands with defending champion Hideki Matsuyama.

Kevin Na and Billy Horschel were among those who came over to shake hands or hug him. Also on the range were Sungjae Im, Mackenzie Hughes and Jason Kokrak. Sunday afternoon before Masters week is a quiet time most years. Just not this one.

Woods was recovering from a fifth back surgery when on Feb. 23, 2021, two days after he presented the trophy at the Genesis Invitational that he hosts at Riviera, he crashed his SUV over a median on a suburban coastal road in Los Angeles and down the side of a hill.

Police estimated he was going at least 84 mph in a 45 mph zone.

Doctors said Woods shattered tibia and fibula bones in his right leg in multiple locations. Those were stabilized by a rod in the tibia, while a combination of screws and pins were used to stabilize additional injuries in the ankle and foot.

Woods said he spent three months immobilized in a makeshift hospital bed set up in his Florida home. Only then he could start moving around on crutches, and eventually he was able to walk on his own.

Woods won the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in 2008 with a double stress fracture and torn knee ligaments in his left leg. He made it back from a scandal in his personal life to become No. 1 in the world again.

Vamos, Carlos: Alcaraz gives Spain a Miami Open men’s winner

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) Spanish fans brought plenty of their nation’s flags to Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, thrusting them into the air whenever things were going well for Carlos Alcaraz.

He kept them busy, all the way to the end.

Spain finally has a Miami Open men’s champion: an 18-year-old who wasn’t even in the top 100 of the world rankings at this time a year ago and now heads into the clay-court season arguably playing as well as anyone. Alcaraz, the No. 14 seed, shook off a slow start to beat sixth-seeded Casper Ruud of Norway 7-5, 6-4 in Sunday’s final.

“I love Miami,” Alcaraz said.

The melting pot city of Miami – with its massive Spanish-speaking community – loved him back, and Alcaraz said that made a big difference throughout his two-week stay.

“I felt like I was home from the first minute I began playing,” Alcaraz said.

He became the youngest champion in Miami Open history – Novak Djokovic was 19 when he won the tournament, then the NASDAQ-100 Open, for the first time – and picked up $1,231,245 for the victory, nearly doubling his career earnings with one check.

The shot-making ability from the Spanish teen was on full display: daring drop shots in tense situations, deft touch at the net when needed, raw power from the baseline when warranted. Alcaraz often would look to his team in the stands and give a joyous yell or a knowing fist-pump, clearly feeling more comfortable as the afternoon went along.

Among those there with him: his coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero. He had been away while mourning the death of his father, but made it back to Miami in time for the final. And when the match was over, Alcaraz hopped into the stands to give Ferrero his first hug as a Miami champion, as his coach wiped away tears.

“It’s pretty amazing to share this with you,” Alcaraz told Ferrero.


Thad Matta returning to Butler for 2nd stint as head coach

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Thad Matta is returning to Butler, hired on Sunday to coach the Bulldogs almost five years after he cited his health while stepping down at Ohio State.

The 54-year-old Matta led Butler to a 24-8 record and an appearance in the 2001 NCAA Tournament during his only season as the head coach at his alma mater. He then had successful runs at Xavier and Ohio State.

Matta spent the 2021-22 season as an associate athletic director for basketball administration at Indiana.

Now he’s going back to where it all started for him.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to return to Butler and lead our men’s basketball program,” Matta said in a release. “There is a solid foundation in place and I’m confident that Butler will consistently be among the top programs in the Big East. I can’t wait to attack the work we have in front of us and to be back on the sidelines at Hinkle Fieldhouse.”

Matta was a two-year starter for Butler after transferring from Southern Illinois as a sophomore. He was an academic coordinator and administrative assistant at Butler from 1991 to 94 and then-coach Barry Collier’s top assistant for the 1999-2000 season.

Matta and his wife, Barb, are Butler graduates. His daughter, Ali, also graduated from the school, and his daughter, Emily, is pursuing her undergraduate degree at Butler.

“The success that Thad has achieved at every one of his programs speaks for itself,” said Collier, who took over as Butler’s athletic director in 2006. “He is a championship-caliber coach and recruiter who brings valuable experience and contagious energy to Butler.”

Matta is replacing LaVall Jordan, who was fired Friday after two straight losing seasons. The Bulldogs were 14-19 this season and tied for ninth in the Big East at 6-14.

Butler played in the 2018 NCAA Tournament and was expected to make it back in 2020 before the tournament was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After coaching Butler for the 2000-2001 season, Matta went 78-23 with three NCAA Tournament appearances in three seasons at Xavier. The Musketeers made the 2004 Elite Eight in Matta’s last year in charge.

Matta went 337-123 in 13 seasons at Ohio State, leading the Buckeyes to two Final Fours in nine trips to the NCAA Tournament.

After missing two straight tourneys, Matta announced in June 2017 that he was stepping down, citing his health. He had been troubled for years by chronic back problems.



The Pacers’ penultimate home game was a night of celebration. The team honored its Director of Media Relations, David Benner, who is completing his 28th and final season in that role. Highlights included a surprise appearance from Hall-of-Fame NBA player Reggie Miller, who conducted his iconic pregame ritual with Benner one last time.

But unfortunately, the team could not pull out the victory for Benner, as the visiting Detroit Pistons rained in a season-high 21 3-pointers to secure a 121-117 win at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Six Pacers (25-54) finished with double figures in the effort. Three players tallied 19 points, including Buddy Hield and Isaiah Jackson. The third, Tyrese Haliburton, fell one rebound shy of his first career triple-double. The 22-year old guard also tied a career-high with 17 assists – several to Jackson. Oshae Brissett tallied 20 points – 13 in the third quarter – and 10 rebounds to lead the Blue & Gold. Saddiq Bey recorded 31 points and shot 7-of-9 from deep to lead Detroit (23-56).

“Ty had a tremendous game,” praised Rick Carlisle. “I keep talking to our other guys about getting him the ball in transition. Good things will happen.”

“As far as moving it up the floor quickly and selflessly making the pass up the floor, he’s as good as anybody in the game right now.”

The opening minutes belonged to Bey. The Villanova product stretched the floor by making his first four shots from deep. His third triple with 9:32 to play forced a Pacers timeout. He then sank treys four and five to give the Pistons a 17-7 lead.

“We just have to be better,” Haliburton said of another rough start. “(We need) more of a sense of urgency.”

Trailing 20-9, the Pacers scored five straight, including a nice running slam from Haliburton, to cut the gap to six. But Bey drilled another triple at the 6:43 mark with two defenders in his face.

The Blue & Gold fought through the Pistons’ 3-point barrage to cut the gap to four as Hield and Haliburton knocked in back-to-back buckets in the paint. However, Rodney McGruder and Purdue product Carsen Edwards sank threes number nine and 10 to extend the lead to 36-26.

Bey added a finger-roll layup to reach the 20-point mark with 1:32 left. But luckily, Indiana closed the quarter with five straight to trim the deficit to 38-34.

Scoring slowed dramatically in the second, with both sides earning two points over the first 3:11. The Pacers made it a 40-38 ballgame before Braxton Key scored five straight to extend the Pistons’ lead to seven with 8:02 remaining.

As time ticked past the halfway mark, Indiana remained close behind Detroit. Trailing 49-44, Haliburton and Jalen Smith teamed up to produce the highlight of the half. The guard lobbed a pass to a wide-open Smith, who finished with a slam. The alley-oop cut the gap to three with 5:27 left.

The Pacers finally caught up to the Pacers with 2:32 remaining. Hield found Haliburton in transition with a beautiful bounce pass to knot the score at 57. However, Isaiah Livers countered immediately with Detroit’s 13th 3-pointer of the half.

But, Indiana did not tremble. Trailing 62-61 with 46.2 seconds to go, Washington Jr. grabbed Indiana its first lead with a trey from the left baseline. They held onto a 66-62 lead as the first half closed.

After Jackson started the third with a flush, Detroit mounted an 11-2 run, including three more treys, to earn a 73-70 lead with 9:25 left.

Trailing 79-75 with 7:08 to play, Indiana earned a four-point lead after Brissett tallied eight unanswered, including two triples, in 55 seconds. Then, when Edwards retaliated with a three, Brissett drained a third trey to push Indiana’s lead to 86-82. Haliburton assisted on all three 3-pointers during the spree.

But Detroit came right back. The visitors mounted a 9-0 spree, including 3-pointer number 18, to jump ahead, 91-86, with 2:15 remaining.

Detroit managed to extend its lead to as high as eight down the stretch. A Hield triple with 12.6 seconds to go briefly cut the gap to five. But, Kelly Olynyk ended the frame with two free throws to give Detroit a 98-91 lead entering the fourth quarter.

The Blue & Gold failed to trim the deficit over the early moments of the fourth quarter. Haliburton and Jackson attempted to start a run with back-to-back buckets in 34 seconds. But, Key finished a driving flush with 8:29 to play to give the Pistons a 107-98 advantage.

Five points from Jackson helped trim the gap to 109-103 with 6:16 remaining. But, McGruder drained the visitors’ 20th 3-pointer of the night to extend the lead to nine again. A three-point play by Jackson followed by a layup from Key soon pushed the Pistons’ lead to 117-105 with 4:24 to go.

Indiana cut the gap to six after Jackson slammed home an aggressive flush with 2:46 left. However, McGruder connected on 3-pointer number 21 on the next Pistons possession to extend the lead to 120-111.

But, Indiana was not finished. After McGruder’s triple, Haliburton finished a gritty three-point play. Then, with 1:22 left, Hield banked in a driving layup to trim the deficit to 120-116.

Indiana had a chance to come closer with its possession under 30 seconds left. But, Hield misfired on a 3-point attempt, and the ball kicked out of bounds. From there, Detroit closed out the game without another problem.

Purdue’s Carsen Edwards returns to NBA, signs with Pistons

Carsen Edwards is heading back to the NBA. The 5-11 guard signed a deal with the Pistons just hours before Detroit took on the Pacers Sunday.

Pistons coach Dwane Casey said Edwards: “Well, one he can shoot it. That’s the first thing that comes out,” Casey said during his pregame news conference. “He’s a (shot) maker. He’s a guy who can get his shot at any time. He’s a proven scorer, so that’s something we’re looking to see. And again, this is a time of year when we want to get a good look at different players and not wear our guys out these last few games with injuries or whatever.”

Edwards was selected 33rd overall by the 76ers and traded to the Celtics on draft night in 2019. He last appeared in an NBA game during Boston’s opening-round playoff loss to Brooklyn on May 30, 2021.

Baseball Drops Series Finale to Northwestern

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. –  A Sunday (April 3) slugfest escaped the Indiana baseball program at Bart Kaufman Field in a 13-6 loss to Northwestern in the rubber game of the series.

Northwestern (11-12, 2-1 B1G) took an early lead with four runs in the second inning, before Indiana (11-15, 1-2 B1G) closed the gap with single runs in the second and third innings. The Wildcats put up seven runs between the fourth and seventh innings and capped their scoring with a two-run ninth inning. IU scored two in the sixth inning, one in the seventh and one in the ninth to account for their output.

Redshirt-junior Matthew Ellis posted the only multi-hit game of the day for IU with a 2-for-5 effort at the plate. He hit his 12th home run of the season and scored two runs in the game. Freshman Carter Mathison reached base three times in the game with his sixth home run of the season and a pair of walks. He scored twice and drove in one RBI.

Freshman Josh Pyne saw his 15-game hitting streak come to an end, but he reached base twice with two walks. His 15-game hitting streak is tied for the third longest since 2012, just behind a 17-game streak from Sam Travis (2012) and 16-gamers by Dustin DeMuth and Brad Hartong in 2016.

Junior Nathan Stahl (0-1) got the start for Indiana and cruised through the first inning before running into trouble in the second in the loss.

For Northwestern, Ethan O’Donnell went 3-for-4 with one hit-by-pitch, three runs scored and four RBIs. he doubled and hit his sixth home run of the season in the finale. JC Santini was on base four times with three walks and a grand slam. He scored three times and totaled four RBIs.

Scoring Recap

Top Second

Vincent Bianchina, Andrew Pinkston, and Stephen Hrustich all walked to load the bases and JC Santini hit a grand slam.

Northwestern 4, Indiana 0

Bottom Second

Josh Pyne started the inning with a walk and scored on a double by Brock Tibbitts.

Northwestern 4, Indiana 1

Bottom Third

With two outs, Matthew Ellis hit a solo home run.

Northwestern 4, Indiana 2

Top Fourth

Pinkston and Tony Livermore were both hit-by-pitch and Santini walked to load the bases. Another hit-by-pitch from Ethan O’Donnell plated one.

Northwestern 5, Indiana 2

Top Fifth

After Bianchina reached on a fielder’s choice and Pinkston singled, Hrustich doubled to bring in two runs.

Northwestern 7, Indiana 2

Top Sixth

Santini led off the inning with a walk and O’Donnell followed with a single before Alex Calarco doubled to score two runs.

Northwestern 9, Indiana 2

Bottom Sixth

Carter Mathison, Hunter Jessee, and Samuel Murrison all walked to lead off the inning. Tyler Doanes and Phillip Glasser followed with a pair of RBI groundouts.

Northwestern 9, Indiana 4

Top Seventh

Following Hrustich’s leadoff walk, O’Donnell doubled to left-center field to score the runner from second. Calarco’s single added the second run of the frame.

Northwestern 11, Indiana 4

Bottom Seventh

Ellis singled and Tibbitts was hit-by-pitch with one out. Jessee delivered an RBI base hit with two outs.

Northwestern 11, Indiana 5

Top Ninth

After Santini walked with two outs, O’Donnell hit a two-run home run.

Northwestern 13, Indiana 5

Bottom Ninth

Mathison homered to right field.

Northwestern 13, Indiana 6

Up Next

Indiana and Evansville will play a midweek contest on Tuesday, April 5 at 7 p.m. ET.

Another 7-Run Inning Burns Boilers in Champaign

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – A pair of multi-run innings gave No. 16 Purdue baseball a 5-2 lead at the game’s midpoint, but Illinois posted a seven-run frame for the second time on the weekend to rally for an 11-8 victory in the finale of the three-game series.

The Fighting Illini (13-12, 5-1 B1G) sent 11 men to the plate in the sixth inning, which was ignited by consecutive walks to the 8- and 9-hole hitters. The top half of the lineup then came through with five consecutive productive plate appearances, including a pair of hits that each plated a pair of runs.

At the bottom of the lineup, Brody Harding and Cal Hejza drew a combined five walks in the game and reached safely in seven of their 10 plate appearances. The Boilermakers (18-5, 1-3 B1G) used three pitchers in the sixth inning and seven in the game.

Mike Bolton Jr. hit his first collegiate home run, an opposite-field shot to left on the first pitch of the third inning. It was the first of his three hits. He was one of six Purdue hitters to reach base safely three times.

Paul Toetz singled three times, delivering RBI hits in both the third and fifth innings when the Boilermakers scored their first five runs to build their first lead of the series.

Cam Thompson homered for the second time in the series while also producing a three-hit effort, extending his on-base streak to 23 consecutive games. Evan Albrecht delivered a two-out RBI double while also getting hit by a pitch twice. The senior extended his on-base streak to 15 games and hit streak to eight games. Albrecht continues to lead the Big Ten with a .427 batting average.

Thompson, Albrecht and Bolton helped Purdue bring the tying run to the plate with a three-run rally in the ninth inning. But the game ended on the next pitch.

The Boilermakers did a respectable job of preventing the big inning over the first five frames. Illinois had its leadoff man reach in four of the five innings, but he only came around to score in the bottom of the third. Troy Wansing induced an inning-ending double play with runners on the corners in the first inning, stranded the bases loaded the following frame and again limited the damage to a single run in third. Ricky Castro followed suit in the fourth and fifth innings, before the dam finally broke the third time through the Fighting Illini lineup.

CJ Valdez was hit by a pitch in the first inning to extend his on-base streak to 20 consecutive games. The Boilermakers have had three players – Bolton, Thompson, Valdez – register a 20-game on-base streak in the same season for the first time since 2018. Curtis Washington Jr.’s single in the third inning kept his on-base streak alive at 11 straight games.

Purdue’s bullpen was charged with 33 runs on 33 hits and 16 walks over 20 2/3 innings in the team’s four losses this week.

The Boilermakers return to action Tuesday when they host Northern Illinois at 4 p.m. ET.

Softball Swept in Series at Penn State

Despite an early 2-0 lead in the first inning, Purdue softball (18-19, 1-4) fell 3-11 at Penn State (22-13, 4-2) following an eight-run fifth inning. With the result, the Nittany Lions sweep the three-game series.

The Boilermakers were led by Alex Echazarreta, who recorded a two-run homer to centerfield and added a second run, thanks to a sac fly by Jade Moy.

Purdue took a two run lead in the first inning, thanks to Echazarreta’s homer, which also brought home leadoff batter Rachel Becker. Not only was it on her first at-bat, but marked the fourth homer in the last five games.

The Boilermakers had the go-ahead run on-base in the top of the fifth, with the bases loaded with two outs, however the Nittany Lion defense came up with the final out to silence Purdue. Taking advantage of the momentum swing, Penn State scored eight runs to end the game.

Purdue will return to Bittinger Stadium next weekend for a three-game home series vs. Maryland beginning next Friday at 5 p.m. ET and will close out the series with a Noon showdown on the Big Ten Network, Fans can watch Friday and Saturday’s 2 p.m. ET game on B1G+.

UConn Defeats Butler Softball to Hold Top Spot in Conference

INDIANAPOLIS – The Butler softball team lost the rubber match of a three-game clash with UConn on Sunday, falling 3-0. The game was scoreless through three innings, but the Huskies (20-13, 10-2 BIG EAST) scored single runs in the fourth, fifth, and seventh, and Bulldogs (19-12, 7-4 BIG EAST) were unable to respond.

How It Happened

After a scoreless three innings, UConn got on the board in the fourth, 1-0, with a run-scoring double.

In the bottom of the fourth, Ella White hit a double, followed by a Maddie Moore drive into deep left. UConn’s Lexi Hastings tracked it down and stretched to make the grab, eliminating the Bulldogs’ threat.

In the fifth, the Huskies homered to take a 2-0 lead.

In the seventh, UConn put together two singles to increase the lead to 3-0.

Butler Pitching

Karli Ricketts (9-3) started in the circle for Butler and took the loss. In 4.0 innings, she allowed two hits and two runs (both earned), while striking out six. Alyssa Graves (3.0 IP, 3 H, R, ER, BB) finished the game from out of the bullpen.

Bulldog Bits

Lauren Fey and Ella White (2B) produced the only Bulldog hits on the day.

With 497.2 innings pitched in her career, Alyssa Graves has now moved into the sixth position on Butler’s all-time list.

Up Next

Butler will travel to Terre Haute, Ind., to play a midweek game against Indiana State. The game will take place on Wednesday, April 6, at 4pm.

Ball State Drops Sunday Contest to Toledo

TOLEDO, Ohio – The Ball State baseball team returned to Scott Park for the final game of a four-game stint against Toledo. The Rockets prevented the four-game sweep with a 5-1 victory over the Cardinals in the Mid-American Conference contest. 

The Cardinals fell to 17-9 overall and 12-2 in MAC games, while Toledo improved to 13-14 overall and 7-8 in conference action.

Amir Wright reached base safely for the 26th-straight game, but his 12-game hitting streak came to an end. Trenton Quartermaine finished the day with a 1-for-2 performance including the team’s only RBI. Adam Christianson, Zach Cole, Justin Conant, and Zach Lane each added a hit for the Cardinals.

The Rockets gained their first lead of the four-game series in the bottom of the first on a two-run homer from Darryn Davis.

Conant singled to center field to start the top of the third inning for Ball State. Lane followed with a single to right field. Wright drew a walk to load the bases for the Cardinals. Quartermaine drove a single liner to right field. The Toledo right fielder made a diving catch but allowed Conant to tag up and score from third. BSU cut the UT lead to 2-1.

Toledo added three runs in the bottom of the third on two hits and two errors to take a 5-1 lead after three innings in the books.

Ty Weatherly fell to 0-2 on the season. Weatherly went two innings and gave up four runs, two earned, with two strikeouts. Maxwell McKee went an inning in relief and surrendered an earned run. Casey Bargo pitched four shutout innings with four strikeouts and gave up just one hit. Steven Washilewski added 2/3 of an inning, while Zach Losey tossed 1/3 of an inning.

Camryn Szynski picked up the win behind six innings with four strikeouts. Davis lifted the Toledo offense with a 2-for-2 day and a home run.

Ball State takes to the road for a Tuesday afternoon contest at Western Michigan. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m.

From the Coach – Head Coach Rich Maloney

“Toledo played a solid game, and we couldn’t get our bats going. Winning 3-for-4 on the road is a positive. Now we will get ready to play a conference game at WMU on Tuesday.”


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The 13th-ranked Notre Dame baseball team (16-5, 5-4 ACC) finished off the series sweep with the 9-7 win over No. 5 Florida State (16-11, 6-6 ACC) Sunday afternoon at Dick Howser Stadium. It is Notre Dame’s first series sweep over a Top-10 team since 2015. It is also the first ever series sweep for the Irish in Tallahassee in program history.

The Irish offense started early and often as they scored three runs in the opening frame. They scored multiple runs in four different innings on the afternoon. The Irish bullpen did the rest as they pitched over eight innings of relief and only allowed three earned runs. Aidan Tyrell got the win with a team-high 4.2 innings pitched. Jack Brannigan picked up his first save of the season after getting the final five outs of the game.


Unlike the first two games of the series, both teams got on the scoreboard in the first inning. The Irish got two runners on with two out and Ryan Cole smashed his second home run of the weekend. His three-run blast off the scoreboard was his third home run of the season and put the Irish up 3-0.

The lead did not last long as the Seminoles tied the game in the bottom of the first. They scored three runs in the bottom half of the inning and the score was tied 3-3 after the first frame.

Notre Dame regained the lead in the third and the long ball was key once again. With a runner in scoring position and two outs, Carter Putz hit his second home of the weekend over the wall in right. His fourth home run of the season gave the Irish a 5-3 advantage.

Florida State got a run back in the fourth and had the tying-run at third base. Jack Brannigan made a diving stop to his left and got the throw over to Putz for the final out of the inning. After four, the Irish led 5-4.

The Irish got some insurance runs in the top of the sixth. Nick Juaire singled to right and Cole advanced to third on the play. The Seminoles threw the ball into third and it deflected off Cole and into their dugout. Cole was awarded home and Juaire ended up on third. Juaire scored on the next play as Brooks Coetzee III hit a sacrifice fly to left. After the sixth inning, the Irish held a 7-4 lead.

Notre Dame went to the bullpen early on Sunday but had strong outings from a number of relievers. Tyrell went the longest of the group, pitching 4.2 innings without allowing an earned run. Jackson Dennies was next and he retired the first three batters he faced in the sixth inning.

Alex Rao entered the game and the tying run reached the plate in the bottom of the seventh. He struck out Alex Toral and induced a ground out from Brett Roberts to end the inning and the threat.

The Irish scored two more in the top of the eighth. Coetzee III tallied his second RBI of the game as Putz scored on the ground out. Later in the inning, David LaManna doubled down the left field line and scored Ryan Cole with his third run of the day.

The Seminoles mounted a rally in the bottom of the eighth after scoring three runs and had the go-ahead run at the plate in Toral. Brannigan moved over to the mound and got the final two outs of the inning to keep the Irish ahead, 9-7.


The Irish will return to campus and open up a five-game homestand starting on Tuesday afternoon. The Irish welcome Butler to Frank Eck Stadium for a midweek matchup. First pitch is set for 5 p.m. ET and will be streamed on the ACC Network Extra. Admission is free for all fans during the regular season at Frank Eck Stadium this season.


SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame softball team overcame an eight-run deficit to earn a 15-13 walk-off victory in the bottom of the eighth inning to take the series from Georgia Tech at Melissa Cook Stadium. Georgia Tech scored 11 runs in the first two innings, but the Fighting Irish continued to apply pressure all game long, scoring in seven of eight innings. Joley Mitchell hit the game-winning three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Irish went home victorious.

Alexis Holloway started in the circle, facing three hitters before giving way to Payton Tidd. Tidd worked 2.0 innings, allowing five hits and eight runs, six earned in her 20th appearance of the season. Shannon Becker came on and shut down the Yellowjackets. The freshman threw six innings, scattering five hits, two earned runs and struck out four to earn her eighth win of the season.

The top four of the Irish lineup all had multiple hits, led by a pair of 3-for-5 efforts from Leea Hanks and Emma Clark. Hanks hit a solo home run and scored three times, Clark scored twice to go with the game-tying RBI in the seventh inning. Abby Sweet finished 2-for-5, and Karina Gaskins was 2-for-4. Sweet drove in two and scored a run. Gaskins drove in a run. Jane Kronenberger, Miranda Johnson, Brooke Marquez, Carlli Kloss, Cassidy Grimm and Joley Mitchell all had a hit in the win.

Kronenberger, Johnson and Mitchell each homered. Johnson’s was the first of her career, a grand slam in the second inning. Kronenberger’s tied the game up in the sixth inning and Mitchell’s ended the game in the bottom of the eighth.

Georgia Tech didn’t was any time getting on the board, scoring six in the first inning. Back-to-back solo home runs led off the game before a couple walks and a hit batter loaded the bases. A fielder’s choice brought in the third run, and a single up the middle scored two. An RBI ground out added the sixth run as the Yellowjackets took the early 6-0 lead.

The Irish got three back in the bottom of the first inning. Three-straight singles started the bottom of the inning as Sweet’s drove in Hanks for the first Notre Dame run. Gaskins dropped a single to right center, the throw into the infield skipped away, and an aggressive Clark took off from third and scored. Marquez drove in the third run with a single to left field to cut the lead to 6-3

Yellowjackets regained their cushion and then some, scoring five runs in the top of the second to take the lead at 11-3.

Notre Dame fought right back, scoring five of their own in the bottom of the second. Grmm led off with a single to turn the lineup over, as Hanks and Clark each singled to load the bases. An RBI ground out from Gaskins brought the first run in before Kronenberger was hit by a pitch to load the bases yet again. Johnson hit her first career home run down the right field line to cut the lead down to 11-8 after two innings of play.

After a scoreless third inning, Notre Dame got a run back in the bottom of the fourth. Gaskins legged out an infield single and was pinch ran for by Emily Tran. Tran moved around the bases with a passed ball and two wild pitches to trim the lead to 11-9.

A Hanks homer in the fifth got the Irish within a run, and a solo homer from Kronenberger tied the game in the sixth.

Georgia Tech regained the lead in the top of the seventh, connecting on a two-out solo home run to go up 12-11.

The Irish continued to battle, scoring a run in the bottom of the seventh to force extras. Kloss drove a single to right to start the rally and moved up with a sacrifice bunt. After a strikeout, Clark drove a single up the middle to tie the game up.

The Yellowjackets again regained the lead in the top of the eighth. A lead-off single came around to score on a pinch-hit single by Grace Connelly.

The Irish offense continued to battle in the bottom of the eighth. A one-out walk and a single put two on. After a pitching change and a fly out for the second out, Mitchell came on to pinch hit. On the first pitch she saw, she hammered a fly ball to center that cleared the wall, scoring three and giving the Irish the 15-13 victory.

Up Next

The Irish will be back in action Tuesday as they will host the ninth-ranked Northwestern Wildcats on Irish Wear Green night, fans are encouraged to wear green to Tuesday’s game that begins at 5 p.m.

Bickel Notches Four Hits in Mastodon Baseball’s Loss to Wright State

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Jarrett Bickel finished a triple short of the cycle, but the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons fell to the Wright State Raiders 12-3 on Sunday (April 3) afternoon at Mastodon Field.

His four hits are the most in a game for the Mastodon newcomer this season. He finished 4-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and an RBI. Bickel’s home run came in the fourth inning.

One inning did in the ‘Dons on Sunday. Purdue Fort Wayne gave up seven unearned runs in the first as the Raiders took a quick lead in the game.

The Mastodons’ final two runs came in the ninth. Garret Lake and Brian Erbe each recorded an RBI in the frame.

Senior Justin Miller (0-7) started and took the loss. 

The ‘Dons finished with three runs but had a chance for more as they earned a base runner in every inning. Purdue Fort Wayne finished the game with 14 runners left on base, the most in a contest since the ‘Dons stranded 14 at Alabama A&M on Feb. 16, 2018. 


» Erbe went 2-for-5 with an RBI.

» The ‘Dons worked five walks, with Cade Fitzpatrick recording two.

» Ben Higgins had a hit and two walks on the day.

» Brendan Reid put together a 1-2-3 ninth out of the pen for the ‘Dons.

» Higgins and Bickel both finished the weekend on a nine-game on-base streak.

» The Mastodons out-hit the Raiders 12-9. The ‘Dons out-hit the Raiders 33-30 in the three-game series.

» Wright State’s Justin McConnell went 3-for-4 with a double, a home run and two RBIs.

» Alex Theis went the required five innings to get the win. He is 2-0.

» The ‘Dons fall to 4-22 (2-7 Horizon). Wright State improves to 12-13 (7-2 Horizon).


» The ‘Dons travel to Michigan on Wednesday.

Sycamores top Redbirds in Sunday series finale

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Keegan Watson and Grant Magill combined to drive in five runs in support of strong pitching performances by both Luke Patzner and Jack Parisi as Indiana State took the series finale against Illinois State on Sunday afternoon, 5-2.

The Sycamores (11-10, 2-1 MVC) took the series over the Redbirds with the Sunday win at Bob Warn Field as Indiana State picked up their fourth consecutive series win dating back to mid-March against Southeast Missouri State. Illinois State (10-11, 1-2 MVC) utilized a pair of solo home runs off the bats of Nick Gile and Jonathan Sabotnik, but the Redbirds were flummoxed by the Sycamores pitching staff throughout the day in taking the loss.

Watson gave the Sycamores their first lead of the game with a two-run single in the bottom of the fourth inning and added a key RBI in the bottom of the fifth in the first collegiate multi-RBI game of his career. Magill added the go-ahead two-run single in the fifth and added another strong performance behind the plate as Indiana State bounced back from a tough loss on Saturday with a clinical win on Sunday.

Patzner (2-0) picked up his second win of the year after going the first five innings. The redshirt sophomore right-hander surrendered both home runs, but limited the Redbirds to just two singles beyond that while striking out three in the win. Jack Parisi (S, 1) picked up his first save and struck out six over the final four innings in a scoreless relief outing.

Watson and Magill were two of four Indiana State players to post multi-hit games on the day. Sean Ross added his 11th double of the season, while Josue Urdaneta also doubled among his two hits and two runs scored to highlight the Sycamore offense.

Jake McCaw connected on a pair of singles in the afternoon contest, while Gile and Sabotnik both homered in the loss.

Sean Sinisko (1-2) took the loss allowing 4.2 innings while allowing five runs and eight hits. Cameron Mabee and Jared Hart went the final 3.1 innings in scoreless relief.

How They Scored

Illinois State took the early lead in the top of the second as Jonathan Sabotnik connected on a two-out solo home run to right field to give the Redbirds the 1-0 lead.

The Sycamores battled back with two runs in the fourth as ISU loaded the bases on Diego Gines and Grant Magill singles and a Josue Urdaneta fielder’s choice before Keegan Watson connected on a single through the left side giving Indiana State the 2-1 lead.

Illinois State’s Nick Gile tied the game up in the top of the fifth with a leadoff solo home run to left center field to put the score at 2-2.

The Sycamores plated three runs in the bottom of the fifth with Grant Magill connecting on a bases-loaded single to left field scoring Sean Ross and Jordan Schaffer, before Watson blooped a single to center field scoring Josue Urdaneta to provide the final 5-2 margin.

News & Notes

Indiana State improves to 114-84 in the all-time series against Illinois State with the series win over the Redbirds.

The Sycamores also improved to 8-2 at Bob Warn Field this season with the pair of wins over Illinois State.

Luke Patzner picked up his second win of the 2022 season in his first start since February 27 when the redshirt sophomore started against Minnesota.

Patzner equaled his season-long on the mound with 5.0 innings pitched.

Jack Parisi made his longest relief outing of the year on his way to recording his first save of the 2022 season. The graduate student added six strikeouts to his totals to give him 40 on the season.

Parisi’s six strikeouts also gives him 309 in his collegiate career as the active NCAA Division I career strikeout leader remains the only pitcher in Division I with over 300 strikeouts to his name.

Sean Ross picked up his second multi-hit game of the weekend and 10th of the season on the day.

Josue Urdaneta added his team-leading 13th multi-hit game of the year.

Grant Magill recorded his sixth multi-hit game of the season.

Keegan Watson added his first multi-hit game of his career in the win.

Sunday marked Indiana State’s 13th double-digit hitting game of the 2022 season and first since ISU recorded 13 hits against Memphis on March 25.

Grant Magill threw out his fourth would-be base stealer of the season in the contest.

Up Next

Indiana State hits the road for the next four games as the Sycamores travel to West Lafayette, Ind. for a Wednesday afternoon contest at Purdue on April 6. First pitch at Alexander Field is set for 4 p.m. with the game set to be carried live on 105.5 The Legend.

Sycamores Fall to Redbirds in Series Opener

NORMAL, Ill. – Indiana State softball fell to Illinois State 5-3 in the series opener on Saturday night at Marian Kneer Stadium.

The Sycamores (16-13, 4-3) were leading entering the bottom of the seventh but surrendered a three-run walk-off home run to Illinois State’s (11-15, 2-2) Kaili Chval to give the Redbirds the series opening victory.

Indiana State collected three hits in the first inning but were unable to get a run across as both teams left runners in scoring position in the opening frame.

The Redbirds struck first in the contest, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the second on a 2-RBI single.

In the top of the third, the Sycamores cut into the Redbird lead, scoring a run after back-to-back doubles from Bella Peterson and Cassie Thomerson to make it a 2-1 game.

With two outs in the top of the fifth, Isabella Henning gave Indiana State the lead with a two-run home run. Her fith home run of the season put the Sycamores up 3-2.

After a scoreless sixth, Illinois State struck out a pair of Sycamore batters to get back in the dugout still trailing by just one run in the seventh. The Redbirds got back-to-back singles with one out in the inning to setup a three-run home run to walk-off the Sycamores.

Indiana State finished with eight hits, with a bulk of the production coming from the top of the lineup. Abi Chipps, Bella Peterson and Cassie Thomerson each had two hits apiece with Isabella Henning and Olivia Patton both collecting one. Illinois State recorded 10 hits.

In the circle for the Sycamores, Lexi Benko started and went five innings, giving up two earned runs on seven hits while striking out five batters. Cassi Newbanks threw 1 1/3 innings in relief giving up three runs on three hits and taking the loss, dropping her record to 4-5 on the season.

The series will wrap up Sunday with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. ET.


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Sophomore Madison Bryant threw her first collegiate no-hitter and Morgan Gilbert drove in the winning run to seal the series win over Youngstown State on Sunday afternoon, 1-0.

In the top of the second inning, the Jags scored the sole run of the game taking the 1-0 lead. Jordan Barnes reached base on a walk and Lauren Youngblood entered the game to run for Barnes. With two outs and Youngblood on second base, Gilbert tripled to right center to drive in the winning run, 1-0.

The Jags collected three hits in the win. Gilbert tripled, Maicey Bedrick doubled and Mackenzie Myars collected a single.

Bryant (W, 4-13) shut down the Penguins throwing a complete game no-hitter with seven strikeouts and only three walks.

With the win, the Jaguars earn the series win over the Penguins, two games to one. IUPUI is now 7-24 overall and 5-4 in conference. They return to Indy to face Purdue Fort Wayne in a single game on Friday (April 8) at 3:00 PM and a doubleheader on Saturday (April 9) starting at 1:00 PM.

Softball sweeps Ramblers in Sunday doubleheader

CHICAGO – Trailing 2-1 with two outs in the top of the seventh, the University of Evansville softball team rallied to score three times to take a 4-2 win over Loyola.  Riding their momentum, the Purple Aces shut down the Ramblers in game two by a 4-0 final to sweep Sunday’s doubleheader.  Monday’s third and final game is slated for a 12 p.m. first pitch.

Game One – UE 4, Loyola 2

Evansville made a furious rally with two outs in the seventh to open the series with a 4-2 victory.  UE appeared to have the upper hand early, loading the bases in the first before Rambler pitcher Peyton Pepkowski got out of the inning unscathed.  The Rambler offense got it going in the second inning when Abbey Jacobsen hit a 2-run home run to put Loyola up 2-0.  Evansville got one of the runs back in the fourth when Alyssa Barela hit a leadoff double before coming home on an error.

Limited to just two hits in the opening six frames, the Purple Aces were down to their final out stilling trailing by one.  With Hannah Hood on second and Mackenzie McFeron at the plate, McFeron singled to tie the game.  Jessica Fehr followed with a double that proved to be the game-winner before Sydney Weatherford added an RBI single to make it a 4-2 game.  Izzy Vetter took care of it from there, clinching her 14th win of the season.  In another complete game, Vetter struck out 11 batters and allowed just three hits.  Pepkowski also struck out 11 for LUC.

Game Two – UE 4, Loyola 0

Sydney Weatherford had her best start of the season, tossing a complete game shut out to give the Aces a 4-0 win in game two.  Haley Woolf put the Aces on the board with a solo home run to open the second inning.  It was her first long ball of 2022.  Alyssa Barela came up with a clutch hit in the third.  With two outs, Jessica Fehr walked and Weatherford reached on a single.  That brought Barela to the plate and she came through with a 2-RBI double to make it a 3-0 game.

Barela capped off the scoring in the fifth, hitting a solo home run to extend the lead to 4-0.  Weatherford continued her stellar day, completing the contest throwing just 68 pitches.  She allowed just two hits and walked one batter.

Valpo Takes Rubber Match to Win Road Set at UIC

The Valparaiso University baseball team owns its best record through 22 games since 1998 after rallying to win the final two games of a road series this weekend at UIC, including a 5-2 triumph in Sunday’s series finale at Curtis Granderson Stadium in Chicago. Behind a stellar pitching performance by left-hander Jake Miller (Chester, N.Y. / Don Bosco Prep), the Beacons earned their first series win over their nearby foes in 10 years in the final nonconference weekend of the season.

How It Happened

The Beacons started the day with three consecutive baserunners in the top of the first, including a run-scoring single by Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central), who picked up where he left off after reaching base 10 times in Friday’s doubleheader.

The Beacons went on to produce two more runs in that inning, one on a two-out hit by Ryan Maka (Oak Forest, Ill. / Oak Forest) and the other on a wild pitch.

Miller sent down the side in order in the opening inning including a pair of strikeouts, then fanned three more in the second. That second inning saw the Flames threaten with runners at second and third and one away, but Miller notched back-to-back strikeouts to extinguish the chance.

UIC got on the board in the bottom of the third with a solo home run to make it 3-1.

The Flames pulled within a run in the fourth thanks to a ground-run double and run-scoring single.

Miller sent down the side in order in the bottom of the fifth, then Valpo extended the lead in the top of the sixth. The Beacons got a run as Alex Ryan (Lake Mills, Wis. / Lakeside Lutheran) clubbed a double that rolled around in the left-field corner, allowing Nolan Tucker (Cedar Lake, Ind. / Hanover Central) to score from first.

A stretch of 10 straight Flames sent down by Miller was snapped with two outs in the seventh, when UIC picked up a two-out double. A looking strikeout helped Miller retire the side as the hosts stranded a runner at third.

Nolan Lebamoff (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Carroll [Kankakee CC]) was summoned from the bullpen to work the eighth inning. He retired the first two men he faced before UIC got a pair of two-out baserunners. Those runners were stranded as Lebamoff induced an inning-ending fielder’s choice bouncer.

Valpo boosted the lead to three with a run in the top of the ninth as Ryan led off the inning with a walk and eventually scored as Schmack beat out a relay throw to first on a potential double play.

Closer Bobby Nowak (Cedar Lake, Ind. / Hanover Central) worked 1-2-3 in the ninth to finalize the victory.

Inside the Game

Hannahs and Schmack had multi-hit days, both enjoying their 10th multi-hit games of the year, tied for the team lead.

Thurston also boasted a multi-hit effort, his seventh of the year. He extended his hitting streak to nine and has hit safely in 19 of his last 20 games. Renfro also had two hits on a day where each of Valpo’s top four hitters in the lineup had multi-hit efforts.

Miller finished with a career-high 11 strikeouts, surpassing his previous peak of nine on March 20 of this season at Murray State. The southpaw did not issue any walks over his seven innings of six-hit, two-run ball. This season, Miller now owns an incredible strikeout-to-walk ratio of 41 strikeouts against just three walks. He was already 15th nationally in strikeout-to-walk ratio before this weekend.

Nowak nailed down his sixth save of the season, already the most by a Valpo player since Jon Tieman had seven in 2017.

Valpo holds a .500 record through 22 games at 11-11, the program’s best record through 22 games since 1998.

This marked the first time Valpo won a series against UIC since 2012. Valpo had dropped eight straight series against the Flames prior to this weekend.

The series win over UIC, a 30-win team last season, helped Valpo finish the nonconference slate at 4-3 in seven games against teams that will join The Valley next season.

This marked the first time since 2015 that Valpo rallied to win a series after dropping the series opener. The last time that occurred was May 8-10, 2015 vs. Youngstown State.

Up Next

Valpo will head to Milwaukee for a doubleheader on Tuesday with two seven-inning games beginning at 3 p.m. The second game is a makeup from a contest that was slated to take place at Emory G. Bauer Field earlier this season. No live video will be available, but links to live audio and stats can be found on ValpoAthletics.com.

Tennis Celebrates Seniors with Whitewash of UNI

The esteemed Valparaiso University tennis careers of Claire Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) and Isabella Schoolcraft (Bargersville, Ind. / Center Grove) were celebrated on Sunday morning prior to the home finale against UNI at The Courts of Northwest Indiana. And when the match came to a close, there was reason for further celebration as the Beacons dispatched visiting UNI 7-0 by winning all six singles matches plus the doubles point.

How It Happened

The first doubles match to finish came at No. 3, where Demi Jhaveri and Allison McConnell (Westland, Mich. / Churchill) cruised to a 6-2 win over Emma Carr and Issa Sullivan.

Valpo incurred a rare setback at No. 1 doubles in a close 6-4 match, but the Czerwonka sisters were picked up by their teammates at No. 2 doubles. Amanda Tabanera and Isabella Schoolcraft (Bargersville, Ind. / Center Grove) came through with a 6-4 victory in the final doubles match to finish to ensure that the Beacons would corral the doubles point.

At No. 1 singles, Olivia Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) wasted no time in sweeping Darta Dalecka 6-3, 6-0.

Claire had a successful Senior Day in singles play, beating Lorena Cardosa 6-1, 6-4 at No. 2 in the final home match of her illustrious collegiate career.

For the second consecutive day, Amanda Tabanera (Valencia, Calif. / Valencia) was victorious at No. 3 singles. This time, she accounted for the win that clinched the team victory, defeating Emma Carr 6-1, 6-3.

Schoolcraft also enjoyed a successful Senior Day, beating Issa Sullivan 6-1, 6-1 at No. 6 in her final home match after four years representing the Brown & Gold.

The No. 4 singles match featured a pair of tight sets, but Demi Jhaveri (Westlake, Ohio / Westlake) came away with a straight-set win. She edged Andrijana Brkic 6-4, 7-6(1).

The final match to finish was the lone three-set affair of the morning, as Mia Bertino (Lockport, Ill. / Joliet Catholic) rebounded from a Set-1 setback to top Thaissa Moreira 1-6, 7-6(4), 10-6.

Inside the Match

This marked Valpo’s first 7-0 victory in a conference match since April 14, 2007, a 7-0 triumph against UMKC in Mid-Continent Conference action.

Claire extended her singles winning streak to four and picked up the 56th singles victory of her career. She is fifth in program history, two wins away from moving into a tie for third.

Olivia secured her 42nd career triumph in singles play, a number that ranks 10th in program history, three away from a tie for ninth. Tabanera obtained her 39th career singles win, approaching a spot in the program record book of her own.

Valpo’s No. 2 and No. 3 doubles teams both flipped the scripts on losses to UNI last season. Both Beacon tandems faced pairs that featured one of the same players and one player who was different from last season.

Valpo has already clinched its highest win total since 2007, when the Beacons won 11 matches. Sunday represented the team’s ninth win of the season.

Up Next

The Beacons (9-9, 1-1 MVC) will finish the regular season with three straight road matches, starting on Saturday, April 9 at Missouri State at 1 p.m.

Softball Completes Perfect Weekend With One-Sided Wins Versus Truman

INDIANAPOLIS—The No. 5 UIndy softball team made it four wins in four games on the weekend, sweeping a Sunday home doubleheader versus Truman State University Sunday. After sweeping William Jewell yesterday, the Greyhounds took down the Bulldogs by scores of 9-0 and 15-1, both in five innings.

Both Maddy Stout (pictured) and Sydnee Perry did not record an out Sunday, combining for six hits, seven runs, six RBIs and two walks.

GAME 1 | UIndy 9, Truman 0 (5 innings)

Behind yet another stellar performance from ace pitcher Kenzee Smith, the Hounds broke it open with a six-spot in the third inning. Lexy Rees and Emily O’Connor started the rally with a single and a walk, respectively, before Dominique Proctor started the merry-go-round with a two-run double to deep center. The Hounds sprinkled in two more walks in the inning, while Perry and Stout added RBI singles.

Smith improved to 14-3 after allowing just two hits and striking out five in four scoreless innings. Freshman Jayden Casebolt came on to pitch the fifth in her first career appearance at Baumgartner Field. The Newburgh, Ind., native notched a strikeout and allowed one hit in an otherwise-uneventful outing.

GAME 2 | UIndy 15, Truman 0 (5 innings)

UIndy jumped all over Truman with an eyebrow-raising 11-run first inning. The outburst matched a season high set at McKendree on March 10.

The first four baserunners reaches without the ball leaving the infield, with UIndy going on to coax five walks and a hit by pitch in the opening frame to match its hit total of six for the inning.

Rees delivered to biggest blow, lifting the ball over the centerfield fence for her second grand slam of the season. Proctor had two hits in the inning, while Jocelyn Calvin added an RBI single and O’Connor a base-empty double.

Three Greyhounds toed the rubber in game two, with starter Haylie Foster (14-1) getting the win by blanking the ‘Dogs for the minimum three innings. Audrey Sizemore and Amy Kaniewski tossed one inning apiece, combining three Ks.

Megan Nichols amassed two hits and a walk, while Tara Williams and Sydnie Foster each scored twice.


The Hounds are set to embark on an eight-game road stretch, starting with a non-conference twin bill at Kentucky Wesleyan on Wednesday, April 6.

Offensive Surge Leads Greyhounds to Third Straight Win over Truman

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – An offensive surge that began in the fifth inning and ran through the eighth went in the favor of the University of Indianapolis baseball team, who took its third straight conference win of the weekend over Truman on Sunday in Kirksville.

The bats came alive as UIndy had 15 total hits which included eight different players recording at least one. Most notably, Drew Donaldson had a stellar afternoon by going 4-for-5 from the plate with three runs scored. His teammate and freshman Armen Torosian trailed right behind him with three hits of his own. The Hounds also spread around the RBI total with six different players having one to their name, led by Zack Williams with three and Jared Bujdos with two.


Despite facing an early deficit after Truman crossed two in the bottom half of the first, UIndy would answer a half inning later when Williams corralled an RBI single.

The Bulldogs added another run in the fourth, but this eventually led to the Greyhounds bringing the power on offense with a combined eight runs through the following four innings of play. Most notably, this big stretch included a four-run sixth by the team and Williams hitting a solo homer in the seventh, his second of the weekend and third of the season. Truman had no answer and stayed at three runs for the remainder of the contest.


-The 15 hits is the second-most by the Greyhounds as a team this season.

-Jakob Hughes earned the start on the bump and was tabbed as the winning pitcher after he went five complete with three strikeouts while allowing four hits, three earned runs, and one walk.


UIndy will finish up its road trip with a doubleheader at Purdue Northwest on Tuesday beginning at 2 p.m. The teams met earlier this season in Indianapolis, where PNW swept the doubleheader.

USI rallies to earn a series split with Quincy

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – University of Southern Indiana Baseball rallied to earn a series split with Quincy University by posting a 6-4 win Sunday afternoon at the USI Baseball Field. The Screaming Eagles are 13-13 overall and 2-2 in the GLVC, while Quincy is 14-12, 5-3 in the league.  

USI spotted Quincy a pair of runs in the opening frame before rallying to tie the game in the bottom half to tie the score, 2-2. Sophomore designated hitter Gavin McLarty (Buckner, Kentucky) opened the scoring for USI with an RBI-double to left center before sophomore rightfielder Trent Robinson (Louisville, Kentucky) knocked the tying run across with a single to center.

The score remained tied, 2-2, until the fifth when the Eagles and Hawks pushed in their third runs of the game. USI junior leftfielder Evan Kahre (Evansvlle, Indiana) started USI’s fifth with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice, and scored on a ground out by junior centerfielder Ren Tachioka (Japan).

The Eagles evaded a Hawk rally in the sixth and broke the 3-3 tie in the eighth when USI scored three times to take a 6-3 advantage. Junior catcher Lucas McNew (Floyds Knobs, Indiana) broke the tie with a RBI-single to left center and was followed by a RBI-sacrifice fly by McLarty for the eventual game winning run. Robinson sealed the victory with a sacrifice fly for a 6-3 lead.

The Hawks challenged in the ninth with back-to-back doubles to cut the USI lead to 6-4 before the Eagles closed the door on the win.

On the mound, sophomore right-hander Carter Stamm (Jasper, Indiana) posted his second win of the year in relief. Stamm (2-1) permitted one run in four innings of work, allowing two hits and three walks, while striking out four.

USI junior left-hander Sammy Barnett (Sellersburg, Indiana) finished ninth for his first save of the season, setting down both of the batters he faced.

The Eagles started game with junior right-hander Garrett Welch (New Castle, Indiana), going the first 4.1 innings. Welch allowed three runs, two earned, on four hits and two walks, while striking out four.

 Up Next for the Eagles:

USI returns to the road for its first road trip of the 2022 GLVC schedule, visiting the University of Illinois Springfield April 8-10 in Springfield, Illinois. The Eagles hold a 23-15 all-time series lead over the Prairie Stars, despite dropping four of five last season (three of four during the regular seaosn; one in the GLVC Tournament).

Illinois Springfield is 20-6 overall after sweeping a non-conference series with the University of Missouri-St. Louis last week. The Stars have won three of their last four, but are 1-3 in the GLVC.


1911       The Most Valuable Player award is introduced and sponsored by Hugh Chalmers, an auto manufacturer. The first winners of the MVP, selected by a vote of one baseball writer representing each franchise in the league, will be the Tigers’ outfielder Ty Cobb and Frank Schulte of the Cubs.

1918       The Phillies trade infielder Bert Niehoff (.255, 2, 42) and send cash to the Cardinals for rookie right-hander Mule Watson. Niehoff will play just one more season before retiring, while Watson will pitch two seasons with Philadelphia, posting a 7-11 record before being traded to the Braves.

1948       Before an exhibition game in Orlando, with an ambulance driving the two participants, accompanied by a doctor and a pair of nurses, to the starting line, 84-year-old A’s manager Connie Mack challenges Clark Griffith, the 78-year-old owner of the Senators, to a foot race. The sprint from third base to home plate ends in a tie, which Commissioner Happy Chandler, who officiated the affair, describes as “a dead heat.”

1966       On the nationally-televised Hullabaloo, a program that showcases rock and roll groups, host Soupy Sales and his two sons, Tony and Hunt, perform Meet the Mets, with the unlikely tune also accompanied by go-go dancers halfway through the song. The Sales’ children appeared on the program as the guest musicians, featuring their rock and roll band, Tony and the Tigers.

1968       Due to today’s assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, most major league teams have decided to postpone their Opening Day games until after the reverend’s funeral in five days. Surprisingly, at first, the Dodgers are the notable exception, even though the Phillies, their opponents on April 9th, say they will forfeit rather than play on the national day of mourning.

1971       The Phillies dedicated the newly constructed Veterans Stadium, a name selected by the Philadelphia City Council to honor United States vets of all wars. The new ballpark will be harshly criticized for its upper deck’s height and for many of its seats being so distant from the field that it will be difficult to enjoy the game without binoculars.

1974       In front of a crowd of 52,000 at Riverfront Stadium on Opening Day in Cincinnati, Hank Aaron ties Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record of 714 by hitting a first-inning two-run homer off Jack Billingham. The Atlanta front office had considered keeping ‘Hammerin’ Hank’ on the bench during road games so the slugger could try to equal the mark in front of the hometown fans, but commissioner Bowie Kuhn ordered the Braves to put the outfielder into the lineup for at least two of the three games against the Reds.

1978       The Expos reveal their new mascot named Souki, an odd-looking character wearing an Expos uniform below a giant baseball head with antennae. The Mr. Met-like figure, whose rights sell for fifty dollars, will be released after one season after proving unpopular with the fans due to his strange looks and quirky behavior.

1988       In a 10-6 victory over the Expos, Kevin McReynolds and Darryl Strawberry each hit a pair of home runs, helping the Mets establish an Opening Day record with six homers. The ‘Strawman’s’ second shot, estimated at 525 feet, hits above the dome’s light rim and is believed to be the longest dinger ever stroked at Olympic Stadium.

1988       Blue Jay designated hitter George Bell becomes the first player to hit three home runs on Opening Day, helping Toronto defeat Kansas City at Royals Stadium, 5-3. The second, fourth, and eighth inning round-trippers are all given up by Bret Saberhagen.

1989       On Opening Day, Tommy John ties a record by playing in 26 seasons. The Yankee veteran hurler beats the Twins, 4-2, for his 287th win, putting him 19th overall in career wins.

1994       A total of 56,706 fans attend Opening Day, making it the largest crowd ever at the new Yankee Stadium. The Bronx Bombers do not disappoint the faithful when Jimmy Key beats Kevin Brown and the Rangers, 5-3.

1994       In the inaugural game played at Jacobs Field, President Clinton throws out the first ball, and ‘El Presidente’ Dennis Martinez throws the first pitch when the Indians defeat the Mariners in 11 innings, 4-3. With Bob Feller, the author of the only Opening Day no-hitter game in major league history in attendance, Mariner southpaw Randy Johnson holds the Tribe hitless for the first seven innings.

1994       Eddie Murray becomes baseball’s all-time leader in games played at first base, covering the position in 2,369 major league contests to surpass the mark set by Jake Beckley, a Hall of Famer whose career spanned from 1888 to 1907. After the top of the first inning, the 38-year-old Indian infielder carries the bag off the field, keeping it as a souvenir.

1994       On Opening Day at Wrigley Field in the Cubs’ 12-8 loss to New York, Tuffy Rhodes, who has hit only five round-trippers in his first 280 major league at-bats, hits three home runs on Opening Day, becoming the first player to homer in his first three at-bats of the season. The three solo round-trippers, all off Mets right-hander Dwight Gooden, will account for nearly half of the outfielder’s total for the year when he finishes the campaign with only eight round-trippers.

1994       Before the Cubs’ 12-8 Opening Day loss to the Mets at Wrigley Field, First Lady Hillary Clinton becomes the first wife of a sitting president to throw the season’s ceremonial first pitch. Bill’s spouse then joins Harry Caray in the broadcast booth and sings “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” with the beloved announcer during the seventh-inning stretch.

1998       En route to shattering the single-season mark for home runs, Mark McGwire homers in his fourth consecutive game to tie Willie Mays’ 1971mark for most homers to start a season. Big Mac’s sixth-inning three-run Busch Stadium blast helps the Cardinals beat the Padres, 8-6.

1999       Opening Day starts in Mexico, making it the first time baseball’s first pitch comes outside the U.S. or Canada when the Rockies defeat the National League’s defending champs Padres, 8-2. Darryl Kile goes 6.2 innings to get the win in the Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey contest.

2000       At Safeco Field, Darren Lewis plays right field in Boston’s 2-0 victory over Seattle. The 32 year-old outfielder is the 13th different Red Sox player to start in that position on Opening Day for the past thirteen years.

2001       For the first time since June 7, 1995, the Indians do not have a sellout crowd at Jacobs Field. The streak of 455 games of consecutive full houses, a major league record, will be broken by the Boston Red Sox in 2008.

2001       Hideo Nomo, throwing the earliest no-hitter in major league history, blanks the Orioles, 3-0 at Camden Yards in his first start in a Red Sox uniform. Second baseman Mike Lansing makes an outstanding play with one out in the ninth to preserve the Japanese-born hurler’s second career no-hitter.

2001       Vinny Castilla launches the longest home run at Tropicana Field when he hits a Joey Hamilton pitch 478 feet over the domed stadium’s left-field fence. The Devil Rays’ third baseman’s third-inning three-run blast isn’t enough to overcome the three round-trippers clobbered by Carlos Delgado in the team’s 11-8 loss to the Blue Jays.

2003       At Cincinnati’s new Great American Ball Park, Sammy Sosa becomes the first Latin American player and the 18th to hit 500 career home runs. ‘Slammin’ Sammy’ reaches the milestone in the seventh inning when he drives a Scott Sullivan 1-2 pitch into the right-field seats.

2003       The Coneheads stage a reunion at Shea Stadium as David Cone returns to the mound after taking a year off and hurls an impressive five innings of shutout ball in the Mets’ 4-0 victory over the Expos. In memory of one of the founders of this unique group, started in 1988 based on an SNL skit, the group hangs a banner featuring a picture of Scott Saber, killed during the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, wearing his Conehead.

2005       Dmitri Young becomes the third major leaguer to hit three home runs on Opening Day, joining George Bell (Blue Jays, 1988) and Tuffy Rhodes (Cubs, 1994). The 31-year-old Tiger DH’s hat trick contributes to the team’s 11-2 rout of the Royals at Comerica Park.

2006       Rain postpones a Padres’ home game for the first time since May 12, 1998, a span of 635 consecutive home games, mostly played at Qualcomm Stadium. The 16th rainout in the franchise’s 38-year history becomes the first washout at the club’s new home, Petco Park, which opened two seasons ago.

2006       Kansas City voters approve a $250 million proposal to renovate Kauffman Stadium. The facelift of the 35 year-old home of the Royals will include the addition of dugout suites, new clubhouses, an exclusive restaurant, and the replacement of the orange seats throughout the stadium with new blue ones.

2007       Tuffy Rhodes becomes the first non-Japanese player in Nippon Pro Baseball history to drive in a thousand runs. Only two of the 28 players who have reached the milestone have accomplished the feat in fewer games.

2008       Carried by his momentum trying to avoid the pitch, Astros catcher J.R. Towles does a handstand at home plate after getting hit above the knee during the second inning in Houston’s 4-3 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. In his next at-bat, the 24-year-old-backstop from Crosby (TX) hits a two-run homer, a feat he accomplishes standing on his feet.

2008       Before their home opener, the Blue Jays announce reaching agreements with outfielder Alex Rios (.297, 24, 85) and second baseman Aaron Hill (.291, 17, 78). With the contract extension that begins next season, the 26-year-old Toronto fly-catcher will earn nearly $70 million over the next seven years, the second richest deal in franchise history, and the club’s newly signed infielder, also 26, inks a four-year contract worth $12 million.

2008       With fans chanting “Robbie, Robbie” before the home opener against Boston, the Blue Jays honor Roberto Alomar by inducting their former All-Star second baseman into Toronto’s Level of Excellence. After the team plays a video montage of his career highlights in a darkened Rogers Centre, the dramatic pregame ceremony continues when a spotlight shines on second base revealing the honoree.

2012       Joey Votto and the Reds agree to the longest guaranteed contract in major league history, a $251.5 million, 12-year deal. Second, only to A-Rod’s $275 million and $252 million pacts with the Rangers and Yankees, the dollar amount easily surpasses Ken Griffey Jr.’s nine-year, $116.5 million deal signed in 2000 as the richest in franchise history.

2014       Charlie Blackmon ties a team record established by Andres Galarraga in 1995, collecting six hits in the Rockies’ 12-2 rout of Arizona in the team’s home opener at Coors Field. The 27-year-old platoon outfielder is the first major leaguer to collect three doubles, two singles, and a home run in a major league game.

2016       The Dodgers hand the Padres the worst Opening Day shutout loss since at least 1913, and most likely in the history of the game, blanking the Friars at Petco Park, 15-0. The contest marked both skippers’ managerial debut, with LA’s Dave Roberts and San Diego’s Padres Andy Green piloting their first major league game.

2016       Although he limits the Rangers to just one hit, Mariner right-hander Felix Hernandez loses for the first time on Opening Day, snapping a streak of six victories to start his team’s season. Sloppy defense allows three fifth-inning runs preventing Seattle from becoming the first modern franchise to win ten consecutive season openers, when the team drops a 3-2 decision to Texas at Globe Life Park.

2016       Trevor Story becomes the first player to hit two home runs in his first regular-season game on Opening Day and the fifth rookie to accomplish the feat in his major league debut. The 23-year-old Rockies shortstop hit both round-trippers off Diamondbacks’ ace Zack Greinke, a three-run home run in the third and a solo shot in the following frame of the team’s 10-5 victory over Arizona at Chase Field.

2017       Stephen Piscotty’s dangerous journey around the base paths ends when he crosses the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning, scoring the Cardinals’ only run in the team’s 2-1 loss to the Cubs at Busch Stadium. After reaching first due to being hit by a pitch, the outfielder, attempting to take second on a wild pitch, gets nailed in the elbow by the catcher’s throw, and he is struck on the helmet, sliding into home plate with an errant throw by the second baseman. (Our thanks to J. Mahon for suggesting this entry.)

2021       In his major league debut, southpaw-swinging Akil Baddoo hits the first pitch he sees for a home run, becoming the ninth player in Tiger history to homer in his first at-bat. The 22-year-old rookie outfielder joins Hack Miller (1944), Sam Vico (1948), Gates Brown (1963), Bill Rowan (1964), Gene Lamont (1970), Reggie Sanders (1974), Daniel Norris (2015), and Sergio Alcantara (2020), with only Vico also going deep on the first pitch to accomplish the feat.






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