NCAA MEN’S TOURNAMENT-SWEET 16

Oregon State 65 Loyola Chicago 58

Baylor 62 Villanova 51

Arkansas 72 Oral Roberts 70

Houston 62 Syracuse 46

NCAA WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT-SWEET 16

Connecticut 92 Iowa 72

Baylor 78 Michigan 75 OT

Indiana 73 North Carolina State 70

Arizona 74 Texas A&M 59

NBA SCOREBOARD

New York 102 Milwaukee 96

Houston 129 Minnesota 107

Washington 106 Detroit 92

San Antonio 120 Chicago 104

New Orleans 112 Dallas 103

Boston 111 Oklahoma City 94

Utah 126 Memphis 110….DESMOND BANE 7PTS, 4REB,

LA Clippers 122 Philadelphia 112

Sacramento 100 Cleveland 98

NHL SCOREBOARD

Philadelphia 2 NY Rangers 1

Boston 3 Buffalo 2

Detroit 3 Columbus 1

Vegas 3 Colorado 2

Carolina 4 Tampa Bay 3

Toronto 4 Edmonton 3

Pittsburgh 6 NY Islanders 3

Nashville 3 Chicago 1

Florida 4 Dallas 3

Arizona 4 San Jose 0

Calgary 4 Winnipeg 2

MLB SPRING TRAINING

Cleveland 9 LA Dodgers 2

San Diego 2 LA Angels 0

Milwaukee 6 Kansas City 6

Oakland 5 Texas 1

Chicago White Sox 8 Colorado 2

Chicago Cubs 6 Cincinnati 3

Seattle 5 San Francisco 0

Detroit 9 Philadelphia 8

Tampa Bay 2 Minnesota 0

NY Yankees 5 Toronto 1

Boston 7 Pittsburgh 4

NY Mets 8 Houston 3

Atlanta 8 Baltimore 5

Miami 6 St. Louis 4

Picked last, Oregon State now Elite after beating Loyola

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Picked to finish dead last in the Pac-12, Oregon State instead might be the last one standing.

Led by unflappable guard Ethan Thompson, whose 20 points included a pair of clinching foul shots with 35 seconds left, the No. 12 seed Beavers and their brilliant defense shut down eighth-seeded Loyola Chicago in a 65-58 victory on Saturday that sent their long-suffering program into the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

It’s Oregon State’s first regional final since 1982 – one that was later vacated by the NCAA – and sets up a showdown with second-seeded Houston or No. 10 seed Syracuse on Monday night for a spot in its first Final Four since 1963.

“They just want to keep riding the wave,” said Beavers coach Wayne Tinkle, whose hungry bunch of underdogs have matched Missouri in 2002 as the lowest-seeded teams to advance past the Sweet 16.

“We did use the fact we were picked 12th in the Pac-12 this year,” Tinkle added, “but we haven’t made a big deal about the 12th seed. I don’t want to throw too much at them. They’ll see it. We just have to keep our feet on the ground.”

That’s getting harder to do with each passing day.

Not even the fervent prayers of Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt could help Loyola deal with the Beavers (20-12) and the constantly changing defenses that Tinkle rolled out. The Ramblers (26-5), who played with such poise and perfection in toppling top-seeded Illinois, wound up shooting 33% from the field and 5 of 23 from beyond the arc.

All-America forward Cameron Krutwig led Loyola with 14 points. Lucas Williamson and Braden Norris added 10 apiece, though both of them missed 3-pointers in the closing minutes as Loyola tried to mount a comeback.

“Very hard scene in our locker room,” said Ramblers coach Porter Moser, whose name has surfaced in connection with several major conference jobs. “Kids cared so much, invested so much. Very tough when it comes to an end.”

It was the second meeting between the teams and first since Dec. 31, 1927, when Loyola won 31-19 in Chicago – and Sister Jean, the Ramblers’ beloved 101-year-old chaplain, was still just a schoolgirl.

And for most of Saturday, it looked as if 31 points would be plenty.

Oregon State turned it over twice before getting off a shot, went nearly 6 1/2 minutes before making its first field goal and at one point was 1 of 8 with four turnovers. Then the Ramblers, who failed to take advantage of their defense, proceeded to miss 11 consecutive shots as Oregon State flip-flopped between man-to-man and zone defenses.

“We kind of let them slow us down a little bit,” Krutwig said. “Honestly, we got a lot of good looks.”

The Beavers wound up shutting out Loyola the last 5:48 to take a 24-16 halftime lead, the lowest-scoring first half of the entire tournament. Krutwig was 3 of 5 from the field; the rest of the Ramblers were 1 of 18.

You’d have sworn the Beavers sported the nation’s No. 1 scoring defense, not the other way around.

Oregon State built on Warith Alatishe’s buzzer-beating bucket to end the first half by getting some shots to go in the second. Thompson did most of the damage, hitting an early jumper, beating the shot clock with another fadeaway, then catching a Hail Mary heave to beat a full-court press and give the Beavers a 37-24 lead with 12 minutes to go.

Meanwhile, the Ramblers were hitting everything but the bottom of the bucket.

Davis’ jumper gives Arkansas 72-70 win over Oral Roberts

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Davonte Davis hit a short jumper with 2.9 seconds left, and Arkansas advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in 26 years with a 72-70 win over Oral Roberts in the South Region semifinals Saturday night.

The Muss Bus grinded its gears through the first half into the second, bad shots and even worse defense putting Arkansas in a 12-point hole against the 15th-seeded Golden Eagles.

Eric Musselman’s Razorbacks (25-6) got their Pig Sooie swagger back, turning defensive stops into early offense opportunities and offensive rebounds into points.

It came down to one final shot and Davis made it, sending Arkansas to the Elite Eight for the first time since the Nolan Richardson “40 Minutes of Hell” days.

Next up for the Razorbacks is face top-seeded Baylor in what should be a fast-paced South Region final on Monday.

The let-it-fly Golden Eagles (18-11) let history slip through their grasp.

Within reach of becoming the first No. 15 seed to reach the Elite Eight, Oral Roberts stumbled with a series of turnovers and missed shots.

Max Abmas did his best to put the Golden Eagles in the Elite Eight for the first time in 47 years, scoring 25 points. His 3-pointer at the buzzer bounced off the front of the rim.

The Golden Eagles had history on their minds. Florida Gulf Coast was the only other No. 15 seed to get this far in 2013 and lost at the regional semifinal round.

Oral Roberts knew it had a chance to top it against the Razorbacks after playing them earlier in the season. Oral Roberts led by 10 at halftime in Fayetteville on Dec. 20 before Arkansas bullied the Golden Eagles in the second half for an 87-76 win.

The Golden Eagles went chest-to-chest with the Razorbacks from the start of their first Sweet 16 game since 1974, contesting shots at the rim and chasing out to the arc to prevent open looks. Arkansas helped them out with some difficult shots attempts, going 1 for 7 from 3 in the first half.

The Razorbacks tried to make it difficult on Abmas, trapping him in most pick-and-roll situations. The nation’s leading scorer still found a way to get his points, with 12 in the first half. Carlos Jurgens, who averages 5.7 points per game, took advantage of repeatedly being left open, scoring 11 to help Oral Roberts lead 35-28 at halftime.

The Golden Eagles continued making shots in the second half as the Razorbacks kept taking bad ones, stretching the lead to 46-34.

But Arkansas had already been in this position once before, needing “24 Minutes of Hell” to outlast another upstart, Colgate, to open the NCAA Tournament.

Just like that game, the Razorbacks snapped out of it, playing better defense and getting to the rim instead of throwing up contested shots. Arkansas chipped the lead down to four midway through and finally caught, then passed, the Golden Eagles into the Elite Eight.

Houston locks in on defense, beats Syracuse 62-46 in NCAAs

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Houston contested every 3-pointer, took away clean looks and forced “Buddy Buckets” to work for any sliver of space he could find.

Defense has been the Cougars’ strength all season. Now it’s taken coach Kelvin Sampson’s team somewhere new: the program’s deepest NCAA Tournament run since the days of Olajuwon, Drexler and the famed “Phi Slama Jama.”

Quentin Grimes scored 14 points and Houston’s defense locked down on surging Buddy Boeheim, helping the Cougars beat Syracuse 62-46 on Saturday night in the Sweet 16 while holding the Orange to their lowest point total in an NCAA Tournament game.

That sent the second-seeded Cougars through to their first regional final in 37 years, earning a matchup with No. 12 seed Oregon State for the Midwest Region title and a spot in the Final Four.

“Obviously, we know the excitement we’re bringing to the city of Houston and to the university,” said DeJon Jarreau, who flirted with a triple-double while leading the defensive effort on Boeheim. “We’re very happy for that, but we have a mission to accomplish.”

Houston hadn’t reached a regional final since a run of three straight Final Fours with its high-flying style under coach Guy Lewis in the 1980s. Future NBA greats Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon were teammates on the 1983 team that reached the title game before losing on a shocking last-play dunk to North Carolina State’s “Cardiac Pack” coached by Jim Valvano.

The next year, Olajuwon led the Cougars back to the 1984 final before losing to Patrick Ewing and Georgetown.

And now Sampson’s bunch has the once-proud program back within a win of the Final Four.

Houston (27-3) came in holding opponents to a national-low 37.3% shooting, and then harassed Syracuse (18-10) into just 28% (14 for 50). That included a 5-for-23 performance from 3-point range that ultimately derailed the 11th-seeded Orange’s latest postseason push as a double-digit seed.

“We just talked all week about five people guarding the ball,” Sampson said. “It’s not one person or two people, it’s five – five people had to be in the right spot. I thought for the most part, we were.”

Syracuse’s previous low tournament output was 51 points against Princeton in the 1992 first round.

“It’s the best defense that that we’ve seen this year and they deserved to win,” coach Jim Boeheim said.

Jarreau, the American Athletic Conference’s defensive player of the year, stood out on that front.

Buddy Boeheim, son of Syracuse’s Hall of Fame coach, had been on an absolute tear through four games in the Atlantic Coast Conference and NCAA Tournaments to earn that “Buddy Buckets” moniker.

The 6-foot-6 junior had averaged 28.3 points through those games, which included him shooting 60% from the floor and 55.8% from 3-point range.

Things weren’t nearly so easy Saturday.

Jarreau spent much of the night hovering in Boeheim’s shadow on the perimeter, staying right on his hip on drives and swiping at the ball as Boeheim secured catches.

Boeheim managed just one first-half basket and finished with 12 points on 3-for-13 shooting, including 1 for 9 from 3-point range.

“He just jammed me coming off screens, jammed handoffs,” Boeheim said. “Whatever it was, he was great. I got some looks I’ve got to make, and I put that on myself, but I mean he’s a really good defender and they’re a great defensive team.”

The Orange couldn’t muster much else, either. Joseph Girard III (12 points) was their only other double-figure scorer.

Close range: Baylor grinds to Elite 8 in 62-51 win ova ‘Nova

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) That ice that seemed to be forming across the 3-point arc was hardly enough to throw Baylor off course.

Some rugged defense and a newly discovered love for points in the paint helped the top-seeded Bears find the formula for a 62-51 victory over Villanova on Saturday and a trip to the Elite Eight.

Adam Flagler was the surprise leading scorer, with 16 points, and Baylor (25-2), which came in as the nation’s leading 3-point shooting team at 41.5%, won despite making only 3 of 19 against Villanova’s ever-shifting 2-3, man-to-man combo on D.

Baylor, which started the season 18-0 and won its first-ever Big 12 regular-season title, is one win from the Final Four for the first time since 2012. The Bears will play Arkansas in the South regional final on Monday.

Davion Mitchell, a 46% shooter from 3 this season, went 0 for 3 from long range on a 14-point day. The team’s other two high-powered guards didn’t fare better. Jared Butler scored nine points on 1-for-9 shooting from 3, and MaCio Teague had five points without a 3.

“When we are 2 for 12 at half, we figured we’ve got to get inside,” coach Scott Drew said of the team’s 3-point shooting. “We got good looks but not great looks. The guards did a great job of not settling and probing more.”

Because of that, Baylor shot 53% in the second half, even though it made only one 3.

“Coach said we’re not going to win if we keep shooting the off-dribble 3,” Mitchell said. “He told us to trust the defense and get in the paint.”

The game changed midway through the second half when Baylor took Drew’s words to heart and started pounding inside. The Bears took a six-point lead with a 14-2 run during which not a single point came from outside the arc. Baylor outscored ‘Nova 40-32 in the paint for the game.

Defense picked up, too.

Constantly harassing Villanova shooters who’d carved out space in the first half, Baylor held Villanova to 37.5% shooting in the second and 0 for 9 from 3. Baylor had four of its five blocked shots after halftime. During one stretch in the decisive run, Baylor forced five straight turnovers on ‘Nova possessions. The Wildcats finished with 16 turnovers, almost double their nation-best season average (8.8).

Coach Jay Wright’s team scored 10 points over the final 11 minutes.

“We were good enough to beat them but they just played better down the stretch,” Wright said. “I think their defense got into us and wore us down and it made the difference in the game.”

The Wildcats got 16 points from Jermaine Samuels, but only three from Caleb Daniels on 1-for-11 shooting.

Villanova (18-7) came in without injured point guard Collin Gillespie and with a middling defense at best, but looked to be turning things around over the first weekend of the tournament. There were mini-victories in this one, too, in part because Wright’s deft mix of defenses kept Baylor off the mark. This marked only the second time this season anyone has held that high-powered offense under 65 points.

Shooting struggles aside, 2021 still has the makings of being Baylor’s year, and any residue from the pandemic-related breaks that halted the Bears’ momentum after a perfect start appear to have faded.

“You’ve got to take advantage of every opportunity, and obviously we have an opportunity to go to the Final Four,” Drew said. “Hopefully, we’ll put our best foot forward.”

Craig Smith, who fortified Utah State, hired as Utah coach

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Craig Smith, who quickly turned Utah State into one of the nation’s best mid-major programs, was hired Saturday as Utah’s basketball coach.

The Utes said Smith will replace Larry Krystkowiak, who was fired this month.

Smith led the the Aggies to the NCAA Tournament twice in three years. Utah State won the Mountain West Conference Tournament title in 2020, but didn’t get a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Utah State won the MWC Tournament again this season and won 20 games before losing 65-53 to Texas Tech in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

Smith has been an adept recruiter in Logan, bringing in players like Sam Merrill, now with the Boston Celtics, and Portuguese big man Neemias Queta.

He previously coached four seasons at South Dakota before being hired by Utah State in 2018.

Utah State fired Krystkowiak on March 16 after he went 183-139 during 10 seasons in Salt Lake City.

Michigan State gets commitment from top transfer Tyson Walker

Former Northeastern guard Tyson Walker, one of the top mid-major transfers in the country, committed to Michigan State on Saturday.

Walker picked the Spartans over Kansas, Maryland, Miami, and Vanderbilt.

The sophomore guard from Long Island had a breakout year this season for the Huskies. Walker’s 18.8 points and 4.8 assists per game both ranked third in the conference, and he was selected as a first-team All-CAA member.

Michigan State gets a proven player at point guard, a position of concern for the squad this season. The Spartans finished third-last in turnover rate among Big Ten teams and bowed out of the NCAA Tournament in the First Four.

“They’ve been talking to me since I went into the portal,” Walker told ESPN about Michigan State. “They talk to me about every day. Just what they have and what they need. They’re ready to win a championship. I’m the missing piece.”

MAKE IT ELITE! Hoosiers Advance To Regional Final With Win Over Top Seeded NC State

(IU RELEASE)

SAN ANTONIO, Texas. – All five starters scored in double figures along with two double-doubles as No. 4 Indiana took down No. 1 seed NC State, 73-70, in the Mercado regional semifinal on Saturday night at the Alamodome. 

KEY MOMENTS

In a game of runs, the Hoosiers fell behind 7-0, but quickly found their rhythm and went on their own 7-0 run over the course of 1:13 to tie the game 7-all. NC State (22-3) responded with a 15-2 run with the largest lead of 11. Senior guard Ali Patberg hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the Wolfpack’s run and cut the deficit, 22-14.

Sparked by Patberg, Indiana continued on a 13-2 run to tie the game back up at 24 at the 4:47 mark in the second quarter. The teams would exchange buckets as but sophomore forward Mackenzie Holmes laid it in with 17 seconds left to push the Hoosiers ahead at the break, 34-33.

The Hoosiers started the second half with an 8-2 run forcing an NC State timeout after a bucket and the foul by Patberg. Indiana continued to pour it on, as they went on another 9-0 run shooting five-of-five from the field to take a commanding lead, 47-37. After another 9-3 run by the Hoosiers, they would keep a distanced lead 58-48 to start the fourth.

To start the fourth, Holmes scored back-to-back buckets followed up by junior forward Aleksa Gulbe for a quick 6-0 run extend their lead. NC State buried a pair of triples with just under three minutes to go to pull within four. The Wolfpack

NOTABLE

Indiana advances to its first NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Elite Eight in school history. The Hoosiers also advanced to the Elite Eight in the AIAW Tournament in 1973.

The win marked the

All five starters ended the night in double figures, behind 17 points and five assists and three rebounds from Patberg.

Holmes added 16 points while Cardaño-Hillary added 14 points and a game-high four steals.

Juniors Aleksa Gulbe (11 point, 10 rebounds) and Grace Berger (12 points, 12 rebounds) added double-doubles.

Gulbe and Berger become the first Hoosier duo with a pair of double-doubles in an NCAA Tournament game. They are the first to record a double-double in the Big Dance since Kym Royster did against Notre Dame in 2016 (10 points, 10 rebounds).

The Hoosiers shot 47.7 percent from the floor including a 56.7 clip in the second half and a game-best 68.8 percent in the third quarter.

With the win, senior guard Keyanna Warthen becomes the program’s all-time winningest players with 89 victories, surpassing Royster (2014-18).

Indiana outrebounded the Wolfpack, 35-12, and forced them in to 17 turnovers which turned in to 20 points. The Hoosiers also had 18 points from fast break opportunities.

The Hoosiers also halted NC State’s 11-game win streak.

UP NEXT
The Hoosiers advance to its first NCAA Regional Final to face No. 3 seed Arizona on Monday, March 29 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Nets to sign Aldridge on reported 1-year deal

The Brooklyn Nets will sign free-agent forward LaMarcus Aldridge, his agent, Jeff Schwartz, told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Aldridge will pen a one-year deal worth the veteran’s minimum with Brooklyn, sources told The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

He became a free agent after agreeing to a buyout with the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday. The Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers were said to be in the mix to sign the 35-year-old once he hit the open market, though Aldridge reportedly held discussions with several teams.

A seven-time All-Star, Aldridge owns career averages of 19.4 points, 8.3 rebounds, two assists, and 1.1 blocks through 15 seasons with the Spurs and Trail Blazers. He registered just 13.7 points and 4.5 boards in 21 appearances this campaign with San Antonio before he and the organization mutually agreed to part ways.

Aldridge is expected to play a significant amount of his minutes for Brooklyn at center, Wojnarowski adds.

The Nets still boast an open roster spot, according to Wojnarowski. Aldridge is their second addition from the buyout market after they inked forward Blake Griffin earlier this month.

Brooklyn’s roster now features 41 All-Star nods among its players, according to The Associated Press’ Tim Reynolds.

Report: Thunder shut down Horford for rest of season

The Oklahoma City Thunder will hold big man Al Horford out of the lineup for the rest of the season before trying to find an offseason trade partner, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Thunder acquired Horford from the Philadelphia 76ers as part of a multi-player swap in December. However, the organization is now focused on supplying its younger players with more minutes, and general manager Sam Presti informed Horford and his agent that he’d attempt to find a new home for the center after the season, Wojnarowski notes.

Horford will reportedly continue working out with the team in Oklahoma City.

The Thunder recently lost rising star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for an undetermined period of time due to plantar fasciitis. That injury spurred the team to shut down Horford sooner than expected, sources told Wojnarowski.

The 34-year-old recorded 14.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 0.9 blocks per game while starting in all 28 of his appearances this season. He also shot 36.8% from deep on 5.4 attempts per contest.

Horford is earning $27.5 million in 2020-21, the second season in the four-year, $109-million contract he signed with the 76ers in 2019, per Spotrac. That figure possibly presented too big an obstacle for the rebuilding Thunder to trade the 14-year veteran ahead of Thursday’s deadline.

Report: Lakers, Celtics lead Drummond pursuit

The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics are the favorites to sign Andre Drummond following the veteran center’s buyout by the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, sources told The New York Times’ Marc Stein.

The New York Knicks, who were reportedly among five organizations prepping an offer for Drummond, are no longer considered a front-runner for his services, adds Stein.

Drummond has also been linked to the Charlotte Hornets and Los Angeles Clippers. The 27-year-old is set to become a free agent this summer.

The two-time All-Star’s buyout puts an underwhelming end to a short-lived stay in Cleveland. Drummond, who joined the Cavaliers at the 2020 deadline and exercised his $28.8-million player option for the 2020-21 campaign, was benched in February as the team explored exit options.

Drummond averaged 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds in 25 games for the Cavs this season.

He’s considered one of the top frontcourt options on a buyout market that has one fewer candidate after LaMarcus Aldridge and the Brooklyn Nets reportedly came to terms on a one-year deal earlier Saturday.

Howard Schnellenberger, 87, Miami, Louisville coach, dies

MIAMI (AP) Howard Schnellenberger was a pipe smoker with a push-broom mustache and gruff baritone, and he paired his grandiloquent manner with grandiose visions for football at Miami, Louisville and Florida Atlantic that caused snickers.

At all three schools, Schnellenberger disproved doubters. He revived the sport at Miami and Louisville and started the program at Florida Atlantic during a coaching career that spanned a half century.

Schnellenberger died Saturday at 87 in Boca Raton, Florida. FAU announced his death and said he recently had been in a care center.

Schnellenberger had a career record below .500, but when it came to building, he was a winner. His legacy includes on-campus stadiums at Louisville and Florida Atlantic.

He led the Miami Hurricanes to the first of their five national championships in 1983, and coached Louisville to a Fiesta Bowl win over Alabama to cap the 1990 season. He then founded the program at Florida Atlantic and retired as coach after 11 seasons highlighted by back-to-back bowl victories.

Everywhere Schnellenberger coached, he envisioned a winning team as a unifying force, the way it was with the ’83 Hurricanes.

“I think it all goes back to the day they had a parade in Miami for the national championship team,” he once said. “I saw the people on the sidelines – black families, Cuban families, Hispanics and Anglo families – all there, 100,000 strong, celebrating their ball team and community. That football team was able to do something the federal government, city and county tried to do and couldn’t: bring the community together.”

Schnellenberger’s career bowl record was 6-0, and he experienced perfection in the NFL, too. He was the offensive coordinator under Don Shula for the Miami Dolphins in 1972, when they won the Super Bowl to finish 17-0 for the NFL’s only undefeated, untied season.

Ravens adding wide receiver Sammy Watkins in 1-year deal

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) Wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who won a Super Bowl with Kansas City, has agreed to a one-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens.

Watkins must pass a physical exam before signing.

Entering his eighth NFL season, Watkins has been a solid target for Buffalo (2014-16), the Los Angeles Rams (2017) and the Chiefs (2018-20). He was the fourth overall selection in the 2014 draft by the Bills, who traded him to the Rams in 2017. Watkins joined the Chiefs in 2018 as a free agent.

Watkins has 321 career receptions for 4,665 yards and 33 touchdowns. His teams have reached the postseason in each of the past four seasons, and in seven total playoff games and the Super Bowl, he’s made 26 receptions for 500 yards and one touchdown.

He becomes an additional receiver for Lamar Jackson in Baltimore. The Ravens have been among the top rushing teams in the NFL with Jackson at quarterback but have needed an upgrade in their passing game.

Yanks’ Voit needs knee surgery, giving chance for Jay Bruce

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Major league home run champion Luke Voit needs knee surgery to repair a partial meniscus tear, an injury that opened a New York Yankees roster spot for Jay Bruce on Saturday as a converted first baseman.

Voit will not have any baseball activities for three weeks after the operation on his left knee, manager Aaron Boone said. Voit is expected back in May.

“Let’s have the surgery, see how the early days are and then we will be able to evaluate,” Boone said.

The injury to Voit, who hit 22 homers in the pandemic-shortened season, played a role in the decision to add Bruce, who attended spring training with a minor league contract.

“We’re going to be missing Luke but I know Jay Bruce is going to come in and do some special things for us,” Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge said. “Luke is a big part of this team, big part of this offense. He’s a really vocal guy in the clubhouse who gets us motivated. I’m excited to have Jay Bruce on his team. This is why he came to this team, was to help anyway he can and help us win a championship.”

Voit had an MRI exam on Friday, which led to discussions that night on whether the slugger would go through a treatment program and try to play through it or have surgery.

“Decided to go in and have that cleaned up,” Boone said. “Functionally he was playing but was still dealing with some swelling in there after games and things like that. Felt like calendar wise it was best to get this taken care of with hopefully putting it behind him for the bulk of the season.”

Bruce has played 1,510 major league games in the outfield and 54 at first base, including two last season.

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PREVIEW: CLEVELAND INDIANS

CLEVELAND (AP) Since their odd 2020 season ended with a quick playoff exit, the Indians traded the face of their franchise and a popular pitcher and announced they’re changing their name, those decisions further enraging an already angry fan base.

Other than that, it was a quiet winter.

Cleveland’s eventful offseason wasn’t entirely surprising. It was only a matter of time before the Indians would have to part with shortstop Francisco Lindor, who had moved way out of their range. So they swallowed hard and dealt him to the New York Mets with starter Carlos Carrasco in January.

The Indians had a marvelous six-year run with Lindor, winning three straight AL Central titles and getting to Game 7 of the World Series in 2016 with the four-time All-Star, Gold Glove winner.

Continuing to win won’t be easy without him.

“Frankie is one of the top players in the game of baseball,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “And that’s hard to replace. Sometimes you don’t just replace that with one bat, and we know that. And the next guy, whoever our shortstop is this year, he doesn’t have to be Francisco Lindor.

“That’s not fair.”

But it’s reality, and the truth is that Lindor’s loss is a substantial blow to a team that hasn’t raised a World Series title flag since 1948 – the majors’ longest current drought – and may have fallen behind two other teams in its division.

The Indians finished 35-25 last season, tied with Chicago for second behind Minnesota, before they were swept 2-0 by the New York Yankees in the wild-card round. The COVID-19 pandemic provided its own myriad obstacles in 2020, and the club spent most of the season without Francona because of his ongoing health issues.

And while the season didn’t end the way the Indians hoped, Shane Bieber’s emergence as the staff’s ace helped soothe some of the pain.

The 25-year-old led the majors in wins, ERA and strikeouts, a rare pitching Triple Crown that earned the right-hander a Cy Young Award and stamped him as one of baseball’s top pitchers. He’ll anchor a strong but inexperienced starting staff that will be counted on by Francona to pitch deep into games.

Bieber knows the outside perception is the Indians are trending the wrong way, but he’s assured they remain contenders, and with MVP candidate Jose Ramirez they have a player capable of carrying their offense.

“Very confident,” he said. “We had a young team last year, and we’ve got a young team this year again. We were kind of learning on the fly last year. That’s the beauty of baseball, Major League Baseball specifically, turning over rosters year after year.

“You gotta learn each other and learn on the fly, but I guess if anything, it’s fortunate we’ve got quite a bit longer season this year, a little bit more time to work towards our ultimate goal.”

TITO’S HEALTH

This is Francona’s ninth season with Cleveland, if you count last year. He might not.

“Awful,” said Francona, who managed just 14 games before a gastrointestinal issue developed into several hospital stays.

Francona had another medical setback before training camp – a staph infection in his foot. But the 61-year-old feels recharged and is excited about his young team.

SHORT STORY

The Indians made sure they had a succession plan in place for Lindor when they acquired Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario from the Mets.

Gimenez has had an impressive camp and appears to have locked up the starting shortstop’s job. The club is giving Rosario outfield work and may keep him as a utility player.

“Part of the reason we felt comfortable enough to move Amed is because of what we see in Gimenez,” Francona said of the 22-year-old, who played in 49 games for the Mets in 2020. “This kid has really been bright spot for us.”

YOUNG GUNS

Cleveland has become a pitching factory.

No organization has done a better job of developing young pitchers in recent years than the Indians, who can take credit for molding Bieber and turning Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber into Cy Young winners before trading them.

They’ll need to work some of their magic with right-handers Zach Plesac, Aaron Civale and Triston McKenzie, who will have larger roles and throw more innings than ever in ’21.

REBUILT ‘PEN

Brad Hand’s departure means James Karinchak (53 strikeouts in 27 innings last season) will most likely be Francona’s primary closer, with Emmanuel Clase, who missed last season due to a PED suspension, a nice backup plan.

Like many teams, Cleveland’s bullpen has several pitchers capable of throwing 100 mph.

“Last year I don’t know where we ranked as far as velocity goes. I bet it was toward the bottom,” Francona said. “I also thought we had a pretty good bullpen. So, ultimately what I care about is getting them out. But I admit it’s kind of exciting when you see some of the arms.”

NAME THAT TEAM

This will be likely be the Indians’ final season with a name they’ve had since 1915. The move will follow Cleveland’s earlier decision to remove the Chief Wahoo logo from its game jerseys and caps.

Projected Lineup: 

LINEUP

2B     Cesar Hernandez (S)

3B     Jose Ramirez (S)

LF     Eddie Rosario (L)

DH     Franmil Reyes (R)

1B     Josh Naylor (L)

C       Roberto Perez (R)

SS     Andres Gimenez (S)

CF     Oscar Mercado (R)

RF     Daniel Johnson (L)

BENCH

C      Austin Hedges (R)

1B    Bobby Bradley (L)

OF    Jordan Luplow (S)

UTIL  Yu Chang (R)

OF    Bradley Zimmer (L)

ROTATION

RHP    Shane Bieber

RHP    Zach Plesac

RHP    Aaron Civale

RHP    Triston McKenzie

RHP    Cal Quantrill

BULLPEN

LHP    James Karinchak (C)

RHP    Nick Wittgren

RHP    Emmanuel Clase

RHP    Phil Maton

LHP    Logan Allen

RHP    Adam Plutko

LHP    Anthony Gose

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PREVIEW: BOSTON RED SOX

There’s no team in baseball more eager to forget the 2020 season than the Boston Red Sox.

With manager Alex Cora exiled for his role in the Houston Astros sign-stealing scheme and Mookie Betts sent West in a luxury tax reset, the Red Sox limped to a last-place finish in the pandemic-shortened season.

Ace Chris Sale (Tommy John surgery) and No. 2 pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez (COVID-19 damage to his heart muscles) never got on a mound. Slugger J.D. Martinez, an MVP candidate the previous two years, slumped his way to a .213 average, and third baseman Rafael Devers (14 errors in 57 games) fumbled the ball all year.

“As a team, obviously, we know what happened last year,” Cora said from the Red Sox spring training complex in Fort Myers, Florida, as he tried to get the team ready for the season.

“There’s a lot of people here that weren’t here,” he said. “I have to turn the page too, right? I’ve got to keep moving forward. If it’s hard for them to turn the page from last year … Hey, look at me and the way I’m going about my business. If they (want to) forget about that, they can look at me and do the same.”

The Red Sox have won it all twice in the past eight seasons, but they’ve also finished last four times in a decade of see-saw results while churning through five managers. Cora, who led the 2018 team to a franchise-record 108 regular-season wins and a World Series title, was ousted after an MLB investigation identified him as the ringleader in Houston’s cheating scandal.

Bench coach Ron Roenicke took his place in 2020, but never really had a chance after Betts and David Price were traded to the Dodgers in a spring training salary dump. The Red Sox finished 24-36; Roenicke was out, and Cora was back.

This year’s team still has Xander Bogaerts at shortstop, Martinez and Devers trying to bounce back from off years, and the hope that Sale will return by midseason to lead a rotation that looks a lot better if he and Rodriguez are starting every fifth day.

Cora thinks it might be enough to make people forget about 2020.

“We finished last in the division; we know that,” Cora said. “But we have a good team.”

IN THE ROTATION

Sale and Rodriguez were the likely top two starters before missing the entire season. They will go to the head of a rotation that also includes Martin Perez, Nathan Eovaldi and newcomer Garrett Richards. Until Sale returns, Nick Pivetta, who pitched well after coming over to the AL midseason, will have a spot as well.

NEW LOOK

The outfield of Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Andrew Benintendi that led Boston to the 2018 World Series title is no more. In their place, could be Hunter Renfroe, Alex Verdugo and Marwin Gonzalez — at least until Franchy Cordero is cleared to play after starting spring training late because of COVID protocols.

Enrique Hernandez slides into second base after years of stopgaps since Dustin Pedroia was first injured in 2017.

CLOSING IT OUT

Matt Barnes, who earned nine saves last season as the de facto closer, will vie with ex-Yankee Adam Ottavino for the closer’s job. Hirokazu Sawamura and left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez will also fill key bullpen roles and could wind up finishing games if the others falter.

ROOKIES TO WATCH

Sawamura is a 32-year-old rookie who pitched 10 years in Japan’s top league before signing as a free agent this offseason. Bobby Dalbec, who hit eight homers in 80 at-bats last year, will get a chance to win the first base job.

Projected Lineup: 

LINEUP

CF    Alex Verdugo (L)

3B    Rafel Devers (L)

SS    Xander Bogaerts (R)

DH   J.D. Martinez (R)

LF    Hunter Renfroe (R)

1B    Bobby Dalbec (R)

C     Christian Vazquez (R)

RF    Franchy Cordero (L)

2B   Enrique Hernandez (R)

BENCH

UT    Marwin Gonzalez (S)

INF   Michael Chavis (R)

C      Kevin Plawecki (R)

INF   Christian Arroyo (R)

OF    Marcus Wilson (R)

ROTATION

LHP    Eduardo Rodriguez

RHP    Nathan Eovaldi

LHP    Martin Perez

RHP    Garrett Richards

RHP    Tanner Houck

LHP    Chris Sale*

BULLPEN

RHP    Matt Barnes (C)

RHP    Adam Ottavino

LHP    Darwinzon Hernandez

LHP    Josh Taylor

RHP    Ryan Brasier

RHP    Phillips Valdez

RHP    Nick Pivetta

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PREVIEW: NEW YORK YANKEES

NEW YORK (AP) The Yankees think they have the right stuff to end 11 years without a World Series title. Maybe too much right stuff.

New York used right-handed batters for 72% of plate appearances last year, the second-highest percentage in the major leagues behind 72.3% for the Chicago White Sox and up from 71.2% for the Yankees in 2019, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Switching-hitting center fielder Aaron Hicks projects as the only non-righty bat in New York’s first-choice batting order, now that Clint Frazier has displaced Brett Gardner as the top left-fielder.

“There’s going to be lanes for other managers to navigate with if they have a starter/reliever that is really difficult on right-handers,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “Of course, that’s an area of weakness, the fact that we’re so right-handed and don’t have as much mix and match there. So it’s definitely something that we’re aware of.”

New York lost to eventual AL champion Tampa Bay in a five-game Division Series last year after Aroldis Chapman allowed a go-ahead home run to Mike Brosseau in the eighth inning of Game 5 — a little more than a month after the closer threw a 101 mph pitch near Brosseau’s head on Sept. 1, resulting in a suspension for the first two games of the 2021 season.

Zack Britton also will be missing at the start of the season, not expected back until between May and summer following surgery to remove a bone chip from the left-hander’s pitching elbow.

A revamped bullpen includes side-arming right-hander Darren O’Day and left-hander Justin Wilson to join right-hander Chad Green.

Ace Gerrit Cole is joined in the rotation by newcomers Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon along with holdover Jordan Montgomery. Domingo German, back from a domestic violence suspension that had sidelined him since September 2019, appeared likely to beat out Deivi Garcia for the No. 5 starter, at least at the season’s start. Luis Severino is expected back in June or July from Tommy John surgery on Feb. 27, 2020.

“The decision for April 1 isn’t the final decision,” manager Aaron Boone said. “I go back to a couple years ago when DJ LeMahieu wasn’t in the starting lineup on opening day. I knew he was going to play pretty much every day, but it’s like somebody’s got to sit on opening day and that’s the story, but it’s a long season. And I just feel really good about where all our starters or — slash guys who give us length — I feel like we’re in a pretty good spot with them right now, and we’re going to need them all.”

A roster devoid of rookies expected to play significant roles includes a batting order virtually unchanged from last year, when right fielder Aaron Judge and designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton were hurt again for major stretches. New York expects a rebound from catcher Gary Sanchez, who hit a career-worst .147 and was benched in favor of Kyle Higashioka for four of five Division Series games.

New York went 33-27 in the pandemic-shortened season, seven games behind the Rays. The Yankees were 22-9 at home but 11-18 on the road.

“Talk is always cheap, obviously, at this point,” Boone said. “But I really like the winter that we’ve had, with some of the additions we’ve made that I think are going to be impactful, to go along with already the makeup of this team that is of championship caliber.”

NEW LOOK

Masahiro Tanaka signed with Rakuten in Japan’s Pacific League, James Paxton with Seattle and J.A. Happ with Minnesota. That created room for Kluber, who has pitched one inning since May 2019 after being hit on the right forearm by a comebacker and then tearing a muscle in his right shoulder in his Texas debut last July 26, and Taillon, out since May 2019 while recovering from his second Tommy John surgery. Jay Bruce, a rare lefty bat, was trying to earn a job over Michael Tauchman as a backup outfielder and first baseman.

STREAKY

New York’s 2020 season included a 16-6 start followed by a 5-15 slide, a 10-game winning streak and six losses in the last eight games.

ALL OR NOTHING AT ALL

A long-ball dependent offense scored 156 of 315 runs on homers.

Projected Lineup: 

LINEUP

2B    DJ LeMahieu (R)

RF    Aaron Judge (R)

CF    Aaron Hicks (S)

DH   Giancarlo Stanton (R)

1B    Luke Voit (R)

SS    Gleyber Torres (R)

LF    Clint Frazier (R)

3B    Gio Urshela (R)

C     Gary Sanchez (R)

BENCH

C      Kyle Higashioka (R)

OF    Mike Tauchman (L)

1B    Mike Ford (L)

INF   Thairo Estrada (R)

OF    Brett Gardner (L)

ROTATION

RHP     Gerrit Cole

RHP     Corey Kluber

RHP     Jameson Taillon

LHP     Jordan Montgomery

LHP     Deivi Garcia

RHP     Luis Severino*

BULLPEN

LHP     Aroldis Chapman (C)

LHP     Zack Britton

RHP     Chad Green

RHP     Darren O’Day

LHP     Justin Wilson

RHP     Luis Cessa

RHP     Jonathan Loasiga

RHP     Domingo German

NFL DRAFT: TOP RUNNING BACKS

  1. TRAVIS ETIENNE, CLEMSON….Clemson running back Travis Etienne enters the NFL after a productive college career that resulted in him being the ACC’s all-time leading rusher. His burst and contact balance make him a big-play back that is capable of taking it the distance from any part of the field. While he’s an explosive back, Etienne is disciplined and doesn’t try to do too much and put his team in bad positions. He’s grown wonderfully as a receiver and is a nightmare matchup for linebackers in coverage. The primary area of concern for Etienne is inconsistent results in pass protection. His tape reveals too many instances where he is tardy to diagnose pressure schemes and lacks the technique needed to consistently execute blocks in pass protection. While his vision is sufficient, there are times when he can become too eager pressing the line of scrimmage where more patience and anticipation are needed to maximize his touches. Overall, the grips with Etienne’s game are minor and he has the upside to become one of the NFL’s most dangerous offensive weapons. 
  2. JAVONTE WILLIAMS, NORTH CAROLINA….North Carolina running back Javonte Williams enters the NFL as an ascending prospect that increased his production every year in college and became one of the most dynamic runners in the nation in 2020. A big, physical, and powerful runner, Williams complements his bruising style with compact elusiveness which leads to frequent broken tackles and production after contact. An every-down threat, Williams is very good in pass protection and as a receiver out of the backfield. Williams is capable of ripping off big chunks of yardage with his ability to see the field cleanly, string together moves, take smart angles, and accelerate. The biggest question mark for Williams as he takes his game to the professional ranks is how he will fare without the benefit of the scheme and playmakers in place around him at North Carolina. His traits suggest he will do just fine with the transition but it’s something to monitor. Williams has the upside to become a highly productive starting running back in the NFL that is the focal point of a rushing attack.
  3. NAJEE HARRIS, ALABAMA….Harris is a versatile threat that was a rare case of a backfield rusher who played all four seasons in Tuscaloosa. A tall and upright runner, Harris is a blend of power, determination, and versatility as both a between-the-tackles runner and perimeter rushing threat. A comfortable pass-catcher out of the backfield, he’s made strides in his pass-catching ability every season. A running back that can have passing concepts designed around his abilities, he can routinely put second-level defenders in a bind with schemed patterns to attack coverage. A runner that always seems to fall forward when taking on contact, he’s a highly determined and physical rusher who forces defenders to tackle him to the ground through the echo of the whistle. Harris isn’t a running back who contains multiple gears, as he’s a flat-footed runner that paces his way through defenses. Another key attribute on his resume is his ability to finish drives with touchdowns. Few match Harris’ will and “want to” with getting into the endzone, as he led the country in scores in that area last season.
  4. MICHAEL CARTER, NORTH CAROLINA….North Carolina running back Michael Carter was a steady presence in the Tar Heels backfield since 2017 but truly broke out over his final two seasons, where he collected 2,669 yards from scrimmage and 16 touchdowns. He has terrific vision, burst, elusiveness, receiving skills, and decision-making as a runner that makes him so productive. While he is on the leaner side, Carter is a good inside and outside runner. He does well to make intelligent and timely cuts while blending patience with decisiveness, making his blocks right, and running to daylight. While he isn’t overly dynamic when it comes to contact balance and breaking tackles, he is slippery and his wiggle enables him to find yards after contact. For a team looking to employ a two-back system, Carter would be an outstanding complementary option to another back that brings size and power components to the table.
  5. KENNETH GAINWELL, MEMPHIS….Kenneth Gainwell played quarterback in high school and produced 1,459 rushing yards (6.3 avg) and 13 touchdowns with 51 receptions for 610 yards and three receiving touchdowns in his first season of playing running back as a redshirt freshman in 2019. A dynamic playmaker in 2019, Gainwell has good vision, elusiveness, footwork, pass-catching ability, and a surprising amount of power given his build. Memphis featured him as both a runner and receiver and his pass-catching skills should be a big part of his role in the NFL. The Tigers got him involved in the screen game and from the slot, where he features good route-running skills, reliable hands, and creativity in space. With only one year of time at the running back position in a spread offense like Memphis, Gainwell has a considerable transition ahead of him to the NFL. His frame is somewhat long and lean and he would be well-served to bulk up to fill out his frame but also add functional strength. Gainwell has the potential to become the focal point of an NFL backfield as a multifaceted weapon.
  6. KHALIL HERBERT, VIRGINIA TECH….Khalil Herbert had a flashy run at Kansas before bursting onto the scene in a breakout campaign at Virginia Tech in 2020. In 11 games in 2020, Herbert logged 165 touches from scrimmage, tallying 1,362 yards with nine touchdowns. Herbert is a disciplined runner that plays within himself, has good vision, takes excellent angles, has good contact balance, and is a smooth operator. While he’s a good athlete, he isn’t overly dynamic—Herbert’s big plays come because of his decision making and how he sets up tacklers in space with smart cuts in addition to his sufficient burst. What Herbert is lacking is a proven ability to contribute on passing downs. Despite showcasing a willingness to pass block, Herbert was underwhelming at Virginia Tech in pass protection. In addition, he never caught more than 10 passes in any season for his career, so developing and proving his pass-catching skill set will be important for him to claim a prominent role in the NFL. At a minimum, Herbert should be a strong No. 2 back in the NFL that has starter ability if he can prove himself on passing downs.
  7. DEMETRIC FELTON, UCLA….Moved into the starting role last season. Lined up at both running back and wide receiver during Senior Bowl practices. Explosive ball carrier with a variety of ability. Patient, waits for blocks to develop, and plays much faster than his 40 time. Possesses tremendous instincts and vision, and always works to pick up positive yardage. Grinds it out on the inside, keeps his feet moving, and breaks arm tackles. Quick-footed, sidesteps defenders, and possesses a burst. Finds the hole, turns upfield and runs north and south. Possesses the speed to get outside the tackle, displays outstanding short-area quickness, and makes defenders miss. Outstanding pass catcher out of the backfield who consistently extends and snatches the ball away from his frame with his hands.
  8. CHUBA HUBBARD, OKLAHOMA STATE….A product of Alberta, Canada, in 2017, Hubbard was a four-star prospect and the top-ranked player beyond the northern border. Standing at just over 6-foot-0, with 190 pounds to his frame, Hubbard had decent size as a high school senior and brought tangible speed elements. Hubbard received offers from a diverse host of schools. He had interest from coast to coast — from teams like North Carolina and UCF to Oregon and California. In the end, however, Hubbard chose to split the difference and wound up in the country’s heartland. Hubbard signed with the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Hubbard redshirted his first season with the Cowboys and did not see the field in any capacity. That changed in 2019, however, when Hubbard was able to earn opportunities as a rotational back. Playing in tandem with current Ravens running back Justice Hill, Hubbard earned 740 yards and seven touchdowns on 124 carries. He also logged over 200 receiving yards and two touchdowns through the air. In 2019, Hill entered the NFL Draft, and the premier running back role was Hubbard’s alone to fill. The Oklahoma State running back erupted in his redshirt sophomore season, piling on yards en route to a historic campaign. Hubbard amassed 2,094 yards and 21 touchdowns on 328 carries, averaging a healthy 6.4 yards per rush.
  9. TREY SERMON, OHIO STATE….Ohio State running back Trey Sermon is one of the hottest running back prospects in football on the heels of an offensive explosion amid the Ohio State Buckeyes’ run to the National Championship game. Sermon wrangled the primary ball-carrier duties after splitting the load for much of the season with Master Teague III and has made the most of his opportunities; shredding two high-profile defenses in high-profile games. Sermon’s skill set and production will be the latest argument against drafting running backs high in the draft—Sermon is expected to be a mid-round prospect thanks to some inefficiencies and a lack of production on third downs; but on a team that runs inside and split zone with success, Sermon can be super productive (just as he was in such concepts for the Buckeyes down the stretch). Sermon has the physicality, contact balance, ball security, and toughness to be an early-down back and shoulder the majority of the load for an NFL team—he’ll be an economic option for zone-based teams looking to boost their ground game and add some toughness into the mix. As an added bonus, between his tenure at Oklahoma and his one season at Ohio State, Sermon has not logged 200-plus carries in a single season; there’s reason to believe that there should be plenty of life left in his legs for a significant long-term return on investment.
  10. RHAMONDRE STEVENSON, OKLAHOMA… Played in six games and made five starts (each of last five contests) … missed season’s first five games … totaled a team-high 665 yards and seven touchdowns on 101 rushes … averaged 6.6 yards per carry and 110.8 rushing yards per game … had 18 receptions (tied for fifth on team) for 211 yards (11.7 per catch and 35.2 per game) … named Outstanding Offensive Player of the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic after rushing for a career-high 186 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries in 55-20 win over No. 10 Florida … averaged 10.3 yards per rush against Gators and logged a season-long 50-yard run … rushed for a game-high 97 yards on 18 carries (5.4 average) and made four catches for 36 yards in Big 12 Championship win over No. 8 Iowa State (12/19) … carried 15 times for 55 yards and a touchdown and made five receptions for 48 yards vs. Baylor (12/5) … rushed for 141 yards on 26 carries and added three receptions for 54 yards (including a 45-yarder) vs. No. 14 Oklahoma State (11/21) … ran 11 times for 104 yards and two touchdowns and led the team with four receptions for 60 yards vs. Kansas (11/7) … rushed for 87 yards and a career-high three touchdowns in season debut at Texas Tech (10/31) en route to earning Big 12 Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Scheffler mows down European stalwarts in Match Play

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Scottie Scheffler delivered all the right shots Saturday and moved into the semifinals of the Dell Technologies Match Play by taking down Ian Poulter and Jon Rahm.

Scheffler was the highest seed remaining at No. 30, which is just a number the way he handled Austin Country Club against two of Europe’s best in this format

The 24-year-old Texan made 15 birdies in the 31 holes required to get through his two matches.

“Being able to take down those two guys, and Xander (Schauffele) in the final match on Friday, like I said before, I think my game’s trending in the right direction this week,” Scheffler said.

He advances to a final day that features three Americans and one European – Victor Perez of France, who made short work of Sergio Garcia in their quarterfinal match.

Matt Kuchar, the only player to win every match he has played in this most unpredictable event, pulled out a 1-up victory over Jordan Spieth in the morning and then kept Brian Harman from another amazing rally by rolling in a 10-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole of their quarterfinal match.

Kuchar and Scheffler will meet in one semifinal match. Perez will face Billy Horschel, who never led in his quarterfinal match until Tommy Fleetwood sent his tee shot out of bounds on their 19th hole, the par-5 12th.

Kuchar won the Match Play in 2013 and lost in the championship match two years ago to Kevin Kisner. With his five wins this week, he now has 33 in this tournament, second only to the 36 matches won by Tiger Woods.

Scheffler knows Austin Country Club as well as anyone from his four years he spent playing for the Texas Longhorns, but this was more about the quality of his golf in the face of two intense competitors.

He never gave Poulter, a Ryder Cup stalwart and past winner of the Match Play, much of a chance. Poulter didn’t win a hole as Scheffler made seven birdies in a match that ended on the 14th hole. Poulter holed a 40-foot birdie putt on the 11th hole and looked to cut the deficit to 2 down, only for Scheffler to hole a chip from behind the green.

In the quarterfinal match, Rahm fell 3 down when his approach to the par-5 12th found the water. As usual, the Spaniard who reached the championship match in his 2017 debut mounted a charge. Rahm ran off four straight birdies – and he only picked up one hole. Scheffler matched him on the 13th and made a 10-foot birdie after Rahm chipped in on the 14th.

“That was a big one,” Scheffler said. “I was standing there greenside and that was kind of the moment. It was kind of his do-or-die moment for the round, and I had a feeling he was going to hit a really good shot and it happened to go in. And I knew I had to roll that one in to keep things in check.”

They matched birdies on the 16th, and Rahm conceded after failing to birdie the 17th.

Horschel had never made it to the weekend in his four previous appearances, and this one looked doubtful, too, until he beat Max Homa on the third playoff hole to win his group. He dispatched Kevin Streelman in the fourth round Saturday morning, and never led against Fleetwood in the quarterfinals until they went extra holes.

Fleetwood had gone 67 straight holes – starting with the 17th hole Wednesday – in which he never trailed. But after the Englishman missed a 12-foot birdie putt for the win on the 18th hole, they headed to the par-5 12th. Fleetwood hit his shot so far left that it went well out-of-bounds, and the best he could manage after re-teeing was a bogey.

That almost was enough.

Fleetwood hit into the water on the 13th and halved the hole with a bogey when Horschel took three putts from just off the green. Horschel went ultra conservative with Fleetwood out-of-bounds on No. 12 in extra holes. He laid up short of the water, hit a wedge 30 feet by the hole, left his birdie putt 5 feet short and had to make that to win.

Kuchar was fortunate to make it through the morning. Spieth never trailed and wasted a chance to go 1 up on the par-5 16th hole. Kuchar was in grass so thick right of the fairway that he asked the marshal to let fans under the rope to help him find his ball. Then, he was given relief from a scoreboard in his line of the flag.

He scrambled for par, and Spieth missed a 6-foot birdie putt. Kuchar won on the 18th hole in what amounted to a chipping contest. Spieth went 30 feet long, Kuchar was 6 feet short, and Kuchar won with a birdie.

He built a 3-up lead over Harman, against whom no lead is safe. In the fourth round, Harman was 4 down to Bubba Watson through five holes until he made eight straight birdies and won seven straight holes, winning 2 and 1.

Harman was 3 down with five holes to play when he won the 14th and added two more birdies, only for Kuchar to match him.

INDIANA BASEBALL

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Indiana University baseball team defeated the Michigan State Spartans, 10-4, at McLane Stadium in East Lansing, Mich. on Saturday afternoon.

With the victory, the Hoosiers improve to 11-2 on the season overall and in Big Ten conference play. The Spartans fall to 6-8 on the year and in league action.

KEY MOMENTS

• After a OF Drew Ashley walk and an INF Cole Barr double to left-center field, runners were at second and third for INF Paul Toetz. The freshman came through and gave IU an early, 1-0 lead with an RBI infield groundout.

• With the score tied at 1-1 after two full, the Hoosiers played long-ball in the top of the third to take a 5-1 lead. Ashley hit a laser over the left-field fence for a solo home run to get the scoring started.

• After a Toetz double and a walk to DH Kip Fougerousse, INF Jordan Fucci hit a rocket deep down the right-field line for a three-run blast.

• Indiana added three runs in the sixth inning courtesy of a double play, wild pitch and an error to push the lead to 8-1.

• In the eighth inning, Barr was back at it, lining a two-run double down the left-field line to make the score 10-1.

NOTABLES

• RHP McCade Brown (3-1) earned the win for the Hoosiers, striking out seven in five innings of work, allowing just one run on three hits.

• Indiana’s 11-2 start in Big Ten play is the best for the team since also starting 11-2 in league action in 2016.

• Ashley extended his on-base streak to 38-games dating back to the 2019 season.

• Ashley and Toetz have at least one hit in all 13 games this season for the Hoosiers.

• RHP John Modugno tossed two perfect innings of relief, striking out two.

• Ashley’s four runs scored are the most for any Hoosier since Elijah Dunham scored four against Rutgers on May 18, 2019.

• Indiana’s 10 runs are a season-high.

• LHP Braden Scott struck out the final two batters of the game.

UP NEXT

• The Indiana Hoosiers will conclude their Big Ten series at Michigan State on Sunday, Mar. 28. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET.

INDIANA MEN’S SOCCER

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – No. 7 Indiana (7-1-0) walked it off against the No. 11 Michigan Wolverines (4-2-1) at U-M Soccer Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Redshirt sophomore forward Ryan Wittenbrink scored a golden goal in the 101st minute to give the Hoosiers the 1-0 victory in double overtime.

KEY MOMENTS

• Michigan saw two big chances in the first 45 minutes of play. The first threat was thwarted by sophomore keeper Roman Celentano, who made a scooping save to regain possession following an advantageous Wolverine attack. The second attempt came via free kick. U-M attempted a long-range shot that cleared the Hoosier wall and bounced right into the waiting arms of Celentano for his second save of the match.

• In the 62nd minute, sophomore forward Herbert Endeley served up a wonderful cross to sophomore forward Victor Bezerra right in front of goal. Michigan sophomore keeper Owen Finnerty made a tremendous diving save to stop the one-time shot attempt from the Big Ten scoring leader. 

• Indiana had a flurry of chances in the 80th minute off a free kick just inside the midfield line. The Michigan defense was up to the challenge and did not concede the late tally.

• The Hoosiers had three set pieces, including two corners, a couple minutes into the first overtime session. Once again, the defense from the home team neutralized the attacking opportunity.

• Celentano saved the Hoosiers late in the first overtime with a left-handed save to keep the Wolverines off the board.

• A fast restart attempt led to the match-winning goal. Bezerra placed the ball down quickly and floated a looping pass down to Wittenbrink in the offensive third. He gathered and took a handful of touches before unleashing a right-footed strike from the top of the 18-yard box that froze the Michigan keeper before finding the back of the net.

NOTABLES

• In the program’s last 44 Big Ten regular season matches Indiana holds a record of 33-2-9.

• Indiana holds a series advantage of 23-3-3 against Michigan, including a mark of 10-1-0 at U-M Soccer Stadium.

• The Hoosiers have not suffered a loss to the Wolverines since 2013. IU is 8-0-2 in the last 10 matches between the two programs and has outscored U-M by a tally of 15-3 during that stretch.

• Celentano earned his 17th-career victory and the seventh of his sophomore campaign. In 22 career starts, the keeper has conceded just 10 goals with 13 clean sheets. He has allowed a goal or less in 21 of his career starts.

• The victory marked the first IU win over a ranked team this season and first ranked triumph since taking down No. 19 Kentucky (3-0) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Nov. 24, 2019.

• The match marked the first overtime contest played by Indiana this season.

HOOSIER POINTS

GOALS: Ryan Wittenbrink

ASSISTS: None

UP NEXT

Indiana will take on the Maryland Terrapins at 1 p.m. ET on April 4 at Jerry Yeagley Field at Bill Armstrong Stadium. The match will be broadcast on BTN.

PURDUE VOLLEYBALL

COLUMBUS, Ohio – No. 10 Purdue volleyball (13-5) overpowered No. 9 Ohio State (15-3) in four sets (20-25, 26-24, 25-21, 25-18) for the second straight night to sweep the series.

With the win, Purdue improves to 5-5 against top-25 opponents this season (including three wins over top-10 programs). Additionally, it was the first series sweep over a top-10 opponent since the 2013 Purdue squad when it won a pair of matches versus then-No. 8/6 Nebraska in 2013.

The defensive showing by the Boilermakers were one of the best in recent years, securing the second-most digs in a match in over five seasons (best: set earlier this season, 103 vs. then-No. 6 Minnesota).

Senior libero Jena Otec anchored the back row and was just one dig shy of the second 30-dig club. The Crystal City, Missouri, native’s 29 digs tie as the fifth-most by a Boilermaker in a four-set match in program history. Otec led the defensive effort that registered 85 total digs.

Not only did four Boilermakers record double-digit kills: Caitlyn Newton (14), Grace Cleveland (12 kills), Emma Ellis (11 kills) and Taylor Trammell (10 kills), but setter Hayley Bush also recorded a double-double with 50 assists and 11 digs. Cleveland also led the team with nine block assists, meanwhile Trammell boasted a career-high in kills after setting a personal-best in blocks the weekend prior (12 at Rutgers, 3/19).

The result improved a six consecutive wins against Ohio State, tying the second-longest in the team’s storied history (all-time record: 45-46, OSU leads).

BALL STATE BASEBALL

MUNCIE, Ind. — Chayce McDermott matched a career-high with 13 strikeouts to lead the Ball State baseball team to a 7-1 victory in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader at First Merchants Ballpark Complex. But Toledo found the hits when it needed them in game two for a 6-3 victory to earn a split of the day’s action.

“I thought both games were very competitive,” BSU head coach Rich Maloney said. “We got the big hits, the timely hits in the first game, and they got timely hits in the second game. That was really the story of the day. I thought both pitchers for both teams pitched well. Tomorrow we have to really battle and find a way to win the series.”

The Cardinals (11-9, 5-2 MAC) and Rockets (4-16, 2-5 MAC) will close out their four-game set Sunday with a 1 p.m. first pitch. Ball State leads the series 2-1 and will aim for a second straight series victory to open conference play.

Based on guidance surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, general public attendance is not permitted at First Merchants Ballpark Complex this season.

Game 1 | BSU 7, TOL 1

McDermott struck out nine consecutive Toledo hitters at one point on his way to 13 in a seven-inning complete game. He fanned 11 last week in just five innings against Western Michigan.

On Saturday, McDermott allowed only a first-inning run on Chris Meyers’ third homer of the weekend for Toledo and then shut down the Rockets the rest of the way. He scattered three hits and did not walk a single batter.

Ryan Peltier’s two-run homer in the bottom of the second put the Cardinals on top, and they never surrendered the lead. BSU put the game out of reach with a four spot in the fifth inning, highlighted by a two-RBI triple from Trenton Quartermaine. Noah Powell added a solo shot in the sixth for good measure.

Game 2 | TOL 6, BSU 3

Lukas Jaksich was out there matching McDermott strikeout for strikeout as the BSU starter in the second game. The left-hander fanned 11 Toledo batters in 5.2 innings.

Jaksich breezed through the first four innings without allowing a hit. Then Toledo broke through with three runs in the fifth. Nicky Winterstein, who drove in five of Toledo’s six runs in the game, plated two with a double in the fifth. The Rockets then hung three more in the sixth on a bases-clearing triple from Winterstein to stretch the lead to 6-1.

Ball State, which managed just one run through six innings against Toledo starter Layne Schnitz-Paxton, tried to rally in the seventh. Decker Scheffler’s pinch-hit, two-RBI double with two outs cut the lead to three, but Schnitz-Paxton got the out he needed to finish out the seven-inning complete game.

NOTRE DAME BASEBALL

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Coming off the series-opening loss on Friday, the No. 12 Notre Dame baseball team battled back on Saturday as the game came down to the final inning. With Louisville tying the game in the top of the ninth, Ryan Cole was at it again with his second walk-off home run in as many weeks as the Irish defeated No. 6 Louisville 5-3 to tie the series.

“(John Michael) Bertrand got us deep into the game and was in control of his outing, as we have seen before,” said head coach Link Jarrett. “Our defense played very well and there were very nice plays at essentially every defense position on the field. (Jack) Brannigan had a great day at the plate, at third, and to come in and help close out the ninth.”

The Irish (11-4, 10-4 ACC) took the lead in the seventh inning after plating three runs in the inning to go ahead 3-2 which held until the top of the ninth. Alex Binelas hit a solo home run to tie it in the top of the ninth. The Cardinals (16-6, 8-3 ACC) got a runner to third but Brannigan took to the mound and got the Irish out of the inning.

“Baseball is such a great game and to think you would see the same guy hit his second walk-off home run in six home games is simply amazing,” stated Jarrett. “Louisville is a very good team and tomorrow will be another exciting Sunday.”

Following a one-out single from David LaManna, Cole took a 2-1 pitch over the bushes in left field for his second career walk-off home run. With the win, the Irish ended a 20-game losing streak to the Cardinals and tied the weekend series heading into Sunday.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Bertrand set down the first nine batters of the game in order. The Irish had the first seven batters retired in order before Brannigan got the first hit of the game for either team in the bottom of the third.

Louisville did not get their first hit of the game until the fifth inning but that made it count. Lucas Dunn reached on a single and then stole second to get in scoring position. With two outs Levi Usher hit one back up the middle that scored Dunn and gave the Cardinals a 1-0 lead after five innings.

Louisville added another run in the sixth inning with a leadoff solo home run from Cooper Bowman. The homer doubled the lead for the Cardinals at 2-0 after six innings.

The Irish offense woke up in the seventh inning and it started with a leadoff single to right from Jared Miller. After advancing to second on a ground out and stealing third, he scored on Brooks Coetzee’s single to center. Cole went from first to third on the play and Coetzee made it to second on the throw into the plate. Brannigan stepped up and launched a double off the wall in center that scored the pair and put the Irish up 3-2.

The Cardinals tied the game in the ninth off Binelas’ solo shot but Brannigan kept the Irish tied after getting the final two outs of the inning.

Cole’s heroics in the ninth propelled the Irish to their 10th conference win and sets up a rubber match on Sunday.

UP NEXT

The Irish and Cardinals will meet Sunday afternoon to decide the series between the Top-15 teams. The Irish will send LHP Will Mercer to the hill for Sunday’s matinee that is scheduled for  a 1 p.m. ET start and will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra.

OHIO STATE BASEBALL

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State second baseman Colton Bauer hit his second home run of the year to give the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead but that was all the offense the Buckeyes would muster on Saturday in a 5-1 loss to Iowa.

Hawkeye starter Cam Baumann went 7.0 innings and allowed just three hits while striking out five and walking two. Bauer had a home run, Conner Pohl hustled-out a double and Archer Brookman had hit first hit of the season.

On the mound, Seth Lonsway picked up the loss, going 5.0 innings allowing three runs on four hits with four walks and four strikeouts. Patrick Murphy covered 3.1 innings out of the pen, allowing a pair of runs.

Iowa had the first scoring chance in the second as Brayden Frazier led off with a double and moved up to third on a wild pitch. But Lonsway was able to get back-to-back strikeouts and a groundout to end the threat.

The Buckeyes took the lead in the bottom the third as Bauer smoked his second home run of the season down the leftfield line. But the lead was short-lived as Iowa was finally able to take advantage of Lonsway wildness. Tyler Snep hit a long two-run home run to right to put the Hawkeyes in front.

Iowa added another run on a 2-out double in the fifth and then posted two more insurance runs in the ninth.

The Buckeyes, who are now 7-6 on the season, will take on Maryland on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is set for 4:05 p.m.

DAYTON BASEBALL

DAYTON – The University of Dayton baseball team fell on Saturday to Kent State 11-3 at Woerner Field.

The Flyers fall to 6-15 on the season with the loss. Junior Marcos Pujols led the team offensively, going 2-3 with two RBIs on the day, while senior Mariano Ricciardi paced UD with three hits, scoring two runs.

Seniors Mitchell Garrity and Michael Cleary each were hit by a pitch in the contest as well, pushing them both closer to the program record. Cleary was hit for the 42nd time in his Dayton career, putting him into third place on the all-time list while Garrity was hit for the 47th time, just one behind Cole Tyrell for a share of first in the history of the program.

ON THE MOUND

Graduate student Ben Olson started the game for Dayton, going 4.1 innings and striking out seven Kent State hitters. The lefty allowed four runs on six hits in his sixth start of the season.

Senior R.J. Wagner entered for Olson in the fifth, going the next 3.1 innings allowing two earned runs on six hits and striking out five. Sophomore Anthony Hattrup finished the game, giving up three unearned runs on three hits in 1.1 innings on the mound.

SCORING PLAYS

Top 1: (1-0 Flashes)

Olson allowed a double during the game’s first at bat and after getting the next two Kent State hitters out, a double down the left field line gave the Golden Flashes a 1-0 lead.

Top 4: (2-0 Flashes)

A leadoff walk was followed by a single putting two on. Olson picked off the runner on second before a walk and a single loaded the bases. A groundout to junior Benjamin Blackwell scored the run and pushed the UD deficit to two.

Top 5: (6-0 Flashes)

Two singles and a hit by pitch loaded the bases and Kent State hit a grand slam to make it 6-0.

Bottom 7: (6-2 Flashes)

Freshman Chase Melnick singled to lead off the inning and was followed by a base hit by Ricciardi and a walk by Blackwell to load the bases. A wild pitch scored Melnick from third and a sacrifice fly by Pujols brought Ricciardi in to score and cut the lead to four.

Top 8: (8-2 Flashes)

A one-out single to left field was followed by a two-out single to right field. An error on graduate student Eddie Pursinger allowed the first run to score and a single to center field made it 8-2 Kent State.

Top 9: (11-2 Flashes)

A single with one out put a runner on before Hattrup struck out the next Kent State hitter. An error by Blackwell put two on and a throwing error by Ricciardi brought home another run. A two-run double to right field would give the game its final score of 11-2.

UP NEXT

The Flyers will finish the series with Kent State on Sunday with a road doubleheader. The first pitch for the doubleheader is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium in Kent, Ohio.

PURDUE MEN’S SOCCER

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue soccer team plays its final road match of the regular season at Iowa on Sunday, March 28, with kickoff at 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT in Iowa City, Iowa, at the Iowa Soccer Complex.

Fans can watch live on BTN+, and live stats will be available at Iowa.Statbroadcast.com. Updates also can be found by following Purdue Soccer on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, while direct links to BTN+ and live stats are available at PurdueSports.com/Soccer.

The Boilermakers (4-4-1) saw their four-match unbeaten streak snapped on Thursday at Minnesota, while the Hawkeyes (1-7-1) are coming off a defeat to No. 9 Penn State. Purdue is tied for 8th place in the Big Ten standings and within three points of fourth place and Iowa is tied for 12th with four points.

Purdue is fourth in the Big Ten with 11.78 shots per match and a 0.855 goals-against average and sixth in total assists (10) and assists per match (1.11).

Individually, redshirt junior forward Sarah Griffith paces the conference and is No. 22 nationally with 4.00 shots per match. She is third with five goals, fifth with 0.56 goals per match and 1.78 shots on goal per match and sixth with 11 total points. Additionally, Griffith and freshman forward Nicole Kevdzija each have two match-winning goals, which is sixth in the Big Ten. Kevdzija is second on the team with three goals and seven points.

Junior goalkeeper Marisa Bova ranks No. 4 in the league with a 0.855 goals-against average and is fifth with 841:54 minutes played. She has played every minute in goal and has allowed eight goals with 29 saves for a .784 save percentage. Bova has three shutouts and also has an assist.

SERIES HISTORY VS. IOWA

Purdue is 7-9-4 all-time against Iowa following a 1-0 upset victory over the 19th-ranked Hawkeyes in 2019. In Iowa City, the Boilermakers are 3-6-2, with the most recent result a 1-1 draw in 2018.

In last year’s upset win, Sydney Sparks scored in the 47th minute on Purdue’s only shot on goal in the contest. Iowa held a 10-4 advantage in shots, while Bova stopped all three shots on goal she saw. Hannah Melchiorre earned the assist on the game-winner and also had a shot.

SCOUTING THE HAWKEYES

Playing its final home match of the regular season, Iowa is 1-7-1 and 0-3-1 at home. Before a 1-0 loss to No. 9 Penn State on Thursday, the Hawkeyes notched a 1-0 win in overtime at Maryland on March 21.

Sunday’s contest also is Senior Day for UI.

The Hawkeyes are fourth in the Big Ten with 4.67 saves per match and seventh with 5.00 shots on goal per contest. Iowa has scored two goals on the year.

LAST TIME OUT: STREAK SNAPPED

The Boilermakers’ unbeaten streak was snapped at four with a 1-0 loss at Minnesota on March 25. The Boilermakers were shut out for the first time in six matches, as the Golden Gophers scored in the 83rd minute and remained undefeated at home.

UM had a 15-8 advantage in shots and a 5-4 edge in shots on goal. Both teams had four corner kicks and four saves. Griffith led Purdue with five shots, three on goal, while Kevdzija was one of three Boilermakers with one shot. Griffith’s goal streak was snapped at three consecutive matches, as was her five-match point streak. Bova made four saves.

UP NEXT: SENIOR DAY FOR THE GOLDEN BOOT

The Golden Boot is on the line as Purdue plays its final match of the regular season on Saturday, March 3. The Boilermakers will recognize their seniors prior to hosting rival Indiana at Folk Field.

PURDUE VOLLEYBALL: Buckeyes Fall to Boilermakers

Ohio State is 15-3 on the season

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 9 Ohio State women’s volleyball team stumbled against No. 10 Purdue on Saturday in a 3-1 setback (20-25, 26-24, 25-21, 25-18) at the Covelli Center. The Buckeyes drop to 15-3 on the year while the Boilermakers improve to 13-5.

Emily Londot once again led all scorers and recorded her seventh double-double of the season on 21 kills and 10 digs. Rylee Rader had 10 kills and Lauren Witte tallied nine. Mac Podraza did a little bit of everything with 49 assists, nine digs, four kills and two blocks.

Defensively, Kylie Murr (25), Hannah Gruensfelder (22) and Gabby Gonzales (14) all posted double figures in digs. At the net, Londot tallied five rejections while Witte and Rader had four apiece.

SET 1: Ohio State called its first timeout of the match as it trailed 9-6. The Buckeyes scored five of the next six points to send the Boilermakers to their bench. A 5-1 run gave OSU an 18-16 edge and the squad cruised to a 25-20 triumph, capped off by Witte’s ace.

SET 2: After exchanging points, a pair of errors by Purdue put Ohio State up 15-13. The upper hand did not last long as the score was tied again, this time at 20-all. Four of the last five tallies belonged to the Boilermakers for a 26-24 win.

SET 3: The rally was even until a 3-0 spurt gave the Boilermakers a 21-17 lead. The Buckeyes used a timeout to regroup but came up short, 25-21.

SET 4: Ohio State fell behind 11-7 early in the frame. The Buckeyes pulled within three but Purdue closed the set on a 5-1 run to claim a 25-18 victory.

UP NEXT

Ohio State concludes its regular season at Indiana April 2-3.

EARLHAM BASEBALL

SCORES: G1 – Franklin 12, Earlham 9 (10 inn.) / G2 – Earlham 8, Franklin 8 (11 inn. – suspended)

LOCATION: Franklin, Indiana – McDowell Field

RECORDS: Earlham 7-5 / Franklin 6-3

FRANKLIN, Indiana – The Earlham College baseball team had a disappointing day on the diamond at McDowell Field against Franklin College on Saturday, March 27, where they dropped Game 1 in a heartbreaking walk-off 10 inning affair, 12-9, with Game 2 ending 8-8 in the 11th inning due to darkness with the remainder of the game scheduled to conclude when Franklin College visits Sadler Stadium on May 1.

Franklin College won the opening game despite trailing 8-5 after the fifth inning, and then again trailing 7-5 after the sixth inning in the second game.  With the Game 1 loss Earlham falls to 7-5 overall while Franklin College improves to 6-3 overall.

GAME 1

Franklin jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after the first inning with RBIs coming from Nick Wright and Jacob Heuchan.  The Grizzlies had four hits to start.

Earlham quickly answered with one run in the top of the second, when Austin Hatfield scored on an RBI single off the bat of Connor Drews to make it 2-1.  The Quakers struck again in the third inning when Hatfield doubled to left center driving in two runs followed by a single from Danny Dopp that plated Hatfield and gave Earlham a 4-1 lead after three.

The Quakers struck in a big way in the fifth when they scored five more runs to give them an 8-3 lead at the time.  With three batters getting plunked, a pitching change, and two errors by Franklin, Earlham capitalized on the mistakes.

The momentum changed in the ninth inning when starting pitcher Joey Gerbus was lifted after eight innings of three-run, seven-hit pitching.  This time it was Earlham who struggled with walks and an error that setup a three-run homerun off the bat of Quenton Wellington and a few batters later a two run game tying homerun from Wright.

The Quakers did take the lead in the tenth inning 9-8 when they manufactured a lead-off single from Marc Gendreau into the go ahead run at the time.  The lead was short lived however as Wright connected on a walkoff grand slam that gave the hosts the victory.

The Quaker bullpen pitched 1-2/3 innings while giving up nine runs after Gerbus left in the ninth inning.  Wright led Franklin with seven RBIs while Hatfield drove in three runs for Earlham.  Dopp returned to the lineup and had three hits in his first game back.

GAME 2

Earlham got the scoring going early in the first inning when Brian Pincura turned a leadoff walk, a wild pitch, and a stolen base into a first inning run that gave the Quakers a 1-0 lead.  Jeordon Kuderer drove in the run with a single.

Franklin took their first lead of the game in the third inning when they scored a pair of runs on three hits for a 2-1 lead.  Earlham answered the call in the fourth inning when they plated three runs on three hits.  Cameron McCabe, Marc Gendreau, and Brian Pincura each had RBIs.

Franklin answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the fourth to regain the lead 5-4.  Sean Sullivan had the big blast with a three-run homerun.

It was Earlham’s turn to answer and that they did with two more runs in the top of the fifth inning to give the visitors a 6-5 lead.  After back-to-back hits from Hatfield and Dopp, it was Nathaniel Whetstine that delivered a single that plated two.  Earlham got an insurance run in the sixth when Dopp hit a solo shot to give the Quakers a 7-5 lead at the time.

Much like the opening game, it was the host Grizzlies who scored the tying run in the bottom of the ninth inning to send the game into extra innings.

Nick Carrizales went six innings for Earlham giving up seven runs and getting a no decision.  Dopp and Kuderer each had three hits, while McCabe and Whetstine each drove in a pair of runs.

NEXT UP:

Earlham baseball returns to Sadler Stadium on Sunday March 28 with a doubleheader against Hanover College with games due to start at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. respectively.

EARLHAM MEN’S SOCCER

FINAL SCORE: Rose-Hulman 9, Earlham 0

LOCATION: Terre Haute, Indiana (Rose-Hulman Intramural Field)

RECORDS: Earlham 2-6-0 / Rose-Hulman 7-0-1

TERRE HAUTE, Indiana – Rose-Hulman proved to be a formidable opponent for the visiting Earlham College men’s soccer team, with the Quakers coming away with a 9-0 loss to the Fightin’ Engineers on Saturday at the Rose-Hulman Intramural Field.

Takezo Kelly notched three goals for Rose-Hulman while Sam Alvares and Andy June recorded two goals apiece. Caleb Urban and Brevin Lacy each scored once for the Engineers.

Colin Kaurich and Tyler Smith split the time in the Earlham goal and combined for a pair of saves. The Quakers were outshot 23-0 in the contest.

Earlham men’s soccer closes out the Spring 2021 regular season on Wednesday, March 31, when the Quakers play host to Defiance College. Start time is 3:30 p.m.

EARLHAM WOMEN’S SOCCER

FINAL SCORE: Rose-Hulman 5, Earlham 0

LOCATION: Terre Haute, Indiana (Rose-Hulman Intramural Field)

RECORDS: Earlham 1-6-1 / Rose-Hulman 6-0-0

TERRE HAUTE, Indiana – Earlham College women’s soccer closed out its Spring 2021 regular season slate with a 5-0 loss at Rose-Hulman, Saturday afternoon at the Rose-Hulman Intramural Field.

Maggie Sheerin and Elle Vuotto each scored twice for the Fightin’ Engineers, with Grace Hobson recording the remaining Rose-Hulman goal.

The Quakers were outshot in the contest, 32-2, with Earlham keeper Maria Young recording a season-best 14 saves.

Earlham women’s soccer’s final contest against Defiance College has been canceled. The Quakers will await the outcome of the remaining Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference contests to determine its post-season opponent.

CINCINNATI WSOCCER

GREENVILLE, N.C. – Alli Pestaina’s first career goal in the 80th minute broke a 1-1 tied and gave the University of Cincinnati soccer team a critical 2-1 American Athletic Conference road win over ECU Saturday at Johnson Soccer Stadium.

The Bearcats (4-4-0, 3-3-0 AAC) have won three-straight matches with all coming on goals late in the second half or overtime. UC has nine points on the season and sits third in the AAC behind Memphis (15) and USF (12). ECU fell to 2-4-2 (2-2-2 AAC).

UC scored both of its goals on set pieces with Pestaina corralling a rebound off a Taylor Nuncio free kick and belting it past ECU GK Maeve English to give the Bearcats the lead for good.

Chances for both teams were hard to come by in the first half, but UC made the most of it in the 16th minute via its first corner kick of the match. Nuncio hit an inswinger which found Pestaina’s head, was hit down into the middle of the box and Annie Metzger found the loose ball and scored her first career goal.

TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY

1913       The Browns trade Buzzy Wares to the Montgomery Rebels in exchange for the rent-free use of the minor league’s team stadium during spring training. The Southern Association Class-A team will return the 26 year-old infielder to St. Louis later in the season.

1970       Commissioner Bowie Kuhn announces the return of the All-Star selection to the fans. The over-exposure of the Midsummer Classic, two games each season between 1959-1962, and the lack of fan input prompt the MLB Promotion Corporation to modernize the marketing of the game by restoring fan balloting for the starting eight position players.

1977       Upset about losing his second base job to Bump Wills, Ranger Lenny Randle attacks and fractures his manager Frank Lucchesi’s cheekbone. The Ranger skipper may have triggered the episode, which occurred just before the team’s exhibition game against Minnesota, by once-again calling the usually even-tempered infielder a punk.

1978       Dick Allen’s fifteen-year career ends when the A’s release the aging superstar. The Wampum, Pennsylvania native finishes his stormy relationship with major league baseball with 351 HRs, 1,192 RBIs, and a .292 batting average.

1981       The White Sox trade southpaw Ken Kravec to the Cubs for Dennis Lamp, who will post a 25-21 (.543) record during his three seasons with the South Side club. With the departure of Kravec, the recently acquired Carlton Fisk has an opportunity to return to his iconic uniform #27 but chooses to stay with his new reverse digits of 72, which will be retired by Chicago in 1997.

1985       Sports Illustrated’s April 1st edition tricks the nation when author George Plimpton weaves a fictitious tale of The Curious Case Of Sidd Finch, a Mets rookie phenom who throws a 168 mph fastball. Staged photographs and quotes from Mets in real-life help to give the story a realistic edge.

1986       The Red Sox trade designated hitter Mike Easler to the Yankees for DH Don Baylor, who will provide valuable veteran leadership for the eventual AL champs while hitting only .238. Easler, known as the ‘Hit Man,’ will live up to his nickname, batting .302 in his only full season with the second-place Bronx Bombers.

1988       Four days shy of his 47th birthday, Phil Niekro’s 24-year Hall of Fame career comes to an end when the Yankees put him on waivers at the end of spring training. The right-handed knuckleballer, best known for his tenure with the Braves, compiled a 318-274 record and a 3.35 ERA while hurling for four teams, including the Yankees, Indians, and Blue Jays.

1999       At Havana’s Estadio Latinoamericano, the Orioles edge the Cuban National team, 3-2, thanks to Harold Baines’ eventual game-winning hit in the 11th inning. The contest marks the first time a U.S. team had played in Cuba since 1959, when the Dodgers played the Reds in two exhibition games on the island.

2003       The commissioner’s office announces teams will pay tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces during the seventh-inning stretch of all home openers by having ‘God Bless America’ performed. Although the song has been part of all games since the September 11th terrorist attacks, it will be heard only in major league ballparks at the home openers, Sunday, and holidays games.

2003       Three days before Opening Day, the YES Network claims Cablevision has nixed a proposed deal signed 17 days ago that would have provided televised Yankee games to nearly three million cable subscribers in the NYC metropolitan area. According to a YES Network press release, the giant cable company failed to sign a finalized version of the hand-written document that both parties exchanged on March 12 when Cablevision president James L. Dolan took exception to unacceptable alterations in the typewritten draft.

2006       The insurance claim filed by the Astros in January to get back approximately $15.6 million of Jeff Bagwell’s $17 million guaranteed contract is denied by the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company. The insurers cite no adverse change in the 37 year-old first baseman’s condition between the end of last season and the Jan. 31, 2006 policy.

2008       The decision to have manager Manny Acta catch the ceremonial first pitch from President Bush at the Nationals’ home opener is reported not to have been made by the White House. Traditionally, the honor goes to the game’s starting catcher, today being Paul Lo Duca, cited in the Mitchell Report on drug use in baseball, who watches his manager catch the toss from the Commander-in-Chief.

2008       The 24,663 fans at Chase Field give opposing Rockies left-hander Doug Davis an ovation as he walks off the mound after appearing in an exhibition game against the Diamondbacks. Before the game, Colorado announces the very popular 32 year-old hurler will have his thyroid removed after a biopsy revealed a lump in his throat to be cancerous.

2013       Mets GM Sandy Alderson announces an MRI has revealed 34 year-old Johan Santana has re-torn his surgically repaired left shoulder capsule and indicates additional surgery is a “strong possibility” for the left-hander. The Venezuelan southpaw, who missed the entire 2011 season due to the injury, will probably never pitch again for the team, finishing his six-year, $137.5 million contract with the team, a deal he signed upon his trade to the team in early 2008, on the disabled list.

2014       Mike Trout and the Angels come to terms on a $144.5 million, six-year deal, keeping the 22 year-old outfielder on the team through 2020. The five-tool phenom from Millville, N.J., the American League’s MVP runner-up in his first two seasons in the majors, was the unanimous choice for the AL Rookie of the Year award in 2012.

2017       In the first year of his presidency, Donald Trump has declined the Nationals’ invitation to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day at Nationals Park, citing a scheduling conflict according to club officials. Since President William Taft’s toss in 1910, every Commander-in-Chief has participated in the tradition at some point in their term in office, except for Jimmy Carter, who tossed the CFP before Game 7 of the 1979 Fall Classic.

TODAY IN SPORTS HISTORY-1995

NEW YORK-Some nights, the Madison Square Garden electricians don’t have to turn on the lights. Some nights, the athletes do it themselves. But tonight, one athlete turned on the lights.

Michael Jordan was that one athlete, soaring and swerving, slicing and spinning to 55 points, then whipping a pass to Bill Wennington, once of St. John’s, for the decisive basket in the Bulls’ 113‚111 victory over the Knicks, the most magnetic regular-season theater in New York sports history. Usually the most memorable games anywhere occur in the World Series or the Super Bowl or the National Basketball Association playoffs or the Stanley Cup playoffs or a championship fight. But tonight was just a regular-season game. Sort of. In a sense, if the Knicks and the Bulls continue on their paths toward becoming opponents in the first round of the N.B.A. playoffs, tonight’s game was really the opener of that three-of-five-game series, even though it won’t count.

Looking to that series, Michael Jordan gave the Knicks something to remember him and the Bulls by. Oldtimers might argue for Johnny Vander Meer’s second consecutive no-hitter at Ebbets Field during the 1938 season or for the Yankees snatching the American League pennant from the Red Sox in the final game of the 1949 season. But the Cincinnati Reds’ left-hander never possessed Jordan’s luster. And the Yankees’ triumph was a team effort. Jordan was performing a virtual solo tonight.

Hours earlier, this was obviously an event: Jordan’s return to the Garden nearly two years after wrecking the Knicks’ championship hopes in the 1993 Eastern Conference playoff final, after a season of minor league baseball as a .202 hitter for the Birmingham Barons, after rejoining the Bulls only 10 days ago. By late afternoon, nearly a dozen television trucks were parked on West 33d Street, contributing to the traffic jam that had horns honking. Fans were in their seats earlier than usual.

Whatever the scalpers were getting was worth it. In more than a quarter of a century in what is still considered the new Garden, Jordan’s 55 points were the most by an opposing player. Bernard King scored 60 there for the Knicks on Christmas 1984 against the Nets. But the Jordan numbers weren’t as dazzling as the number he did on the Knicks in only the fifth game since his comeback began.

Michael Jordan and the Bulls, who had won three N.B.A. titles at this point and would win another three straight in 1996‚98, lost to Shaquille O’Neal and the Orlando Magic in six games in the Eastern Conference semifinals the following May.

ALSO

1992: Christian Laettner of Duke released a 17-foot jump shot barely before the final buzzer for a 104‚103 overtime victory over Kentucky to win the N.C.A.A. East Regional basketball title at Philadelphia. The Blue Devils became the first team in 19 years to repeat as national champions with a victory over Michigan nine days later.

1999: With Fidel Castro watching for all 11 innings in a seat next to Commissioner Bud Selig, the Baltimore Orioles outlasted the Cuban national team, 3‚2, in Havana in the first game between a United States major league team and one manned by Cubans in 40 years.

1970: Dan Gable, probably the most storied figure in United States amateur wrestling, lost his only collegiate match after 98 victories while seeking his final N.C.A.A. title in the national championships at Evanston, Ill. Gable competed at Iowa State, became a gold medalist in the 1972 Olympics and then coached at Iowa, winning 12 national titles between 1976 and ’93.

NBA STANDINGS

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Philadelphia3214.69619-413-108-222-78-21 L
Brooklyn3115.6741.017-614-95-217-108-21 W
New York2422.5228.014-810-141-617-146-43 W
Boston2323.5009.013-710-163-516-134-62 W
Toronto1827.40013.59-119-163-512-161-91 L
 
Central Divison
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Milwaukee2916.64418-711-99-018-98-22 L
Indiana2123.4777.58-1213-115-313-135-52 W
Chicago1925.4329.59-1610-93-39-113-73 L
Cleveland1729.37012.511-126-173-513-123-72 L
Detroit1233.26717.07-135-200-98-212-84 L
 
Southeast Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Charlotte2321.52313-810-136-112-97-33 W
Atlanta2322.5110.511-912-133-313-128-21 W
Miami2224.4782.012-1210-125-513-154-66 L
Washington1628.3647.09-147-141-66-202-81 W
Orlando1530.3338.510-155-154-410-172-81 L
 
Western Conference
Northwest Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Utah3411.75619-215-93-215-67-35 W
Denver2718.6007.012-915-97-115-117-31 W
Portland2718.6007.014-913-93-415-126-42 W
Oklahoma City1926.42215.08-1411-123-611-175-52 L
Minnesota1135.23923.56-175-183-68-214-61 L
 
Pacific Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Phoenix3014.68215-815-65-219-87-31 W
LA Clippers3116.6600.516-615-106-218-97-35 W
LA Lakers2917.6302.015-1014-72-519-105-51 W
Golden State2224.4789.013-99-153-712-143-74 L
Sacramento2125.45710.012-129-134-49-117-34 W
 
Southwest Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
San Antonio2320.53511-1312-74-612-165-51 W
Dallas2321.5230.511-1012-115-214-145-52 L
Memphis2122.4882.011-1310-93-510-164-62 L
New Orleans2025.4444.014-116-145-312-175-51 W
Houston1332.28911.06-167-164-59-162-81 W

NHL STANDINGS

East
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Washington Capitals33227448201149512-4-210-3-29-1-0
New York Islanders35229448201058213-1-29-8-27-3-0
Pittsburgh Penguins352211246191159315-3-17-8-17-2-1
Boston Bruins301785391583728-3-29-5-35-3-2
Philadelphia Flyers331613436151021208-7-38-6-13-6-1
New York Rangers33151443414103877-6-38-8-15-4-1
New Jersey Devils32121642812781014-11-28-5-24-5-1
Buffalo Sabres336234164681182-11-24-12-20-9-1
 
West
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Vegas Golden Knights32238147231047413-2-110-6-07-3-0
Colorado Avalanche33218446211137513-4-28-4-28-0-2
Minnesota Wild32211014321947813-3-08-7-18-2-0
St. Louis Blues34161353714981104-8-312-5-22-5-3
Arizona Coyotes351614537139210310-8-36-6-24-4-2
Los Angeles Kings3213136321291906-4-47-9-24-5-1
San Jose Sharks3313164309911155-6-28-10-24-5-1
Anaheim Ducks3510196269781165-11-35-8-33-7-0
 
North
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Toronto Maple Leafs342210246221148812-6-110-4-14-6-0
Winnipeg Jets352112244211149810-5-111-7-15-4-1
Edmonton Oilers3521131432111910112-8-09-5-17-2-1
Montreal Canadiens3114893713100876-5-28-3-74-2-4
Calgary Flames36161733515951079-6-17-11-25-5-0
Vancouver Canucks371618335131001209-9-27-9-16-3-1
Ottawa Senators36122042810941358-6-44-14-04-3-3
 
Central
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Tampa Bay Lightning34248250231238213-2-011-6-26-4-0
Carolina Hurricanes33237349191128411-1-312-6-07-1-2
Florida Panthers34219446201119710-4-311-5-16-4-0
Chicago Blackhawks351614537141021119-5-27-9-33-7-0
Nashville Predators35171713514891059-7-08-10-16-3-1
Columbus Blue Jackets35131483411901137-6-66-8-23-4-3
Dallas Stars3111119311088847-5-74-6-23-3-4
Detroit Red Wings35112042611751148-8-33-12-14-5-1