Midwest Regional Champion

Record: 32-6

Final Four appearances: 16 (1940, 1952, 1953, 1957, 1971, 1974, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1993, 2002, 2003, 2008, 2012, 2018, 2022)

NCAA titles: 3 (1952, 1988, 2008)

NCAA Tournament path: First round — Def. No. 16 Texas Southern 83-56; Second round — Def. No. 9 Creighton 79-72; Sweet 16 — Def. No. 4 Providence 66-61; Elite Eight — Def. No. 10 Miami 76-50

Coach: Bill Self is making his fourth appearance in the Final Four as a coach, all of them coming with the Jayhawks. He won it all on his first visit in 2008, finished as a runner-up to Kentucky in 2012 and was eliminated from the national semifinals by eventual champion Villanova in 2018. With 16 Big 12 regular-season titles across his 19 years with the program, Self has established a model of regular-season consistency that is unmatched across the sport.

Best player: Ochai Agbaji. The Big 12 Player of the Year does a little bit of everything for this team. He can step outside as one of the team’s best three-point shooters or drive the lane to make a play at the rim. On defense he can be an effective on-ball defender, defensive rebounder or take off on the fast break to make a play in the open floor when Kansas wants to push the tempo. 

Strengths: This is an experienced team playing with a ton of confidence, trotting out four seniors, a junior and two sophomores in their seven-man rotation. Two of those seniors have the potential to be the best player on the floor, but we have yet to see them star at the same time. Agbaji was the Big 12’s leading scorer, the Big 12 Player of the Year and an All-American, but the tournament has seen the emergence of transfer guard Remy Martin, who was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Midwest Regional despite coming off the bench as a sixth man and missing most of February with injury issues. Both players are not just capable scorers but key pieces in Kansas’ perimeter defense, which will be an x-factor for success in the Final Four.  

Weaknesses: After a stellar showing in the Big 12 Tournament, the Jayhawks have been a little bit streaky in the Big Dance. The single-digit wins against both Creighton in the second round and Providence in the Sweet 16 had some tense moments, but it was allowing Miami to jump out to a 35-29 halftime lead that really brought those consistency concerns to the spotlight. Of course, this veteran Kansas team responded by outscoring the Hurricanes 47-15 over the final 20 minutes. But if you’re looking for weaknesses in this experienced and well-rounded team, it’s that we’ve yet to see a full 40 minutes of its best basketball in the tournament.

Key number: 0. Every other team in the Final Four has at least one former five-star prospect on the roster, and the Jayhawks do not have any. Self and experts everywhere have frequently started analysis with some version of the phrase “this might not be Kansas’ most talented team, but …” before heaping praise on the 32-win Jayhawks. it’s odd for a program that has signed numerous five-star prospects and produced dozens of NBA players to be one of the least talented teams in the Final Four, but the makeup of this squad — which, for the record, does have 10 former four-star prospects — might be just what they needed to get back to the Final Four and perhaps win another national championship.

Outlook: The loss of the 2020 NCAA Tournament is not a primary motivation for Kansas, but it’s not lost on anyone around the program that Self and the Jayhawks had the best team in the country at the time that the tournament was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Agbaji, David McCormack and Christian Braun were all part of that team and in this tournament have seen the bracket break their way at nearly every turn. Kansas is favored to make the national championship game and if they perform as oddsmakers expect it will set up a massive blue-blood title game against either Duke or North Carolina. If the Jayhawks get there the expectation will be they can win it, and cut down nets for the second time under Self and just the fourth time in the history of this storied program.


South Regional Champion

Record: 30-7

Final Four appearances: 7 (1939, 1971, 1985, 2009, 2016, 2018, 2022)

NCAA titles: 3 (1985, 2016, 2018)

NCAA Tournament path: First Round — Def. No. 15 Delaware 80-60; Second Round — Def. No. 7 Ohio State 71-61; Sweet 16 — Def. No. 11 Michigan 63-55; Elite Eight — Def. No. 5 Houston 50-44

Coach: Jay Wright has been one of the best coaches in the sport over the last seven years, carrying a 20-3 record in NCAA Tournament games since the start of the 2015-16 season with two national championships, five Big East regular season titles and four Big East tournament titles in that span. This is his fourth Final Four appearance.

Best player: Collin Gillespie. The Big East Player of the Year is Villanova’s leading scorer at 15.6 points per game, best 3-point shooter (40.9%) and as a fifth-year senior the strongest player connection to the Wildcats’ last national championship. He guides the team through its offensive sets from the point guard position, takes care of the ball and here in this tournament has been a key to keeping the team leveled through hard-fought wins against Ohio State, Michigan and Houston. 

Strengths: Villanova wins games at the margins. It’s a team that ranks in the top-10 nationally in offensive efficiency and top-20 nationally in defensive efficiency, but it’s ability to close out games — a particularly important strength in the tournament — comes at the free throw line. Villanova is currently pacing for an all-time team performance at the free throw line, connecting on 83.0% of its team attempts over the season heading into Saturday’s national semifinals. Only one other team in the country finished above 80% and only other team in this Final Four has a mark above 75% (North Carolina at 76.5%). Hitting nearly every free throw is how Villanova outscores its opponents in the final minutes of the game, and it’s a reason why the Wildcats have yet to trail during the second half of this NCAA Tournament. 

Weaknesses: Depth has long been a concern for Villanova with its six-man rotation, but those issues are exacerbated following the loss of Justin Moore to an Achilles injury in the final minute of the Elite Eight win against Houston. Moore is the team’s second-leading scorer, a team captain and Jay Wright called him one of the best rebounding guards the program has had in his tenure with the program. Sixth man Caleb Daniels can be ready to move into the starting lineup, but Moore’s absence is a weakness that was unexpected prior his injury at this late stage in the tournament run.

Key number: 345. Villanova is one of the slowest teams in the country in terms of adjusted pace, checking in at No. 345 out of 358 Division I teams according to KenPom. The Wildcats test the patience and focus of their opponent, working the ball around to find the highest quality shot possible on offense and denying easy lanes to the basket on defense. All three of the other Final Four teams prefer an up-and-down game, giving a contrast of style angle to any possible matchup.

Outlook: The word “attitude” is the slogan posted all over the Villanova facility and it’s represented in how the Wildcats do simply bring a more consistent and level approach than your average college basketball team. It’s a team that knows its system, and more specifically its roles in the system, as well as anyone in the country and that is how Villanova has been able to be so successful in the big dance over these last six tournaments. The loss of Justin Moore is undeniably going to change the math on how Villanova takes care of business, but Jay Wright has all week to put in a new game plan specifically for this weekend and there’s not another team I trust more to receive and implement such changes than the Wildcats. 


West Regional Champion

Record: 32-6

Final Four appearances: 17 (1963, 1964, 1966, 1978, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2010, 2015, 2022 )

NCAA titles: 5 (1991, 1992, 2001, 2010, 2015)

NCAA Tournament path: First Round — Def. No. 15 Cal State Fullerton 78-61; Second Round — Def. No. 7 Michigan State 85-76; Sweet 16 — Def. No. 3 Texas Tech 78-73; Elite Eight — Def. No. 4 Arkansas 78-69

Coach: With a win in the Elite Eight, Mike Krzyzewski passed John Wooden for the most Final Four appearances (13) in NCAA Tournament history, adding to a long list of accomplishments that includes the winningest coach in Division I men’s college basketball history. All five of Duke’s national championships have come under his leadership and with this 2021-22 season announced as his last before retirement, this tournament run has brought one of the stories of the year right to the game’s biggest stage in the Final Four.

Best player: Paolo Banchero. A likely top-five pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, Banchero has gone into takeover mode at times in this tournament. He’s shown his abilty to make plays at or around the rim all season, but recently he’s become particularly dangerous when he gets the ball outside the three-point line. He’s shooting enough, and hitting enough threes to command respect (8-for-15 in the NCAA Tournament) and when he’s got a one-on-one advantage he can put the ball on the floor and beat his man on the dribble.

Strengths: Duke has the most talented rotation of any team in the Final Four and the highest ceiling of any team in the Final Four in terms of performance. When all of Duke’s offensive weapons are clicking — as they were in the second half of the Sweet 16 win against Texas Tech, going 17-for-24 (70.8%) from the field — the team is nearly unstoppable. What has always been an advantage in the frontcourt with Banchero and Mark Williams has been balanced in this tournament with Jeremy Roach’s emergence and 3-point shooting from 6-6 forward AJ  AJ Griffin. Duke rates as the most efficient offense in the country according to KenPom, and the wins against a pair of elite defensive teams in Texas Tech and Arkansas suggests no one is going to totally stop the Blue Devils. You can only hope to contain, and/or outscore them over 40-plus minutes.

Weaknesses: Of the four teams remaining in this tournament, Duke does rate last in adjusted defensive efficiency just slightly behind their Tobacco Road rival and national semifinal opponent North Carolina. The Blue Devils have dialed in on that side of the ball with tremendous effort when it’s been needed most, like in the final five minutes against Michigan State and in the second half against Texas Tech, but the season-long numbers and even March-only numbers grade out with it being the weakest part of Duke’s profile.

Key number: 45.8. The x-factor for Duke’s offense is Griffin, who averages 45.8% on 3-point attempts this season. That’s not only the best of any player in the Final Four but good for top 20 nationally and No. 2 among players with more than 150 3-point attempts (only South Dakota State’s Baylor Scheierman’s 46.2 rates higher). Banchero is already doing a great job of spreading the floor with his increased activity on the perimeter, but the space that Griffin demands every possession is as valuable as the team-leading 71 3-pointers he’s knocked down this year.

Outlook: For Krzyzewski to walk off the court in New Orleans as a national champion for the sixth time, closing his career with a title, would be among the best stories in all of American sports. Duke’s expectation is to compete at a high level and be in a position to win two games in the Final Four and do so, and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest they’ve got what it takes. Beating two of the best defensive teams in the NCAA Tournament eliminates the idea that there’s some secret to stopping Duke’s success, which means the onus is on the coaches and players to be in position to make history.


East Regional Champion

Record: 28-9

Final Four appearances: 20 (1946, 1957, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1977, 1981, 1982, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2016, 2017)

NCAA titles: 6 (1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009, 2017)

NCAA Tournament path: First Round — Def. No. 9 Marquette 95-63; Second Round — Def. No. 1 Baylor 93-86 (OT); Sweet 16 — Def. No. 4 UCLA 73-66; Elite Eight — Def. No. 15 Saint Peter’s 69-49

Coach: Hubert Davis is the first head coach since Bill Guthridge (at North Carolina in 1998) to lead his team to a Final Four in his first year. The successor to Roy Williams got off to a rough start to the season, starting 12-6 overall without a notable non-conference win and 4-3 in ACC play, but the Tar Heels’ strong close to the season moved this team off the bubble, into the field and now all the way into the Final Four.

Best player: There has been a stylistic shift in North Carolina’s lineups with the transition from Roy Williams to Hubert Davis, but he’s maintained at least one traditional big that can run the floor with Armando Bacot. It would be a poor decision to not let one of the best rebounders in the country see as much time on the floor as possible, but it’s been interesting to watch how Bacot has also adopted modern roles in the offense. He’ll start at the perimeter and float into the lane, giving him the option to either drive to the basket or kick out to one of North Carolina’s capable 3-point options if the defense collapses. Scorer, rebounder and facilitator are all in Bacot’s wheelhouse, which is why he’s the best player on the floor.

Strengths: North Carolina has four players capable of scoring 20-plus on any given night, and that versatility of scoring options make them a dangerous team to face in terms of game planning. In this tournament alone we’ve seen guards Caleb Love and RJ Davis each score 30 points, Brady Manek has scored 26 or more twice and Bacot has had a double-double in every postseason game (ACC Tournament and NCAA Tournament) the Tar Heels have played this year.

Weaknesses: The lack of competitive depth was on full display during the near 30-4 run by Baylor in the second half of what would eventually be an overtime win for the Tar Heels in the second round. After Manek was ejected midway through the second half and Love’s foul trouble caught up to him before the end of regulation, the Tar Heels’ depth issues and matchup problems against elite teams beyond its starting five were on full display. Much has been made of the “Iron Five” who carry so much of the playing time weight and played every minute of the second half in the win at Duke, but the other side of the “Iron Five” is a drop-off in experience and performance should one of those five be knocked out of the game.

Key number: 39.1%. That’s the 3-point percentage from North Carolina’s win against Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium. It’s just a few ticks above the Tar Heels’ respectable season average of 36.1% but in that increase you may find what North Carolina needs to beat Duke again on Saturday night in the Final Four. While North Carolina has improved defensively in the month of March, it’s best course of action will not be to rely exclusively on defensive stops to win against the high-powered Blue Devils. Timely defensive stops, sure. But North Carolina has to hit threes to keep up on the scoreboard and give itself a chance to win late.

Outlook: According to, where you can not only check out season-long adjusted efficiency numbers but also sort the data set by date, North Carolina is the No. 1 team in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency since March 1. The seven-game run is absolutely up for critique because of the small sample size, but it backs up what our eyes have told us as well. North Carolina may not be the absolute No. 1 team in the country right now, but it’s been playing as well as the best teams in the country since the calendar turned from February to March. The Tar Heels are a No. 8 seed in the tournament but the quality of play represents a team that does not check in as the No. 29 to No. 32 team in the field of 68. Still, the task of winning the next game is the largest at hand. Duke will be uniquely motivated having learned the lessons of how this current version of the Tar Heels handle business, and this time the pomp and circumstance is going to be evenly divided and not one-sided. After being 11-point underdogs in Durham, now it’s North Carolina that has to handle expectations of being ready to compete on a big stage.

Kentucky’s Tshiebwe named AP men’s college player of year

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe spent an entire season relentlessly chasing and pulling down seemingly every rebound that came his way – and plenty that didn’t, too.

“I want to be the greatest rebounder I can be,” Tshiebwe said.

The 6-foot-9, 255-pound junior put up better rebounding numbers than anybody in Division I in decades. And it’s a big reason why he is The Associated Press men’s college basketball national player of the year.

Tshiebwe was the clear choice for the award announced Friday, receiving 46 of 60 votes from AP Top 25 voters. Johnny Davis, a 6-5 sophomore who averaged 19.7 points and led Wisconsin to a share of the Big Ten regular-season title, was second with 10 votes. Iowa sophomore Keegan Murray (three) and Illinois big man Kofi Cockburn (one) also earned votes.

Tshiebwe, a West Virginia transfer and native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is only the second player in the history of the storied history of the Wildcats program to win the AP’s top honor. The other was one-and-done star Anthony Davis, who led Kentucky to its eighth NCAA title a decade ago before becoming the No. 1 NBA draft pick.

“It is amazing to be join somebody like Anthony Davis,” Tshiebwe said. “And that gives me confidence and gives me more help for my future, too, for what I’m trying to do and what I’m trying to accomplish. I’m just putting God first because God knows what I need, and he has great plans for me.”

Tshiebwe thrived all season while averaging 15.1 rebounds, the highest per-game output in Division I since 1980. He had five games of at least 20 rebounds this season and three games with at least 10 boards on the offensive glass alone.

The highlight came when he had a Division I high of 28 rebounds in a December win against Western Kentucky.

UConn tops Stanford 63-58, advances to NCAA title game

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Paige Bueckers scored 14 points and UConn advanced to the national championship game with a 63-58 win over defending champion Stanford on Friday night.

The Huskies will face South Carolina for the national championship on Sunday night. The Gamecocks beat Louisville 72-59 in the first game of the Final Four. UConn and South Carolina met in November in the championship game of a tournament in the Bahamas, and the Gamecocks used a strong fourth quarter to win.

It’s UConn’s first trip to the championship game since 2016, when the Huskies won the last of four straight championships. Since then, the team has suffered heartbreaking defeats in the national semifinals, losing twice in overtime.

“We didn’t play our A-game on the offensive end, but we did the things we needed to do when we had to do them,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “We came up big. Don’t know what more I can say about this group than we have been saying. pretty remarkable to be honest with you.”

UConn (30-5) is seeking its 12th national championship, and the Huskies have never lost in an NCAA title game.

“We know everybody in the world doesn’t think we’re going to win, so we’re like, we might as well just prove everybody wrong and prove ourselves right. We’ve got one more game, we’re not satisfied with this,” Bueckers said. “We’re just trying to win a national championship and leave everything out on the line and it’s our last game of the season, so we have nothing left to give.”.

South Carolina women top Louisville, advance to title game

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) This time, Aliyah Boston and the South Carolina Gamecocks were smiling as they strutted off the court at the Final Four.

The only crying came from relief and joy, one year after a painfully opposite finish in the national semifinals.

Boston took over after halftime and finished with 23 points and 18 rebounds to back up her AP National Player of the Year award, carrying South Carolina to the NCAA championship game with a 72-59 victory over Louisville on Friday night.

“You see happy tears, happy tears, right now,” Boston said in her postgame TV interview. “I’m just thanking God we have one more game.”

Brea Beal matched her season high with 12 points and helped hold Cardinals star Hailey Van Lith to nine points on 4-for-11 shooting as the Gamecocks (34-2) delivered another stifling defensive performance and advanced to meet Connecticut, a 63-58 semifinal winner over Stanford, on Sunday night.

“Life in general, it’s going to throw tests at you. You’re going to have to pass the tests or you’re going to have to retake them,” said coach Dawn Staley, who will try to win her second national championship with South Carolina eight months after the Hall of Famer led the U.S. team to a gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics.

Destanni Henderson scored 11 points with 3-for-6 shooting from 3-point range for South Carolina, which had a 19-5 assists advantage and improved to 13-0 this season against AP-ranked opponents.

Injured Mets’ deGrom out for major time, no set return date

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) New York Mets ace Jacob DeGrom will miss major time because of inflammation in his shoulder area, a huge blow to a team that heavily invested in making a deep run this season.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner won’t throw for up to four weeks and there is no timetable for his return, the Mets announced Friday.

“He’s disappointed. We’re disappointed. Everybody is sharing in the disappointment right now. Nobody’s immune to that,” Mets general manager Billy Eppler said in Jupiter, where New York played St. Louis.

The Mets said an MRI earlier in the day showed a stress reaction on deGrom’s right scapula that caused inflammation. He first experienced tightness while playing catch Thursday.

The 33-year-old deGrom missed the second half of last season with an elbow injury.

DeGrom had been set to start the season opener Thursday in Washington. The Mets had considered their rotation a major strong suit this year after signing three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer and trading for All-Star Chris Bassitt.

“Sure, we were hoping that it was a two- or three-day thing. I know Jake was. It’s a little more time, obviously,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “I look at it as now, thinking about how much stronger Jake is going to be over the long haul of the season now.”

Eppler took a similar approach.

“I think the good news is here there is nothing structurally wrong here, as far as the rotator cuff or anything like that is concerned. We are dealing with a bone issue and when you are dealing with bone, they calcify. The healing characteristics will take of themselves, so I think that’s a positive that we walk away with,” Eppler said.

Dodgers acquire Kimbrel, send Pollock to White Sox

LOS ANGELES (AP) The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired eight-time All-Star reliever Craig Kimbrel from the Chicago White Sox on Friday in exchange for outfielder AJ Pollock.

Kimbrel was 4-5 with 24 saves in a combined 63 games with the Chicago Cubs and White Sox last season. The Cubs shipped him across town at midseason in exchange for Codi Heaur and Nick Madrigal. Kimbrel was 2-2 with the White Sox with one save in 24 games.

Kimbrel rediscovered the form that made him one of the game’s best closers and was named to his eighth All-Star team last season.

The 33-year-old right-hander was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2011. He led the league in saves from 2011 to 2014. Kimbrel ranks ninth all-time in the majors with 372 saves as he begins his 13th season.

Kimbrel fulfills the Dodgers’ need for a shutdown option late in games, especially with the departure of 10-year closer Kenley Jansen, who signed a one-year deal with the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves.

Pollock hit .282 with 65 home runs and 199 RBIs in three seasons with the Dodgers. The 34-year-old outfielder’s best season came last year, when he batted. .297 with 21 homers and 69 RBIs in 117 games.

Meanwhile, the White Sox agreed to terms on a $7.45 million, one-year deal with right-hander Lucas Giolito to avoid arbitration.

He was 11-9 with a 3.53 ERA and 201 strikeouts in 31 starts last season, his fifth in Chicago.

Pelicans rally past Lakers 114-111 despite Davis’ return

LOS ANGELES (AP) CJ McCollum scored 32 points, Brandon Ingram added 29 against his former team and the New Orleans Pelicans spoiled Anthony Davis’ return from injury with another fourth-quarter rally in a 114-111 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.

Jonas Valanciunas had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the ninth-place Pelicans, who won for the sixth time in eight games while dealing the second major blow in five days to the Lakers’ hopes of squeaking into the play-in tournament.

New Orleans beat Los Angeles 116-108 at home last weekend after rallying from a 23-point deficit, and the Pelicans swept the season series with this comeback on the road.

LeBron James missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer and scored just two of his 38 points in the fourth quarter for the Lakers (31-46), who have lost five straight and 15 of 19 to fall one game behind 10th-place San Antonio (32-45), which holds the tiebreaker.

Davis had 23 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in his return from a six-week injury absence since Feb. 16, but the eight-time All-Star’s presence wasn’t enough to beat his former team. The Lakers now face long odds just to get past the Spurs for a one-game shot at the Pelicans, since four of LA’s final five games are against playoff-bound opponents.

New Orleans trailed for most of the fourth quarter, but Valanciunas hit a tying 3-pointer with 2:52 to play. After Davis missed a floater, Ingram put the Pelicans ahead 110-108 on a fadeaway jumper.

Avery Bradley’s 3-pointer with 15.8 seconds left trimmed New Orleans’ lead to 112-111. McCollum hit two free throws, and James’ triple-clutch 3-point attempt amid double coverage didn’t go in at the horn.

Brooks leads short-handed Grizzlies past Suns, 122-114

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Dillon Brooks scored 30 points and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Phoenix Suns 122-114 on Friday night in a matchup of the NBA’s top two teams, extending their winning streak to seven.

Brooks converted a three-point play with 32 seconds left for an eight-point lead and the short-handed Grizzlies held on to snap the Suns’ nine-game winning streak. Ziaire Williams scored 19 points for Memphis and De’Anthony Melton added 17, including six straight free throws in the final 20 seconds.

The Suns have clinched the top seed and the Grizzlies the second spot in the Western Conference.

“These are definitely culture wins because you’re going up against the best team in the league,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said.

The victory came despite several players sitting out to relieve soreness or manage previous injuries. Besides leading scorer Ja Morant, who has missed the last seven games with a sore right knee, guard Desmond Bane (left ankle soreness), center Steven Adams (left calf soreness), Tyus Jones (left hand soreness) and forward Jaren Jackson Jr. (right thigh injury management), all took the night off.

Still, Memphis started fast, built an early lead and then closed the game with a burst.

“They outplayed us,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. “That was the key to the game. Their approach and our approach were two totally different ZIP codes.”

Devin Booker led the Suns with 41 points, while Mikal Bridges added 18. Cameron Payne finished with 11 for Phoenix. While Memphis rested many key players, the Suns came with their full complement of starters, plus JaVale McGee and Cameron Johnson, the latter missing the 13 previous games with a right quad contusion.

And yet, the game settled into an exchange of leads early in the fourth until Memphis went on a 17-2 run to give the Grizzlies a 101-87 lead just before the midway point of the period. That was enough of a buffer to claim the victory thanks to seven players reaching double figures.

“We had spurts where we played pretty well,” said Suns guard Chris Paul, who finished with eight points and 11 assists. He added that even though Memphis was playing many non-starters extended minutes, there can’t be a letdown.

Clippers rip Bucks 153-119 as both teams rest top players

MILWAUKEE (AP) On a night when both the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers rested their top guys, Robert Covington made the most of an opportunity for additional playing time.

So did his Clippers teammates.

Covington scored a career-high 43 points and made a franchise-record 11 3-pointers to help the hot-shooting Clippers trounce the Bucks 153-119 on Friday night.

“The basket just kept getting bigger and bigger,” said Covington, who went 11 of 18 from 3-point range. “And my rhythm just stayed the same.”

The Clippers’ 153 points were the most they’ve ever scored in a regular-season game. The Clippers won a first-round playoff game 154-111 over the Dallas Mavericks in 2020.

Amir Coffey also had a career high with 32 points for the Clippers, matching a career best with seven assists to go along with six rebounds.

The Clippers shot 60.9% from the floor and 23 of 43 from 3-point range.

“They obviously executed at a high level,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We didn’t.”

Both teams had played Thursday night games that reached overtime, with the Bucks winning 120-119 at Brooklyn and the Clippers falling 135-130 at Chicago. The only starter from those two games who played at all Friday was Clippers center Ivica Zubac.

Among the players sitting out Friday’s game were Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, and the Clippers’ Paul George, Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris.

McDavid’s OT goal gives Oilers 6-5 victory over Blues

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) Connor McDavid’s second goal of the game 1:11 into overtime lifted the Edmonton Oilers to a 6-5 win over the St. Louis Blues on Friday night.

Zach Hyman also scored two goals, Evander Kane had a goal and two assists, Darnell Nurse had a goal and an assist, and Mike Smith made 31 saves in the Oilers’ ninth straight home victory.

The win came after Edmonton blew a three-goal lead in the first period.

Pavel Buchnevich scored twice, and Robert Thomas and Ivan Barbashev had a goal and an assist for St. Louis, which had a two-game winning streak ended. Brayden Schenn also scored. Jordan Binnington allowed four goals on 13 shots before being replaced by Ville Husso in the opening period. Husso finished with 25 saves.

The Oilers got off to a fast start, with Hyman scoring on Edmonton’s first shot on goal at 1:50 of the first period.

Buchnevich tied it at 1 at 4:29 when scored on a wraparound shot.

Edmonton made it 2-1 30 seconds later when Hyman scored off the stick of Blues defenseman Marco Scandella.

Kane and McDavid made it 4-1 through one period.

Thomas cut the Blues’ deficit at 1:54 of the second period, and Schenn made it 4-3 when his shot went in from the right faceoff circle.

Nurse made it 5-3 at 17:13 when he scored off the rebound of a shot by Kane.

Buchnevich made it a one-goal game at 2:06 of the third period. Barbashev tied it at 5 at 8:36 when he tipped in a pass from Saad.

Politically charged US-Iran in first Middle East World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) A World Cup buildup laced in controversy and geopolitical undertones has conjured up the most politically charged of matchups on the field in Qatar.

Just like at the FIFA showpiece in 1998, the United States will play Iran with diplomatic relations yet to be restored between the nations since being severed in the 1970s.

The Mother of All Games Part II.

“(A) political group, but I’m not political,” Iran’s Croatian coach, Dragan Skocic, said. “I focus on football. I think this is the best way in sport and also we should give people the chance to make the situation better.”

The hope will be for a repeat of the tranquility around the 1998 encounter in France where the Iranians brought white roses for their American opponents before winning 2-1.

“It’s 24 years later from 1998 and further removed from the 70s and both nations have evolved tremendously since then,” U.S coach Gregg Berhalter said. “For us, it’s a soccer game.”

But if Group B needed any more intrigue it was provided in Friday’s draw in Doha by the headline participant being Euro 2020 runner-up England, whose government has endured tense relations with Tehran.

And the ramifications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which spilled into the Doha convention center, were evident in the final team drawn in the group. Ukraine’s ability to qualify for Qatar has been delayed by the war halting football in the country. But if they beat Scotland and then Wales in the playoffs in June, the Ukrainians will contest a World Cup for the first time since 2006.

“Ukraine is (a team) everyone’s pulling for in a way because of everything they are going through,” Berhalter said.

The focus on Group B overshadowed other notable draws.

Qatar qualified as the host of the first World Cup in the Middle East, and will make its tournament debut on the opening night on Nov. 21 against Ecuador. They will later face the teams who open the tournament earlier in the day: African champion Senegal and the Netherlands, whose coach Louis van Gaal said last week it was a “ridiculous” decision to award the World Cup to this tiny nation.

That FIFA vote in 2010 sparked years of corruption investigations into not only Qatar’s bid but widespread bribery of world football officials.

Come the kickoff in November, Qatar will hope the focus is on the quality of the games.

There’s a thrilling matchup in Group E between 2010 champion Spain and 2014 winner Germany.

Group C could see a meeting of the most recent FIFA Best winners with Lionel Messi’s Argentina drawn to play Robert Lewandowski’s Poland. The biggest traveling support could also be witnessed in the group, as Saudis can drive across the border into Qatar. Their final first-round game is against Mexico.

There is a seemingly lowkey start for Portugal at what could be Cristiano Ronaldo’s fifth straight World Cup finals as their Group H includes Ghana, South Korea and Uruguay.

South America nations discovered before the draw that a $10 million bonus awaits from their confederation for being the first world champion from CONMEBOL since Brazil in 2002. Brazil first has to get past Switzerland, Serbia and Cameroon to win a record-extending sixth world title and also bank $42 million from FIFA.




After a near-historic comeback against the Nuggets, the Pacers showed heart while playing one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference Friday night.

The Blue & Gold (25-53) battled down to the wire with the Boston Celtics (48-30) at TD Garden – a place where Indiana had lost four straight. But unfortunately, at the final whistle, the Pacers fell short again, 128-123.

Whistles were a common thorn in Indiana’s side tonight during the effort. The squad racked up 30 fouls and handed Boston 28 free-throw attempts. With 8:13 left to play, Tyrese Haliburton’s spectacular night ended early, as he picked up his sixth foul for the second time in his career. He finished with 30 points on 10-of-11 shooting, including 6-of-6 from long range.

“He was aggressive,” Rick Carlisle said of Haliburton’s play. He got himself going. He got himself on a roll.”

“He was able to go 10-for-11 from the field without disrupting what we were doing as a team. That’s a sign of a great point guard.”

Indiana also had trouble slowing Boston’s dynamic duo, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Brown finished with a game-high 32, while Tatum added 31. They were responsible for nearly half of the Celtics’ total points.

It was yet another quick start for a Pacers opponent. The Celtics jumped out to an 11-2 advantage – five from Marcus Smart – in the opening 2:15. Indiana started 0-for-5 from the floor.

However, the game flipped after a timeout. Indiana forced four straight turnovers and scored nine unanswered – five from Haliburton – to knot things at 11 with 8:18 remaining.

From there, the teams settled down and remained in tight quarters. Haliburton kept the Pacers in it several times. His six-foot fadeaway in the paint with 4:58 left gave the game a 19-18 score.

But down the stretch, Brown quickly built the Celtics a multi-possession lead. The forward scored seven unanswered to put the Celtics up 30-21 with 2:46 left. The Pacers’ deficit remained nine as the first quarter ended (37-28).

Indiana started the second quarter with five straight. However, Tatum took over for a spell. The three-time All-Star scored six consecutive points to stretch the gap to 43-33 with 8:54 remaining.

As the halfway mark approached, Haliburton stayed hot and kept the deficit from growing. The 22-year-old knocked in his third and fourth trey, including a 30-foot stepback snipe, to trim Indiana’s deficit to 48-41 with 6:46 left.

The young guard continued to pilot the Pacers’ offense and keep the margin within single digits. He hit the 20-point mark with 3:47 to play on a beautiful floater in the paint. The bucket cut the gap to 58-51.

Buddy Hield and Brissett then knocked in triples to help trim the deficit to 62-57 with just under two minutes to play. Then, they got to within three after Haliburton and Terry Taylor each dropped in a pair of freebies at the line. Unfortunately, the Celtics scored the final four points of the frame to stretch the gap to 68-61 before the break.

Two swats from Goga Bitadze and another Haliburton three highlighted Indiana’s early third-quarter performance. The plays kept Boston’s advantage at single digits. Then, at the 7:58 mark, Haliburton drilled his sixth trey of the night, a dart from the right corner, to cut the gap to 76-71. It appeared as if no matter what Boston did offensively, Indiana had an answer on the other end.

The story remained the same as time ticked under five minutes of the period. Although Haliburton hit the 30-point mark on a pair of free throws, Tatum countered with a 24-foot 3-pointer in transition to keep up the pressure. Then, Bitadze fed Smith with a beautiful no-look pass for an easy dunk to give the game an 84-77 score.

Trailing 86-77, Smith followed a Brissett triple with a coast-to-coast dunk at the 3:17 mark. However, Tatum and Smart doubled the deficit with back-to-back buckets.

Nonetheless, Indiana had another answer. Lance Stephenson and Isaiah Jackson earned back-to-back buckets in the paint. Then, with 1:13 to play, Hield drilled a 32-foot trey to cut the gap to 90-89. But, Boston pushed its lead back to 96-91 before the quarter expired.

Early in the fourth, the Blue & Gold remained tenacious. After a few physical possessions, Boston earned a 103-95 lead on a Payton Pritchard three. But, Indiana countered with a 6-0 spree – four from Duane Washington Jr. – to trim the deficit to 103-101 with 8:27 remaining.

At the 8:13 mark, Haliburton’s night ended early. The guard fouled out after battling Brown for position along the baseline. To make matters worse, Derrick White finished Boston’s possession with a three to give the Celtics a 106-101 edge.

The Celtics earned an eight-point lead over the next few minutes. But, Indiana came right back. Smith, Bitadze, and Stephenson drilled treys in a 9-3 Pacers run to cut the deficit to 114-112 with 5:31 to play.

But again, they could not get over the hump. The hosts notched five straight to stretch the lead to seven with 3:15 left.

Trailing 122-116 with 1:26 left, Brissett nailed a triple from the left side to halve the lead. But, Brown had an answer 13 seconds later. His pull-up jumper pushed the Celtics ahead by five.

When the Celtics pushed the lead to six again, Brissett answered with another three. But White put the game on ice with a layup with 14.4 seconds left.



WHEELING – For the second time in a week, the Indy Fuel traveled to Wheeling, WV and left with the win. Just like Saturday, March 26 where Indy won 5-4 in overtime after Seamus Malone scored the game-winning goal, the Fuel came from behind Friday night to win it 4-3 after Malone once again scored in overtime.

The Nailers dominated the first period. They outshot Indy 15-4 and scored the only two goals of the period. Indy’s Karl El-Mir was called for slashing four minutes in, but the Fuel killed the penalty. Wheeling’s Bobby Hampton and Patrick Watling scored equal-strength goals just 39 seconds apart, giving them the 2-0 lead heading into the second period.

Indy’s speed picked up in the middle frame. Spencer Watson got the Fuel on the board six minutes in with an equal-strength goal, his 29th goal of the season. The Nailers’ Jared Cockrell quickly responded, giving them back a two-goal lead. Despite penalties on both El-Mir and Cliff Watson, Wheeling was unable to capitalize on the opportunities and get the puck past Fuel goaltender Mitch Gillam. With six-and-a-half minutes to go in the second, the Nailers’ David Drake was given a tripping penalty, giving Fuel forward Jared Thomas the opportunity to chip away at the deficit, making it 3-2. Just 44 seconds later, El-Mir tied the game.

The third period started and ended with the score tied 3-3. Wheeling outshot the Fuel 15-6, but goaltenders for both teams blocked everything that came their way. Each team had one power play opportunity but couldn’t score, sending the game into overtime.

With just 17 seconds left in overtime, Indy’s Malone sent the puck flying past Wheeling goaltender Louis-Philip Guindon, giving the Fuel the 4-3 win.

Various ticket options are now on sale for the Fuel’s 8th season at Indiana Farmers Coliseum! Lock up your seat for every second of the action at Indiana Farmers Coliseum with a Fuel Ticket Plan – grab yours by heading to or by calling the Fuel front office at 317-925-FUEL. Don’t forget to follow the Fuel on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (IndyFuel) for news, updates, contests and much more throughout the 2021-22 season.

Baseball Wins B1G Opener over Northwestern

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. –  A third straight one-run game went the way of the Indiana baseball program, this time a 5-4 victory over Northwestern to open Big Ten play at Bart Kaufman Stadium.

Northwestern (9-12, 0-1 B1G) struck first with two runs in the fifth inning and Indiana (11-13, 1-0 B1G) took the lead with all five of its runs in the seventh inning. The Wildcats got two runs back in the eighth inning before senior Braydon Tucker recorded the final outs.

Tucker (1) threw the final two innings, allowed one hit and didn’t allow a run of his own in the contest, He struck out one batter to earn his first save of the season and third of his career. Freshman Grant Holderfield (1-1) picked up his first career win as he allowed two runs on two hits over one inning of work.

Freshman Josh Pyne moved his hitting streak to 14 games with a 1-for-4 night at the plate and one RBI. Graduate student Tyler Doanes and redshirt-sophomore Bobby Whalen each chipped in two hits and scored one run, and Whalen added one RBI. Redshirt-junior Matthew Ellis walked three times, while senior Phillip Glasser doubled, walked and drove in a pair of RBIs.

Redshirt-junior Jack Perkins (ND) posted his fourth quality start of the season with two runs allowed over six innings of work in the start for Indiana. He struck out two and walked two before exiting after six complete innings.

For Northwestern, starting pitcher Sean Sullivan threw six shutout innings and struck out 11 batters in the no decision. He scattered three hits and walked three batters in the game. Jay Beshears went 3-for-4 with one runs scored and one RBI, while Ethan O’Donnell had two hits and scored one run.

Scoring Recap

Top Fifth

The first two batters reached base via hit-by-pitch against IU starting pitcher Jack Perkins. A single loaded the bases before a fielder’s choice cut down the run at home for the first out. Jay Beshears walked to push the first run across. A sacrifice fly from Alex Calarco plated the second run.

Northwestern 2, Indiana 0

Bottom Seventh

Pinch hitter Hunter Jessee started the inning with a single and moved to second on a ground out. After Tyler Doanes walked, Phillip Glasser doubled down the left field line to tie the game. After a pitching change, Bobby Whalen delivered the go-ahead run. A walk to Matthew Ellis was followed by an out before Josh Pyne drove in the fourth run of the inning. After the bases were loaded with two outs, Jessee’s ground ball was misplayed to allow the fifth run of the frame to cross.

Indiana 5, Northwestern 2

Top Eighth

A pair of single and an error loaded the bases with no outs against reliever Grant Holderfield, before Braydon Tucker entered for Indiana. A walk to Stephen Hrustich plated the first run and a sacrifice fly from Patrick Herrera made it a one-run game.

Indiana 5, Northwestern 4

Up Next

Indiana and Northwestern will continue the series in a new 1 p.m. start time on Saturday, April 2 at Bart Kaufman Field. Senior Bradley Brehmer will make the start for the Hoosiers, while graduate student Michael Farinelli will throw for the Wildcats.

Illini’s Big Inning Late Breaks Up Pitcher’s Duel

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Mike Bolton Jr.’s league-leading fourth triple led to the tying run in the eighth inning but Illinois answered with a pair of homers in the bottom half of the frame as part of a seven-run rally, defeating No. 16 Purdue baseball 8-1 Friday in the series opener.

It was a 1-0 game entering the eighth after lefthanders Jackson Smeltz and Cole Kirschsieper were both effective as the Friday night starters. Smeltz surrendered only one hit over five innings, but it was a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the fourth after a pair of walks. He retired the Illini’s first 11 batters of the game in order.

Kirschsieper struck out nine over seven shutout innings, surrendering just three singles in a 114-pitch outing.

Bolton tripled to the wall in left center with one out in the top of the eighth, extending his on-base streak to 22 consecutive games. He scored when left fielder Cam McDonald made a diving catch in foul territory moments later, with the fly ball off the bat of Curtis Washington Jr. going for a sacrifice fly.

But the Fighting Illini (11-12, 3-1 B1G) sent 11 men to the plate in the bottom half of the frame. The seven-run inning was the biggest of the season against Purdue (18-3, 1-1 B1G). Nine-hole hitter Cal Hejza was hit by a pitch on the first offering of the frame. After a failed sac bunt, Branden Comia connected for a two-run homer to left field. The rally continued and Taylor Jackson blew it open with a three-run blast to left before the Boilermakers were able to record the second out.

Cam Thompson (21), CJ Valdez (18), Evan Albrecht (13) and Washington (9) all extended their on-base streaks along with Bolton. But Thompson’s RBI streak came to an end at 13 consecutive games. It was the longest by a Purdue player in the last 20 years.

The Boilermakers have dropped consecutive games for the first time this season.

The series continues Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.

Williams Bids Farewell to Purdue; Will Bypass Final Season of Eligibility

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Trevion Williams will sign with an agent, thus ending his collegiate eligibility, the Purdue senior announced on social media on Thursday. Williams could have played another season of basketball with a super-senior Covid-exemption year.

On Thursday, Williams posted this message on social media:

“What a ride this has been. Four years ago, when I started this journey at Purdue, there was no way to envision what my time here would become. It’s been filled with many more highs than lows, and I wouldn’t trade one second of this journey for anything. My brothers and I have accomplished a lot, and I hope that we leave this program in better shape than when we arrived.

Thank you to my teammates that have encouraged me, competed with me, celebrated with me and been by my side every step of the way. We did a lot over these four years and represented Purdue to the best of our abilities every time we stepped on the floor. It’s been a really special ride.

To all the coaches that have helped me on the way, I can’t express enough thanks for all you have done. Coach Painter stuck with me through thick and thin and Coach Brantley pushed me every day in practice. You all have helped me live out a dream these last four years. Most importantly, you all made me a man.

To Boilermaker Nation, you all are the best. Mackey Arena is the best atmosphere in college basketball and when we step on that floor, there is no greater joy than representing Purdue on our chests. The sounds of Mackey Arena will never leave me. You are the best fanbase in college basketball.

Lastly, to my family. I dedicate all of this to you for believing in me. From three-star to All-Big Ten and All-American honors, you all pushed me to become a better version of myself. You all never doubted me and made me realize I could achieve anything. You helped me understand that my dreams were within reach. Every obstacle in our path, we overcame. I can’t thank you enough for all the sacrifices you made for me.

It’s time for me to take the next step in my basketball journey and will be entering my name in the 2022 NBA Draft and signing with an agent.

With love! Trevion”

Williams had an outstanding career at Purdue, being the only player in Purdue history to score at least 1,400 points with 900 rebounds and 200 assists. He did so while starting fewer than 50 percent of his games, being just one of two power-conference players (Michigan State’s Draymond Green) this century to accomplish that.

He finished his Purdue career with 1,410 points, 905 rebounds and 238 assists in just 2,464 minutes played. In the last 30 years, he is the only player to reach those marks in under 2,500 career minutes and just one player (Lipscomb’s Ahsan Asadullah) reached those marks in under 3,100 career minutes. He finished 26th on the school’s career scoring list and fourth on the career rebounds list. He was one of just three Purdue players to have three seasons of 230 or more rebounds (Joe Barry Carroll, Terry Dischinger).

He was named a third-team All-Big Ten selection this season after being a first-team honoree and honorable mention All-American as a junior. He averaged 12.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists, leading Purdue in assists with 112.  He and Duke’s Paolo Banchero were the only players nationally to have at least 425 points, 275 rebounds and 100 assists on the season.

Williams totaled eight double-doubles this season and 29 for his career, good for seventh on Purdue’s career double-doubles list.  He tallied at least 10 points in 24 games this season and in 66 for his career. Williams earned four Big Ten Player of the Week accolades, good for the fifth most in Purdue history.

He scored 20 points in 13 minutes during a win over North Carolina in November, then narrowly missed a triple-double with 22 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists, four blocks and two steals in a win over North Carolina State. He also scored 22 points in the NCAA Tournament win over Texas and had 21 points and nine rebounds against Penn State.

Williams has been projected to be drafted in the mid to late second round in the current NBA Draft projections.



Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier announced Friday that the university and men’s basketball head coach LaVall Jordan have parted ways.

“After a thorough evaluation, I have come to the decision that a change in the leadership of our men’s basketball program is needed,” said Collier. “These decisions are never easy, but are incredibly more difficult when it impacts a high-character Bulldog who has represented our university so well for many years. I want to thank LaVall for his dedication to our program, and we wish him and his family all the best moving forward.”

A national search for a new men’s basketball coach will begin immediately.

Butler went 14-19 during the 2021-22 season, which included a 6-14 conference record that tied for ninth in the BIG EAST.

In his five seasons as the head coach at Butler, Jordan had an overall record of 83-74 (40-54 in BIG EAST regular season play). Butler earned a berth in the 2018 NCAA Tournament and was expected to be part of the 2020 NCAA Tournament field before the tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bulldogs were also selected to the 2019 NIT during Jordan’s tenure.

In June of 2017, Jordan returned to his alma mater as the 24th head coach in men’s basketball program history.

Simas Lukosius in transfer portal

Simas Lukosius, the Lithuanian freshman entered the transfer portal Friday, according to multiple reports.  He averaged 6.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in 22 minutes per game.

Butler Baseball Wins first game of the series over Eastern Illinois

INDIANAPOLIS — The game was scoreless through eight innings on Friday afternoon. The Bulldogs collected a 1-0 win over the Eastern Illinois Panthers on a walk-off single from James Gargano. Lukas Galdoni (2-0) was credited with the win.

Cory Bosecker took care of the first 6.1 innings of the contest striking out 11 Panthers in 22 at-bats. Lukas Galdoni came in to pitch the final innings, only allowing a hit in 10 batters faced. The duo combined for a six-hit shutout of EU as the Bulldogs take the win.

Butler was led by Gargano offensively. The BU left fielder went 1-3 and earned an RBI on the day.

The Bulldogs are back in action tomorrow with a doubleheader at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Butler Softball Takes Opening Game in Series with UConn

INDIANAPOLIS – The Butler softball team took the first game of three with BIG EAST leading UConn, winning, 6-2, on Friday afternoon. The Huskies (18-13, 8-2 BIG EAST) threatened in the first but could not put one across, and the Bulldogs (19-10, 7-2 BIG EAST) scored all six of their runs in the first two innings, never trailing.

How It Happened

UConn drew three straight walks in the first inning to load the bases with nobody out. Butler was forced into a quick pitching change but then struck out the side.

In the bottom of the first, Lauren Fey scored from third on a Huskies error, and, later, Monique Hoosen blasted a three-run home run which also scored Mackenzie Griman (1-3, 2 RBI, R, 2B) and Ellie Boyer (1-2, 2R, SB). Butler led, 4-0, after one.

In the second, Butler added two more runs when Ella White hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Bri Avery, and Griman hit a run-scoring double, pushing Boyer across. UConn made a pitching change, as the Bulldogs were now up, 6-0.

UConn plated two in the sixth to pull to within four, but that was all the scoring.

Butler Pitching

Alyssa Graves (3 BB) started in the circle for Butler and was relieved by Karli Ricketts in the first inning. Ricketts (9-2) earned the win, throwing 7.0 innings and allowing three hits, two runs (both earned), and one walk while striking out ten.

Bulldog Bits

Monique Hoosen’s home run was her eighth of the season as she joins five other Bulldogs in the seventh spot on Butler’s all-time list for home runs in one season. She has 11 for her career.

Maddie Moore was the only Bulldog to manage two hits on the day.

Bri Avery’s stolen base was her 13th of the season and the 33rd of her career. The stolen base for Ellie Boyer was her eighth of the season.

The win for Karli Ricketts was the 28th of her career, putting her into a tie for ninth on Butler’s all-time list (Breanna Fisher, ’09-’12).

Up Next

Butler and UConn will play game two of the three-game series on Saturday, Apr. 2, at 1 pm. The final game is scheduled for Sunday, Apr. 3, at 11 am.


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The 13th-ranked Notre Dame baseball team grinded out a 2-0 win over fifth-ranked Florida State in 12 innings Friday night at Dick Howser Stadium. Both pitching staffs kept the offenses in check as the Irish (14-5, 3-4 ACC) and Seminoles (16-9, 6-4 ACC) were unable to score over the first nine innings.

It remained scoreless until the 12th inning when Ryan Cole broke the deadlock with a two-run home run into the bullpen in left field. It was his second home run of the season and gave the Irish the first lead of the night. After getting the final two outs in the 11th, Alex Rao closed the door in the 12th to secure the series-opening win.


A pitcher’s duel broke out as two of the best pitchers in the ACC were on the mound. Neither pitcher allowed a runner to reach base through the first three innings and the first hit of the game did not come until the bottom of the fifth.

John Michael Bertrand had one of his best outings of the season as he racked up 10 strikeouts through the first six innings. It is the second time in his career that he has eclipsed the double-digit strikeout mark and he allowed just three hits in the first six frames.

In the seventh inning, Bertrand struck out two more to set a career high with 12 strikeouts on the night. He surpassed his previous high of 11 that was set earlier this season against Monmouth.

Bertrand got the first two outs in the eighth but a double just fell down in fair territory which had the Irish going to the bullpen. Ryan McLinskey came on in relief and got the final out of the inning to get the Irish to the ninth.

McLinskey was back out in the bottom of the ninth and set the Seminoles down in order. He struck out two in the frame to send the game to extras at 0-0.

McLinskey, Aidan Tyrell and Rao combined to get the Irish through the 10th and 11th innings as the score remained tied at 0.

In the 12th inning with the go-ahead run on third, Cole faced a 2-2 count at the plate with two outs. He laced the next pitch he saw to left that cleared the wall and landed in the bullpen for the home run. This was the second time Cole has hit a home run in extras against an ACC opponent, as he hit a two-run walk-off home run against Duke in the 13th inning last season.

Rao came back out to shut the door in the 12th for the Irish. He set the Seminoles down in order and struck out the final batter he faced, the 18th strikeout by the Irish on the night.


The Irish and Seminoles will battle it out on Saturday in the middle game of the series. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. ET from Dick Howser Stadium and the game will be streamed on the ACC Network Extra.


SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The 24th-ranked University of Notre Dame softball team gave up four runs in the final inning and suffered a 9-8 loss to the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets Friday night. The Fighting Irish overcame a 4-0 deficit through the first three innings to take the lead, but couldn’t hold off the feisty Yellowjacket squad. Notre Dame falls to 25-7 on the season, and 5-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. It’s the first loss in the last 23 games at Melissa Cook Stadium.

Due to inclement weather, Saturday’s game between Notre Dame and Georgia Tech has been moved up to a noon start time.

Senior Payton Tidd got the start in the circle. She worked 2.1 innings, allowing five hits, four runs, three earned and struck out three before giving way to Alexis Holloway.  Holloway threw the next 4.0 innings, striking out three, allowing two hits, three runs, two earned. Shannon Becker suffered the loss, throwing the final 0.2 innings, allowing a hit, a walk and two unearned runs.

The Irish offense continued its hot hitting, connecting on 12 base hits in the contest. Brooke Marquez led the lineup from the bottom of the card, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, a home run, and scored twice. Emma Clark and Abby Sweet each notched two-hit games. Leea Hanks, Jane Kronenberger, Joley Mitchell, Carlli Kloss and Holloway all added a hit in the effort.

The Yellowjackets scored a solo run in the top of the second inning for the first run of the day. A lead-off walk came around to score on a single from Jin Sileo. Georgia Tech added three more runs in the top of the third. Four hits and a couple Irish errors aided the Yellowjackets as Georgia Tech took the lead 4-0.

Marquez started the rally for the Irish in the bottom of the third, leading off with a double over the head of the center fielder. Hanks followed with a single to left before two infield singles loaded the bases. Kronenberger drove an 0-2 pitch to left field to score two and moved to second on the throw to keep two in scoring position. Holloway got her first at bat at home this season and drove a double to the wall in left field to take the lead 5-4 after three innings.

Marquez again did damage from the nine-spot, leading off the fourth inning with a home run to center field, her second in as many games to extend the lead to 6-4. After a pitching change, a hit batter, a single and a walk loaded the bases. Mitchell singled back to the pitcher to bring in a run and extend the lead to 7-4.

Georgia Tech got a run back in the top of the sixth as a lead-off walk came in to score after a pair of groundouts moved her up and a single brought her in.

The Irish took advantage of a pair of Georgia Tech errors to answer in the sixth. The first two hitters reached on an error, and a bunt single loaded them up. A wild pitch brought in Emily Tran who was pinch running for Gaskins to extend the lead back to three at 8-5.

In the seventh, Georgia Tech took advantage of three walks, a hit batter and an error to score three and a sacrifice bunt with a runner on third scored the game-winning run.

The Irish put the winning run on base in the bottom of the inning, but couldn’t bring it home.

Up Next

The Irish are back in action tomorrow against Georgia Tech for the second game of the series at noon at Melissa Cook Stadium.

Cardinals Ground Rockets Behind Strong Pitching, 14 Hits

TOLEDO, Ohio – The Ball State baseball team took to the diamond for the first Mid-American Conference road game of the season at Toledo on Friday. The Cardinals improved to 15-8 overall and 10-1 in MAC play with the 8-1 victory, while the Rockets fell to 12-12 overall and 6-6 in the conference.

Trennor O’Donnell picked up his third win of the season and improved to 3-2. O’Donnell, Maxwell McKee, and Casey Bargo held Toledo to just four hits on the day. The trio combined for 10 strikeouts.

Amir Wright extended his hitting streak to 10 games, and he has reached base safely in all 23 games of the season. Trenton Quartermaine launched a team-leading eighth home run and he has reached safely in nine straight games.

The Rockets put runners in scoring position in the bottom of the first and second innings, but O’Donnell closed the door to get out of the innings unscathed.

Zach Cole doubled to right center to get things started for the Cardinals in the top of the third. Zach Lane flew out to center and moved Cole to third. Wright reached safely on a throwing error by the Rocket pitcher and allowed Cole to score. BSU held a 1-0 lead into the home half of the third.

The Rockets tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the third on four walks and stranded the bases loaded.

Ryan Peltier led off the top of the fifth with a double off the center field wall. Justin Conant flew out down the right field line and moved Peltier to third. Cole recorded his second hit of the game with a single to center and scored Peltier from third. Ball State regained the lead, 2-1, as the game went to the bottom of the fifth.

Quartermaine notched a one-out single through the right side to get the top of the sixth started for BSU. Nick Powell followed with a double to left center to put runners at second and third with one out. Matthew Rivera came up with a huge two-out single up the middle to drive in Quartermaine and Powell.

Conant started the top of the seventh with a single through the left side. Cole dropped down a perfectly placed bunt down the third baseline that stopped just inside the line. Wright followed with a single to right field to drive in Conant. Quartermaine picked up an RBI with a single through the right side as Cole scored.

Ball State held a 6-1 lead as the game went to the ninth inning. Quartermaine launched his eighth home run of the season and extended the BSU lead to 7-1. Powell was hit by a pitch and then advanced to second on a ground out by Adam Christianson. Rivera tallied his third RBI on the day with a single to left field.

The Cardinals went on to win the game 8-1 behind a solid pitching performance. O’Donnell went 5 1/3 innings with six strikeouts and surrendered one earned run on three hits. McKee went 2 2/3 innings in relief and added three strikeouts and allowed no hits. Bargo notched one strikeout and gave up just one hit.

Quartermaine and Cole finished the game with three hits each, while five of the nine hitters produced a multiple-hit game. Rivera drove in a game-high three RBIs.

Ball State put up five earned runs to the reigning MAC Co-Pitcher of the Week, Kyle Jones. Jones went 6 1/3 innings and struck out five Cardinal batters. Parker Newby went 2 2/3 innings in relief with two strikeouts and two earned runs.

The Cardinals return to Scott Park for a doubleheader against the Rockets on Saturday. First pitch is slated for noon.

From the Coach – Head Coach Rich Maloney

“Our boys played a solid game and beat an outstanding Toledo pitcher. Our pitching staff, led by Trennor O’Donnell, Maxwell McKee, and Casey Bargo pitched an excellent game.”

Softball Opens Home Slate With Friday Sweep Of Kent State

MUNCIE, Ind. – – Not even the cold weather could spoil softball’s home-opening doubleheader, as Ball State swept visiting Kent State by scores of 8-5 and 4-1 Friday afternoon at the Softball Field at First Merchants Ballpark Complex.

After playing its first 25 games on the road, the Cardinals’ (9-18; 2-2 Mid-American Conference) survived a nearly 20-minute cold delay as the team’s waited for the weather to warm up enough to start the games.

While the Golden Flashes (9-16; 1-6 MAC) struck first, with a run in the opening inning, Ball State was able to heat up, out-scoring Kent State 12-to-5 over the final 13 innings of the day.

Redshirt freshman catcher / first baseman McKayla Timmons provided the biggest hit of the opening game, with a three-run shot to cap the scoring in a five-run Ball State second inning.

In the nightcap, junior third baseman Haley Wynn got into the action with a two-run shot in the second, giving BSU a 4-0 edge in the game.

Overall, the Cardinals smashed 17 hits on the day, led by four each from Timmons and senior left fielder Faith Hensley.

As big as Ball State’s bats turned out to be, it was another brilliant pitching performance from freshman Angelina Russo which stole the show in the second game. Russo threw a complete game one-hitter, striking out four batters along the way to improve to 5-6 on the year. The lone run she surrendered was unearned.

In addition, Ball State’s defense came up with several huge plays, including three double plays on the day. The Cardinals have now turned 18 double plays on the year, which leads the MAC and ranks in the top 10 nationally.

The Ball State softball team closes its three-game series versus Kent State Saturday, with a scheduled 1 p.m. first pitch back at the Softball Field at First Merchants Ballpark Complex.

GAME 1 RECAP: Ball State 8 – Kent State 5

While Kent State was able to load the bases with just one out in the top of the first, the managed to score just one run off BSU freshman starter Emma Eubank who forced an infield fly for the second out, and following an RBI walk, helped induce a fielder’s choice at third to end the inning.

Ball State would get a two-out single from Timmons, followed by a double from senior second baseman Amaia Daniel in the bottom of the first. Unfortunately, they were unable to string three straight hits together to keep it a 1-0 game.

However, the Cardinals would not be held off the scoreboard in the second, as they struck for five runs to pull ahead for good at 5-1. Senior Mackenzie McCarty started the rally with a one-out walk, while freshman pinch runner Kaitlyn Gibson came around to score on sophomore shortstop Kayla Lissy’s second triple of the season.

After a walk to Hensley, Lissy would score the second run of the inning when Hensley stole second and an error on the throw allowed her to score from third. Wynn followed with a second consecutive walk, before Timmons launched a no-doubter over the fence in center field.

While Kent State would get two of the runs back in the third, the Cardinals reclaimed the four-run edge with two more of its own in the bottom of the fourth. This time, the rally started with a one-out single from sophomore center fielder Remington Ross, who then promptly stole second.

Hensley capitalized with the speedy runner at second, slicing an RBI single up the middle to plate the first run of the frame. Two batters later, Timmons collected her fourth RBI of the game with a double to right field.

Once again, Kent State would score two runs in the top of the fifth, cutting the lead back to two at 7-5. Despite giving up runs, it was a solid outing for Eubank who would pick up her second victory of the season after striking out three over her 5.0 innings of work.

Enter freshman reliever Caridad Estes in the sixth, who would lock up the win by retiring six of the seven batters she faced over the final two innings, striking out three of her own.

The Cardinals also added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth, courtesy of some heads up baserunning by the speedy Lissy at second on a bunt single from Ross. Lissy singled with one out, then stole second before scoring.

GAME 2 RECAP: Ball State 4 – Kent State 1

Russo’s effort in the circle was the story of the second game, as she did not yield a hit until the top of the fifth.

However, Ball State’s offense also made some big moves early, starting with a two-run opening inning. BSU loaded the bases with walks to Hensley and Wynn, followed by a bunt single from Timmons. Daniel made it four straight batters to reach base with an RBI walk, while senior catcher Delanie Johnson made it five straight with an RBI hit by pitch.

The Cardinals added two more runs in the bottom of the second, as a one-out single by Hensley set up Wynn’s two-run blast to right field.

That was all the run support Russo would need, as she picked up her fifth win of the season in convincing fashion.

Pitching, clutch hitting lead Sycamores past Redbirds in series opener

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Indiana State’s pitching held off a pesky Illinois State offense and the Sycamores did enough at the plate to top the visiting Redbirds, 4-2, on Friday afternoon at Bob Warn Field in the Missouri Valley opener for both teams.

Indiana State (14-7, 1-0 MVC) took advantage of four hits-batsmen, three walks, and a timely passed ball to plate four runs against Illinois State (9-10, 0-1 MVC) on Friday afternoon. Sean Ross went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored, while Seth Gergely added another multi-hit game to lead the Sycamores past the Redbirds.

Matt Jachec (6-1) picked up his fourth quality start in a row and fifth of the season as the redshirt sophomore scattered a season-high 11 hits over 7.2 innings. Jachec posted seven strikeouts in the win and pitched around runners throughout the contest before turning the ball over to Joey Hurth (S, 4) in the top of the eighth.

Grant Magill fired a strike down to second to catch Josh Blount stealing and ending the Redbirds eighth inning. Hurth closed out the contest by striking out the side in the top of the ninth in posting his team-leading fourth save of the season.

Randall Diaz, Tyler Nelson, and Seth Gergely all posted RBI in the contest for the Sycamores as ISU was limited to a season-low five hits in the win.

Jake McCaw, Nick Gile, and Kyle Soberano all recorded multi-hit games for Illinois State in the opener, while Connor Olson put together the Redbirds’ lone extra-base hit of the game with a leadoff double in the second inning.

Derek Salata (2-3) took the loss after allowing four hits and three runs (two earned) over 5.2 innings of work. Justin Schubert tossed two innings of hitless relief, but allowed an unearned run in the eighth before Cameron Mabee recorded the final out.

How They Scored

Jordan Schaffer was hit by a pitch with one out in the bottom of the third inning and came around to score on Randall Diaz’s RBI single to give the Sycamores the early 1-0 lead.

Two more hit by pitches in the bottom of the fourth inning put Indiana State runners on base and Tyler Nelson took advantage with a RBI sacrifice fly to right field scoring Diego Gines and putting the Sycamores up 2-0.

The Redbirds pushed their first run across in the top of the sixth inning as Aidan Huggins scored on a wild pitch to narrow the gap down to 2-1.

The Sycamores responded with a run in the bottom of the frame as Sean Ross hustled and scored on an errant Illinois State throw to give the Sycamores a 3-1 lead through six.

Illinois State utilized three consecutive singles in the top of the seventh inning with Ryan Cermak driving home Adrian Flores with a base hit to center field to cut the lead down to 3-2.

The Sycamores pushed across the final run of the contest in the bottom of the eighth as Seth Gergely’s bases-loaded infield single brought home Sean Ross to put the margin at 4-2.

News & Notes

Matt Jachec picked up his Missouri Valley-leading sixth win of the 2022 season following his performance against the Redbirds.

Jachec entered the weekend as the MVC innings leader and added to his total sitting with 48.2 innings on the mound through his first seven starts of the year.

The redshirt sophomore also sits among the conference leaders in ERA (2.03), opponent batting average (.239), and strikeouts (41).

Joey Hurth added a trio of strikeouts in his team-leading 12th appearance out of the bullpen on the season.

Hurth added his team-leading fourth save of the year and sits third on the team with 29 strikeouts through 19.0 innings on the mound.

Jachec and Hurth combined to strike out 10 Redbirds in the contest marking the sixth time the ISU pitching staff has retired double-digit batters on strikes and first since March 15 against SEMO (14).

Seth Gergely ran his hitting streak into double-digits on Friday as the redshirt junior went 2-for-4 from the plate.

Sean Ross added his team leading ninth double of the season and posted his ninth multi-hit game of the year.

Indiana State batters were hit four times in Friday’s game giving the Sycamores a Missouri Valley-leading 41 hit by pitches through the first 21 games.

It marked ISU’s third game with at least four batters getting hit and first since ISU was hit five times back on February 25 against Merrimack.

The Sycamores picked up their third consecutive win against the Redbirds with the victory in the series opener.

Up Next

Indiana State and Illinois State continue the series tomorrow afternoon at Bob Warn Field. First pitch in the MVC matchup is set for 2 p.m. ET and will be carried live on ESPN3 and 105.5 The Legend.

Sycamores Continue MVC Play at Illinois State

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Indiana State softball will head to Normal, Ill. this weekend for a three-game series against Illinois State at Marion Kneer Stadium.

The series will begin Saturday with a single game at 6 p.m. ET followed by a doubleheader on Sunday beginning at 1 p.m. ET to close out the weekend. Each game will be streamed on ESPN3.

The Sycamores (16-12, 4-2) are coming off a series win over Bradley while Illinois State (10-15, 1-2) opened conference play against Missouri State, losing two of three in Springfield.

Last Time Out

The Sycamores won their second series in-a-row to begin MVC play, taking two out of three from Bradley for ISU’s first series win over the Braves since 2017.

Bradley took game one of the series with a 9-1 victory. Indiana State committed five errors and tallied just five hits in the loss. Bella Peterson paced the Sycamore offense, going 2-for-2 at the plate including an RBI double to drive in the only run of the game for the Trees.

Indiana State took game two in dramatic fashion, scoring six runs in the bottom of the seventh to claim a 7-6 walk-off victory. The Sycamores finished the game with 10 hits, six of them coming in the game’s final frame. Isabella Henning finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs, while Bella Peterson went 2-for-3 with two RBIs to pace the Sycamore offense. Lexie Siwek also reached base three times, finishing 2-for-2 with a walk and an RBI.

The series finale on Monday saw the Sycamores win the series, escaping with a 5-4 win as Bradley scored two runs in the seventh and left the bases loaded but Cassi Newbanks came in and closed out the game for her first career save.

Scouting the Redbirds

Illinois State head coach Melinda Fischer is in her 37th season at the helm of the Redbird program and 39th overall as a head coach. She has amassed over 1,000 wins in her career which makes her the 26th-winningest coach in Division I softball history.

The Redbirds returned only two full-time starters from a team that won the MVC regular season title in 2021. Emme Olson and Kaili Chval started and played in all 41 games last season. They are also Illinois State’s top two offensive returners with Chval and Olson ending the season with the second and third highest team batting averages, respectively.

In 2022, Illinois State has been led offensively by Reili Gardner who currently is batting .363 on the year with 29 hits while scoring a team-high 14 runs. Right behind her is Olson who owns a .360 average with 27 hits including three home runs and seven doubles.

In the circle, the Redbirds have two starters who have made double-digit starts. Amanda Fox has a 4-7 record with a 2.99 ERA and has struck out 56 batters over 79.2 innings this season. Hannah Ross is 6-6 with a 3.04 ERA across 76 innings pitched and has recorded 47 strikeouts.

Illinois State hasn’t played since March 20th because of cancellations due to weather.

The Redbirds lead the all-time series against Indiana State 90-17 and have won seven straight contests over the Sycamores. Indiana State is searching for their first ever series win in Normal and just their second series win in the history of the matchup. The lone series win for the Sycamores came in 2000.

Around the Horn

-Indiana State picked up their first series win over Bradley since 2017 and has won their first two series to begin conference play in 2022.

-The Sycamore offense ranks second in the MVC with a .279 average and 204 hits.

-Cassie Thomerson’s .492 OBP leads the conference.

-Bella Peterson ranks within the top-five of the MVC in multiple offensive categories: First in doubles (10), second in average (.393), second in slugging (.719), third in OBP (.472), second in hits (35) and fifth in walks (15).

-Lexi Benko’s 2.24 ERA ranks third in the MVC.

Lickey Strings Together Three Hits in Purdue Fort Wayne’s Loss to Oakland

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Purdue Fort Wayne softball team got three hits out of freshman Brayden Lickey in a 7-1 loss to the Oakland Golden Grizzlies on Friday (April 1).

Sophomore Alyson Quinlan (0-2) got the ball to start for Purdue Fort Wayne (4-22, 3-6) and took the loss despite a full game in the circle.

In addition to her three hits, Lickey had an RBI to lead the Mastodons.

The Mastodons got on the scoreboard first, starting in the second inning. Purdue Fort Wayne got an RBI single from Lickey, scoring senior Emma McMillan from third base. The Mastodons were unable to hold the lead, as Oakland scored seven times over the remaining five innings to grab the 7-1 win.


» Lickey stole two bases in Friday’s game.

» Lickey led the Mastodons at the plate, going 3-for-3 with an RBI.

» Oakland was led offensively by senior Cammie Brummitt, who went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs.

» Sophomore Sydney Campbell led the Golden Grizzlies’ pitching staff, throwing seven innings of one-run ball.


The Mastodons and Golden Grizzlies will meet again Saturday (April 2) at noon. The game was moved up from its originally scheduled time of 1 p.m. to avoid rain in the forecast.

Raiders Edge Mastodons With Two Late Runs

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Wright State scored single runs in the seventh and eighth innings to edge the Purdue Fort Wayne baseball team 5-3 on Friday (April 1) afternoon at Mastodon Field.

The Mastodons took a 1-0 lead with a single run in the third. Brian Erbe scored on a sacrifice fly by Jarrett Bickel. It stayed 1-0 until the fifth when Wright State’s Zane Harris singled with two outs to put the Raiders up 2-1. They would add another to go up 3-1 after four and a half innings.

Purdue Fort Wayne picked up two runs in the sixth when a single from Cade Fitzpatrick scored Bickel and junior Ben Higgins. The clutch two-out single evened the score at 3-3.

The Raiders won the game with a two-out RBI double in the seventh and then a solo home run in the eighth.

The ‘Dons put together a rally in the ninth. Alex Evenson opened the inning with a single and then with one out Karter Hann walked. However, a strikeout and a pop up ended the contest.

Sophomore Kevin Fee (0-1) took the loss on the mound for Purdue Fort Wayne. He threw 2.2 innings out of the pen. Freshman Rex Stills started the ballgame and went four innings, surrendering one run on three hits, walking five and striking out four.

Bickel went 1-for-4 in the game with a double and an RBI.


» Despite the windy and cold conditions, the game had just one combined error between the two teams.

» Brian Erbe had a double and a run scored.

» The ‘Dons turned a pair of double plays.

» Wright State was led offensively by Julian Greenwell, who had a solo home run and two walks.

» Jake Shirk threw 6.2 innings of three-run ball. He got the win and is now 2-4.

» Jay Luikart earned his third save of the season, tossing the ninth for the Raiders.

» Wright State improves to 10-13 (5-2 Horizon). The ‘Dons fall to 4-20 (2-5 Horizon).


» Purdue Fort Wayne and Wright State will continue their three-game series on Saturday with a single game. It will be a 1 p.m. start at Indiana tech. One hour earlier than originally announced.

Gray fires seven shutout innings as Aces take series opener from Michigan State

EVANSVILLE – Led by a dominant performance on the mound by senior Shane Gray, the University of Evansville baseball team took the series opener, 7-2, over Michigan State on Friday night at German American Bank Field at Charles H. Braun Stadium in Evansville.

“Great team win tonight to start the weekend. Shane Gray set the tone for us on the mound,” said Aces head baseball coach Wes Carroll. “We had a great plan at the plate against a talented starter but I’m really proud of how we ran the bases and played with energy.”

Gray went seven innings for the Aces, turning-in one of his best performances of the season. The West Jefferson, Ohio native allowed just four hits in a scoreless seven-inning outing, striking-out five Spartans. At the dish, it was the heart of the order that did much of the damage for Evansville on the evening. Fourth-place hitting Brent Widder went three-for-four on the day, boosting his average to .314 on the season, while tallying an RBI and a run. Following Widder in the lineup, fifth-year second baseman Evan Berkey continued to rack-up the RBI, adding three to his season total on Friday evening, highlighted by a third inning homer to left field that scored two, his fifth dinger of the season.

Evansville’s offense stayed hot after Tuesday’s 10-run production against Austin Peay and got the scoring started in the first. An RBI base hit from Widder scored the first run of the game as Tanner Craig crossed home on the play to give UE the 1-0 lead. With two outs in the third, Evansville added more to its total, tallying four in the inning with Berkey’s homer scoring the first two and an RBI double by Brendan Hord capping-off the inning.

Two more runs came across for the Aces in the fifth as Danny Borgstrom notched an RBI on a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Widder. Soon after, a pitch got away from the Spartan catcher allowing Berkey to move from second to third. The catcher could not locate the ball, causing head coach Wes Carroll to send Berkey home, who slid head first across the plate to push the Aces lead to 6-0.

UE’s lead grew as large as seven with Berkey skying a sacrifice fly to left that scored Widder to push Evansville’s advantage to 7-0.

Michigan State would scratch a few runs back in the eighth, getting within five at 7-2, but the Aces closed-out the contest on the arms of Kieren Hall and Drew Dominik to secure an Evansville victory.

The Aces are back for the second game of the weekend series on Saturday at 2 PM against Michigan State at German American Bank Field in Evansville.

Greyhounds Dealt Extra Inning Loss against Truman

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. – The University of Indianapolis baseball team fell 3-2 to Truman in extra innings in a low scoring conference clash on Friday afternoon in Kirksville. With the loss, the Hounds now sit at 7-14 overall on the season with a 2-3 mark in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.


Both teams played tremendous in the field through most of the game as a 0-0 stalemate occupied the scoreboard through seven and a half innings. Each squad had a couple of solid opportunities to break the tie, but neither could capitalize.

Finally, TSU scored two on a base hit in the bottom half of the eighth to take the first lead of the game. However, an RBI single by Drew Donaldson and a clutch two out RBI single by pinch hitter Aaron Blake in the ninth kept the game going.

The Bulldogs finally won the game in the 11th when the batter at the plate beat out a close throw to first base with two outs which scored the runner from third.


-The Greyhounds managed a game-high eight hits while Truman had seven.

-The duo of Alex Vela and Nathan Fish led the team with two hits apiece.

-UIndy threw five different pitchers in the loss.


Xavier Rivas was tabbed as the starter on the bump for the Hounds and dealt another impressive performance which included 10 strikeouts on four hits, five walks, and two earned runs given up in 110 pitches tossed. With his 10 Ks this afternoon, he has now thrown six straight games this season of double-digit strikeouts while bumping his season total up to 71 in 44 complete innings thrown.

Fields Fires Gem, Schmack Delivers Big Day as Valpo Earns Road Split at UIC

The Valparaiso University baseball team nearly erased an eight-run deficit in a narrow 9-7 setback in Game 1 of Friday’s doubleheader at Granderson Stadium in Chicago, but the Beacons responded with an 8-3 victory in Game 2 to salvage a split with host UIC. Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) had a monster day by reaching base 10 times over the two games, while Colin Fields (Libertyville, Ill. / Libertyville) turned in another stellar pitching performance in the nightcap to up his record to 4-0.

How It Happened – Game 1

The Beacons threatened in the second inning with two on and one away, but the Flames worked out of it unscathed. Valpo starter Trent Turzenski (Burlington, Wis. / Burlington) worked a scoreless top of the first, but UIC pushed across a pair of runs in the second thanks to an uprising that started with two outs and nobody on base.

Valpo created a scoring chance again in the third, but stranded the bases loaded as UIC kept its 2-0 lead intact. In the bottom of the inning, UIC had a runner at third with one away but Turzenski worked out of the inning without any damage.

UIC added four runs (two earned) in the fourth, an inning that ended with an excellent sprawling grab by Alex Ryan (Lake Mills, Wis. / Lakeside Lutheran) in center. That frame increased the edge to 6-0.

UIC added two in the bottom of the fifth to increase the gap to 8-0, then the Beacons got on the board in the top of the sixth. Ryan ripped a triple into the left-field corner, then trotted home as Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central) lifted a sacrifice fly to make it 8-1.

The Flames picked up an unearned run in the sixth to boost the lead back to eight. Josh Cottrill (Pewaukee, Wis. / Pewaukee) came in from the bullpen and retired both batters he faced in the sixth including a strikeout.

The Beacons put up five runs in the seventh to trim the lead to 9-6. That inning featured a run-scoring single by Angel DiFederico (New Haven, Ind. / New Haven), a base hit by Kaleb Hannahs that drove in a pair and a two-run double by Schmack narrowly missed a home run.

Cottrill did excellent work after entering the game. He sent down the side in order in both the seventh and eighth innings, sending down all eight men he faced over 2 2/3 flawless frames.

Nolan Tucker (Cedar Lake, Ind. / Hanover Central) led off the ninth with a double and eventually came around to score. Valpo had runners at second and third with one away with the potential tying run in scoring position, but the Flames notched the final two outs to hang on for the 9-7 win.

Inside the Game – Game 1

Valpo had no shortage of runners on base, but struggled to capitalize on scoring chances. The Beacons stranded 15. They fell despite outhitting the Flames 14-11. The 14 hits tied for the team’s second most this season and marked Valpo’s highest hit total in a loss this year.

Schmack had a massive game offensively, reaching base five times. He posted his eighth multi-hit game of the season, the second most on the squad. The Valpo left fielder had three hits including a double plus a pair of walks.

Eight of the nine batters in the Valpo starting lineup notched at least one hit.

DiFederico, Tucker and Adam Brauch (Waukee, Iowa / Dowling Catholic) joined Schmack with multi-hit efforts. DiFedierco had his fifth multi-hit game, while Tucker posted his third, all in the last four ballgames. Tucker finished with three hits including a pair of doubles.

Ryan’s triple was his second of his collegiate career, both this season.

How It Happened – Game 2

Valpo stranded the bases juiced in the first and left two more in the third to begin Game 2. Meanwhile, Fields put up goose eggs in each of the first three frames, including 1-2-3 performances in the second and third.

Valpo scored the first run of the game on a bases-loaded single by Thurston in the third that fell in deep left. The Flames turned an inning-ending double play to limit the damage to one.

Fields continued to roll, facing the minimum in the fourth with help from a caught stealing before putting up another zero in the fifth.

In the top of the sixth, Valpo added to the lead. Thurston looped another single to left to drive in a pair, then another run scored on a throwing error to expand the Valpo lead to 4-0.

Fields struck out the side in the bottom of the sixth, lifting his game total to 11.

Ryan poked a flair to right with the bases full in the seventh, driving in a run to extend the lead to 5-0. Valpo got one more in that frame, as Thurston lifted a sacrifice fly to make it 6-0.

UIC scored twice in the bottom of the seventh, but Valpo pushed across an unearned run in the top of the eighth to build the lead back to five at 7-2.

UIC got a run in the bottom of the eighth, but Schmack made an incredible catch while ramming into the left-field fence to end the inning. Schmack ripped a run-scoring single to up the lead back to five in the top of the ninth. Bobby Nowak (Cedar Lake, Ind. / Hanover Central [Kankakee]) came on for the bottom of the ninth and nailed down the victory.

Inside the Game – Game 2

Fields struck out 13 on Friday and has struck out seven or more in each of his seven starts this year. He reached a double-figure strikeout total for the seventh time in his career. The 13 strikeouts surpassed his previous career high of 11, a mark he reached most recently on March 27 of last season at Butler.

Fields became the first Valpo pitcher with 13 strikeouts in a game since Jon Gulbransen, who fanned 13 on April 12, 2011 vs. Chicago State.

In addition, Fields has climbed into the Top 10 in program history in career strikeouts, leapfrogging Chuck Donley (212, 1991-1995) for 10th.

Fields upped his mark to 4-0 after holding the Flames to two runs (one earned) on just two hits while walking three and striking out 13 in seven innings.

Thurston racked up four RBIs, becoming the first Valpo player with a four-RBI game this season. The last Valpo player with four or more RBIs in a game was Riley Dent, who had six on May 1 of last season vs. Illinois State and was at Friday’s games at UIC as a spectator, along with numerous other recent alumni who braved the cold.

Schmack reached base five times in Game 2 and was on base a total of 10 times during Friday’s doubleheader.

Schmack’s three-hit game paced the team, while Thurston and Ryan Maka (Oak Forest, Ill. / Oak Forest) had two hits apiece. The guests totaled 26 hits over the two games.

Up Next

Check on Saturday morning for official word on the third game of the series, which may be impacted by weather.


MARION, Ind. – Indiana Wesleyan baseball defeated the University of Saint Francis in both games of a doubleheader on Friday. The Wildcats trailed 1-0 early in game one before scoring 12 straight to win the game in seven innings 12-1. It was a similar story in game two as the Wildcats went into the third trailing 5-2 before scoring nine straight and winning 11-5.

Volleyball Battles In MCVL Match At Olivet

The Wabash College volleyball team came up on the short end of a back-and-forth Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League match at Olivet College Friday evening. The Little Giants rallied from a first-set loss to even the contest at a set apiece before losing by a final score of 3-1.

Wabash (3-17, 0-7 MCVL) stayed close to Olivet (5-13, 1-6 MCVL) in the opening set but was unable to capture the lead. The Little Giants got as close at two points from tying the score on five different occasions before taking a 25-18 loss in the opening set.

Wabash trailed in the early moments of the second set before going on a three-point scoring swing led by kills from Luke Davis and Ricky Sessions to even the score at 7-7. Julian Alvizo served four consecutive points for the Little Giants to help Wabash take a 9-7 lead it never relinquished. Olivet cut the advantage to one point at 17-16 before Jackson Leeper put away a kill on a set from Will Beikes. The host Comets cut the lead back to one point, but Evan Nichols turned in back-to-back kills on passes from Beikes to extend the lead back to three points at 21-18. Wabash went on to claim the set by a score of 25-20 and even the overall score at 1-1.

Both teams traded leads in the third set with Wabash eventually claiming a one-point advantage at 19-18. Olivet rallied to take a 21-19 lead and held the advantage for the remainder of the set to take a 25-22 victory and 2-set to one lead for the match.

Olivet raced out to a five-point lead in the decisive fourth set before Wabash produced its only rally and cut the Comets’ lead to one point at 14-13. The Little Giants could not even the score as Olivet claimed the 25-21 victory to close out the 4-1 victory.

Sessions and Leeper paced Wabash with 12 kills apiece. Davis finished with 11 kills. Leeper turned in an impressive .647 attack percentage for the evening. Beikes scored 42 assists over the four sets. Davis led Wabash with 11 digs while Sessions added 10 digs. Leeper finished with one solo block and seven block assists in the contest.

Wabash closes out the 2022 season on Saturday with an 11 a.m. MCVL match at Adrian College.

TAYLOR ATHLETICS | Game One Highlights Doubleheader Split with Goshen

UPLAND, Ind. – On a cold and windy April day in Upland, Indiana, a 12-1 game-one run-rule victory highlighted what ended up being an unpredictable finish for the Taylor baseball team.

The Trojans entered today on the waves of a seven-game win-streak, which extended to eight after Friday’s first game against Goshen (5-21, 2-14 CL) ended early with the fifth Trojan run-rule victory of the season.

As no surprise to Taylor fans, the offense came early and often, when the Trojans posted a seven-spot on the board in the second inning of game one. Six-consecutive Taylor batters reached base to ignite the rally, five of which came in the form of a walk or hit-by-pitch. Kaleb Kolpien, then, knocked his league-leading 49th hit of the season to drive in two runs before Conner Crawford soon after brought him home for the inning’s seventh and final run.

While enjoying the 7-0 lead, Taylor starting pitcher, Matt Dutkowski (5-0), cruised and tossed four-scoreless innings prior to allowing his only run of the day. Dutkowski went on to throw his first-career complete game, recording nine strikeouts en route to his fifth win of the season.

Even though Dutkowski did not need it, the Trojans added a series of insurance runs late in the game, including when TJ Bass blasted a three-run home run to dead-center in the sixth inning.

Bass now sits fourth in the Crossroads League with eight home runs, while pacing the league with 47 runs-batted-in.

Michael Pinarski, then, tallied the final two runs on the board in the seventh, securing the run-rule win for the Trojans when he capitalized on a series of free bases leading up to a two-run single through the left side of the infield.

Pinarski, Bass, and Kolpien led the way in the run-production category, while senior shortstop, Nick Rusche, went a perfect three-for-three at the dish, scoring two runs along the way in Taylor’s 12-1 triumph.

Game two told a different story, though, resulting in a 3-2 loss as Goshen walked off in the bottom-half of the seventh.

As hot as Taylor’s offense has been of late, the bats went cold in game two, managing just one hit in the game’s first six innings.

Meanwhile, Goshen established a 2-0 lead, scoring first in the second inning before adding its second run in the fourth in the form of a two-out rally.

The Trojans cut the lead in half, though, thanks to a walk, wild pitch, and passed ball in the fifth inning, which sent Rusche, the league’s leader in runs scored, around the bases unchallenged.

Taylor, then, evened the score at two in the top-half of the seventh, when Ben Kalbaugh struck a pinch-hit single to left that prefaced a clutch two-out, game-tying double by Bass.

Not long after, however, the score tipped decisively in favor of Goshen, as three-consecutive batters reached base with one out, ending the game with a walk-off, 3-2 Maple Leaf winner.

Taylor (22-10, 12-4 CL) and Goshen are slated to return to action at Winterholter Field on Saturday, April 2nd, with first pitch set for 10:00 am ET. While located in Upland, due to previous scheduling changes Goshen will again play as the home team in Saturday’s doubleheader.

Trailblazers drop conference doubleheader at Danville Area

DANVILLE, Ill. – The Vincennes University Trailblazer baseball team began their first split four-game Mid-West Athletic Conference (MWAC) series of the season Friday afternoon at Danville Area Community College.

The Trailblazers fell in the first two games of the four-game weekend series by the score of 8-3 and 6-1.

Vincennes began the weekend series with a bang, scoring two runs in the first inning on back-to-back RBI singles by freshman Colton Evans (Henderson, Ky.) and sophomore Connor VanLannen (Clinton, Ind.).

The Jaguars quickly answered back to take the lead with three runs of their own in the bottom of the first.

Danville Area continued to add to their lead with three more runs in the second to take a 6-2 lead over the visiting Trailblazers.

Vincennes would get a run back in the fifth after a lead-off double by sophomore Colin Long (Evansville, Ind.). Long would come around to score on a groundout by Evans.

Danville Area would respond with a run in the bottom half of the inning to grow the lead back to four runs.

The Jaguars would add an insurance run in the seventh as Vincennes was unable to complete a comeback as Danville Area took game one 8-3.

Connor VanLannen got the start on the mound for the Trailblazers in game one and lasted two innings, allowing six runs on six hits, while striking out three.

Sophomore Braedon Nichols (Sullivan, Ind.) entered out of the bullpen to throw three and two-thirds innings, allowing one run on four hits, while punching out a pair of batters.

Freshmen Konner Thyen (Huntingburg, Ind.), Cauy Motsinger (Salem, Ind.) and sophomore Camden Greer (Boonville, Ind.) finished the remaining two and one-third innings, combining to allow one run without allowing a hit, while striking out four batters.

Vincennes got a good day at the plate from lead-off batter Ethan Burdette (Linton, Ind.) who came through with three hits on five at-bats, including a double in the second inning.

Colin Long also came through with a pair of hits, scoring two runs and stealing a base.

Danville Area continued the momentum into game two, jumping out to an early lead with a three-run home run in the second and a two-run home run in the fourth lead 5-0 midway through the seven-inning game.

VU was able to get on the scoreboard in the fifth when Colton Evans drove in Colin Long for the third time Friday with an RBI single to cut the deficit to 5-1.

The Jaguars would quickly get that run back in the bottom of the fifth, as Danville Area went on to take game two by the score of 6-1 and take the first two games of the series.

Vincennes turned to freshman Dawson Blaylock (Eaton, Ohio) as the game two starter. Blaylock threw three and two-thirds innings, allowing five runs on seven hits and striking out one.

The VU bullpen again slowed down the Danville hitters, with freshmen Eli Steimel (Sullivan, Ind.) and Caleb Moore (Wentzville, Mo.) and sophomore Luke Osborn (Perryville, Ind.) combined to throw two and one-third innings, allowing one run on one hit, with Moore and Osborn each recording a strikeout.

Sophomore Peyton Lane (New Paris, Ohio) had a good game at the plate in game two, hitting three for four, including a double in the seventh.

“It all starts on the bump and unfortunately for the first time in a long time Connor just didn’t have it today,” VU Head Baseball Coach Chris Barney said. “He’s been solid all year for us, so I’m sure he will rebound the next time he goes out. But the bullpen did a great job for us. They responded and pitched well, whether it was Nichols, Konner Thyen did a good job for four hitters, Motsinger and Greer all threw really well.”

“In the second game it was the same thing,” Barney added. “The bullpen did a good job. Unfortunately Danville strung together a few hits and got a big blast to go up 3-0 and got another blast, but our bullpen again did fine. Offensively we just have to do a better job of stringing it together. Then we just have to keep the momentum on our side, every time we score, they found a way to grab it back and put a run or more across the plate. So, hats off to Danville. Their second game starter was pretty good.”

“They are just doing exactly what they need to be doing,” Barney said of the hitting performances of Burdette, Long and Lane. “We’ve just got to find a way to string them together and come up with some big hits behind them. We had some opportunities early in game one to blow things open and we left guys on base and we had some more opportunities later in the game but we weren’t able to string hits together in a row like we did last weekend.”

The Trailblazers will return home to Jerry Blemker Field Sunday, April 3 for the final two games of the series looking for the series split.

First pitch Sunday is set for 2 p.m. eastern, with sophomore Kestler Harbuck (Brooksville, Fla.) set to start game three and the game four starter still to be announced.

“Our goal right now is to come back home and get a split out of the series and go 2-2 on the weekend and return the favor to them,” Barney said. “We’ve got Harbuck on the mound for game three and to be announced for game four, but we feel good about it. Our bullpen is in great shape. We didn’t overthrow anybody today, so everyone should be available and ready to roll on Sunday with the day off tomorrow.”

“We’ve just got to jump on them early and sustain it,” Barney added. “We need to continue to do a great job defensively like we have and then our starters need to hopefully get us into the sixth or seventh innings.”


1931       Thought by some to be a belated April Fools’ Day hoax, Chattanooga Lookouts’ relief pitcher Jackie Mitchell, a 17-year-old girl, strikes out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in the first inning of an exhibition game. According to legend, Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis will void the teenager’s professional contract, declaring women are unfit to play baseball as the game is “too strenuous.”

1947       The Indians purchased 26-year-old outfielder George Metkovich from the Red Sox. According to legend, Oakland Oaks’ skipper Casey Stengel, who will manage the Californian next season in the PCL, coins the nickname ‘Catfish’ after the southpaw flycatcher injures himself trying to extract a hook from the bottom-dweller.

1952       In Denver, Giants’ Monte Irvin breaks his ankle sliding into third base during an exhibition game against Cleveland. The future Hall of Fame outfielder will appear in 46 games this season, mainly as a pinch-hitter, batting .310.

1962       The Indians trade Gold Glove first baseman Vic Power and left-handed pitcher Dick Stigman to the Twins for 20-game loser Pedro Ramos, who will compile a 26-30 record during his 2+ seasons with the Tribe. Power will contribute 2+ solid seasons with Minnesota, batting .278, and their new southpaw will post a .702 winning percentage, the best in the American League this season, winning 12 of 17 decisions.

1969       After Donn Clendenon refuses to report to his new team when traded to the Astros, the Expos resign their reluctant first baseman. Montreal will send Jack Billingham, Skip Guinn, and $100,000 to the Astros to complete the deal that brings Rusty Staub north of the border.

1972       After playing a round of golf in West Palm Beach with his coaches on Easter Sunday, Mets manager Gil Hodges, two days shy of his 48th birthday, suffers a fatal heart attack. The club will name the current first-base coach and former Yankee skipper Yogi Berra to run the team when the strike-delayed season begins.

1972       Hank Aaron, Rico Carty, and Orlando Cepeda all start in an exhibition game, marking the first time the trio of sluggers, sidelined with various injuries over the past two seasons, has appeared together in the Braves lineup since 1970. Atlanta will finishes in fourth place, posting a disappointing 70-84 record in the NL West.

1976       In a blockbuster trade a week before the season starts, the Orioles deal Don Baylor, Paul Mitchell, and Mike Torrez to the A’s in exchange for Ken Holtzman, Reggie Jackson, and Bill Van Bommel. A month will pass before Jackson will report to his new team, accounting for Baltimore’s slow start in April.

1982       During an exhibition contest at Jack Murphy Stadium, Steve McCatty steps to home plate with a 15-inch toy bat as instructed by A’s manager Billy Martin, furious that a DH isn’t being allowed because the meaningless game is taking place in an NL park. After plate umpire Jim Quick refuses to let the Oakland starter use the prop, the right-hander takes three called strikes with a real bat.

1984       For the first time in ten years, the Mets lose on Opening Day, bowing to the Reds, 8-1. The last time the team dropped a season opener was in 1974, when Mike Schmidt hit a two-run walk-off home run off Tug McGraw, giving the Phillies a 5-4 victory over New York at Veterans Stadium.

1992       The Phillies acquire right-hander Curt Schilling from Houston in exchange for Jason Grimsley, who will never throw a pitch in an Astros uniform. ‘Schil’ plays nine seasons in the City of Brotherly Love, compiling a 101-78 (.564) record, along with 3.35 ERA during his 242 appearances with the team.

1995       Having the first 23 days of this season canceled and 252 games of the last season lost, the owners accept the players’ March 31 unconditional offer to play a 144-game schedule. The players decide to return to work when a U.S. District judge issues an injunction restoring the expired agreement’s terms and conditions.

1996       With an Opening Day 7-1 victory over the Indians at Jacobs Field, Joe Torre wins the first of his 1,173 victories as the Yankees manager. During his 12-year tenure, the Bronx Bombers will reach the postseason each year, winning ten American League East Division titles, six American League pennants, and four World Championships.

1996       Tiger first baseman Cecil Fielder steals the first base of his eleven-year career in his 1,097th major league game, establishing the most extended duration a player has ever gone without recording a stolen base. The feat is so unexpected that the Metrodome crowd gives ‘Big Daddy’ a standing ovation, to which he responds with a good-natured tip of the helmet.

1996       On Opening Day, Derek Jeter hits a home run off Dennis Martinez in New York’s 7-1 victory over the Indians at Jacobs Field. The 22-year-old infielder becomes the first Yankee rookie to play shortstop at the start of the season since 1962 when Tom Tresh filled in for Tony Kubek, who reported to duty to his recently federalized National Guard unit.

1997       Gary Sheffield (.314, 42, 120) and the Marlins agree to a six-year, $61 million contract extension. The deal is the largest in total dollars in baseball history but is only the third-highest annual salary, behind Albert Belle’s (1996-2000 White Sox – $11 million) and Barry Bonds’ (1993-98 Giants – $11,131,157).

1997       For the first time in major league history, one player’s salary is more than a whole team’s payroll. The White Sox will pay Albert Belle $10 million for the season, which is $928,333 more than the entire Pirate payroll.

1998       With the help of Jeromy Burnitz’s grand slam in the top of the frame, the Brewers record their first National League victory when they beat Atlanta in 11 innings, 8-6. The franchise, which started in Seattle in 1969 before moving to Milwaukee a year later, played in the American League for the first 29 years of its existence before switching circuits, a move necessitated by the restructuring of each league from two divisions into three.

2001       On Opening Day, Yankee fireballer Roger Clemens becomes the all-time AL career strikeout leader, moving ahead of Walter Johnson when he whiffs Royals’ Joe Randa for his 3,509th Junior Circuit victim. Passing the ‘Big Train,’ the ‘Rocket’ now takes over the seventh spot in major league history.

2001       For the first time in major league history, a Japanese-born position player participates in a regular-season major league game. Hitless in his first three at-bats, Ichiro Suzuki singles in the seventh inning to ignite a two-run rally and bunts for a hit in the eighth in his Mariner debut at Safeco Field.

2002       In his major league debut, right-hander Jon Rauch of the White Sox pitches a perfect 1.1 innings in a 7-4 loss to the Mariners at Safeco Field. The 6′ -11″ Louisville, Kentucky native, a member of the 2000 U.S. Olympic team, becomes the tallest pitcher to appear in a big-league game, surpassing by an inch six other hurlers, most notably Hall of Famer Randy Johnson.

2003       Mike Bordick’s record streak for games and chances without an error by a shortstop ends when Yankee outfielder Bubba Trammell’s third-inning grounder tips off his glove. After converting a fielder’s choice in the first inning, the Blue Jay infielder misplays his second opportunity, establishing 544 chances and 110 consecutive games without an error, a new major league mark for shortstops.

2003       According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Tigers become the first major league team to have four pitchers make their big league debut during the same game. Twenty-year-old starter Jeremy Bonderman, who gives up six runs on nine hits in four innings, is followed by rookies Wilfredo Ledezma, Chris Spurling, and Matt Roney in the 8-1 loss to the Twins.

2003       Todd Zeile homers in his first at-bat as a Yankee, becoming the only major leaguer to hit a home run for ten different teams, surpassing Tommy Davis, who went deep for nine big-league clubs. In addition to homering with the Bronx Bombers, the infielder has also gone deep for the Cardinals, Cubs, Phillies, Orioles, Dodgers, Marlins, Rangers, Mets, and Rockies.

2003       At the age of 27 years, 249 days of age, Alex Rodriguez becomes the youngest player in major league history to hit 300 home runs. The Ranger shortstop’s fifth-inning three-run blast off Anaheim’s Ramon Ortiz in the Rangers’ 11-5 loss at Edison Field surpasses the mark established in 1935 by Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx, who had accomplished the feat when being 79 days older than A-Rod.

2007       During the Royals’ Opening Day ESPN telecast, commentator Joe Morgan announces the team will honor the late Buck O’Neil by placing a fan who best exemplifies his spirit in a special seat during every home game at Kauffman Stadium. The first person to sit in the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat, easily identified by its red color in a sea of blue behind home plate, is the Negro League legend’s younger brother, Warren.

2007       Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory’s ceremonial first pitch before the Reds’ home opener lands thirty feet up the first baseline from home plate, widely missing its intended target, a bewildered Eric Davis. The terrible toss will receive national media attention, including the politician receiving a second chance on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, an opportunity in which His Honor will also widely miss the mark.

2007       In his first big-league at-bat, rookie third baseman Alex Gordon, the Royals #1 pick and second overall in 2005, receives a standing ovation from the Kauffman Stadium crowd when he steps to the plate. The former Golden Spikes Award is the fourth player in franchise history to make his major league debut on Opening Day.

2007       Josh Hamilton, the Reds’ 25-year-old rookie, who has overcome a nearly career-ending history of substance abuse, receives a 22-second standing ovation from the fans at Great American Ball Park as he makes his major league debut. The former number one draft choice lines out pinch-hitting for pitcher Kirk Saarloos in the eighth inning and then plays left field for the remainder of the 5-1 Opening Day victory over Chicago.

2007       Mike Hampton, who signed the richest contract ever given to a pitcher, makes his Rockies debut, getting the victory when the team beat the Cardinals, 8-0. The $123.8 million southpaw will get off to a quick 9-2 start for Colorado but will finish his stay in the mountains 21-28 along with an ERA of 5.75 over the next one and half seasons before being dealt to the Braves.

2007       In a 9-5 loss to New York, Elijah Dukes of the Devil Rays becomes the 99th major leaguer to homer in his first official at-bat. The 22-year-old rookie center fielder is the first to accomplish the feat at Yankee Stadium on an Opening Day.

2007       For only the fourth time in major league history, a hurler under the age of 21 wins an Opening Day assignment when 20-year-old Venezuelan right-hander Felix Hernandez pitches eight strong innings in the Mariners’ 4-0 victory over the A’s at Safeco Field. Fernando Valenzuela of the Dodgers was the last pitcher ‘not of age’ to accomplish the feat, beating the Astros, 2-0, in 1981.

2007       Tony Pena Jr.’s two Opening Day triples help the Royals rip the Red Sox at Kauffman Stadium, 7-1. The rookie shortstop, the son of a Yankee coach, is the first major leaguer to hit a pair of the three-baggers on Opening Day since Tommy Henrich did it for the Bronx Bombers in 1950.

2008       In the sixth inning of the Dodgers’ 3-2 victory over the Giants, Ed Montague tosses Larry Bowa for not staying in the third-base coaching box after warning him to follow the new rule established following the tragic death of Tulsa Drillers first-base coach Mike Coolbaugh. LA manager Joe Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer need to restrain the former infielder and skipper during his “inappropriate and aggressive” behavior towards the umpires, leading to a three-game suspension.

2008       Kevin Youkilis establishes the longest errorless streak by a first baseman, playing the field flawlessly for 194 games. The Red Sox infielder, who hasn’t committed an error at first base since July 4, 2006, breaks Steve Garvey’s mark set with the Padres from 1983-85.

2011       Ian Kinsler leads off the bottom of the first with a round-tripper off Red Sox’ Jon Lackey to become the first major leaguer ever to hit leadoff homers in each of his team’s first two games. On Opening Day, the Texas second baseman also took Boston’s Jon Lester deep as the Rangers’ first batter of the season.

2011       Ichiro Suzuki breaks the Mariner’s franchise record with an infield single off A’s reliever Brian Fuentes in the team’s 5-2 victory over Oakland. The Seattle right fielder, beginning his 11th season with the M’s, surpasses the total of 2,247 hits established by Hall of Famer Edgar Martinez, Seattle’s designated hitter from 1987 to 2004.

2011       David Ortiz breaks the major league record for RBIs by a designated hitter, established by Seattle’s Edgar Martinez. ‘Big Papi,’ who hit a two-run homer in the second to tie the mark, drives in Alex Gonzalez for his record-setting 1,004th career run batted in as a DH with a fourth-inning groundout to first base in the Red Sox’ 12-5 loss to Texas.

2012       Matt Cain, the longest-tenured Giant, comes to terms with the team on a five-year extension that will keep the 6’5″ Tennessean with San Francisco until 2017. The 27-year-old right-hander has been the staff’s workhorse, averaging 32 starts in each of the last six seasons.

2013       Marwin Gonzalez’s two-out, ninth-inning single, a grounder that goes through the box between the pitcher’s legs, spoils Yu Darvish’s bid for a perfect game. The 26-year-old Ranger starter is removed from the Minute Maid Park contest after giving up the hit and watches reliever Michael Kirkman close the Texas 7-0 victory over Houston.

2014       With the score tied 3–3 in the bottom of the 13th inning and the bases loaded with no outs, the Cubs turned a 7-2-3 double play against the Pirates. Chicago defensively placed left fielder Junior Lake in the infield near the third baseline, who fielded Clint Barmes’ grounder throwing home for one out, with the catcher relaying the ball to first base to complete the unusual twin-killing in the Pirates’ eventual 4-3 walk-off victory three innings later at PNC Park.

2014       Rookie catcher Tony Sanchez, pinch-hitting in the bottom of the 16th inning, singles in the winning run to end the 5-hour and 55-minute marathon, now the longest game in Pittsburgh history by time. The 4-3 victory over Chicago took six minutes longer to play than when the Bucs beat the Astros, 8-7, in an 18-inning contest played in 2006.

2017       In the Diamondbacks’ 6-5 Opening Day walk-off victory over the Giants, Madison Bumgarner becomes the first pitcher to hit two home runs in the first game of the season. The 27-year-old southpaw retires the first 16 batters he faces, striking out 11 with no walks in seven innings of work at Chase Field.

2019       The Braves and Ronald Acuna Jr. come to terms on an eight-year, $100 million extension, keeping the 2018 Rookie of the Year under contract through the 2026 season. The 21-year-old All-Star outfielder becomes the youngest player in baseball history to sign a deal worth at least $100 million.

2021       In his second game and first in the starting lineup, White Sox DH Yermín Mercedes goes 5-for-5, collecting his first five career hits, in the team’s 12-8 victory at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. The 28-year-old catcher, who stroked four singles and a double, becomes the third major leaguer to get five hits in his first major league start, joining Cecil Travis (1933 Senators) and Fred Clarke (1894 Louisville Colonels).


Final Four: (2)Villanova vs (1)Kansas6:09pmTBS
Final Four: (8)North Carolina vs (2)Duke8:49pmTBS
Texas at Oklahoma1:00pmESPN2
Arkansas at Ole Miss1:00pmSECN
Michigan at Northwestern1:00pmBTN
Florida at Auburn3:00pmSECN
Georgia at Alabama4:30pmESPN2
NC State at Clemson6:00pmESPNU
Oklahoma State at Baylor7:00pmESPN2
Augusta National Women’s Amateur12:00pmNBC
PGA: Texas Open1:00pmGOLF
PGA: Texas Open3:30pmNBC
LPGA: Chevron Championship Pro-Am5:00pmGOLF
Pittsburgh at Boston1:00pmMLBN
LA Angels at Chi. Cubs4:00pmMLBN
Xfinity: ToyotaCare 2501:30pmFS1
Charlotte at Philadelphia12:30pmNBCS-PHI
Bally Sports
Cleveland at New York1:00pmBally Sports
Brooklyn at Atlanta7:30pmNBATV
Bally Sports
Miami at Chicago8:00pmBally Sports
Utah at Golden State8:30pmATTSN-RM
Florida at New Jersey12:30pmNHLN
Bally Sports
Pittsburgh at Colorado3:00pmABC
Montreal at Tampa Bay7:00pmNHLN
Bally Sports
Columbus at Boston7:00pmBally Sports
Los Angeles at Winnipeg7:00pmBally Sports
Toronto at Philadelphia7:00pmNBCS-PHI
Minnesota at Carolina7:00pmBally Sports
St. Louis at Calgary9:00pmBally Sports
Dallas at San Jose10:00pmBally Sports


Eastern Conference
 WLPctConf GBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
1 xy-Miami4928.63627-1222-1611-231-165-52 W
2 x-Milwaukee4829.6231.026-1322-1610-330-186-41 L
3 x-Boston4830.6151.527-1321-179-731-187-31 W
Philadelphia4630.6052.521-1725-136-927-195-53 L
Chicago4532.5844.027-1018-2210-529-194-62 W
Toronto4532.5844.021-1624-169-528-208-25 W
Cleveland4235.5457.024-1518-209-625-224-62 L
Brooklyn4037.5199.017-2123-169-628-206-41 L
Charlotte4037.5199.020-1920-186-724-238-21 W
10 Atlanta4037.5199.025-1415-238-624-247-34 W
11 Washington3443.44215.021-1913-247-724-245-52 W
12 New York3443.44215.016-2218-214-1019-286-41 L
13 Indiana2553.32124.516-239-302-1311-372-86 L
14 Detroit2256.28227.513-269-305-917-324-62 W
15 Orlando2058.25629.510-2810-302-1210-382-85 L
Western Conference
 WLPctConf GBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
1 xyz-Phoenix6215.80531-831-79-437-109-11 L
2 xy-Memphis5523.7057.529-1026-1310-535-149-17 W
Golden State4829.62314.029-1019-1910-428-193-74 L
4 x-Dallas4830.61514.527-1221-1813-234-166-41 L
Utah4631.59716.027-1119-2013-130-174-61 W
Denver4632.59016.522-1624-166-1027-216-41 L
Minnesota4434.56418.525-1319-2112-430-206-41 W
LA Clippers3840.48724.521-1617-247-722-263-71 W
New Orleans3443.44228.018-2116-226-923-247-33 W
10 San Antonio3245.41630.015-2417-216-922-256-41 W
11 LA Lakers3146.40331.020-1911-273-1116-312-85 L
12 Sacramento2949.37233.516-2313-265-819-295-52 W
13 Portland2750.35135.017-2310-271-1311-361-96 L
14 Oklahoma City2255.28640.010-2912-265-915-322-82 L
15 Houston2058.25642.511-289-303-1311-403-73 L

Eight teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs. 

X – Clinched Playoff Spot,  Y – Clinched Division,  Z – Clinched Conference


Eastern Conference
Florida Panthers6746156984327519528-6-018-9-67-2-1
Carolina Hurricanes6845158984422916125-5-420-10-44-3-3
New York Rangers6944205934021118122-7-322-13-27-3-0
Tampa Bay Lightning6743186924122418721-6-422-12-26-4-0
Pittsburgh Penguins69411810923823118519-10-522-8-56-3-1
Toronto Maple Leafs6743195914125220425-7-218-12-36-3-1
Boston Bruins6742205894021218121-11-221-9-38-2-0
Washington Capitals68372110843222519716-14-521-7-56-3-1
New York Islanders6731279713018618318-13-413-14-57-3-0
10 Columbus Blue Jackets6832315692822125518-14-314-17-24-4-2
11 Detroit Red Wings6826339612319526317-13-69-20-32-6-2
12 Buffalo Sabres69253311612219024313-16-612-17-56-1-3
13 Ottawa Senators6724376542317621912-19-312-18-33-6-1
14 Philadelphia Flyers67213511532117223713-15-68-20-53-6-1
15 New Jersey Devils6724385532120424716-14-38-24-23-7-0
16 Montreal Canadiens68183911471617325810-19-48-20-73-4-3
Western Conference
Colorado Avalanche68481461024525918727-4-321-10-37-2-1
Calgary Flames6740189893823416521-7-719-11-25-3-2
Minnesota Wild6641205873624420724-7-217-13-37-1-2
St. Louis Blues67372010843523919721-9-416-11-64-3-3
Los Angeles Kings70372310843320220018-14-419-9-65-3-2
Edmonton Oilers6939255833524322423-12-016-13-57-2-1
Nashville Predators6839254823722419921-11-018-14-46-4-0
Vegas Golden Knights7038284803422420820-13-318-15-16-4-0
Dallas Stars6638253793419519621-9-117-16-26-4-0
10 Winnipeg Jets69332610763121521619-13-214-13-87-3-0
11 Vancouver Canucks6932289732919619914-14-518-14-43-5-2
12 Anaheim Ducks70283012682419822416-15-512-15-71-6-3
13 San Jose Sharks6729308662717721316-14-413-16-44-5-1
14 Chicago Blackhawks69243510582018624411-17-513-18-53-5-2
15 Seattle Kraken6821416481917824111-20-310-21-34-5-1
16 Arizona Coyotes6821425472017324710-23-111-19-43-6-1

Eight teams in each conference qualify for the divisional playoff format.  The top three teams from each division make up the first six spots.   The two remaining teams with the highest points, regardless of division, qualify for the final two wild card spots.  

X – Clinched Playoff Spot, Y – Clinched Division, Z – Clinched Conference