HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL-NCC/AREA

KNIGHTSTOWN 4 LINCOLN 2….GOLDEN EAGLES: Mason Dick 3-4 RBI…PANTHERS: Mason Muncy 2-3 RBI….Brayden McDaniel 1-3 2RBI…..GOLDEN EAGLES PITCHING: Bryce Pennington 6IP 6H 4R 3ER 6K….PANTHERS PITCHING: Mason Muncy 4IP 5H 1R 0ER 5K…Ben Newby 3IP 1H 0R 0ER 3K

HAGERSTOWN 2 UNION CITY 1…TIGERS: Quaid Mull 2-2….Ben Williams 1-2 RBI….Kayne Ervin 1-3 RBI…TIGERS PITCHING: Dom Anderson 7IP 2H 1R 1ER 11K

UNION COUNTY 15 MILAN 5…PATRIOTS: Eric Burdine 3-4 4RBI….Alex VanWinkle 2-2 3RBI….Mason Hornung 2-3 2RBI…Jaden Bias 2-2 2RBI….Blake Richards 2-3….John Ridenour 1-2 3R RBI….Mason Tipton 1-3 RBI

SHENANDOAH 5 DALEVILLE 1

COWAN 10 BLUE RIVER 1

CONNERSVILLE 12 GREENSBURG 0

NEW PALESTINE 13 GREENWOOD 5

PENDLETON 6 DELTA 3

HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL-NCC/AREA

HARRISON 19 WESTERN 1

NEW PAL 2 KOKOMO 1

WEST LAFAYETTE 3 LOGANSPORT 1

WINCHESTER 10 BLUFFTON 0

NEW CASTLE 22 CENTERVILLE 7

WAPAHANI 19 MONROE CENTRAL 0

COWAN 18 BLUE RIVER 1

YORKTOWN 8 PENDLETON 3

CARMEL 5 GREENFIELD 1

GREENSBURG 7 FRANKLIN COUNTY 6

GIRLS TENNIS SECTIONALS

LINCOLN 5 SETON 0

NORTHEASTERN 3 RICHMOND 2

JAY COUNTY 3 WINCHESTER 2

UNION CITY 4 RANDOLPH SOUTHERN 1

BOYS SECTIONAL TRACK AT CONNERSVILLE

1) Connersville 141

2) Hagerstown 111

3) Rushville Consolidated 93.5

4) Richmond 81.5

5) Tri 52

6) Centerville 51

7) Northeastern 32

8) Cambridge City Lincoln 28

9) Seton Catholic 18

10) Union County 13

FINAL INDIVIDUAL RESULTS: https://www.ihsaa.org/Portals/0/boys%20sports/track/2020-21/2020-21%20Connersville%20Sectional.pdf

AT MUNCIE CENTRAL

1 Delta DELT 143.5
2 Yorktown YORK 130
3 Wapahani WAPH 113.5
4 Muncie Central MUNC 104
5 Jay County JAY 34
6 Muncie Burris MUNB 28
7 Monroe Central MONC 20
8 Union City UNCT 19
9 Cowan COWN 11
10 Winchester Community WINC 10
11 Wes-Del WESD 4
12 Randolph Southern RAND 2
12 Union (Modoc) UNMO 2

INDIVIDUAL RESULTS: https://www.ihsaa.org/Portals/0/boys%20sports/track/2020-21/2020-21%20Muncie%20Central%20Sectional.pdf

AT MT. VERNON

1) Mt. Vernon (Fortville) 178.50

2) Lawrence North 142.50
3) Pendleton Heights 99.50

4) New Castle 60
5) Eastern Hancock 53

6) Blue River Valley 18
6) Liberty Christian 18

8) Anderson 14.50
9) Knightstown 14

10) Daleville 11
11) Anderson Preparatory Acade 6

12) Shenandoah 3
13) Lapel 2

INDIVIDUAL RESULTS: https://www.ihsaa.org/Portals/0/boys%20sports/track/2020-21/2020-21%20Mt%20Vernon%20Sectional.pdf

BOYS GOLF

FRANKLIN COUNTY DEFEATS CENTERVILLE 174 – 216

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

American League
Tampa Bay10Final
Baltimore1
 
NY Yankees2Final
Texas0
 
Houston8Final
Oakland4
 
Minnesota1Final
LA Angels7
 
Boston8Final
Toronto7
 
Minnesota6Final
LA Angels3
National League
San Francisco19Final
Cincinnati4
 
Washington2Final
Chi Cubs5
 
Miami6Final
Philadelphia0
 
Pittsburgh6Final
10
Atlanta4
 
Arizona2Final
LA Dodgers3

THURSDAY’S BOX SCORES: http://hosted.stats.com/mlb/scoreboard.asp

NBA

Indiana115Final
Washington142

THURSDAY’S BOX SCORE: http://hosted.stats.com/nba/scoreboard.asp

NHL PLAYOFFS

Florida6Final-OT
Tampa Bay5
 
Pittsburgh5Final
NY Islanders4
 
Montreal2Final
Toronto1
 
Vegas5Final
Minnesota2

THURSDAY’S BOX SCORES: http://hosted.stats.com/nhl/scoreboard.asp

TOP HEADLINES

Beal, Westbrook lead Wiz past Pacers 142-115 for East 8 seed

WASHINGTON (AP) After one loss back when the Washington Wizards were struggling through a coronavirus-disrupted, injury-depleted and defense-optional stretch of the season that put them 15 games below .500, Russell Westbrook gathered his teammates to speak his mind.

According to coach Scott Brooks, Westbrook delivered a “very passionate, very direct talk” that essentially amounted to: We will not miss the postseason.

Might have seemed far-fetched at the time. Turns out Westbrook was true to his word.

Westbrook nearly produced a triple-double Thursday night, Bradley Beal scored 25 points and the Wizards reached the NBA playoffs as the Eastern Conference’s No. 8 seed by overwhelming the Indiana Pacers 142-115 in the play-in round Thursday night.

Washington led by as many as 38 and now faces Joel Embiid and the No. 1 seed Philadelphia 76ers in the first round, marking quite a turnaround for Brooks’ crew, which was 17-32 before going on a 17-6 run over the regular season’s last six weeks.

“Russell has an edge, guys, and I think the world should appreciate that,” said Brooks, who also coached Westbrook at the start of the point guard’s pro career with the Oklahoma City Thunder. “He gives you everything. He’s a hooper. And sometimes, he’s an angry hooper. But he’s a hooper that just plays the right way and plays hard.”

Asked about his locker room chat when things looked bleak, Westbrook said: “We were struggling and everybody was doubting us on the outside and we had to knuckle up.”

That they did, thanks in no small part to the 2016-17 league MVP.

A little more than a week after breaking Oscar Robertson’s career record for most regular-season triple-doubles, Westbrook finished Thursday with 18 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists, and it was Beal – second in the NBA in scoring two years in a row – whose 3-pointer opened up a 30-point lead at 98-68 with about four minutes left in the third quarter.

“We weren’t able to sustain some of their punches,” Indiana’s Doug McDermott said.

Beal and Westbrook heard “M-V-P!” chants during trips to the foul line, as did reserve center Robin Lopez in an appreciative if more tongue-in-cheek way, from a giddy crowd capped at 5,333 – a quarter of the arena’s capacity – because of COVID-19 concerns.

Beal skipped the last period entirely. Westbrook sat out the last 8 minutes and tossed his shoes to a fan.

“They got on a roll. They got two elite players on that team and they’re at home,” said Malcolm Brogdon, who led Indiana with 25 points. “Once guys like that get their confidence going in the second quarter and start rolling, there’s not much you can do.”

Domantas Sabonis had 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists before fouling out early in the fourth quarter for the Pacers, whose run of five consecutive playoff appearances ended in coach Nate Bjorkgren’s first year in charge.

Asked if he thought he’d be back next season, Bjorkgren said: “My focus is on the players right now, and I’m not thinking about myself. I’m really not. I want to just do what’s best for these guys.”

The Wizards lost the 7-vs.-8 game at the Boston Celtics 118-100 Tuesday, and Westbrook was hardly himself.

He shot 6 for 18. He had only five assists, less than half of his league-leading average of 11.7.

“Just wasn’t feeling my best when my team needed me the most,” he said. “Today I did a better job.”

It was close until early in the second quarter, when the score was 34-all.

From there, Westbrook took over for a bit, bullying his way through the lane and mean-mugging Pacers players. A 16-0 run made it 50-34 and prompted the Pacers to take a timeout. They never recovered.

At one point, Westbrook raised a hand and wiggled his fingers while looking into the stands, pleading for more noise. Later, Beal – who has been dealing with a strained left hamstring – wind-milled his arms while smiling wildly.

Now the Pacers head to the offseason, while the Wizards are back in the postseason after missing out the past two years before acquiring Westbrook in a trade that sent John Wall to Houston.

Washington dealt with a COVID-19 outbreak that affected more than half of its roster and led to a two-week hiatus. The team lost two starters for the season with injuries.

Now, though, Westbrook, Beal and Co. get to keep playing.

“We have a lot of noise to make,” Beal said.

Jokic, Embiid, Curry announced as NBA MVP finalists

(AP) — Denver’s Nikola Jokic finished ninth in the MVP voting last season. Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid and Golden State’s Stephen Curry didn’t get listed on a single ballot a year ago.

A year later, one of them will walk away with the NBA’s highest individual prize.

Jokic, Embiid and Curry were revealed Thursday night as the three top votegetters for this year’s NBA MVP award, one that will be presented sometime during the playoffs. Curry is a two-time winner, Jokic’s best previous finish was fourth in 2019 and Embiid’s best MVP showing was seventh in 2019.

Jokic would be the first Denver player to win MVP. Embiid would be Philadelphia’s first winner since Allen Iverson in 2001 and Curry could become the ninth player in NBA history to win the trophy three times.

The 18 top-three vote-getters in six award categories – MVP, coach of the year, most improved player, rookie of the year, defensive player of the year and sixth man of the year – were announced Thursday.

The Utah Jazz, who finished with the NBA’s best record and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, had a league-best four finalists. New York, back in the playoffs for the first time since 2013 as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, had three award finalists.

The Jazz and Knicks swept the top-three spots in the sixth man of the year category, with Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles both making the list from Utah and former NBA MVP Derrick Rose from New York getting a finalist nod there as well.

Denver, Philadelphia and Golden State had two finalists apiece, while Phoenix, Detroit, Charlotte, Minnesota and Sacramento had one each.

The finalists:

Most valuable player – Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors; Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers; Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets.

Coach of the year – Quin Snyder, Utah Jazz; Tom Thibodeau, New York Knicks; Monty Williams, Phoenix Suns.

Defensive player of the year – Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz; Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors; Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers.

Most improved player – Jerami Grant, Detroit Pistons; Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets; Julius Randle, New York Knicks.

Rookie of the year – LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets; Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves; Tyrese Haliburton, Sacramento Kings.

Sixth man of the year – Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz; Joe Ingles, Utah Jazz; Derrick Rose, New York Knicks.

Conners keeps it as stress-free as possible for PGA lead

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (AP) Amid the wind and the havoc at Kiawah Island, there was a semblance of simplicity to the way Corey Conners navigated his way around the Ocean Course for a 5-under 67 and a two-shot lead Thursday in the PGA Championship.

He birdied all the par 5s. He made a couple of long putts for birdie. He dropped only one shot. The scorecard alone made it look like a walk on the beach.

It just didn’t feel that way.

“I’d say it’s impossible to be stress-free around this golf course,” Conners said. “You can’t fall asleep out there on any holes. It’s very challenging. I was fortunate to have a good day. Made it as least stressful as possible on myself.”

With a stiff wind into his face for his last five holes, the 29-year-old Canadian played the tough closing stretch in 2 under, one of those birdies a 55-foot putt from just short of the green.

He led by two shots over a half-dozen players. That group included Brooks Koepka, who started his day with a double bogey and stayed largely out of trouble the rest of the way; and Cameron Davis, who overcame a triple bogey on the sixth hole.

Keegan Bradley, Viktor Hovland, Aaron Wise and Sam Horsfield also were at 69. The seven players to break 70 were the fewest for the opening round of the PGA Championship since there were five at Hazeltine in 2002.

“I definitely knew in my preparation that it was possible to have a decent round out here and shoot a 5-, 6-under par round,” Conners said. “So kind of started the day thinking, `Why not me?’ There’s birdies to be had.”

No one needed them like Koepka, a major presence when conditions are severe. One hole into this major, he had reason to be more worried about his brain than his ailing right knee.

His opening tee shot on the 10th hole at Kiawah Island was struck poorly and didn’t quite clear a waste area. Koepka tried to do too much from a soft lie in the sand and barely got it out. It led to a double bogey, and the toughest part of the Ocean Course was still to come.

But this is a major, and this is Koepka, and that’s when he’s at his best. He knuckled down from that mess by running off six birdies the rest of the way.

“You can’t do that stuff if you want to win. You’ve just got to be more focused,” said Koepka, who has played only twice in the last three months because of surgery to repair ligaments in his knee. “I don’t know if that’s a lack of not playing or what. It was just stupid. I was able to recover, I guess.”

So did 50-year-old Phil Mickelson, who had four bogeys through six holes and nothing but birdies and pars the rest of the way to join the large group at 70 that included defending champion Collin Morikawa and former U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland.

More telling were those on the other side of par, some of whom will be scrambling to make it to the weekend.

Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 player in the world in the midst of his worst stretch in nearly two years, took a double bogey from a wild tee shot on the front nine and a double bogey on the 18th for a 76. He’s in jeopardy of missing the cut in consecutive majors in the same year for the first time in his career.

Justin Thomas took double bogey on the 18th hole in the morning and two holes later sent a sand shot over the green and just into a hazard for another 6 on the par-5 second. He had a 75.

Rory McIlroy, coming off a victory at Quail Hollow two weeks ago, sent his opening tee shot into a water hazard. He salvaged a bogey, but certainly not his round. McIlroy made bogey on three of the par 5s for a 75, his worst start ever in a PGA Championship.

Jordan Spieth, who needs a victory to complete the career Grand Slam, shot 73.

The PGA of America moved up tee boxes, as expected, to account for the wind. The course played to 7,660 yards – 178 yards shorter than the scorecard – though that didn’t make it easy. Thomas, for one, still hit 7-wood into the 214-yard 17th.

John Daly was among 12 players who shot in the 80s. On the 30-year anniversary of his PGA Championship victory at Crooked Stick, he shot 85.

There were birdies to be had, and mistakes to be made, and Martin Laird was example of both. So wild was his round that he he made bogey on No. 12, ran off four straight birdies and then closed with two bogeys. That added to a 70, not a bad day’s work.

“I kind of went out with the mindset this week, even though it’s hard, don’t give the course too much respect,” Laird said. “You still have to take on shots when you have the chance. When I had a spot where I could go at the flag, I was making sure I kept doing it and hit a lot of really nice shots and managed to make some birdies.

“You’re going to hit bogeys on this golf course,” he said. “It’s nice when you can throw in a bunch of birdies, too.”

Finally heeled from a left knee injury, Koepka injured ligaments in his right knee in March and has played only twice since then, the Masters and last week in Dallas.

He began with a poor 3-wood on No. 10 that didn’t clear the waste area. He took on too much with a soft lie in the sand and barely got it out, leading to a double bogey. But he didn’t flinch and had few complaints about his start.

“It’s a major. I’m going to show up. I’m ready to play,” he said. “I love it when it’s difficult. I think that’s why I do so well in the majors. I just know mentally I can grind it out.”

Canadiens beat Maple Leafs 2-1; Tavares injured early

TORONTO (AP) Paul Byron broke a tie with a short-handed goal from his knees with 7:16 left and the Montreal Canadiens beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 on Thursday night in Game 1 of the first-round series between Original Six rivals.

The game was marred by an early collision that sent Toronto captain John Tavares off the ice on a stretcher to a hospital.

Tavares crashed into Montreal’s Ben Chiarot 10:29 into the first period and was hit in the head by Corey Perry’s knee as he fell.

“He’s conscious and communicating well,” Toronto coach Sheldon Keefe said. “The tests he’s had so far have come back clear. He’s going to remain in hospital overnight to undergo further tests. It’s a big loss for us, but we’ve got lots of depth. Good teams overcome these types of things. That’s going to be on us.”

Tavares gave a thumbs-up as he left the ice.

“I’ve experienced a lot of different things, a lot of tough injuries like that in my time,” Keefe said. “In an empty building like that, it’s probably the most uncomfortable situation I’ve been a part of on the ice. It was really tough to get through. Our players were rattled and concerned. I was obviously very concerned.”

Toronto newcomer Nick Foligno then fought Perry immediately after the faceoff to resume play.

“Our captain’s laying on the ice,” Foligno said. “It’s nothing more than that. Perry obliged. It just addresses the situation and everyone moves on.”

Perry has played with Tavares internationally for Canada.

“Felt sick to my stomach,” Perry said. “Scary situation.”

Montreal stunned Toronto with the short-handed winner. With Tomas Tatar off for high-sticking and the Maple Leafs looking to take the lead, Byron raced past Rasmus Sandin, with the rookie defenseman dragging down the Montreal forward. From his knees, Byron then chipped the puck past goalie Jack Campbell.

Carey Price made 35 saves and Josh Anderson had a first-period goal for the Canadiens. They finished the regular season fourth in the all-Canadian North Division, 18 points behind the first-place Maple Leafs.

Lomberg scores in OT to lift Panthers past Lightning, 6-5

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) On the brink of falling into a deep hole against the reigning Stanley Cup champions, the Florida Panthers refused to concede.

Ryan Lomberg scored on a breakaway 5:56 into overtime Thursday night, capping a furious comeback that gave the Panthers a 6-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 of the first-round Central Division playoff matchup.

The Panthers cut the Lightning’s lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series by scoring twice in the third period to overcome a two-goal deficit, then killing off a penalty at the start of overtime and winning it. Game 4 is Saturday at Amalie Arena.

Radko Gudas gained possession off a faceoff deep in his own zone and flicked the puck ahead to Lomberg, who barreled in on goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.

“I don’t remember too much,” Lomberg said. “Honestly, I kind of knew what I was going to do ahead of time and obviously it worked out pretty well.”

The Lightning took a 5-3 lead into the final period. But the defending champions couldn’t put away the Panthers, yielding a power-play goal to Patric Hornqvist early in the third and Gustav Forsling’s equalizer with 3:07 remaining.

“They pushed hard. … We kind of sat back a little bit too much I thought” in the third period,” said Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, who had three assists. “We were kind of protecting the lead and not playing to our strengths.”

Brayden Point’s power-play goal in the second period snapped a 3-3 tie less than two minutes after Alex Wennberg scored on the power play for the Panthers, who led 2-0 after Sam Bennett and Gudas solved Vasilevskiy in the first 7:05 of the opening period.

Once the Lightning got started, it didn’t take long to erase their early deficit.

Anthony Cirelli, Ross Colton and Steven Stamkos scored in the first nine minutes of the second period. Alex Killorn added a power-play goal four minutes after Point put Tampa Bay ahead 4-3 off a feed from Nikita Kucherov.

Five goals in a single period were a franchise playoff record for the Lightning.

Vegas surges past Wild for 5-2 win to take 2-1 series lead

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) The Vegas Golden Knights trudged into the locker room at the first intermission with little to like, other than the time left in the game.

Turned out that time was all they needed.

Reilly Smith capped a three-goal second-period surge by the Golden Knights with the go-ahead score in a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild to grab the lead Thursday night in this first-round playoff series.

“We’ve done it before, and usually it’s the same formula: no panic, regroup, stick with it,” coach Peter DeBoer said, “and everybody contributing.”

Mark Stone had two goals, Patrick Brown and William Karlsson also scored, Nick Holden had two assists and Marc-Andre Fleury picked up another postseason win for the Golden Knights, who went up 2-1 in this West Division matchup.

Game 4 is in Minnesota on Saturday night.

Ryan Hartman and Joel Eriksson Ek had the goals for the Wild, who have scored first in all three games but squandered the advantage they seized with the series-opening victory in Las Vegas.

Cam Talbot, who made 42 saves in his overtime shutout in Game 1, was way too busy in the net. The Golden Knights had a staggering 36-9 shots advantage after the first period. Karlsson and Stone tacked on the insurance goals down the stretch.

“We left Cam out to dry a little bit there, a lot of bit,” Hartman said. “We gave them everything. We had no possession, no work ethic, no battle. We got away from our game, and we let them dictate.”

Fleury, who also had an assist, only needed to make 14 saves. He stretched his career-best streak to 12 straight games with two or fewer goals allowed.

“Just have to get to the front of the net and be around it and get those rebounds,” Eriksson Ek said.

The Wild produced the strong start they promised, taking the lead just 2:16 into the game on one of the prettiest passes of the playoffs. Kirill Kaprizov began an attack from the left before finding a narrow lane to thread the puck through the slot for Hartman to knock it in.

EARLHAM BASEBALL: Baseball steamrolls past Franklin in HCAC tourney opener

(EC RELEASE)

SCORES: Earlham 15, Franklin 0

LOCATION: Lexington, Kentucky – Kentucky Proud Park

RECORDS: Earlham 24-18 / Franklin 25-13

LEXINGTON, Kentucky – Earlham College Baseball piled on 11 runs in the top of the third inning on its way to a 15-0 win over Franklin College, in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament championship round on Thursday at Kentucky Proud Park.

The Quakers will now play the winner of Thursday evening’s Transylvania – Bluffton game on Friday, May 21, at 2:00 p.m.

Earlham exploded for 11 runs on six hits, five walks, a hit-by-pitch, and a Franklin error in the third inning.

Isaiah Shake opened the frame by getting aboard on an HBP, and went to third on a pair of wild pitches. Easton Embry walked and promptly stole second, and both runners scored on Marc Gendreau’s base hit down the third base line. Cameron McCabe doubled into right center to push Gendreau across, giving the Quakers a 3-0 lead. Danny Dopp was intentionally walked and two batters later Brian Pincura drew a walk to load the bases. An infield single by Maxwell Fries plated the fourth Earlham run of the inning, and chased Franklin starter Krae Sparks from the game in favor of reliever Mitch Merica.

Merica issued a bases loaded walk to Cameron Wissel, extending Earlham’s lead to 5-0. Isaiah Shake laced a double into left center field to score all three runners, giving the Quakers an 8-0 advantage.

RBI singles from Gendreau and Dopp added two runs to the Earlham tally, and an error by the Franklin catcher on a walk allowed a run to score to cap the scoring for the inning.

Earlham tacked on two more runs in the sixth and another pair of runs in the ninth, leading to the 15-0 final score.

Starter Joey Gerbus went eight innings on the mound for the Quakers, scattering six hits and charting a career-high 12 strikeouts and issuing just two walks. Gerbus improved to 8-1 on the season with the win. Jacob Renner came on in the ninth and retired the Grizzlies in order to clinch the win.

Gendreau went 3-for-5 with two runs and three runs batted in to lead the Quakers at the plate, while Embry and Pincura each had two hits. Shake finished the day 1-for-5, but crossed for two runs and had three RBI.

Quinton Wellington was 4-for-4 at the plate for the Grizzlies, with the rest of team combining for a mere two hits.

INDIANA FOOTBALL: Running Back Stephen Carr Joins the Hoosiers

(IU RELEASE)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Indiana football program announced on Thursday afternoon that running back Stephen Carr has joined the Hoosiers as a transfer from USC. Carr has rushed for 1,329 yards on 264 carries (5.0 average) with 12 touchdowns in 35 games (6 starts).

“Stephen brings experience, explosion, and play-making ability to our offense,” IU head coach Tom Allen said. “Deland McCullough knows Stephen and his family very well and is looking forward to reuniting with him. Stephen’s character fits perfectly with what we have built within our program.”

The 6-0, 215-pounder has caught 57 passes for 421 yards (7.4) with one score, and he has returned 15 kickoffs for 321 yards (21.4).

In each of his full three seasons in Los Angeles, Carr rushed for 350-plus yards with a high-water mark of 396 yards on 72 attempts (5.5) in 2019. He reached the end zone five times, pulled in 22 passes for 143 yards (6.5) with one TD, and returned six kickoffs for 106 yards (17.7).

The Gardena, Calif., native started three times in six games this past campaign. Carr collected 176 yards on 46 carries with a pair of touchdowns.

He was a five-star prospect, the No. 20 prospect overall, and the No. 3 running back nationally in the 247Sports composite rankings coming out of Summit High School in Fontana, Calif.

INDIANA TRACK: Hoosiers Earns 35 Entries Into NCAA East Preliminaries

(IU RELEASE)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The NCAA announced its track & field entries to the 2021 NCAA East Region Preliminary round on Thursday morning. Indiana Track & Field earned 20 women’s entries and 15 men’s entries.

The East Regional will be conducted in Jacksonville, Fla. at Hodges Stadium on the campus of North Florida. The meet will commence on Wednesday, May 26 and conclude on Saturday, May 29. The men are set to compete on May 26 and 28 while the women will compete on May 27 and May 29.

Indiana Track & Field Entries

Alyssa Robinson – 200m

Natalie Price – 400m

Kelly Mindak – 800m

Joely Pinkston – 800m

Jenna Barker – 1500m

Maddie Dalton – 1500m

Kelsey Harris – 1500m

Bailey Hertenstein – 1500m

Hannah Stoffel – 1500m

Sarah Schmitt – 5000m

Anna Watson – Pole Vault

Paola Fernandez-Sola – Long Jump

Leah Moran – Long Jump & Triple Jump

Mahogany Jenkins – Triple Jump

Khayla Dawson – Shot Put & Discus

Maddy Pollard – Shot Put & Discus

Women’s 4x400m Relay

Rikkoi Brathwaite – 100m

Shaton Vaughn – 400m Hurdles

Parker Raymond – 800m

Matthew Schadler – 1500m

Jake Gebhardt – 3000m Steeplechase

Arjun Jha – 5000m

Kyle Mau – 5000m

Ben Veatch – 5000m

Jyles Etienne – High Jump

Brock Mammoser – Pole Vault

Nathan Stone – Pole Vault

JaiQuan Earls – Long Jump

Nolan Landis – Discus

Nick Lane – Hammer Throw

Logan Targgart – Hammer Throw

INDIANA BASEBALL: NOTES: Indiana Hosts Nebraska, Ohio State in Big Ten Pod

(IU RELEASE)

SETTING THE SCENE

• The Indiana Hoosiers (24-13) will host the Nebraska Cornhuskers (25-11) and the Ohio State Buckeyes (19-16) in a Big Ten pod this Friday through Monday at Bart Kaufman Field in Bloomington, Ind. IU will play Nebraska on Friday and Saturday before facing the Buckeyes on Sunday and Monday.

• All four Indiana games this weekend will be on national television. BTN will broadcast Friday, Sunday and Monday’s games, while ESPNU will have the broadcast for Saturday’s contest.

• Entering play this weekend, the Hoosiers sit in third place in the Big Ten, 0.5 games behind Michigan and 1.5 behind the first-place Huskers. Ohio State sits in sixth place but is just 3.5 games behind fourth-place Maryland.

• Jeff Mercer is in his third season at the helm of the Indiana baseball program. He led the Hoosiers to a Big Ten regular season title in 2019, earning him Big Ten Coach of the Year honors.

INSIDE #IUBASE

• Offensively, the Hoosiers have been led by INF Cole Barr and OF Grant Richardson. Barr leads the team with a .326 batting average, 35 runs scored, eight home runs and 33 RBI. Richardson leads the with 45 hits and 10 stolen bases.

• The Indiana pitching staff continues to post some of the best numbers in the nation. The Hoosiers rank second in the nation in hits allowed per nine innings (6.67), fourth in ERA (3.08) and 10th in WHIP (1.20). IU leads the Big Ten in all three categories.

• Individually, RHP McCade Brown leads the Big Ten in both hits allowed per nine innings (4.92) and strikeouts per nine innings (14.26). He ranks sixth and seventh nationally in those categories. He also ranks fourth in the league in strikeouts with 84. RHP Gabe Bierman leads the Big Ten in ERA (2.57), ranks second in WHIP (1.00) and complete games (1) and third in hits allowed per nine innings (5.43).

• INF Paul Toetz leads the Big Ten in doubles (16) and ranks 10th in the country in doubles per game (0.44). His 16 two-baggers are already a school record for doubles in Big Ten games.

• Indiana is ranked No. 25 in the nation by Perfect Game and is receiving votes in both the NCBWA poll and the USA Today Coaches poll.

• Indiana has posted three shutouts on the season, allowed one run or less six times and surrendered two runs or less 12 times. The Hoosier pitching staff also posted five games this year allowing two hits or less.

• Since the start of the 2008 season, Indiana leads the Big Ten in wins (453) and conference wins (201). The Hoosiers have made seven NCAA Regionals over that span, the most out of any current Big Ten team.

• IU’s starting pitching was terrific in the four-game pod against Rutgers and Nebraska on May 7-9. LHP Tommy Sommer, RHP McCade Brown, RHP John Modugno and RHP Gabe Bierman combined to 26.2 IP, posting an ERA of 1.37. Sommer, Brown and Bierman all notched quality starts on the weekend, with Bierman tossing a complete game in the 4-2 win over Rutgers on May 8.

• INF Cole Barr was named the Big Ten Player of the Week on May 4 after helping the Hoosiers to a series win over Iowa. The Yorktown, Ind. native batted 6-for-10 (.600) with a triple, two home runs, five RBI and six runs scored to help IU take two of three games from the Hawkeyes.

• RHP McCade Brown and RHP Braydon Tucker combined to throw a no-hitter against Illinois on April 10 – the first no-hitter for the Hoosiers in nearly 37 years. The no-hitter was the first for Indiana since April 25, 1984, when Mark Gramer and the Hoosiers blanked Rose-Hulman, 6-0.

• For his efforts, RHP Braydon Tucker was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week on April 13. Out of the bullpen, Tucker pitched four scoreless innings of relief to earn the save, striking out one, while issuing one walk.

• RHP McCade Brown was named the D1Baseball/AstroTurf Player of the Week, the Perfect Game/Rawlings Pitcher of the Week, Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week and the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week after a school-record performance against Penn State on Mar. 13.

• The sophomore hurler matched the Indiana school record with a career-high 16 strikeouts in seven, no-hit innings. He also broke the IU record for most strikeouts in a Big Ten game, eclipsing the previous record of 13.

• LHP Tommy Sommer was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week on Mar. 9. Sommer was outstanding for the Hoosiers this past weekend, helping the team defeat Minnesota, 5-2, on Mar. 5. The Carmel, Ind. native tossed eight shutout innings to earn the win, allowing just two hits, while matching his career-high with 10 strikeouts.

• Indiana OF Grant Richardson was named a First-Team Preseason All-American by both Perfect Game and Collegiate Baseball. He was also named Third-Team Preseason All-American by D1Baseball.

• Before the season, Indiana was tabbed to win the Big Ten in 2021 by Perfect Game. OF Grant Richardson was named the Player of the Year and to the Preseason All-Big Ten team. He was joined on the preseason All-Big Ten team by RHP Gabe Bierman and RHP Connor Manous.

• RHP Gabe Bierman, OF Grant Richardson and LHP Tommy Sommer were all named to the Big Ten Preseason Players to Watch List. IU was picked to finish second in the Big Ten behind Michigan in a preseason poll conducted of the league’s coaches.

• After leading the Hoosiers to the 2019 Big Ten regular season championship, Jeff Mercer was named Big Ten Coach of the Year. Mercer became the first Big Ten head coach since 1982 (John Anderson, Minnesota) to win a regular season conference title in his first season as the skipper.  He was just the second coach in IU history – in any sport, men’s or women’s – to win an outright Big Ten championship in his (or her) first year.

ND BASEBALL: Bertrand’s Complete Game Leads No. 3 Irish Past Hokies, 8-2

(nd release)

BLACKSBURG, Va. — After not playing a game for nine days due to the final exam break, the third-ranked Notre Dame baseball team did not skip a beat as they defeated Virginia Tech (27-21, 16-18 ACC) 8-2 in the series opener Thursday night at Atlantic Union Bank Park.

John Michael Bertrand had another strong start for the Irish (27-10, 23-10 ACC) as he went the distance for his second complete game of the season. He struck out eight batters, allowed just one earned run and did not walk a batter in the game. With the win, he earned his seventh win of the season and it was the seventh start this year that went seven innings or longer.

At the plate, the Irish used a six-run fifth inning to break the game open. After scoring runs on back-to-back wild pitches and an RBI single, Jared Miller broke the game open. With the bases loaded and two outs, he tripled into the gap in right center to clear the bases.

HOW IT HAPPENED

The Irish jumped out in front in the top of the first after Spencer Myers led the game off with a double down the left field line. He made it to third with two outs and Carter Putz at the plate. On ball four, the ball got away but Myers got caught in a run down and was ultimately tagged out by Kevin Madden. The play went to review and got overturned because after the tag was made, the ball fell out of Madden’s glove so Myers was safe at home and the Irish led 1-0.

Bertrand was cruising early on for the Irish. He allowed just one hit through the first four innings and six of his first 12 outs were via the strikeout. He set the Hokies down in order in three of the first four innings without allowing a walk.

The Irish added to their lead in the top of the fifth. With the bases loaded and just one out, the Irish scored two straight runs on wild pitches. David LaManna and Myers scored on back to back pitches to increase the lead.

The Irish kept it rolling in the inning, adding x more runs. Putz singled to left to score Ryan Cole and then the bases were loaded again, this time for Jared Miller. He battled at the plate and in the 10th pitch of the at-bat, he cleared the bases with a triple to right center. After the six-run inning, Notre Dame held a 7-0 lead.

Hokies got two runs back over the fifth and sixth inning to cut into the deficit but Bertrand was able to limit the damage and keep the Irish ahead by a healthy margin.

The Irish got one of the runs back in the eighth after a leadoff double by Coetzee put a runner in scoring position. Two batters later, Zack Prajzner hit a double of his own into the gap in right center to score Coetzee. The run got the Irish lead back to six runs and thwarted any chance of a Hokie comeback.

UP NEXT

The Irish and Hokies will be back at it again Friday night for the second game of the series. The two teams are set for another 6 p.m. ET start and the game will be broadcast on the ACC Network Extra. The Irish will be throwing LHP Aidan Tyrell in hopes of clinching the series.

OHIO STATE BASEBALL: Buckeyes Head to Bloomington For Big Weekend Series with Indiana and Nebraska 

(IU RELEASE)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State heads to Bloomington this weekend to face the top two teams in the conference in host Indiana and Nebraska. The Buckeyes have played both teams already this season. Ohio State and Nebraska split a pair of games in Minneapolis in March and Ohio State swept Indiana in a four-game series in Columbus at the beginning of April.

Nebraska holds a one-game lead over Indiana for the top spot in the conference. The Buckeyes are in sixth place, 5.5 games back.

The Opponents

  • Nebraska comes into the weekend at 25-11 and lead the conference by one game.
  • The Huskers had a stretch of four losses in five games but has since rebounded to win five of the last six games.
  • Nebraska is the top hitting team in the conference at .281 and the Huskers have score the most runs per game at 7.3.
  • Indiana comes in just a game behind Nebraska at 24-12. The Hoosiers lost a series at Michigan last weekend and then fell 3-2 in 10 innings to Illinois on Tuesday.
  • Indiana has the best pitching staff in the league as the Hoosiers top the league in ERA at 3.08, hits per nine innings at 6.67 and batting average at .204.

Ohio State Quick Hitters

  • Ohio State enters the weekend at 19-15 overall and needs a good run to finish the regular season.
  • The Buckeye pitching staff leads the Big Ten in strikeouts per nine innings at 10.8 which is also 12th nationally.
  • The OSU staff is second in the Big Ten in hits allowed by batter per nine innings (8.02) as well as second in opponent batting average (.239).
  • Seth Lonsway is third in the conference in strikeouts with 85 and has allowed the second fewest hits per nine innings at 4.94. That second number is also seventh in the country.
  • Garrett Burhenn leads the team with a 5-2 record and has made a team-high 11 starts. He has won three of his last five starts and has struck out at least six in each of those four starts.
  • Jack Neely has moved from the starting lineup to the bullpen two weeks ago and his first two appearances out of the pen have been superb. He has covered four innings and has only allowed one hit with six strikeouts.
  • TJ Brock has seven saves on the year which is second in the Big Ten. He also leads the team with a 1.96 ERA in a team-high 15 appearances.
  • Freshman Kade Kern had a great first collegiate season and he currently leads the team with a .356 batting average. That is also fourth in the Big Ten.
  • Kern has 14 multi-hit games and is currently reached base in a season-high 12 consecutive games.
  • Brent Todys is currently riding a career-high 15-game hitting streak. He is hitting .390 with two home runs, five doubles and 16 runs batted in over those 15 games.
  • Conner Pohl has hit safely in 16 of the last 17 games. He has had a hit in 26 of the 35 games this season. He has reached base in all but two of the games this year and is riding a streak of 25 consecutive games of reaching base, which is also a career high.
  • Pohl leads the team with 11 home runs, marking his first season with double-digit bombs. That total is also tied for second in the conference.

Earlier This Year vs. Nebraska & Indiana

  • The Buckeyes split two games with Nebraska on March 12 and 14 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
  • The Huskers used a five-run second inning to propel them to a 10-4 on March 12. Then in the second game, Will Pfennig allowed two runs in the first and then ended up going 6.2 innings while only allowing three runs and striking out seven. Colton Bauer hit a big two-out, two-run homer in the top of the 8th to give the Buckeyes a 6-4 victory.
  • Ohio State swept Indiana in a four-game series from March 30 – April 2.
  • The shining moment of the weekend came from Seth Lonsway in his complete game, two hit shutout that featured a career-high 17 strikeouts. In a seven inning game, just four outs in the game did not come via a strikeout.
  • As a whole, the Buckeye pitching staff limited Indiana to just a .154 batting average and struck out 46 batters while allowing just four earned runs over the four games.
  • At the plate, Zach Dezenzo hit .533 (8-of-15) with two home runs over the weekend. He had a four-hit game in the series finale, including the game-winning walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth. He finished with four RBI and three scored runs in the four games.
  • Sam Wilson had five hits in the four games and three of those hits were doubles.
  • The Buckeyes took advantage of eight Indiana errors over the four games.
  • TJ Brock collected two saves on the weekend.

PURDUE TRACK: Boilermakers Earn Twenty-Five NCAA Regional Entries

(PURDUE RELEASE)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue track & field team has earned 25 entries to the 2021 NCAA East Region Preliminary round, as the NCAA announced the championship field on Thursday.

A total of 20 Boilermakers, 11 women and nine men, will compete in Jacksonville, Florida, from May 26-29. Purdue has 13 men’s entries and 12 women’s entries.

Seniors Samson Colebrooke (100m, 200m) and Malcolm Dotson (200m, 400m), junior Jalil Brewer (discus, shot put), sophomore Camille Christopher (100m, 200m) and freshman Marcellus Moore (100m, 200m) all will compete in multiple individual events. Colebrooke, Dotson and Moore also are part of the men’s 4×100 relay team, and Christopher is a member of the women’s 4×100 relay squad.

Along with Christopher, Purdue’s women’s NCAA qualifiers are senior Samara Miller (400m), junior Tessa Sheets (pole vault), sophomores Jessica Bray (pole vault) and Alexis Zatta (high jump) and freshmen Kaia Harris (discus), Annamaria Leszczynska (400m hurdles), K’Ja Talley (400m hurdles) and Cierra Williams (400m). The Boilermakers also will compete in both the 4×100 and 4×400 relays, with Christopher, Talley and freshmen Naomi Campbell and Saran Kouyeth in the 4×100 and Kouyeth, Miller, Talley and Williams in the 4×400.

For the men, Brewer, Colebrooke, Dotson and Moore will be joined by senior Brody Smith (3,000m steeplechase) juniors Curt Eckstein (10,000m) and Tamar Greene (triple jump) and sophomore Isaiah Martin (long jump). Purdue also qualified in the 4×100 relay, with Colebrooke, Dotson, Moore and sophomore Justin Becker.

The NCAA East Prelims feature 48 qualifiers in each individual event and 24 teams in each relay, with the top 12 finishers in each event advancing to the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon, from June 9-12.

Along with his long jump berth, Martin has qualified as one of 24 competitors in the decathlon, where he advances directly to the NCAA Championships, as the event is not contested at regionals.

North Florida will host the four-day NCAA East Region Prelims at Hodges Stadium.

Purdue Women – 12 Entries

Jessica Bray – Pole Vault

Camille Christopher – 100m, 200m

Kaia Harris – Discus

Annamaria Leszczynska – 400m Hurdles

Samara Miller – 400m

Tessa Sheets – Pole Vault

K’Ja Talley – 400m Hurdles

Cierra Williams – 400m

Alexis Zatta – High Jump

4×100 – Naomi Campbell, Camille Christopher, Saran Kouyeth, K’Ja Talley

4×400 – Saran Kouyeth, Samara Miller, K’Ja Talley, Cierra Williams

Purdue Men – 13 Entries

Jalil Brewer – Shot Put, Discus

Samson Colebrooke – 100m, 200m

Malcolm Dotson – 200m, 400m

Curt Eckstein – 10,000m

Tamar Greene – Triple Jump

Isaiah Martin – Long Jump

Marcellus Moore – 100m, 200m

Brody Smith – 3,000 Steeplechase

4×100 – Justin Becker, Samson Colebrooke, Malcolm Dotson, Marcellus Moore

BUTLER BASEBALL: Butler Baseball Splits Doubleheader vs. Georgetown

(BUTLER RELEASE)

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Butler baseball team came out on top in game one 2-0, but would fall to Georgetown in the nightcap 5-4. This is the fourth time this season that BU has split a doubleheader vs. a BIG EAST opponent.

Game One

Jack Myers won the seven-inning pitching duel against Jae Gnazzo to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 victory. Myers struck out eight and didn’t issue a walk in his second complete game of the season. He limited the Hoyas to four hits to earn his fourth win of the 2021 campaign.

Each Butler run came in the fourth inning and each went down in the scorebook as unearned. Freddie Matos singled up the middle of the diamond to score Dan Harwood and would eventually come around to score a run on a hard groundout from Brody McGrath. BU had just three total hits with Matos collecting two of the three. Harwood stayed hot at the plate for the other. 

Game Two

The Hoyas were able to split the Thursday afternoon doubleheader with a walk-off hit from Bergeron in the bottom of the ninth. A single through the left side of the infield would score Eze to give the home team a 5-4 victory.

Butler was in control early after a James Gargano lead-off homer. Two more balls left the yard in the second with Matos and McGrath each hitting home runs. Matos sent a shot out to right center and McGrath got his ball out down the line in left.

Georgetown cut into the BU lead in the fourth with a groundout RBI from Hyde that scored Lotsis. A sac fly and scoring error in the fifth knotted the score at 3-3.

Matos homered again for BU in the seventh to regain the lead. GU once again would answer with a sac fly in the bottom half of the inning, making the score 4-4. Bergeron got the run home in the seventh with the sac fly and would win the game in the ninth with his first hit of the game.

Butler and Georgetown will return to the diamond tomorrow for a single game that starts at 1 PM.

BALL STATE SOFTBALL: Softball Places Three on NFCA All-Region Squad
(BSU RELEASE)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – – It was a day full of awards for the Ball State softball program, which saw three members of the squad earn National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division I All-Region accolades.

After a record-breaking season, junior standout Faith Hensley was named to the NFCA All-Great Lakes Region First Team. In addition, senior catcher Stacy Payton and freshman shortstop Kayla Lissy were named to the NFCA All-Great Lakes Region Second Team.

The 2021 NFCA All-Region awards honor softball student-athletes from the Association’s 10 regions with first, second and third-team selections. NFCA member head coaches from each respective region voted on the teams, and all student-athletes now become eligible for the 2021 NFCA Division I All-America squads.

FIRST TEAM ALL-GREAT LAKES REGION: Faith Hensley

Hensley earns NFCA All-Region honors for the first time in her career after leading the Ball State offense with a .390 batting average, including 17 doubles, seven home runs and a pair of triples. A 2021 First Team All-MAC selection, her 17 doubles ranked third in the league this season, are currently 10th nationally and tie as the sixth-most in a single season in program history. 

Hensley’s team-leading 51 RBI were also third in the league and 24th nationally, while her 38 runs scored were 10th in the MAC. She also ranked 11th in the conference with 11 stolen bases. One of Ball State’s most clutch batters throughout the season, Hensley drove in what proved to be the game-winning RBI in eight games, while crossing the plate for what stood to be the game-winning run six times. On three occasions, she drove herself in for the winning run courtesy of the long ball, including her first career grand slam versus Alcorn State (March 6).

SECOND TEAM ALL-GREAT LAKES REGION: Stacy Payton

Payton earns NFCA All-Region honors for the second straight awards season, as she was also third team selection in 2019. A 2021 First Team All-MAC honoree, Payton ranked second on the team with a .369 average, 14 doubles and 43 RBI. Overall, 21 of her 58 hits when for multiple bases, including six home runs and a triple. 

Payton also scored 29 runs on the year, including what stood to be the game-winning run in three contest. She also had what stood as the game-winning RBI with a two-run home run in the opening game at NIU (May 12). Defensively, Payton was one of the league’s hardest catchers to steal against as she threw out eight of the 24 runners attempting to steal with her behind the plate.

SECOND TEAM ALL-GREAT LAKES REGION: Kayla Lissy

Lissy earns NFCA All-Region honors for the first time in her career after leading the MAC and currently tying for the NCAA Division I lead with nine triples. A 2021 Second Team All-MAC honoree, Lissy also recorded an inside-the-park home run in the opening game of the March 27 doubleheader versus Bowling Green. 

Lissy was just as fast on the base paths, ranking fifth in the MAC with 18 stolen bases. Two of those stolen bases were swipes of home, including what proved to be the game-winning run at Jacksonville State (March 9). Overall, Lissy scored three game-winning run one the season, while driving in a pair of game-winning RBI. She also blasted her first career grand slam in the opening-game win at Buffalo (March 15).

ABOUT THE 2021 BALL STATE SOFTBALL TEAM

The 2021 Ball State softball team set the program record with 31 MAC wins, produced the longest single-season MAC winning streak in program history at 16 games, and tied a program record with an 11-game winning streak.

The team’s 37 overall wins tied as the fourth-most in a single season in program history, while the Cardinals set program records for batting average (.329), on base percentage (.415) and doubles (101). 

The 2021 season also saw senior pitcher Alyssa Rothwell become the greatest closer in NCAA Division I history with her 33rd career save in last Friday’s (May 14) 6-3 win at Buffalo. In all, Ball State’s pitchers finished 2021 ranked in the top 10 nationally with 10 total saves.

McMillan fined $25,000 for saying NBA favors Knicks’ success

ATLANTA (AP) Atlanta Hawks interim coach Nate McMillan was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Thursday after saying the league is rooting for the success of the New York Knicks and implying his team may struggle to get calls in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Hawks face the Knicks in a best-of-seven series that begins Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

McMillan called the Knicks one of the league’s glamour franchises, even though this is New York’s first appearance in the playoffs since 2013.

“I’ve talked about that to the team a lot,” McMillan told reporters during a Zoom call Wednesday. “I’ve gone as far as saying, the league wants this, they need this. New York, this is a big market. It’s a big market for the league. New York has been out of the playoffs for a number of years. This is a team that our league, they want to see, they want to see New York in the playoffs.”

McMillan said he put his team through a grueling practice where most of the officials’ calls were going against them, insinuating it will be that way in the opening round. He said he wanted the players to work on not being frustrated if the referees seemed to be favoring the Knicks.

“It’s real. We’re going to have to play through that,” McMillan said. “It’s going to be physical. Probably a lot of calls are not going our way. We have to get back to calm and get on to the next play.”

Byron Spruell, the league’s head of league operations, said McMillan was fined for “detrimental public comments asserting bias by the NBA” in the playoffs.

McMillan also told his team that most media are picking the Knicks to knock off the Hawks in the series. New York won all three games during the regular season, though Atlanta has been one of the hottest teams in the league since McMillan took over as coach shortly before the All-Star break after Lloyd Pierce was fired.

The Hawks were 14-20 when they made the coaching change. They are 27-11 since then, matching the best record of any team in the Eastern Conference over that span.

New York has also been one of the league’s most surprising franchises, snapping a streak of seven straight losing seasons and edging the Hawks for the fourth seed in the East.

McMillan said the NBA benefits from having major marker teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics in the playoffs.

“I put New York in that category,” he said. “The league wants to see it. Everybody wants to see it. Even the fact that our (first) game was moved to Sunday, they want to see this. Yes, we talked about that. We have talked about the advantages of this situation, and some things we’re going to have to face going into the game with everyone picking New York to win and a lot of folks wanting to see New York in the playoffs. It’s a battle. It’s a challenge.”

McMillan added of the Knicks, “They had a really good season. I think the NBA is excited about them being back in the playoffs.”

Duggar slam, Crawford 6 RBIs, Giants rout Reds 19-4 & sweep

CINCINNATI (AP) The San Francisco Giants finished off a four-game sweep of Cincinnati Reds in emphatic fashion, hammering the Reds with season highs of 19 runs and 16 hits, then headed home with the best record in the major leagues.

San Francisco outscored Cincinnati 33-9 in the series that ended with a 19-4 rout Thursday and extended the Giants’ winning streak to five. The NL West leaders improved to 28-16, lately getting solid outings from their starting pitchers and big hits.

“We’re staying humble and we’re staying hungry because we’ve got a long way to go,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “You’re not ever going to be disappointed with a 6-2 road trip to the East Coast. It’s very encouraging, but we know we have a lot of work ahead of us.”

Steven Duggar hit his first career grand slam in a nine-run third inning and Brandon Crawford drove in six runs.

Darin Ruf had four hits, including a two-run homer in third. Crawford hit a three-run homer in the fifth, becoming the Giants first primary shortstop with 11 homers in a season’s first 37 games.

Johnny Cueto (3-1) gave up one run and five hits in five innings against his former team, exiting after 89 pitches with a 14-1 lead.

Tyler Mahle (2-2) yielded seven runs, seven hits and two walks in two innings, raising his ERA from 2.93 to 4.20,

Mahle allowed the first six batters of the third inning to reach on two walks and four singles as the Giants scored three runs for a 4-0 lead. Michael Feliz relieved, and Duggar hit a full-count fastball on the seventh pitch of the at-bat 427 feet to center.

“Just looking for the knockout blow and we got it and just kept pouring it on,” Duggar said.

Eugenio Suarez hit a two-run homer for the Reds in the eighth off left-hander Jose Alvarez.

“Those are not fun to be a part of,” Reds manager David Bell said. “The good thing its just one game.”

Ian Happ homers twice as Cubs beat Nationals 5-2

CHICAGO (AP) Playing without two of their biggest bats, the Chicago Cubs found enough offense once again.

Ian Happ led the way.

Happ homered twice and drove in three runs, helping Chicago beat the Washington Nationals 5-2 on Thursday.

Kris Bryant and Willson Contreras got the day off for rest, but the Cubs went ahead to stay on Happ’s two-run shot into the basket in right with two out in the third inning. He also led off the fifth with his sixth homer on a 0-2 pitch from Austin Voth with the wind blowing out on a warm afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Nick Martini had a sacrifice fly and Joc Pederson singled home a run as Chicago won for the fifth time in seven games.

“Guys are starting to get healthy and in their rhythm as we talked about,” manager David Ross said. “Got a ton of confidence in these guys. It is a balanced offense. I think we’re taking advantage of the things the other team gives us.”

It was Happ’s first multihomer game since Sept. 5 against St. Louis and No. 8 for his big league career. The switch-hitting outfielder is batting .375 (12 for 32) with five homers and 10 RBIs in eight May games.

“I think I hit some balls early in the season that were probably, on a day like today, would have been homers,” Happ said. “Just continuing to stay with that approach.”

Pederson also is rolling along nicely for Chicago, which moved back over .500 at 22-21. He collected two more hits and is batting .417 (20 for 48) in his last 12 games.

Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber hit back-to-back homers for Washington in the first, but Joe Ross (2-4) lasted just 3 2/3 innings in his second straight loss. The right-hander was charged with four runs, two earned, and five hits.

“Threw a lot more changeups today, which for the most part felt good, but a couple of them got hurt,” Ross said.

The last-place Nationals (17-23) dropped three of four against the Cubs, closing out a 3-4 trip. Manager Dave Martinez said ace right-hander Stephen Strasburg will come off the injured list to start Friday night against Baltimore in the opener of a nine-game homestand.

“It’s just a matter of time before things really start clicking, things start going our way, and we start putting some streaks together where we’re winning a lot more of these games,” Martinez said.

Trevor Williams pitched 4 2/3 innings of five-hit ball before Chicago’s bullpen took over. Justin Steele (2-0) got four outs before departing because of right hamstring tightness. Ryan Tepera and Andrew Chafin each worked an inning, and Craig Kimbrel earned his ninth save in 11 chances.

The Cubs’ bullpen has a scoreless streak of 17 1/3 innings over the team’s last five games. It began the day with a 3.24 ERA for the season, second-best in the NL.

Rays push winning streak to 7, beat O’s 10-1 for sweep

BALTIMORE (AP) Joey Wendle homered twice, Rich Hill combined with his bullpen on a two-hitter and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 10-1 Thursday to extend their winning streak to seven games.

Tampa Bay outscored the Orioles 32-14 and out-hit them 43-22 during its first three-game sweep at Camden Yards since May 17-19, 2013. The Rays at 26-19 are seven games over .500 for the first time this year. They have hit 17 homers during the streak, their longest since winning eight in a row from Aug. 19-26, 2018, and have averaged nine runs per game during the spurt.

“Things are going our way,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “We’re making things happen, we’re getting really well-pitched ballgames. The offense has really, really come to life. We’ve got a lot to feel encouraged about.”

Baltimore has lost 10 of 12 and at 17-26 is a season-high nine games under .500. The Orioles fell to a majors-worst 6-18 at home.

“We have not played well the past couple weeks,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “Our pitching is really beat up right now. We have to have starters go longer.”

Hill (3-1) extended his scoreless streak to 20 2/3 innings before major leagues RBIs leader Trey Mancini homered leading off the fourth. Hill allowed one run and two hits in six innings with four strikeouts, earning victories in consecutive starts for the first time since winning three in a row in June 2019. He has lowered his ERA from 8.82 to 3.89 over his last five starts.

Trevor Richards struck out two in a perfect seventh, and Louis Head pitched two hitless innings around a pair of leadoff walks and a hit batter.

Baltimore starter Dean Kremer (0-4) gave up four runs, five hits and four walks in three innings.

“They’re a pretty hot team, as you can see,” Kremer said. “They’re swinging the bats pretty well. When you leave too many balls center cut, you pay for it.”

Wendle homered to right-center leading off the second, and Randy Arozarena hit a three-run homer for a 4-0 lead.

Arozarena, who homered twice in Wednesday’s victory, added a run-scoring single as part of his first big league four-hit game. He hit .500 (8 for 16) in the series and had consecutive four-RBI games.

Wendle also homered in the ninth against Baltimore infielder Stevie Wilkerson. A pitch after being jeered for missing a 45 mph changeup, Wendle went deep to right-center for his first career multi-homer game.

“I’m sure between the home run and the swing and miss, I’ll probably hear more about the swing and miss,” Wendle said. “It’s almost a mental battle hitting against a position player. A lot of guys don’t like it. It was just 50 miles an hour right down the middle, so I was able to do something with it and make a little adjustment after that first swing and miss there.”

Germán strong following Kluber, Yanks shut out Rangers again

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Domingo German wasn’t in the stadium for Corey Kluber’s no-hitter the night before, yet still shared the anxious moments watching on TV.

No such no-no drama for the Yankees right-hander – just another strong pitching performance for New York in another shutout of the Texas Rangers.

German pitched seven scoreless innings, Gio Urshela and Aaron Judge delivered RBI singles as pinch-hitters in the seventh inning and the New York Yankees beat the Texas Rangers 2-0 on Thursday.

New York won its sixth straight series and at 25-19 moved a season-high six games over .500. Yankees pitchers have thrown seven shutouts in the team’s first 44 games for the first time since 1967.

“They can pitch, man,” manager Aaron Boone said of his rotation. “Obviously the bullpen’s been there to complement them and been terrific all year, as well. I love where the starters are at right now and the way they’re throwing the ball as a group.”

Texas had at least one hit in each of the first five innings, starting with Nick Solak’s one-out single in the first, a day after Kluber pitched the major leagues’ sixth no-hitter this season.

But Texas didn’t get a runner past second base against German (4-2), who finished with two perfect innings and allowed six hits with five strikeouts as New York pitching finished the four-game series with 22 consecutive scoreless innings.

“You understand what’s going on so when you’re watching the game, you’re nervous,” German said of watching Kluber on TV. “You want it to happen. Sure, everybody wants to have a no-hitter or a perfect game. I think I have the ability to do so.”

Kluber and German gave Yankees their first back-to-back starts of at least seven shutout innings since Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka at Boston on April 26-27, 2017.

German threw a career-high 26 changeups, holding the Rangers to 2 for 10 on that pitch, and improved to 4-0 in his last six starts.

“Kind of tough following up a no-hitter,” Judge said. “Domingo was right there. All his pitches were working. That changeup is nasty. Just all around a great showing by him.”

Chad Green pitched a perfect eighth, and Aroldis Chapman struck out two in the ninth for his 11th save in 11 chances as the Yankees matched the score from Kluber’s gem. Chapman struck out pinch-hitter Khris Davis on a 101.6 mph pitch for the final out.

Boone intended to give Urshela and Judge the day off after a night game, but Urshela replaced Mike Ford with one out and two on in a scoreless game against left-handed reliever John King (4-3).

Urshela’s liner to right landed just in front of David Dahl to score former Ranger Rougned Odor, who was activated from the paternity list before the game and opened the seventh by getting hit by a pitch.

Two batters later, Judge – batting for No. 9 hitter Tyler Wade – grounded his first hit in 10 career pinch at-bats into center to score Gary Sanchez. The Yankees won with all their runs scoring on two pinch hits for the first time since Enos Slaughter and Bill Skowron in a 2-1 win at Baltimore on Aug. 1, 1954.

Maldonado’s 3 RBIs lead Astros over A’s 8-4 and into 1st

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Martin Maldonado homered and drove in three runs, helping the Houston Astros beat the Oakland 8-4 on Thursday to move ahead of the Athletics for the AL West lead.

Alex Bregman, Michael Brantley and Yuli Gurriel also had run-scoring hits for the Astros in the rubber match of a three-game series. Houston is 21-9 against division opponents, including 7-3 against Oakland, and at 26-18 has sole possession of the division lead for the first time since before play on April 9.

“There’s always significance when you’re in first place,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “We’ll take it at any point in time of the season and, hopefully, we never relinquish first place.”

Mark Canha, Tony Kemp and Seth Brown homered for the A’s (26-19).

Luis Garcia (2-3) won his second straight start, limiting the Athletics to two runs and three hits in five innings with seven strikeouts.

Cole Irvin (3-5) struggled for Oakland, allowing five runs and eight hits in five innings.

Athletics manager Bob Melvin was ejected by plate umpire Alan Porter following the fifth inning for arguing balls and strikes.

“I was just a little bit frustrated and probably went a little too far,” Melvin admitted. “A couple of things over the course of the game. Probably my fault for getting thrown out.”

Canha homered leading off the first, and Houston took a a 3-1 lead in the third, sparked by Maldonado’s RBI double.

Kemp hit his first homer with the Athletics in the bottom half and doubled and walked.

Maldonado’s two-run homer boosted the lead to 5-2 in the fourth.

“He gave us a tremendous lift,” Baker said of his catcher. “He’s been swinging the bat a lot better lately. … That’s big when you’re getting that production out of the bottom (of the lineup).”

Jed Lowrie singled home Matt Olson in the sixth, but Jose Altuve singled in the seventh inning for a 14-game hitting streak. An run-scoring double by Bregman, who went 3 for 4 with two RBIs, boosted the lead to 7-3.

“I think we’re putting together good at-bats up and down the lineup,” Bregman said. “I think guys did a really good job of having great quality at-bats, swinging at good pitches, taking balls and getting our best swing off as many times as we could at pitches that we could drive.”

Dodgers get HRs from Smith, Pujols in 3-2 win over D-backs

LOS ANGELES (AP) Will Smith hit a tiebreaking, solo home run in the seventh inning, Albert Pujols slugged a two-run shot – his first for the Dodgers – and Los Angeles defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2 on Thursday night.

The Dodgers completed a four-game sweep, outscoring Arizona 19-6. They went 8-1 on the homestand, and have won four in a row and eight of nine.

The D-backs limped out of town with their 10th straight road loss and fifth in a row overall.

Smith sent the first pitch from Merrill Kelly (2-5) into the lower left-field seats leading off the seventh, giving the Dodgers a 3-2 lead. Smith sparkled on defense, too, throwing out pinch-runner Tim Locastro at second to end the eighth.

Pujols hit an 0-1 pitch from Kelly to right field in the second, with Josh Reddick jumping to the top of the wall in an attempt to make the catch. Smith, who singled leading off, scored and Pujols was greeted by high-fives from his teammates in the dugout as the Dodgers led 2-0.

It was Pujols’ 668th career home run, most among active players and fifth all-time, and followed 445 he hit for the St. Louis Cardinals and 222 for the Los Angeles Angels. The hit was his 3,256th, breaking a tie with Eddie Murray for 13th on the all-time list.

The 41-year-old slugger left the Angels and joined the Dodgers on a one-year deal Monday. In his first game that night, Pujols produced a run-scoring single in his second at-bat.

David Price opened a bullpen game for the Dodgers, his first start since Sept. 1, 2019. The left-hander, who opted out last season because of the pandemic, allowed three hits and struck out one in two innings.

He was followed by Jimmy Nelson, Alex Vesia, Joe Kelly, Victor Gonzalez, Blake Treinen and closer Kenley Jansen, who earned his 10th save.

Eduardo Escobar tied the game at 2 with a two-out, two-run homer off Joe Kelly in the sixth. Escobar had a two-run shot a night earlier in a 4-2 loss.

The D-backs had runners at the corners later in the inning. Reddick reached on center fielder Chris Taylor’s fielding error. Taylor thought right fielder Mookie Betts was going to catch the ball, so he stopped and looked at Betts and the ball dropped.

Justin Turner made a diving stab on a ball hit by David Peralta, but he threw it away at first and the error allowed Reddick to move to third. Gonzalez (1-0) relieved Joe Kelly and struck out Domingo Leyba to end the threat.

Hoyer disappointed with Cubs’ COVID-19 vaccination rate

CHICAGO (AP) Chicago Cubs executive Jed Hoyer is disappointed with the team’s COVID-19 vaccination rate, and he isn’t sure if it will ever reach Major League Baseball’s threshold for relaxing some of its coronavirus protocols.

Despite the team’s vaccination advocacy and education program, the Cubs remain shy of 85% for their Tier 1 players and staff.

“I think we’re at a place right now, candidly, where I’m not going to give up hope that we can get there, but my level of optimism is waning, candidly,” said Hoyer, who was promoted to president of baseball operations in November.

“And it is disappointing because there are conveniences that come with getting to 85% as a group, just mask wearing and dining and things like that that we would all like to have, but I also feel there’s a real competitive advantage that we’re going to miss.”

Reaching the 85% threshold means fully vaccinated players can go without masks in the dugout and bullpens. Fully vaccinated players and staff are able to eat and drink on flights. They also can gather in indoor spaces such as hotels without masks or social distancing as long as non-vaccinated people aren’t present.

Electronic tracing devices are eliminated, and fully vaccinated people who have close contact with someone with COVID-19 do not have to quarantine unless they exhibit symptoms.

“The contact tracing thing is a big deal,” Hoyer said before Thursday’s 5-2 victory over Washington, “and I feel like when you have a positive case, but the people around you have been vaccinated, that takes away that contact tracing element to guys being out. And by not hitting the 85% we’re missing that.”

MLB’s Tier 1 restrictions in place since last summer cover players, managers, coaches, bullpen catchers, team physicians, athletic trainers, physical therapists, and strength and conditioning coaches.

As of last week, 12 of the 30 major league teams had reached 85%, and four more were within two weeks of joining. The figures are updated each Friday by MLB and the players’ association.

The Cubs had two coaches test positive for COVID-19 back in April, playing a role in a flurry of moves for the team.

Asked last week about the team being under the 85% threshold, pitcher Jake Arrieta disputed the idea that it was a competitive disadvantage.

“I don’t necessarily see that as a competitive advantage or a disadvantage,” Arrieta said. “I know we do have a lot of guys vaccinated. We have not had any cases in the past month, so we’re doing OK as a group. And we’re being careful about where we go and who we’re around.”

Hoyer declined to speak to any internal conversations among the players about reaching the 85% number. But he was clear on whether he felt the relaxation of MLB protocols was a competitive advantage.

“There’s no denying the fact that … it is a competitive advantage to get to 85%,” Hoyer said.

Reunited: Tebow signs with Jags, rejoins Meyer as tight end

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The Jacksonville Jaguars are, at the very least, no longer the NFL’s most irrelevant franchise.

Urban Meyer. Trevor Lawrence. Tim Tebow.

The rebuilding Jaguars now have three of college football’s biggest stars – and two of its most polarizing figures – from the past 15 years after Tebow signed a one-year contract Thursday.

The former Florida standout and 2007 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback will attempt to revive his pro career as a tight end.

The 33-year-old Tebow is returning to the NFL after five years (2016-20) in the New York Mets’ organization and he’s reuniting with Meyer, his college coach, for the first time since his senior year in 2009.

“I know it will be a challenge, but it is a challenge I embrace,” Tebow said in a statement. “I am dedicated to taking the direction of our coaching staff and learning from my teammates. I appreciate everyone’s support as I embark on this new journey.”

Tebow joined his new team on the field Thursday wearing No. 85 – quarterback Gardner Minshew has No. 15 for now – and took part in a voluntary, closed workout.

Tebow is not expected to have any media availability until training camp, at the earliest, in hopes of minimizing the media circus that follows the devout Christian who has received rock star treatment at every NFL stop.

His comeback is unprecedented because of his age, his new position and the fact that he last played in a regular-season game in 2012, with the New York Jets. He’s sure to create another ballyhooed storyline for a team coming off a 1-15 season that led to a coaching change and the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft (Lawrence).

Several teams suggested Tebow make the position change years ago, but he declined.

He finally switched after retiring from baseball in February. He worked out for the Jaguars the following week, the first of two exploratory sessions that came to light hours before the start of the NFL draft on April 29.

Meyer raved about Tebow’s workouts, saying assistants were surprised to see the 235-pounder in such great shape. Ultimately, Tebow’s ability to pick up a new position – a number of college QBs have made the transition look seamless – will determine whether he makes the team.

Just getting a chance after such a lengthy layoff has stirred debate about preferential treatment. Others insist it’s merely the result of a decades-long relationship that now includes Meyer and Tebow being neighbors in Jacksonville.

“This Tebow deal just shows that personal relationships go further at this level than actual ability,” Carolina Panthers defensive tackle DaQuan Jones posted on Twitter last week.

Former Dallas receiver Dez Bryant, current Pittsburgh linebacker Devin Bush and Denver safety Kareem Jackson were among a number of others who criticized the move.

“So Tebow haven’t played an NFL game in damn near a decade and it’s that simple . no hate but you got to be kidding me,” Bryant tweeted.

Added Jackson: “… he got more lives than a cat.”

AP source: Washington releasing starting RT Morgan Moses

WASHINGTON (AP) A person with direct knowledge of the move said Washington is releasing longtime starting right tackle Morgan Moses and reserve Geron Christian.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because the team had not announced the transactions. They’re expected to be made official soon.

Moses started for Washington at right tackle every game for the past six seasons. He became a fan favorite, most notably as the subject of a viral “Morgan Moses Pancakes” campaign that led to local IHOP restaurants honoring him for his pancake-style blocks.

Signing former Chicago Bears offensive tackle Charles Leno and drafting Samuel Cosmi in the second round led to Washington’s surprising decision to cut ties with Moses. Releasing Moses clears $7.5 million off the salary cap.

The 30-year-old from Richmond, Virginia, is a free agent effective immediately.

Kadri faces another playoff suspension after Faulk headshot

(AP) — Nazem Kadri’s head shot on Justin Faulk could send shockwaves through the playoffs for the Colorado Avalanche and the rest of the Stanley Cup contenders.

Kadri was suspended indefinitely Thursday pending a video hearing with the league’s department of player safety for his illegal check to the head of St. Louis defenseman Justin Faulk in Game 2 of the teams’ playoff series.

Kadri already has five career suspensions, including three in the postseason alone over the past five seasons. He could miss substantial time for Colorado, which was the NHL’s top team during the regular season and a popular pick to win the Cup for the first time since 2001.

“A guy like Kadri guy can’t control himself,” Blues forward Brayden Schenn said after the Avalanche’s victory Wednesday night put them up 2-0 in the series. “In the playoffs he’s a repeat offender – bad hits, greasy hits, got a guy in a vulnerable position and he picks nothing but the head.”

Two years ago, Kadri was suspended for the rest of Toronto’s series against Boston for cross-checking, a punishment that ended up being five games. Offering a video hearing instead of a call allows the league’s department of player safety to suspend Kadri more than five games, which would leave Colorado without him against Vegas or Minnesota if they advance.

“I’m not happy about it,” coach Jared Bednar said Thursday. “Naz comes and gets physical. You can see it on the tape that he catches him high.”

Kadri clipped Faulk in the head with his right elbow midway through the third period. Faulk left the game, and Kadri was thrown out with a match penalty. Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly called it a dangerous hit that was “completely uncalled for.”

Kadri has three previous playoff suspensions on his record in addition to a four-game ban late in the regular season in 2015 for an illegal check to the head. Kadri was suspended four games for cross-checking in 2016, three games for boarding in 2018 and then the punishment in 2019, which was the last the Maple Leafs needed to see before trading him to Colorado.

The Avalanche acquired Kadri to help their secondary scoring and add some grit to a skilled lineup led by Nathan MacKinnon.

That combination helped Colorado reach the second round of the 2020 bubble playoffs with Kadri as a dominant offensive force. He put up nine goals and nine assists in 15 games before goaltending injuries derailed the Avalanche.

“We need Nazem,” Bednar said. “It’s not something that we want to be doing all the time, that’s for sure. Especially now, because we could lose our No. 2 center and someone else has to fill those shoes.”

Game 3 is Friday night in St. Louis (9:30 p.m. ET, USA Network). Bednar expects trade deadline pickup Carl Soderberg to step in for Kadri.

Davidson returns to Blue Jackets as president of hockey ops

(AP) — John Davidson left the Columbus Blue Jackets two years ago for his dream job running the New York Rangers after playing for them decades ago.

When that dream came to an abrupt end, there was no other place the respected hockey executive would rather be than back in Columbus.

Davidson was reintroduced Thursday as the Blue Jackets’ president of hockey operations, bringing the 68-year-old back to the organization he steered into respectability in the NHL from 2012-19. His return on a five-year contract coincided with the team signing general manager Jarmo Kekalainen to an extension through 2025, reuniting a management group that produced four playoff appearances in six seasons.

“Really, really, really happy to be back,” Davidson said. “We’re going to put together a coaching staff. We’re going to have lots of energy. We’re going to forward with big smiles on our faces, and we’re going to get back to doing some winning. That’s what it’s all about.”

Davidson spent less than two full years as president in New York before he and general manager Jeff Gorton were fired earlier this month with three games left in the regular season. Davidson took the high road about his dealings with Rangers owner James Dolan, who grew impatient with the rebuilding process.

” All I can say is, changes were made,” Davidson said, adding it was a disappointing development. “I had a talk with Mr. Dolan, who is the owner and the boss at Madison Square Garden. It was a very respectful conversation, and we decided to just part ways. When that happens, it’s a blow because nobody gets used to something like that.”

Davidson is very used to Columbus and said after two years derailed by the pandemic it felt like he’d never left. Kekalainen is still there and some core players, but a lot has changed since the spring of 2019 when Davidson left for what he thought was the opportunity of a lifetime working for the team he played for as a goaltender decades ago.

The Blue Jackets missed the playoffs and finished last in the eight-team Central Division. Kekalainen traded longtime captain Nick Foligno, top-four defenseman David Savard and bottom-six linchpin Riley Nash. Coach John Tortorella left when his contract came to an end.

It’s a daunting offseason now that starts with a coaching search and could include decisions on the future of top defenseman Seth Jones and Patrik Laine, a trade acquisition who has underperformed.

“We’ll have to weed through these things one at a time and try to make the strongest and best decisions on behalf of the Blue Jackets that you can make,” said Davidson, who had the option of returning to broadcasting or retiring. “If you didn’t want tough decisions, you’re in the wrong business.”

Finding the right coach to get the Blue Jackets back to the playoffs is the first order of business. Bruce Boudreau, Gerard Gallant, Claude Julien and Rick Tocchet are among the candidates with extensive NHL head-coaching experience, and then there’s David Quinn, who was fired by the Rangers not long after Davidson and Gorton.

INDIANAPOLIS INDIANS BASEBALL: Indians Split Thursday Contests With Saints 

(INDIANS RELEASE)

ST. PAUL, MINN. – Following a St. Paul Saints walk-off 3-2 win in the continuation of Wednesday night’s suspended game, the Indianapolis Indians offense scored seven runs on a season-high 13 hits to take home the nightcap victory on Thursday, 7-3.

Cole Tucker led the Indians offense in Game 2, going 3-for-5 with a double, triple and three RBI. Christian Bethancourt, Hunter Owen, Bligh Madris – in his Triple-A Debut – and Jason Delay each had two hits apiece in the nightcap.

To begin the evening, the Indians and Saints picked up where they left off on Wednesday night, tied 2-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning. Austin Davis, in his first rehab appearance with Indy, tossed a perfect eighth frame to begin play. Shea Spitzbarth (L, 2-1) entered in the ninth and, after back-to-back two-out walks to load the bases, surrendered a walk-off single to Jimmy Kerrigan.

Behind a quality start from Miguel Yajure (W, 1-1), the Indians (9-5) retaliated in the second contest to split the unconventional doubleheader. They began the scoring in the fourth inning when a two-out double off the bat of from Christin Bethancourt scored Chris Sharpe from third base. Hunter Owen followed with a single to right to push the lead to 2-0.

St. Paul (6-9) cut Indy’s lead to one run in the bottom half of the inning. Yajure surrendered his only run of the night on a solo home run off the bat of major league rehabber Alex Kirilloff.

Indy tacked on insurance runs in the top of the fifth after Madris and Delay led off the inning with back-to-back singles. A throwing error by St. Paul starter Andrew Albers (L, 1-2) on a bunt single by Ethan Paul extended the Indians lead to 5-1. Tucker then earned his first RBI of the season and drove in Paul on a one-out double to right field.

In the top of the seventh, Tucker roped his second triple of the season to the right-center gap and drove in his second run of the night. The shortstop drove in one more in the ninth with a single.

Yajure tossed his second quality start of the season with six one-run innings and five strikeouts. Geoff Hartlieb and Matt Eckelman came out of the bullpen for Indianapolis and each surrendered a run.

Albers allowed five of the Indians seven runs (four earned) in five innings of work to take the loss.

The Indians will face St. Paul for the fourth game of the series on Friday night at 8:05 PM ET. RHP James Marvel (0-0, 3.48) will take the mound for Indy to face off against LHP Charlie Barnes (1-0, 4.00) for the Saints.

INDY FUEL HOCKEY: RUSH SNEAK PAST FUEL IN OVERTIME

(FUEL RELEASE)

APID CITY – Playing the first of four games in five days, the Indy Fuel visited the Rapid City Rush at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. Both teams would score eight goals throughout regulation eventually forcing overtime. Jumping on a rebound in the overtime, Rapid City’s Peter Quenneville gave the Rush a 5-4 win in the first of the four games this week. 

After a fire wagon start for both teams, the Rush would be the first team to get on the board when a deflected shot by Avery Peterson trickled through the fivehole of Fuel goaltender Billy Christopoulos. Indy’s Matt Marcinew would attempt a response by crashing the net but referee Sean MacFarlane would call it no goal after the net came off it’s moorings before the puck crossed the goal line. Immediately following the official’s review, Jared Thomas fired a wrist shot off of the faceoff over the shoulder of David Tendeck. 

Giving up a long 5-on-3 power play to start the second period, Indy would kill off the initial penalty, springing Chris Martenet on an odd-man rush. Martenet streaked down the sideboards and threw a puck on net that deflected past Tendeck. 

The Rush would respond to Indy’s goal just over 90 seconds later when Cedric Montminy tucked a puck past Fuel goaltender Billy Christopoulos. The referees would review the goal for goaltender interference but would ultimately uphold the call, tying the game 2-2. After back and forth play from both teams, Rapid City took the lead when Coulter fed Hunter Garlent on a 2-on-1 to make the score 3-2. 

Taking advantage of strong offensive pressure, Rapid City’s Cedric Montminy jumped on a loose puck and fired it past Christopoulos. Indy’s Cliff Watson cut the Rush lead in half when he put home a rebound off of a shot by Nick Hutchison. After 40 minutes of hockey, Rapid City took a 4-3 lead into the locker room. 

After Rapid City controlled play to start the final stanza, Indy picked up a power play where they would put two shots on the net that would be fought off by Tendeck. The Fuel would eventually breakthrough with six minutes remaining when Willie Raskob deflected a wrist shot by Michael Pelech to tie the game 4-4. Neither team would be able to break the tie through the remainder of the game, sending the teams to a seven-minute overtime period. 

Jumping on a Fuel turnover in overtime, Hunter Garland got alone on a breakaway and hit the post. Rapid City’s Peter Quenneville hopped on the rebound and tucked it past Christopoulos to give the Rush a 5-4 win in overtime. 

Various ticket options are now on sale for the Fuel’s 7th 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 IndyFuelHockey.com 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 2020-21 season. 

TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY

1907       After the Giants’ 3-0 loss to the Cubs that drops New York out of first place, the players need to form a protective ring around umpires Hank O’Day and Bob Emslie. Pinkerton guards fire shots in the air, trying to disperse unruly fans who have spilled onto the Polo Grounds field.

1919       The Giants trade outfielder Jim Thorpe to the Braves for hurler Pat Ragan, who will pitch in only seven games for New York. The former Olympian, who appeared in only two games with his former team this year, will play 60 games for Boston before retiring at the end of the campaign, compiling a career .252 batting average during his six seasons in the major leagues.

1925       At Navin Field, the Tigers and Senators tie a nine-inning major league record, turning a combined nine double plays. Washington puts their twin killings to better use when they beat Detroit, 6-2.

1926       Earl Sheely ties a big-league record with seven consecutive extra-base hits. After doubling in each of his last three at-bats at Fenway Park yesterday, the White Sox first baseman collects three doubles and a home run in today’s 8-7 loss to Boston.

1927       For the second consecutive day, an umpire at Ebbets Field is the target of fan abuse. Arbitrator Frank Wilson needs a police escort after the Robins (Dodgers) drop a twin bill to Cubs.

1930       Babe Ruth hits three home runs, connecting in the first, third, and eighth inning of the Yankees’ 15-7 loss to the A’s at Shibe Park. The trio of round-trippers marks the first time the 35 year-old ‘Sultan of Swat’ has gone yard three times in a regular-season game, having accomplished the feat in the 1926 and 1928 World Series.

1943       At Comiskey Park, it takes only one hour and twenty-nine minutes for the White Sox to defeat the Senators, 1-0. The 89-minute contest is the quickest nine-inning game ever played in the American League.

1947       Joe DiMaggio is slapped with a $100 fine, along with four teammates who are penalized to a lesser degree, by Yankee GM Larry MacPhail for not fulfilling contract requirements to do promotional duties for the team. The New York outfielder had reneged on a promise to pose for a Signal Corps photograph featuring soldiers wearing new Army uniforms.

1952       The Dodgers score a major league record fifteen first-inning runs en route to a 19-1 rout over the Reds at Ebbets Field. After Ewell Blackwell retires the first batter, the next 19 Brooklyn batters reached base (10 hits, 7 walks, and 2 HBP), including Captain Pee Wee Reese getting to first base three times during the frame.

1952       Joe Nuxhall, best known for signing with Cincinnati in 1944 after obtaining the permission of his parents and high school principal, returns to the Reds seven years after pitching two-thirds of an inning in his major league debut as a 15-year-old. The southpaw gives up just one hit in the final three frames of the team’s 19-1 loss to Brooklyn at Ebbets Field.

1956       The White Sox trade future Hall of Fame third baseman George Kell with right-handers Mike Fornieles and Connie Johnson and left fielder Bob Nieman to the Orioles for first baseman/outfielder Dave Philley and hurler Jim Wilson. The deal pays immediate dividends for Baltimore when Kell and Nieman become part of the team’s everyday lineup, and Johnson steps into the Birds’ starting rotation.

1957       Reaffirming their decision to bar females from the Fenway Park’s male-only press box, Boston baseball writers deny a seat to Doris O’Donnell, a feature writer following the Indians.

1959       At a meeting at John Galbreath’s Ohio farm, in the face of growing pressure to expand, baseball owners decline to add new teams to the major leagues. Given the lack of plans for expansion, Commissioner Ford Frick, at a later date, will announce that MLB will ”favorably consider an application for major league status within the present baseball structure by an acceptable group of eight clubs which would qualify under ten specifications.”

1962       On the day he is released by New York, right-hander Robin Roberts will pitch two scoreless innings for the Orioles at Cleveland Stadium, after signing as a free agent with the Birds. The 35 year-old future Hall of Famer, who never appeared in a game wearing a Yankee uniform, will compile a 42-36 record during his four seasons with the Birds.

1963       Jim Maloney ties a major league record shared by Max Surkont (1953 Braves) and Johnny Podres (1962 Dodgers) when he strikes out eight consecutive batters, beginning with the last out in the first inning, in the Reds’ 2-0 victory over Milwaukee at County Stadium. The Cincinnati right-hander also equals the franchise mark with 16 strikeouts in one game, established by Noodles Hahn in 1901.

1969       The Mets are at .500 at the latest point of the season in team history. Tom Seaver throws a three-hitter, blanking the Braves at Atlanta Stadium, 5-0, improving the team’s win-loss record to 18-18.

1981       In the first round of the NE Regional in the NCAA Tournament at New Haven’s Yale Field, future major leaguers Ron Darling and St. John’s Frank Viola hook up in possibly the greatest college baseball game ever played. After being held hitless for eleven innings by the Bulldogs, the Redmen score the lone run of the contest on a double steal in the top of the 12th inning after both hurlers had thrown 11 scoreless innings.

1986       Rafael Ramirez strokes four doubles in seven trips to the plate. The infielder’s quartet of two-baggers helps the Braves to edge the Cubs in 13 innings at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, 9-8.

1988       Bobby Doerr, often referred to as the silent captain of the team by teammate Ted Williams, has his jersey #1 retired by the Red Sox, the organization he spent 14 years as a player and for many seasons after his retirement in 1951for which he served as a coach and scout. The nine-time All-Star second baseman became the first player in club history to hit for the cycle twice (1944, 1947) and led the team in his only World Series appearance, hitting .409 (9-for-22) in the 1946 Fall Classic loss against the Cardinals.

1992       Manager Buck Rodgers and eleven others are injured when the Angels’ team bus goes out of control on the New Jersey Turnpike and crashes into trees. The 53 year-old skipper is seriously injured and will miss nearly 90 games.

1996       In a 12-10 defeat of the Pirates, Larry Walker sets a Rockies’ club record with 13 total bases. The right fielder drives in six runs with a pair of two-run homers, a triple, and a double.

1997       Roger Clemens, en route to 354 career victories, picks up his 200th win when he tosses eight innings in the Blue Jays’ 4-1 win at Yankee Stadium. The 34 year-old ‘Rocket’ becomes the first player to reach the milestone wearing a Blue Jays uniform.

1997       Cleveland slugger Jim Thome, not known for his speed, steals his only base of the season. The Indians’ first baseman’s swipe of home plate in the top of the fourth inning will prove to be the game’s only run in the Tribe’s 1-0 victory over Kansas City at Kauffman Stadium

1998       Professional baseball returns to Bridgeport, Connecticut for the first time in nearly half of a century when the hometown Bluefish beat the Newport Bears in front of a sold-out crowd in their new Ballpark at Harbors Yards. The Atlantic League club is the first pro team to play in the Park City since the Bees of Colonial League suspended play after the 1950 season.

2000       Major League Baseball has its first six grand-slam day less than one year after establishing the mark with five, with Garret Anderson (Angels), J.T. Snow (Giants), Brian Hunter (Phillies), Jason Giambi (A’s), and Adrian Beltre and Shawn Green (Dodgers) all contributing to the record. The NL also set a league record, blasting four of the six base-loaded homers.

2004       In a 5-3 Tampa Bay victory over Cleveland at Tropicana Field, Jose Cruz Jr. ties a franchise record, accumulating ten total bases. The Devil Rays right fielder’s 4-for-4 performance includes three doubles and a home run.

2004       In his return to Texas, Alex Rodriguez is roundly booed by the patrons at the Ballpark in Arlington. The fans continue to show their displeasure when the Yankees’ third baseman drives a 2-1 pitch over the fence during his first-inning at-bat.

2005       At the Ballpark in Arlington, the Rangers establish two team records when the club hits four homers in one inning and goes yard a total of eight times, routing the Astros, 18-3, in a Lone Star interleague game. Rod Barajas, Hank Blalock, Laynce Nix, and Mark Teixeira all go deep in the team’s eight-run second inning, with Kevin Mench, Richard Hidalgo, and David Dellucci, who connects twice, also contributing to the franchise mark.

2005       Before their interleague game with the Athletics, the Giants pay homage to Juan Marichal by dedicating a nine-foot bronze statue outside SBC Park. The ‘Dominican Dandy,’ a San Francisco hurler from 1960-1973, joins Willie Mays and Willie McCovey as the third player to be honored.

2005       When Dae-Sung Koo bats against Randy Johnson, Mike Piazza confides to David Wright in the dugout, “If he gets a hit, I’ll donate a million dollars to charity.” The Korean reliever, who was afraid to stand in the batter’s box in a previous game, promptly hits a 91-mph fastball to the wall in center for a double, causing the Mets catcher to remark he’ll be making a significant donation to a charity over the next 20 years.

2008       “It’s been a lot of negative stuff going on around here and I’ve been feeling some of that and I was just expressing how I felt at the time, but it wasn’t anything to do with race. I wasn’t trying to bring race into it. I probably should have thought more about what I was going to say.” – Mets manager Willie Randolph. Willie Randolph apologizes for his negative remarks concerning SNY’s coverage of him as the Mets skipper. The first black major league manager hired in New York had brought up race when asked about the way he is being portrayed by the team’s TV network.

2009       The Twins enjoy a six-run and a seven-run inning when they trounce the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, 20-1. Joe Mauer leads the Minnesota offense with a grand slam and two doubles, driving in a career-high six runs.

2009       The letter “I” on the Big Mac Land sign at Busch Stadium is knocked out by Albert Pujols’s first-inning blast off Sean Marshall in the Cardinals’ 3-1 victory over Chicago. During any game, if a Cardinal player hits a home run into Big Mac Land, built in the left-field stands (section 272) as a tribute to Mark McGwire, everyone at the game is entitled to redeem their ticket for a free Big Mac at all participating restaurants in the fast-food chain.

2009       During a five-hour rain delay at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida, UConn and South Florida players entertain the fans, and mostly themselves, with an impromptu dance-off. When the play resumes tomorrow, sixth-seeded Connecticut will advance to the semifinal round of the Big East Championship with a 4-2 victory over the No. 2-ranked USF Bulls.

2012       Caleb Lloyd catches both home run balls hit in consecutive at-bats, just three pitches apart, by starter Mike Leake and shortstop Zack Cozart during the fourth inning of the Reds’ 4-1 victory over Atlanta at Great American Ball Park. The 20 year-old college junior keeps neither giving the infielder’s ball to a friend who helped get the tickets to the game and, at the request of the Reds, gives the pitcher, who hit his first career round-tripper, the other in exchange for a tour of the clubhouse and an autographed bat and ball.

2012       Rockies starter Jamie Moyer extends his major league record when he makes his debut at the newly opened Marlins Park, having now pitched in 50 major league ballparks. The 49 year-old southpaw started his career with a victory for Philadelphia at Wrigley Field in 1986.

2013       Mike Trout becomes the youngest player in American League history to hit for the cycle when he goes 4-for-5 in the Angels’ 12-0 rout of the Mariners. The 21 year-old ‘Millville Meteor’ beats out an infield single in the third, triples in the fourth, doubles in the sixth, and goes deep in the eighth, becoming the sixth player in franchise history to accomplish the feat.

2014       The A’s manage only one hit, Brandon Moss’ fourth-inning solo shot, but the homer proves to be the difference in their 3-2 victory over Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field. Oakland is the first American League team to win with a home run as its only hit since Jim Thome’s solo shot in 2006 gave the White Sox a 1-0 victory over the Cardinals at U.S. Cellular Field.

MLB STANDINGS

American League
East
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
Boston2718.60013 – 1214 – 612 – 67 – 46 – 85 – 5W 2
Tampa Bay2619.578111 – 1215 – 710 – 82 – 19 – 98 – 2W 7
NY Yankees2519.5681.511 – 914 – 1011 – 146 – 15 – 27 – 3W 3
Toronto2319.5482.510 – 713 – 128 – 61 – 35 – 86 – 4L 2
Baltimore1726.39596 – 1811 – 88 – 150 – 08 – 82 – 8L 3
Central
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
Chi White Sox2616.61914 – 812 – 82 – 217 – 96 – 47 – 3W 1
Cleveland2318.5612.510 – 713 – 111 – 315 – 83 – 46 – 4W 2
Kansas City2022.476610 – 1210 – 104 – 39 – 164 – 24 – 6W 2
Detroit1726.3959.59 – 128 – 141 – 58 – 136 – 48 – 2W 3
Minnesota1528.34911.58 – 157 – 131 – 37 – 104 – 123 – 7W 1
West
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
Houston2618.59115 – 911 – 95 – 40 – 321 – 98 – 2W 2
Oakland2619.5780.514 – 1312 – 611 – 99 – 13 – 75 – 5L 2
Seattle2123.477512 – 129 – 116 – 56 – 76 – 73 – 7L 3
LA Angels1925.432710 – 129 – 133 – 77 – 67 – 113 – 7L 1
Texas1927.413810 – 139 – 1410 – 84 – 65 – 81 – 9L 3
National League
East
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
NY Mets2017.54111 – 49 – 1311 – 62 – 55 – 16 – 4L 1
Philadelphia2222.5001.514 – 88 – 1411 – 138 – 32 – 44 – 6L 2
Miami2023.46538 – 912 – 146 – 63 – 69 – 85 – 5W 2
Atlanta2024.4553.510 – 1410 – 1011 – 117 – 41 – 23 – 7L 1
Washington1723.4254.59 – 108 – 136 – 95 – 54 – 64 – 6L 1
Central
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
St. Louis2518.58114 – 811 – 1010 – 1012 – 53 – 36 – 4W 2
Chi Cubs2221.512316 – 96 – 128 – 69 – 123 – 05 – 5W 1
Milwaukee2122.488410 – 1211 – 104 – 910 – 86 – 14 – 6L 2
Cincinnati1923.4525.510 – 119 – 120 – 09 – 66 – 143 – 7L 4
Pittsburgh1825.41978 – 1110 – 141 – 07 – 165 – 64 – 6W 1
West
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
San Francisco2816.63614 – 414 – 126 – 48 – 311 – 78 – 2W 5
San Diego2717.614115 – 1012 – 70 – 07 – 617 – 119 – 1W 6
LA Dodgers2618.591216 – 610 – 125 – 12 – 813 – 58 – 2W 4
Arizona1827.40010.59 – 99 – 187 – 135 – 16 – 112 – 8L 5
Colorado1529.3411313 – 122 – 173 – 32 – 58 – 213 – 7L 5

MLS STANDINGS

Eastern
TeamGPWDLGFGAGDHomeAwayPTS
New England32105322-0-00-1-07
New York City FC32018261-0-01-0-16
Orlando City SC31204131-1-00-1-05
CF Montreal31206421-1-00-1-05
Atlanta31114311-0-00-1-14
Inter Miami CF31114400-0-11-1-04
New York31025501-0-10-0-13
D.C.310236-31-0-00-0-23
Nashville SC30304400-3-00-0-03
Columbus20200000-1-00-1-02
Toronto FC201146-20-1-00-0-11
Philadelphia301214-30-0-20-1-01
Chicago301237-40-1-00-0-21
FC Cincinnati3012210-80-0-00-1-21
Western
TeamGPWDLGFGAGDHomeAwayPTS
Seattle32108172-0-00-1-07
San Jose32018442-0-00-0-16
Real Salt Lake22005231-0-01-0-06
Austin32014310-0-02-0-16
Los Angeles320167-11-0-01-0-16
Los Angeles FC31204221-1-00-1-05
FC Dallas31115411-1-00-0-14
Houston31114401-1-00-0-14
Vancouver31113301-0-10-1-04
Sporting KC311145-10-1-01-0-14
Colorado311123-10-0-11-1-04
Portland310236-31-0-00-0-23
Minnesota300317-60-0-20-0-10