Class A State Championship | 10 am ET

Kouts (29-2) vs. Barr-Reeve (28-2) 

Class 2A State Championship | 1:30 pm ET

Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian (27-3) vs. Parke Heritage (27-3)

Class 3A State Championship | 5 pm ET

Leo (24-4) vs. Silver Creek (24-4) 

Class 4A State Championship | 8:30 pm ET

Carmel (25-2) vs. Lawrence North (28-2) 


Gonzaga 83 Creighton 65

Michigan 76 Florida State 58

UCLA 88 Alabama 78 OT

USC 82 Oregon 68

Elite Eight — Monday, March 29                                               

(2) Houston vs. (12) Oregon State CBS 7:15 p.m. Lucas Oil Stadium Equality (North)

(1) Baylor vs. (3) Arkansas CBS 9:57 p.m. Lucas Oil Stadium Unity (South)

Elite Eight — Tuesday, March 30                                               

(1) Gonzaga vs. (6) USC  TBS 7:15 p.m. Lucas Oil Stadium Equality (North)

(1) Michigan vs. (11) UCLA TBS 9:57 p.m. Lucas Oil Stadium Unity (South)


South Carolina 76 Georgia Tech 65

Stanford 89 Missouri State 62

Louisville 60 Oregon 42

Texas 64 Maryland 61


Phoenix 101 Charlotte 97 OT

Portland 122 Toronto 117

Denver 126 Atlanta 102

LA Lakers 96 Orlando 93


Washington 5 NY Rangers 4

Detroit 4 Columbus 1

Anaheim 3 St. Louis 2

New Jersey 1 Boston 0

Florida 4 Dallas 1

Nashville 3 Chicago 2


Texas 12 Chicago Cubs 8

Milwaukee 7 Cincinnati 1

Chicago White Sox 7 Arizona 4

San Diego 3 Cleveland 3

Oakland 9 San Francisco 3

Kansas City 6 Colorado 3

LA Angels 6 LA Dodgers 5

Pittsburgh 2 Baltimore 1

Boston 8 Minnesota 3

Washington 11 St. Louis 3

Philadelphia 6 NY Yankees 2

Miami 10 NY Mets 2

Tampa Bay 16 Atlanta 5

Detroit 4 Toronto 4





KOUTS (29-2) vs. BARR-REEVE (28-2)



Head Coach: Kevin Duzan Record at Kouts: 107-43 (6th Year) Overall: 150-105 (11th Year)

Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #3, Coaches Poll (Single Class): NR

An IHSAA member school since 1919, Kouts is playing in the state finals for the first time in any sport.  With a victory, Mustangs would become first 30-win Class A state champion of the multiple class era.  Mustangs rank fourth in the state in scoring (75.8 ppg) and fifth in margin of victory (23.1 ppg).  Team has reeled off 20 straight victories to reach the state championship game.  Champions of the Porter County Conference with a 7-0 record this season.  The state championship game against top-ranked Barr-Reeve will be the first ranked team the Mustangs have faced this tournament.  Won first sectional championship since 2012 with its 67-53 win over Washington Township on March 6.n Won first regional title since 2001 with its 56-42 victory over Triton on March 13.

Season Results (29-2)

11/24 Marquette Catholic W 87-71

11/27 at Hebron W 90-63

12/4 at Covenant Christian W 92-30

12/5 Kankakee Valley W 85-43

12/11 South Central W 91-58

12/12 South Bend Clay W 93-59

12/26 Bloomington South L 50-41

12/28 Terre Haute South Vigo W 80-61

12/29 Cloverdale W 68-50

12/30 Linton-Stockton W 40-35

1/12 Andrean L 73-59

1/15 at Washington Township W 92-53

1/16 Rensselaer Central W 72-53

1/19 Westville W 84-60

1/21 at South Central W 69-44

1/23 at Boone Grove W 79-50

1/29 at Boone Grove W 63-52

1/30 Westville W 87-60

2/11 Morgan Township W 58-44

2/12 at 21st Century Charter – Gary W 68-67

2/17 at Lake Station Edison W 89-46

2/19 Hanover Central W 62-32

2/20 Lowell W 69-62

2/23 at River Forest W 78-49

2/26 LaCrosse W 83-42

Kouts Sectional

3/2 Hammond Academy W 112-45

3/5 Morgan Township W 85-56

3/6 Washington Township W 67-53

Triton Regional

3/13 Fremont W 66-62

3/13 Triton W 56-42

Lafayette Jeff erson Semi-State

3/20 Southwood W 86-70


Head Coach: Josh Thompson Record at Barr-Reeve: 79-6 (3rd Year) Overall: 189-162 (14th Year)

Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #1 Coaches Poll (Single Class): #9

Top-ranked Barr-Reeve making school’s seventh state championship game appearance and looking for second title in boys basketball.  School looking for second state championship this school year after volleyball team won the Class 2A crown on Nov. 7.  Vikings have appeared in five Class A title games in last 12 years.  Team’s only losses have come to other state finalist teams. Lost at 4A finalist Carmel 57-55 in OT on Dec. 23 and lost to 2A finalist Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian 75-66 as part of the Hall of Fame Classic in New Castle on Dec. 30.  Ranked teams they’ve faced this tournament: def. #4 North Daviess 40-38 in the sectional semifinal def. #2 Loogootee 56-38 to win fourth straight sectional title def. #8 Tindley 72-25 to claim semi-state championship  Champions of the Blue Chip Conference with an 7-0 record this season. Head coach Josh Thompson is in his third year coaching Barr Reeve and 14th season overall. He was a member of Bloomfield High School’s Class A state runner-up team in 1998.

Season Results (28-2)

12/5 at Vincennes Rivet W 75-26

12/8 Bloomington South W 41-36

12/11 Southridge W 52-19

12/12 North Harrison W 61-38

12/15 North Knox W 81-30

12/17 Northeast Dubois W 77-25

12/23 at Carmel L 55-57

12/30 Fort Wayne Blackhawk L 66-75

12/30 Blackford W 71-46

1/2 at Washington W 72-45

1/5 at Orleans W 53-42

1/8 Evansville Mater Dei W 67-31

1/15 Loogootee W 67-64

1/16 at North Daviess W 39-38

1/23 Heritage Hills W 59-35

1/29 at Shoals W 78-27

1/30 Castle W 61-54

2/1 at Wood Memorial W 67-28

2/4 at Jasper W 56-54

2/12 South Knox W 51-32

2/13 Eminence W 96-47

2/20 at Rock Creek Academy W 71-45

2/26 at Bloomfi eld W 54-41

2/27 Shakamak W 69-39

North Daviess Sectional

3/2 Washington Catholic W 81-24

3/5 North Daviess W 40-38

3/6 Loogootee W 56-38

Loogootee Regional

3/13 Trinity Lutheran W 63-38

3/13 Lanesville W 64-34

Washington Semi-State

3/20 Indianapolis Tindley W 72-25





Head Coach: Marc Davidson Record at Blackhawk: 173-50 (8th Year) Overall: 258-120 (18th Year)

Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #1 Coaches Poll (Single Class): #5

Top-ranked Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian making school’s third appearance in state finals and first in Class 2A. Team has won 10 straight games. School chasing second state championship in three years. High-scoring Braves lead state in that category at 82.7 points per game and also lead state in margin of victory at 25.5 points per game. Braves have defeated three other state finalist teams this season, two in overtime. Beat 3A Silver Creek 94-84 in 2OT on Dec. 12, beat 1A Barr-Reeve 75-66 in OT in the HOF Classic on Dec. 30, and beat 3A Leo 74-42 on Feb. 23. Team outscoring six tournament opponents by 29.8 ppg (80.1- 50.3 ppg). n Ranked teams they’ve faced this tournament: def. #8 Blackford 88-61 for the semi-state championship.

Season Results (27-3)

12/1 FW North Side W 98-48

12/4 New Haven W 86-33

12/5 Hamilton (OH) W 57-30

12/12 Silver Creek W 94-84

12/18 at FW Canterbury W 82-42

12/22 Gary Lighthouse CPA W 118-75

12/30 Barr-Reeve W 75-66

12/30 Shenandoah W 66-59

1/7 at FW Wayne W 77-42

1/9 FW Concordia W 107-63

1/12 at Homestead L 72-60

1/16 FW Luers W 87-71

1/21 Bowman Academy W 91-63

1/23 Lakewood Park Christian W 107-26

1/26 FW Dwenger W 57-49

2/4 at FW South Side W 89-44

2/6 Indianapolis Tindley W 67-50

2/9 at FW Snider W 88-81

2/12 Indianapolis Cathedral L 86-78

2/13 Elevation Prep L 90-82

2/17 at Marion W 89-71

2/20 at Indianapolis Attucks W 75-72

2/23 at Leo W 74-42

2/25 FW Northrop W 95-53

Bluff ton Sectional

3/2 Bluffton W 86-44

3/5 Whitko W 78-39

3/6 FW Canterbury W 93-51

North Judson-San Pierre Regional

3/13 Churubusco W 68-55

3/13 Bowman Academy W 68-52

Elkhart Semi-State

3/20 Blackford W 88-61


Head Coach: Rich Schelsky Record at PH: 58-22 (3rd Year) Overall: 77-52 (5th Year)

Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #5 Coaches Poll (Single Class): NR

Fifth-ranked Parke Heritage making school’s first state finals appearance in any sport. Parke Heritage is a two-and-a-half year old consolidation of Rockville and Turkey Run high schools in west central Indiana. Team aiming for state championship in just its third state tournament. One of two three-time state finalists (Kouts, Leo) in this year’s event. Wolves rank 12th in state in points allowed (42.1 ppg).  Champions of the Wabash River Conference with a 7-0 record this season. Ranked teams they’ve faced this tournament: def. #2 Shenandoah 52-33 to win its first regional crown on March 13. Wolves won school’s first sectional championship a year ago prior to the pandemic.

Season Results (27-3)

11/28 North Knox W 60-53

11/28 at Linton L 56-65

12/4 at Riverton Parke W 82-45

12/5 South Vermillion W 56-42

12/12 North Putnam W 57-44

12/19 at South Putnam W 74-36

12/26 North Central (Farmersburg) W 60-47

12/28 Greencastle L 51-63

12/29 Northview W 47-45

1/2 Crawfordsville W 60-52

1/8 at North Vermillion W 81-33

1/15 at Covington W 62-48

1/16 at Cloverdale W 65-48

1/23 Cascade W 64-41

1/26 South Vermillion W 50-38

1/29 at Riverton Parke W 73-44

1/30 at Lafayette Jefferson L 49-54

2/4 Attica W 63-15

2/6 Tri-West W 62-48

2/12 Fountain Central W 74-36

2/13 Lafayette Central Catholic W 46-30

2/19 Seeger W 64-38

2/23 at Southmont W 64-54

Cloverdale Sectional

3/2 Cloverdale W 48-25

3/5 Southmont W 66-34

3/6 North Putnam W 48-42

Greenfield-Central Regional

3/13 Triton Central W 47-30

3/13 Shenandoah W 52-33

Washington Semi-State

3/20 Southridge W 40-36


LEO (24-4) vs. SILVER CREEK (24-4)



Head Coach: Cary Cogdell Record at Leo: 240-151 (17th Year) Overall: 251-181 (19th Year)

Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #9 Coaches Poll (Single Class): NR

Leo making school’s first appearance in the boys basketball state finals. Lions rallied from a 16-point halftime deficit to defeat South Bend St. Joseph 61-59 in the semi-state championship. Blake Davison connected on a runner high off the glass with 1.3 seconds remaining for the final margin. Lions won first 11 games of the season but dropped three of the last four regular season games before getting hot in the tournament. Leo is one of three first-time state finalists (Kouts, Parke Heritage) in this year’s event.  Champions of the Northeast 8 Conference with a 7-0 record this season. Ranked teams they’ve faced this tournament: def. #5 South Bend St. Joseph 61-59 for first semi-state title n Fell to 2A finalist Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian 74-42 on Feb. 23. Avenged a regular season loss to Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger with a 55-45 win for its second straight sectional crown on March 6. Head coach Cary Cogdell is a 1994 graduate of Leo High School and played on sectional championship teams as a junior and senior.

Season Results (24-4)

11/28 at Fort Wayne South Side W 66-56

12/2 Fort Wayne Wayne W 49-39

12/4 Fort Wayne Snider W 91-84

12/8 Fort Wayne Bishop Luers W 57-51

12/19 Shenandoah W 59-43

12/21 Fort Wayne Concordia W 75-57

12/30 at Warsaw W 69-55

1/5 at Fort Wayne Canterbury W 74-33

1/9 Norwell W 53-43

1/15 New Haven W 68-52

1/23 at East Noble W 46-30

1/25 at Fort Wayne North Side L 68-72

1/27 at Huntington North W 44-37

1/30 Bellmont W 47-43

2/6 Carroll (Fort Wayne) W 39-37

2/8 at DeKalb W 57-53

2/9 Angola W 62-43

2/12 Columbia City W 69-52

2/17 at FW Bishop Dwenger L 56-60

2/19 at Lakewood Park W 70-35

2/23 Fort Wayne Blackhawk L 42-74

2/26 at Woodlan L 43-46

Woodlan Sectional

3/3 Angola W 64-38

3/5 Fort Wayne Bishop Luers W 76-70

3/6 FW Bishop Dwenger W 55-45

New Castle Regional

3/13 Mississinewa W 79-43

3/13 Northwood W 47-46

Elkhart Semi-State

3/20 South Bend St. Joseph W 61-59


Head Coach: Brandon Hoffman Record at SC: 200-73 (11th Year) Overall: 200-73 (11th Year)

Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #2 Coaches Poll (Single Class): #9

Silver Creek returns to boys basketball state championship game for second time in three years aiming for second title. Dragons will look to replicate the school’s girls team which won the 3A state title on Feb. 27. With a victory, Silver Creek would become third school to achieve the girls-boys sweep in the same year (Oregon-Davis 2007, Warren Central 2018). Team enters state championship game on a 13-game win streak. n Finished second in the Mid-Southern Conference with an 8-1 record this season.  Silver Creek avenged one of its regular season losses defeating #8 conference champion North Harrison 44-41 in the sectional semifinals. Ranked teams they’ve faced this tournament: def. #8 North Harrison 44-41 in the sectional semifinals def. #4 Heritage Hills 52-48 in the regional semifinals def. #6 Guerin Catholic 54-46 for semi-state crown. Fell to 2A finalist Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian 94-84 in 2OT on Dec. 12. Head coach Brandon Hoffman is a 1998 Silver Creek graduate where he play basketball all four years for the Dragons.

Season Results (24-4)

11/25 at Columbus East W 106-81

12/1 at Charlestown W 78-31

12/4 Clarksville W 76-38

12/11 at North Harrison L 61-63

12/12 Fort Wayne Blackhawk L 84-94

12/18 Jeffersonville W 77-67

12/29 Providence W 62-41

12/30 Clarksville W 95-49

01/02 Bedford North Lawrence W 74-51

1/8 Eastern (Pekin) W 95-34

1/15 at Brownstown Central W 61-40

1/16 Bloomington North W 94-74

1/22 at New Albany L 72-81

1/29 at Madison W 69-56

1/30 at Bloomington South L 41-42

2/4 at Salem W 105-66

2/9 at Floyd Central W 68-59

2/12 Scottsburg W 94-46

2/19 Corydon Central W 92-54

2/20 Plainfield W 68-61

2/24 Austin W 87-51

2/26 Seymour W 72-56

Charlestown Sectional

3/2 Corydon Central W 77-42

3/5 North Harrison W 44-41

3/6 Madison W 83-71

Washington Regional

3/13 Heritage Hills W 52-48

3/13 Connersville W 31-30

Seymour Semi-State

3/20 Guerin Catholic W 54-46


CARMEL (25-2) vs. LAWRENCE NORTH (28-2)



Head Coach: Ryan Osborn Record at Carmel: 90-18 (4th Year) Overall: 90-18 (4th Year)

Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #2 Coaches Poll (Single Class): #2

Carmel returns to its third state championship game in four years aiming for school’s fifth boys basketball crown. With a win, Carmel would become fourth school with five or more state championships (Marion, Muncie Central, Washington). Greyhounds will face conference rival Lawrence North in the third straight 4A title game between Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference teams. Second meeting this season between the two schools following the Greyhounds’ 63-49 road win on Feb. 4. Ranked teams they’ve faced this tournament: def. #1 Homestead 60-49 in regional semifinals def. #8 Lafayette Jefferson 50-49 for regional title def. 10 Gary West Side 53-50 in OT for semi-state crown Carmel defense ranks sixth in the state allowing only 40.4 ppg. Both regular season losses were one-point decisions – 51-50 vs. Indianapolis Cathedral and 35-34 at Fishers. Champions of the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference with a 7-0 record this season.

Season Results (25-2)

11/24 Columbus North W 61-51

12/4 Lawrence Central W 64-35

12/5 Zionsville W 49-34

12/11 at Noblesville W 64-36

12/18 at North Central W 56-49

12/19 at New Albany W 50-42

12/23 Barr-Reeve W 57-55

12/30 Anderson W 44-30

1/8 at Center Grove W 51-44

1/9 Westfield W 54-30

1/13 Cathedral L 50-51

1/19 at Perry Meridian W 58-34

1/22 at Pike W 73-55

1/23 Brownsburg W 58-45

1/29 Ben Davis W 67-41

1/30 at New Castle W 72-25

2/4 at Lawrence North W 63-49

2/5 at Fishers L 34-35

2/12 Hamilton Southeastern W 49-30

2/13 at Carroll W 43-34

2/19 Warren Central W 56-47

2/23 at Crispus Attucks W 64-32

Carmel Sectional

3/5 Hamilton Southeastern W 46-33

3/6 Westfield W 53-27

Logansport Regional

3/13 Homestead W 60-49

3/13 Lafayette Jefferson W 50-49

Lafayette Jefferson Semi-State

3/20 Gary West Side W 53-50


Head Coach: Jack Keefer Record at LN: 787-304 (45th Year) Overall: 848-330 (49th Year)

Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #3 Coaches Poll (Single Class): #3

Lawrence North making its fifth appearance in the state finals, aiming for fifth crown in boys basketball and first since 2006.  With a win, Lawrence North would become fourth school with five or more state championships (Marion, Muncie Central, Washington).  Wildcats, riding a 12-game winning streak, are 4-0 in previous state championship games.  Second meeting this season between the two schools following the Wildcats’ 63-49 home loss on Feb. 4.  Ranked teams they’ve faced this tournament: def. #5 Indianapolis Cathedral 75-63 in sectional first round def. #7 Warren Central 46-45 in sectional semifinals def. #6 Plainfield 43-39 for its first regional crown in 15 years. Finished second to Carmel in the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference race with a 6-1 record this year. Head coach Jack Keefer, in his 45th season, has been the only coach in school history, and is the second-winningest coach in state history (848 wins). He trails only J.R. Holmes of Bloomington South (861 wins), LN’s opponent in the semi-state.

Season Results (28-2)

12/5 Hammond W 52-51

12/9 Lawrence Central W 58-53

12/12 Cincinnati Moeller (Ohio) W 58-57

12/19 at Fort Wayne Northrop W 89-42

12/22 Fishers W 65-60

12/29 Indianapolis Tindley W 84-49

12/30 Gary West W 61-60

1/2 at Indianapolis Attucks W 67-56

1/8 Warren Central W 63-43

1/12 North Central (Indianapolis) W 69-59

1/13 at Lawrence Central W 81-67

1/15 Pike W 64-62

1/16 Warren Central W 59-56

1/22 North Central (Indianapolis) W 64-60

1/23 Homestead L 50-55

1/29 at Center Grove W 45-35

1/30 Jeffersonville W 55-50

2/4 Carmel L 49-63

2/6 at Connersville W 40-36

2/12 at Ben Davis W 57-39

2/13 at Fort Wayne Snider W 95-70

2/19 at Pike W 75-67

2/20 Floyd Central W 66-49

2/23 at Hamilton Southeastern W 68-42

Indpls. Aresenal Tech Sectional

3/3 Indianapolis Cathedral W 75-63

3/5 Warren Central W 46-45

3/6 North Central (Indianapolis) W 62-49

Southport Regional

3/13 Ben Davis W 58-44

3/13 Plainfield W 43-39

Seymour Semi-State

3/20 Bloomington South W 54-52

Former Hoosier All-American Mike Woodson Named 30th Men’s Basketball Coach at Indiana University


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana University Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Dolson has named former Hoosier All-American and Indianapolis native Mike Woodson as the 30th head coach in the men’s basketball program’s history. 

Woodson returns to the Bloomington campus with vast experiences and knowledge after playing in the NBA for 11 seasons beginning in 1980 and serving as a coach in the league beginning in 1996 for seven NBA franchises, including nine years combined as a head coach with the Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks.  He was currently serving as an assistant coach with the Knicks.

“This is a great day and a great fit for Indiana Basketball,” said IU Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Scott Dolson. “Throughout this process, I was looking for someone I could partner with to return Indiana Basketball to a level of success that Hoosier fans have come to know and expect, and Mike is that person.

“During the last two weeks, I have spoken with numerous individuals at the college and NBA levels, and they were unanimous in their support of and respect for Mike. From his ability in terms of X’s and O’s to his skill at building relationships and developing players, his reputation is outstanding. As a coach, he’s succeeded at the highest levels of the NBA, and he’s mentored some of the game’s all-time great players. On top of all of that, as one of our program’s legendary players, Mike certainly gives us a bridge to our past. But more important than what he did as a former Hoosier player, he’s someone who shares my vision for what Indiana Basketball is about, and I’m thrilled about what this day means for our program.”

Woodson was the 1980 Big Ten Player of the Year and NABC All-American as a senior in leading the Hoosiers to a conference title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet Sixteen.  Despite undergoing back surgery in December and missing seven weeks, he was honored as the Chicago Tribune’s Silver Basketball Award Winner following the season.

In addition, Dolson has announced that former Ohio State Coach Thad Matta will join the athletic department in the newly created position of Associate Athletic Director for Basketball Administration.


SAN ANTONIO, Texas – No. 4 Indiana will play for a spot in the Final Four on Monday night when it faces No. 3 seed Arizona in the NCAA Regional Final. Tipoff at the Alamodome is set for 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Saturday, March 27, 2021 • 9 p.m. ET • NCAA Tournament Regional Final
Alamodome • San Antonio, Texas
Broadcast: ESPN (Beth Mowins, Debbie Antonelli, LaChina Robinson)


Arizona also advances to its first Elite Eight in school history as it posted wins over Stony Brook, BYU and Texas A&M. They are led by All-American senior guard Aari McDonald who averages 19.8 points and 4.2 assists per game. Junior forward Cate Reese adds 11.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. The Wildcats are averaging 66.8 points per game and shooting 41.5 percent from the floor.


Series tied at 1-1


12/12/99 – L, 70-87 (Tucson, Ariz.)


The Hoosiers advance to its first NCAA Elite Eight after defeating NC State, 73-70, on Saturday night. All five starters scored in double figures behind 17 points from senior guard Ali Patberg.

Through three games in the NCAA Tournament, three Hoosiers are averaging double figures led by junior guard Grace Berger with 16.3 points per game while Patberg adds 15.1 points and sophomore forward Mackenzie Holmes adds 14.3 points per game.

Junior forward Aleksa Gulbe paces the Hoosiers on the glass in their tournament run, with 11.7 boards per game.

With the win on Saturday night, senior guard Keyanna Warthen became the program’s all-time winningest player with 89 career victories. The record was previously held by Kym Royster (2014-18).

Indiana is now 6-6 all-time in the NCAA Tournament with five of IU’s six wins belonging to seventh year head coach Teri Moren.


The winner of Monday’s game advances to the national semifinal on April 2nd against the winner of UConn/Baylor. 

Quartet of Double-Figure Scorers, Stingy Defense Usher Michigan into Elite Eight


Site: Indianapolis, Ind. (Bankers Life Fieldhouse)

Score: #4 Michigan 76, #14 Florida State 58

Records: U-M (23-4), FSU (18-7)

Next U-M Event: Tuesday, March 30 — vs. UCLA – NCAA Tournament Elite Eight (Indianapolis, Ind.), 9:57 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The No. 1-seeded University of Michigan men’s basketball team is heading to the Elite Eight after a dominating 76-58 win over No. 3-seeded Florida State on Sunday (March 28) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Michigan (23-4) scored 50 percent of its points in the paint and 24 points off turnovers. Brandon Johns Jr. had 14 points, six rebounds, two steals and two assists. Hunter Dickinson added 14 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and two assists. Franz Wagner collected a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, and added a team-best five assists. Chaundee Brown Jr. also scored in double figures with 12 points.

Johns scored six of Michigan’s first nine points as Wolverines took an early 9-6 lead. A 10-2 Wolverines run followed to give them a 19-8 edge with 10:44 remaining in the first half. After back-to-back baskets by Florida State, Brown answered with a bucket off a turnover. Michigan scored 16 points off 10 FSU first-half turnovers.

After a dunk by the Seminoles, Dickinson scored four points on his own and Michigan grabbed its largest lead, 27-14, and carried a 32-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Michigan was 8-for-11 from the free-throw line, while the defense held the Seminoles to 10-for-30 shooting, including 0-for-7 from long range.

Florida State looked as though it would make a big second-half push, scoring 15 of the first 22 points including two straight three-point baskets. Their first baskets from behind the arc cut the Seminoles deficit to five, 41-36, at the 14:51 mark.

Michigan responded with authority, going on a 7-0 run with Austin Davis claiming four points and Mike Smith three.

A minute later, and holding a nine-point lead, Michigan scored the next six points during a 12-2 run to push their lead to 62-43.

The Wolverines went up by an even 20 points after Wagner had a block and drew a foul after which he hit back-to-back free throws.

Michigan kept going, and registered its largest lead, 23 points, with 1:10 remaining to put the game out of reach for Florida State.

Michigan will take on No. 11 seed UCLA on Tuesday (March 30) at 9:57 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium. The game — the Wolverines’ 15th all-time Elite Eight appearance — will be broadcast live on TBS.

Unbeaten Zags keep rolling with 83-65 rout of Creighton


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Gonzaga guard Andrew Nembhard believes he still has room to improve.

The scary part is, he thinks that also might be true for the undefeated Zags.

Nembhard had 17 points and eight assists, both season highs, to keep the NCAA Tournament’s top overall seed rolling with Sunday’s 83-65 rout of fifth-seeded Creighton in the West Region semifinals. Afterward, he insisted nobody was satisfied.

“I don’t think we have peaked,” he said. “I think, as I said earlier, we can always get better. We can always work on our stuff. So, I think we’re getting close, and we need to squeeze out that five percent that we talked about.”

It’s hard to imagine the Bulldogs (29-0) could play much better.

They extended their school-record winning streak to 33, the Division I record for consecutive double-digit wins to 26 and reached the Elite Eight for the fourth time in six years. Next up is Tuesday’s West regional final against either sixth-seeded Southern California or seventh-seeded Oregon, and if Gonzaga continues playing with the same balance it has shown throughout the season, it will be hard for either opponent to stop the Zags short of the Final Four.

Some of Gonzaga’s usual stars were content with supporting roles Sunday.

Second-team All-American Drew Timme led the way with 22 points, six rebounds and four assists as the Zags shot 59.6% from the field against a foe that led the Big East in defensive field goal percentage. Joel Ayayi added 13 points and eight rebounds.

First-team All-American Corey Kispert scored 12 points and Timme’s fellow second-teamer Jalen Suggs finished with nine.

Defensively, the Zags held Creighton to 40 points over the final 30 minutes as they methodically turned a 27-25 game into a blowout. Gonzaga never trailed, led 43-33 at halftime and spent most of the second half pulling away.

The Bluejays (22-9) never really had a serious chance at advancing to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1941, when the NCAA Tournament only gave out eight bids.

“They just play so fast, so efficient with everything they do,” said Marcus Zegarowski, who led Creighton with 19 points. “There are no lapses. You just can’t take, not even a play, you can’t take a second off or they’re going to make you pay.”

Denzel Mahoney added 13 points for Creighton.

Gonzaga extended its advantage to 20 points on Suggs’ layup with 11:22 to go. That just about finished off Creighton as the Zags moved within three wins of becoming the first undefeated national champion since Indiana in 1976.

“I’m just telling you: We’re not hung up on the undefeated thing at all,” coach Mark Few said. “We’ve got to go undefeated from here on out. We’ve got to go 3-0 if we want to win the championship, which that’s been our goal all along. But nobody’s talking about the overall undefeated thing at all.”


Creighton: The Bluejays reached their first Sweet 16 since 1974 but didn’t have nearly enough against a foe on a clear mission. They were simply overwhelmed by the Zags over the final 30 minutes.

Gonzaga: The Zags have won their first three tournament games by a combined 77 points.


Big East teams haven’t found Hinkle Fieldhouse to be any friendlier as a neutral court than it is when they play Butler each season.

Villanova and Creighton both lost here this weekend by double digits, and it might have been disconcerting for the Bluejays to hear the public address announcer saying things like “Bulldogs 3-pointer” when Gonzaga made a shot from beyond the arc.

Syracuse, which played in the Big East during the league’s glory days, also lost at Hinkle on Saturday.


On Thursday, Creighton coach Greg McDermott said the Bluejays couldn’t rely on defense to beat Gonzaga. They needed to score.

When they didn’t, the result was predictable.

“You have to score to play with Gonzaga. We just didn’t score enough,” McDermott said. “Obviously the start of the second half was huge for us. We really felt like for us to have an opportunity, we had to win that first four-minute timeout. Instead they were able to take that lead from 10 to 14 and then it’s an uphill battle against a team like that.”

UCLA Advances to Elite Eight, Defeats Alabama, 88-78


INDIANAPOLIS – The Bruins secured an 88-78 win in overtime against No. 2-seed Alabama on Sunday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse, advancing to their first Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament since 2008.

UCLA (21-9) pulled off a thrilling victory in the Sweet 16 on Sunday, as six Bruins scored in double figures (for the first time this season).

The Bruins led at halftime, 40-29, and led the Crimson Tide by a 65-62 margin with under four seconds to play. Alabama tied the contest, 65-65, on a buzzer-beating 3-point shot by Alex Reese at the end of the second half.

UCLA scored the first five points in overtime and never looked back. The Bruins outscored Alabama by a 23-13 margin in the five-point overtime session.

The win over Alabama has set up an Elite Eight showdown between the Bruins and No. 1-seed Michigan (23-4). UCLA’s game on Tuesday evening against Michigan at Lucas Oil Stadium will begin at 6:57 p.m. PT (9:57 p.m. ET).

“I just tried to stay calm with the guys, just tell them we’ve got to continue to execute,” said Mick Cronin, The Michael Price Family UCLA Men’s Head Basketball Coach. “I thought our guys had found a rhythm with them defensively and adjusted a little bit to their speed. They’d kind of gone small, and it was going to be what it was going to be. They would run a pick-and-roll, get the switch, and try to beat us off the dribble.”

All five starters for UCLA scored in double figures. Jules Bernard and Jaime Jaquez Jr. each had 17 points, while Johnny Juzang and Tyger Campbell had 13 points. Cody Riley finished with 10 points, five rebounds and four blocks. David Singleton made 3 of 4 attempts from 3-point range and tallied 15 points off the bench.

Freshman Jaylen Clark tallied a team-best nine rebounds in just over 18 minutes off the bench. Clark had a team-leading four offensive rebounds and also scored three points (all on free throws).

UCLA controlled the overtime session, despite having lost talented scorer Johnny Juzang (fouled out with over two minutes to play in regulation). Leading 74-70, the Bruins padded their cushion to 77-70 on a 3-point basket from Jaquez Jr. with 1:38 to play.

Alabama was forced to foul the Bruins the rest of the way. UCLA’s final 11 points came at the free throw line.

Riley had a strong performance for the Bruins. Among his more memorable plays took place with 5:23 to play in regulation, slamming home an inbounds pass from Campbell to tie the contest, 56-56.

“Cody Riley really had some big stops, some blocked shots,” added Cronin. “Obviously, not easy for a guy his size to stay in front of Jahvon Quinerly, but these guys have been resilient all year. I don’t know if this is a fact, but we’ve got to be the only team left out here with no seniors. There were many times we could have packed it in, but I told them, they’ve been putting up with me for two years now trying to beat into them competitive spirit and toughness because, when you combine that with talent, you have a chance to do great things.”

Jahvon Quinerly finished with a team-leading 20 points for Alabama (26-7). John Petty Jr. had 16 points and five rebounds.

UCLA will return to the Elite Eight for the first time since advancing to three consecutive Final Fours in 2006, 2007 and 2008. In addition, this marks the first Elite Eight berth for Coach Cronin, now in his second season at UCLA.

ELITE EIGHT BOUND: USC Men’s Basketball Stifles Oregon, 82-68, In NCAA Tournament


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A two-week run of the USC men’s basketball team playing its best at just the right time has the Trojans rewriting their history — possibly toward the Final Four.

Isaiah White scored a season-high 22 points and USC shut down Oregon’s potent offense to reach the Elite Eight for the first time in 20 years with an 82-68 win in the West Region semifinals Sunday night.

“We’re making history and it just means a lot to this program,” White said. “As a team, we’re just super excited and we worked for this, so I’m glad that it’s paying off.”

Pac-12 After Dark Indy-style turned into a lights-out performance by USC.

The Trojans (25-7) clipped the high-flying Ducks with their length on the perimeter and 7-footer Evan Mobley in the middle. Offensively, the region’s No. 6 seed bobbed and weaved through the holes in Oregon’s defense, shooting 57% and 10 of 17 from 3.

The all-around domination put USC in the Elite Eight for the second time in 60 years and three Pac-12 teams in the regional final for the first time since 2001.

Next up is a shot at undefeated Gonzaga in the regional final Tuesday.

“We believe we can beat anybody,” White said.

Oregon certainly had no answer for the long-armed Trojans.

The seventh-seed Ducks (21-7) floundered after USC switched to zone early on, unable to find holes or get much of anything to drop over it until a late rally that came up short. The Pac-12’s best 3-point shooting team (38%) went 5 of 21 from the arc.

Eugene Omoruyi had 28 points 10 rebounds, and Chris Duarte scored 21 for the Ducks.

“I let the guys down. I didn’t have them ready for that zone,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “I thought we were, but their length and athleticism really bothered us.”

Oregon and USC have been a big part of the Pac-12’s unexpected success in the Circle City.

Picked to be the worst among the major conferences, the big league out West opened the NCAA Tournament with nine straight wins and got four teams through to the Sweet 16.

Oregon State and UCLA already advanced, so the showdown between the Ducks and Trojans meant a Pac-12 trio in the Elite Eight.

Oregon was in a familiar position, running this deep into March for the fourth time in five NCAA Tournaments. USC had to reach back to the 2006-07 team with Nick Young and Taj Gibson for its last Sweet 16 ride.

The Trojans won the teams’ lone regular-season meeting 72-58 by getting off to a fast start.

They did the same in the rematch by slowing the fast-moving Ducks.

Normally free flowing on offense, Oregon had a hard time solving USC’s zone between the big guards up top and the shot-swatting Mobley anchoring the paint.

Offensively, USC looked more like the Ducks than they did, pouring in 3s and getting shots at the rim, using a 17-2 run to go up 14. The Trojans led 41-26 at halftime.

USC stretched the lead to 20 in the opening 3 1/2 minutes of the second half before the Ducks finally came to life. An 11-0 run cut USC’s lead to 69-60, but the rally ran out of steam.

Oregon turned it over, failed on a lob attempt and then Mobley threw down a two-handed dunk over Franck Kepnang.

“When you’re trying to come back from the deficit that we had you just can’t have those mistakes,” Altman said.


Mobley was USC’s fourth-leading scorer with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting.

His impact went far beyond his point total.

The 7-foot freshman dominated both ends, grabbing eight rebounds, dishing out six assists and blocking two shots while altering several others.

“He takes what the defense gives, he has confidence in his teammates,” said USC coach Andy Enfield. “When your most talented offensive player is your most unselfish and most willing passer, you can win a lot of games like that.”

Lakers add center Andre Drummond for postseason push

LOS ANGELES (AP) Andre Drummond is joining the Los Angeles Lakers for the playoff push.

The Lakers announced the signing of the two-time All-Star center less than an hour before Sunday night’s game against the Orlando Magic. Drummond announced his decision with a post on his Instagram account earlier in the day, writing “Back to work” underneath an illustration of himself in a Lakers uniform.

Drummond agreed to a buyout Friday from the Cleveland Cavaliers, who acquired the four-time NBA rebounding champion last year after nearly eight seasons in Detroit. He had to clear waivers before he could join a team of his choosing, and Drummond chose to link up with LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the defending NBA champions.

“We’re all thrilled. He’s one of the best centers in the league and someone every defensive coordinator is going to have to account for while trying to slow down LeBron, AD and our guards when we get going,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said after Sunday’s 96-93 victory over the Magic. “He can dominate on both sides and his physicality is something they have to account for.”

Vogel said he wasn’t sure if Drummond would be available for the Lakers’ next game, which is Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Drummond is almost certain to get his first significant NBA postseason playing time with the Lakers after appearing in only eight playoff games – and losing all eight – in two postseason trips with the Pistons.

When Drummond gets up to playing speed after sitting out the past six weeks, the two-time All-Star Game selection should be a notable upgrade at center for Los Angeles, which won a competition with several contenders for his services over the weekend.

Veteran Marc Gasol played inconsistently for the Lakers even before he returned recently from a 3 1/2-week bout with coronavirus, while 6-foot-8 Montrezl Harrell is undersized for the biggest defensive assignments in the middle.

NFL NEWS: Report: NFL expected to expand regular season to 17 games

The NFL is expected to announce the expansion of the regular season to 17 games this week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

The league has reportedly been planning to add an extra game for the first time since 1978 since it agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement with the National Football League Players Association last March.

The new regular season will be 18 weeks long, with each team still having just one bye week. The Super Bowl will likely be pushed back into the second week of February to compensate for the extra game, and the league is also expected to reduce the preseason to two or three contests.

The NFL is also considering using the expansion to solidify its international series by staging four of the additional games overseas every season starting in 2022, according to Mark Maske of The Washington Post.

The extra games will reportedly be interconference matchups based on the previous campaign’s divisional standings and set on a rotating divisional basis.

A 17-game slate should generate new revenue after league-wide financial losses during the 2020 campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The NFL was forced to lower the salary cap for 2021 to $182.5 million, down from $198.2 million this past season.

The league already expanded the playoffs this past campaign, adding an extra wild-card spot in each conference to form a 14-team postseason.

The move to a 17-game season comes amid newly signed TV deals for the NFL that are reportedly worth $10 billion annually and will run from 2023-33.

NFL NEWS: Kamara calls NFL’s reported move to 17-game schedule ‘dumb as hell’

Alvin Kamara certainly doesn’t seem thrilled with the NFL’s rumored change to a 17-game format.

The New Orleans Saints running back shared his feelings shortly after ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the NFL was expected to finalize its new schedule this week.

The league and NFLPA agreed on a new collective bargaining agreement last year, which gave the NFL an option to expand the regular season by one game as early as 2021. The ruling to pass the CBA was contested among players but passed, with 1,019 players voting in favor while 959 voted against it.

Teams will still have just one bye week in the new schedule despite the added extra game. The NFL is also considering moving four of the new matchups to an overseas venue.

Kamara has emerged as one of the league’s most dynamic running backs since being selected in the 2017 NFL Draft. The 25-year-old is a four-time Pro Bowler and has recorded 6,164 yards from scrimmage over four seasons.

NFL NEWS: Report: Lawrence declines invitation to attend draft

Star quarterback prospect Trevor Lawrence is declining his invitation to attend the 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland on April 29, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Lawrence, the presumptive No. 1 pick, will instead watch the draft with family and friends in Clemson, S.C., Schefter adds.

While it’s typical to see the first overall selection take the stage and sport his new team’s gear alongside NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, other recent top picks Jameis Winston (2015), Myles Garrett (2017), and Baker Mayfield (2018) didn’t attend the event.

A year after the COVID-19 pandemic led to the first-ever virtual draft, the league is planning a “large, live, in-person” event for 2021, similar to the draft’s standard form.

Lawrence finished second in Heisman Trophy voting during his sophomore campaign. In 2020, he completed 69.2% of his pass attempts for 3,153 yards, 24 touchdowns, and five interceptions.

NFL NEWS: Report: Patriots not pursuing Garoppolo

A reunion between the New England Patriots and Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t appear to be in the cards.

The Patriots are not pursuing their former quarterback following the San Francisco 49ers’ decision to trade up for the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 draft, sources told Jordan Schultz of ESPN.

The 49ers are widely expected to use the No. 3 pick on one of the three top quarterbacks after Trevor Lawrence – Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, and Trey Lance – depending on who is available following the New York Jets’ selection at No. 2.

Despite the blockbuster deal to move up, San Francisco reportedly doesn’t plan to trade Garoppolo.

“Jimmy is here to stay,” a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “He’s our guy this season.”

But speculation has continued regarding Garoppolo’s future with the NFC West team. The 49ers can save $23.6 million in cap space by trading or releasing their starting quarterback. The 29-year-old could have some influence on his future due to his no-trade clause.

The Patriots are arguably the most logical destination for Garoppolo. New England head coach Bill Belichick was reportedly reluctant to trade his then-backup passer before ultimately sending him to the 49ers in 2018 for a second-round pick.

The AFC East club re-signed Cam Newton to another one-year deal this offseason, but the former NFL MVP is coming off the worst season of his career.

Horschel outlasts Scheffler in sloppy final of Match Play

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Billy Horschel didn’t find much to admire about his golf Sunday except that he was the last man standing in the Dell Technologies Match Play.

And that was a thing of beauty.

Horschel won six out of his seven matches over 122 holes in the longest week in golf, and he had just enough left in the tank in strong wind to hold off Scottie Scheffler, 2 and 1, in a sloppy championship match at Austin Country Club.

His only birdie was a chip-in from 40 feet below the fifth green, yet Horschel didn’t lose another hole.

Scheffler lost his putting touch that carried him to so many big moments this week, yet he managed to stay in the match. He twice had to take penalty drops – with Horschel in the fairway – and he still didn’t lose the hole.

“It wasn’t pretty,” Horschel said. “I feel sorry for the fans watching the coverage because they didn’t see any great golf shots, or very few of them at that. They saw a lot of sloppiness. They saw a lot of pars win holes.

“It was just one of those days where you knew you just had to keep grinding it out, trying to give yourself the best opportunity to make easy pars and hopefully that was going to get the job done,” he said. “I didn’t have my great stuff.”

Neither did Scheffler, the 24-year-old Texas graduate who reached the final by taking down three former Match Play champions and two players from the top 10 in the world. His only birdie in the final match was a 35-footer that Horschel conceded after driving into the ravine on the second hole.

“I just wasn’t able to make any birdies this afternoon,” Scheffler said. “I couldn’t really get that spark that I needed, and I gave myself some opportunities. Just wasn’t able to make the putts.”

He had the support of the Austin crowd that shouted, “Hook `em,” and Scheffler too often obliged.

He went left on the par-5 sixth and had to take a penalty drop. He pulled is approach into the water on the par-5 12th. He hooked another drive off the roof of a two-story hospitality tent left of the 15th fairway.

Through it all, he managed to make Horschel sweat it out until the 17th hole. Scheffler, who missed two putts inside 10 feet on the back nine that would have won holes, missed from 10 feet for birdie on the par-3 17th to end it.

Horschel, the No. 32 seed, won for the sixth time on the PGA Tour. It was his first individual title in nearly four years. A former Walker Cup player, he had failed to make it to the weekend in his previous four appearances in the Match Play.

“You just never know when you’re going to win,” Horschel said. “You just never know when it’s going to be your time.”

Horschel took his first lead when Scheffler’s chip left of the seventh green was too strong and rolled 12 feet by, and he took a 2-up lead to the back nine when the Texan missed a 5-foot par putt on No. 9.

Horschel didn’t make it easy on himself. He was poised to take control on the par-5 12th when Scheffler’s approach went into the water. Horschel had a wedge to the green and sent it over the flag into a bunker, leaving him a shot he couldn’t get any closer than about 18 feet. He wound up with a bogey, and Scheffler had a 10-footer for par to win the hole.

He missed.

Two holes later, Scheffler stuff his approach into 5 feet on No. 14 with a chance to get to 1 down.

He missed again.

The match looked as though it would end on the par-5 16th when Scheffler went so far to the right up the hill that his only play was back to the fairway, and he did well to get on the green some 35 feet away. Horschel smartly laid up, but his wedge to a back pin went into the bunker. He managed to save par this time to stay 2 up, and it ended a hole later.

So many times this week, Scheffler was able to make all the big putts at all the right moments. That included his 10-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole Sunday morning that led to a 1-up victory over Matt Kuchar.

“I think I did that pretty much every time this week until the last match,” Scheffler said. “I mean, that’s golf. That’s what happens.”

Kuchar won the consolation match over Victor Perez of France.

Kuchar, trying to tie Tiger Woods’ record with a fourth appearance in the championship match, didn’t make a putt longer than 3 feet, 6 inches in his semifinal loss to Scheffler.

Perez wasn’t much better in his semifinal match. The Frenchman lost three holes on the back nine to Horschel by making bogey or worse, including a three-putt on the 14th hole.

US men lose to Honduras, miss 3rd straight Olympic soccer

(AP) — American players fell to the field at the final whistle. Another missed Olympics soccer tournament for the U.S. men.

Juan Carlos Obregon scored in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time, goalkeeper David Ochoa committed a blunder that gifted Luis Palma a goal two minutes into the second half and Honduras beat the United States 2-1 on Sunday in an Olympic qualification game at Guadalajara, Mexico.

U.S. captain Jackson Yueill pulled a goal back with a curling 23-yard shot in the 52nd minute, but the Americans mis-fired on several good chances to equalize.

“Obviously, we’re devastated, absolutely devastated,” U.S. coach Jason Kreis said. “In our locker room, the guys are like it’s a tragedy – a tragedy.”

U.S. men had trouble creating chances in the first half, and the Americans missed their third straight Olympics.

“They were very well man-oriented to stop players, which didn’t give us a lot of time to kind of break them down,” Yeuill said.

The American Olympic skid is part of a trend that includes the senior national team missing the 2018 World Cup.

“We lose an opportunity to play in an international tournament with more pressure, where these players have to be in these environments and continue to improve with that pressure,” Kreis said.

Olympic men’s soccer is limited to players both Jan. 1, 1997, and later, and clubs don’t have to release players.

In contrast, the women’s tournament is open to senior national teams. The U.S. has won three of the last four soccer gold medals and is favored to win again this summer.

Still, there were chances. Jonathan Lewis’ 63rd-minute header was headed off the goal line by Wesley Degas, and Yueill’s free kick in the 69th was batted away by goalkeeper Alex Barrios. Lewis had an open 4-yard shot off Tanner Tessman’s pass in the 83rd minute but allowed the ball to bounce off a boot. Johnny Cardoso mis-hit an open header in second-half stoppage time.

“I don’t know that if I’ve ever seen a game where we’ve had players mis-control the ball so much by going under people’s feet, passing out of bounds,” Kreis said. “These are things that are just really – you just really kind of scratch your head, you think of what’s going on here? But I also have been around the game enough in our country at a pro level to tell you this is what you see in preseasons and at the beginning of MLS seasons it’s typical.”

Kreis had seen similar from his team during the group stage.

“I think the first half looked a lot like the Dominican Republic first half,” Kreis said. “We have players that aren’t moving. We have people on the ball that aren’t committing defenders to make decisions, to open up spaces. We have guys that look like they’re just don’t really want the ball, and so it just kind of goes back to a mostly mentality for me. “

Rain swamps Bristol dirt track; NASCAR to try again Monday

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) NASCAR’s hyped return to dirt is instead a muddy mess on hold at least until Monday.

Torrential rains flooded campgrounds and parking lots surrounding Bristol Motor Speedway and created a rut for NASCAR far deeper than anything the Cup Series drivers encountered on the track.

NASCAR canceled all Sunday activity because even if Bristol’s converted dirt track could eventually be readied for night racing, the entire facility was a swampy mess. Grandstand seats that had been covered in dust were caked in mud, while pit road and the apron around the 0.533-mile bullring held several inches of standing water.

After 2 1/2 inches of rain fell across “Thunder Valley,” NASCAR made an atypical decision to call an early washout. The first Cup Series race on dirt since 1970 was rescheduled for 4 p.m. Monday; trucks were set to run at noon.

Somewhere, Tony Stewart likely was having a hearty laugh at Bristol’s expense.

Stewart successfully hosted seven Truck Series races at his Eldora Speedway dirt track in Ohio, but when Fox asked NASCAR to put a dirt event on the Cup schedule, the date instead went to the concrete bullring at Bristol. An incensed Stewart declined to bring the Trucks back to Eldora this year out of spite and has sat back and watched from afar as Bristol attempted to tackle the challenges of a dirt race.

He openly fretted that a bad show at Bristol would damage the future of NASCAR dirt racing – and NASCAR itself seemed to admit it was a valid concern.

“We need this show to be great,” Scott Miller, NASCAR’s vice president of competition, said Saturday.

Stewart, who has insisted Eldora can successfully host the Cup Series, declined to comment Sunday when reached by The Associated Press.

“I’m not getting my hands dirty,” he said.

In fairness to Bristol parent company Speedway Motorsports, its CEO has been unafraid to take risks and spend considerable money in an effort to bring new energy into the sport. Marcus Smith converted centerpiece Charlotte Motor Speedway into a hybrid oval and road course “roval” that in three years has become one of the more popular events on the NASCAR schedule and last season added IMSA sports cars to enhance the weekend experience.

So Smith was all-in on offering Bristol for the Cup experiment on dirt, and his staff spent six months converting the concrete oval with 2,300 truckloads of red Tennessee clay. The track was ready in time to host the Bristol Dirt Nationals a week ago, when Super Late Models, Sport Mods, Modifieds and 602 Late Models raced largely without issue.

Kyle Larson and Austin Dillon competed and NASCAR leaned on both for guidance during this weird weekend.

Issues began to crop up Friday when Cup and Trucks held their practice sessions. The dust that kicked up from the dirt was thick, but the main concern was the durability of the tires provided by Goodyear. Drivers reported significant wear down to the cords on their tires and the 3,400-pound stock cars were tearing up the track surface.

NASCAR made tweaks to in-race procedures to allot additional time for track prep and granted teams an additional set of tires for the race. When rain stopped Saturday, the trucks were sent out to start heat races, but it took just one lap for the rain-soaked track to splatter windshields with a thick layer of mud and cake the front grilles – putting every competitor into a blinding situation with a fear of an overheating engine.

Larson felt the track conditions at the start of the heat races would have created the best dirt racing NASCAR had ever seen, but the cars had not been transformed for the event.

“If dirt racing became a thing, I think we could develop a tire that could handle the loads at a track like Bristol, and this kind of dirt, they could stay together and put on good racing,” Larson said Sunday.

“And if dirt racing is a thing, then maybe we should develop something where we don’t run with windshields and we can change around the radiators so that we could have raced in Saturday’s conditions.”

A week earlier, Larson led a feedback session on track prep during a driver meeting at the Dirt Nationals and, as one of the top dirt racers in the country, he is one of the most knowledgeable on site and willing to advise both NASCAR and the track staff.

“Now that Smoke isn’t here, I’m the guy who probably has the most experience,” Larson said, referring to Stewart by his nickname. “A lot of people in NASCAR don’t have a lot of dirt experience, and that might go for many of the people even working on the track.”

He thought the Dirt Nationals went well and Bristol had done a great job converting the track.

“I don’t think Bristol has done anything wrong. I know it looks bad with the dust from Friday practice,” Larson said. “But I really think that it comes down to our cars are 1,000 pounds heavier than anything that ran here last weekend and our tires are narrow and hard – that’s just a recipe for how this has ended up.”

Larson hasn’t given up on Monday’s rescheduled race still being a decent show, and he wants critics to give Bristol a break.

“Eldora has races all throughout the year and the weather is typically fine when they hold those events,” Larson said. “This is a makeshift track in the mountains and it is always raining in the spring.

“People need to understand this is not how dirt racing is and I think they need to try and appreciate how hard this is to pull off. I don’t think it is a black eye on Bristol or dirt for Cup. Sure, there’s a lot of other dirt tracks we can run on that has really good dirt and a great track prep crew that knows the track, but a lot of work went into making it happen here and I still think it can be a great event because Bristol was awesome last week.”


The Minnesota Twins and pitcher Randy Dobnak have agreed to a five-year, $9.25-million contract extension, sources told Jeff Passan of ESPN.

The deal reportedly includes three option years that could max out the contract at $29.75 million, as well as performance escalators.

Dobnak made his MLB debut in 2019 when he posted a 1.59 ERA over 28 1/3 innings across nine games (five starts) while earning himself a start in a playoff game against the New York Yankees. The right-hander went 6-4 with a 4.05 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 10 starts as a full-time member of the rotation in 2020.

The 26-year-old went undrafted after pitching for Alderson-Broaddus University for four years and even drove an Uber before his big-league career.

Dobnak had been battling for a rotation spot and has posted sparkling numbers this spring, allowing just one earned run in 13 2/3 innings of work.

Despite the numbers, manager Rocco Baldelli has tabbed him to open the season out of the bullpen, according to Do-Hyoung Park of

2021 MLB Standings Predictions
NL EastNL CentralNL West
1. Atlanta Braves1. St. Louis Cardinals1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. New York Mets2. Milwaukee Brewers2. San Diego Padres
3. Washington Nationals3. Chicago Cubs3. San Francisco Giants
4. Philadelphia Phillies4. Cincinnati Reds4. Arizona Diamondbacks
5. Miami Marlins5. Pittsburgh Pirates5. Colorado Rockies
AL EastAL CentralAL West
1. New York Yankees1. Chicago White Sox1. Houston Astros
2. Tampa Bay Rays2. Minnesota Twins2. Oakland Athletics
3. Toronto Blue Jays3. Cleveland Indians3. Los Angeles Angels
4. Boston Red Sox4. Kansas City Royals4. Seattle Mariners
5. Baltimore Orioles5. Detroit Tigers5. Texas Rangers


1. Atlanta Braves

Half full: The Braves once won 14 division titles in a row, and now they’ve started another streak, with N.L. East crowns in each of the last three seasons. Last year they fell one game short of the World Series and signed Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly to join Atlanta’s dynamic young starting rotation alongside Ian Anderson, Max Fried and Mike Soroka, who is working his way back from tearing his Achilles’ tendon. Their robust offense will provide plenty of support, with Ronald Acuna Jr., a strong candidate to follow Freddie Freeman as winner of the N.L.’s Most Valuable Player Award.

Half empty: The 1990s Braves won the World Series on their fourth postseason attempt of the decade, in 1995, but in this century, October has brought only pain. The Braves have reached the postseason 12 times in the 2000s without breaking through to the World Series — and this year, they’ll have to navigate a division in which every front office is actively trying to win.

.832: Team on-base plus slugging percentage in 2020, best in M.L.B.

2. New York Mets* (wild card)

Half full: The Mets got their centerpiece in shortstop Francisco Lindor, and wisely loaded up on solid role players throughout the roster. Nobody in the regular lineup is older than 30, and the team added starters in Marcus Stroman (who opted out of the 2020 season after joining the team via trade in 2019), Carlos Carrasco, Taijuan Walker and Joey Lucchesi.

Half empty: Seth Lugo had elbow surgery in February, and Carrasco dealt with elbow soreness before a hamstring tear sidelined him in March. Pete Alonso’s 2020 season was a lackluster follow-up to his 53-homer rookie season in 2019, Dom Smith is a work in progress in left field and Lindor is unsigned past this season.

2.10: Jacob deGrom’s E.R.A. since 2018, best in M.L.B. (min. 50 starts).

3. Philadelphia Phillies

Half full: The Phillies were actually pretty good last year — except for a historically awful relief corps, which posted the majors’ worst bullpen earned run average since 1930, at 7.06. Things can only get better with competent seasons from the newcomers Jose Alvarado, Archie Bradley, Brandon Kintzler and Hector Rondon. Offense won’t be a problem, with hitters like Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Rhys Hoskins in their primes and Alec Bohm emerging as the franchise’s next star third baseman.

Half empty: The Phillies — who haven’t been to the postseason since 2011, longer than any other N.L. team — need Zach Eflin to build off his breakout season, because the rotation thins quickly after Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler. They signed lefty Matt Moore from Japan, but since his All-Star season of 2013, his major league E.R.A. is 5.08.

49: Games in the 60-game season in which the Phillies had a lead, second in N.L. to the Dodgers.

4. Miami Marlins

Half full: The Marlins crashed the playoff party last fall, rallying around their status as “bottom feeders,” a term applied to them early by a Phillies analyst, Ricky Bottalico. The pitchers have terrific stuff, the hitters can beat teams in several ways, and they have clear direction under the chief executive Derek Jeter; last year’s N.L. manager of the year, Don Mattingly; and the new general manager, Kim Ng.

Half empty: The Marlins’ big offensive addition, outfielder Adam Duvall, has a meager .293 on-base percentage in seven seasons, and even with a strong bullpen, depth could be an issue with their pitching staff: Only one starter, Sandy Alcantara, has ever worked more than 120 innings in a major league season.

51: Stolen bases in 2020, second in M.L.B. to San Diego.

5. Washington Nationals

Half full: The starters who led the Nationals to the 2019 World Series title — Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin — are still around, with Scherzer in the last year of his contract and the old pro Jon Lester along for the ride. Outfielder Juan Soto, 22, is a breathtaking talent; his .972 on-base plus slugging percentage trails only those of Mike Trout, Christian Yelich and Mookie Betts since 2018.

Half empty: The offense falls off sharply after Soto and Trea Turner. The new first baseman Josh Bell has hit .229 since starting the All-Star Game in 2019, and Kyle Schwarber, a Cubs castoff, is coming off his worst season. Corbin led the majors in hits allowed last season, and the Nats owe him $107 million for the next four years.

216: Strikeouts Max Scherzer needs to become the 19th pitcher in history with 3,000.

National League Central

1. St. Louis Cardinals

Half full: Two years after plucking one slugging corner infielder from the N.L. West (first baseman Paul Goldschmidt from Arizona), the Cardinals grabbed another in a trade for third baseman Nolan Arenado. The stalwarts Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina return for their 17th season as teammates, and while leadership is hard to define, these two embody it in St. Louis.

Half empty: Only one N.L. team, the Pirates, had a worse O.P.S. last season than the Cardinals’ .694. That figure should rise with Arenado on board, but he can’t do it all by himself. They’ll lean heavily on Dylan Carlson, 22, a top outfield prospect who hit .200 in 35 games last season. Starters Miles Mikolas and Kwang Hyun Kim were slowed by injuries in spring training, and center fielder Harrison Bader will miss a month with a forearm strain.

17: Career Gold Gloves for catcher Yadier Molina (9) and third baseman Nolan Arenado (8), the only active players with at least eight such awards.

2. Milwaukee Brewers

Half full: The Brewers added Gold Glovers at second base (Kolten Wong) and center field (Jackie Bradley Jr.), and Manager Craig Counsell is a master at deploying an array of power arms in just the right situations. Lorenzo Cain returns after opting out last summer, and Christian Yelich, a former M.V.P., is due for a reset after a mystifying 2020.

Half empty: The team finished with a losing record last season (29-31), and neither of its top two starters, Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes, has ever pitched 125 innings in a major league season. Keston Hiura, a crucial bat who slumped badly last season, is learning first base, where he has never played in high school, college or the pros.

11.97: Strikeouts per nine innings by Brewers relievers in 2020, best among M.L.B. bullpens.

3. Chicago Cubs

Half full: It has been quite a run for infielders Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, who are facing free agency after the season. They’ve helped the Cubs to five postseason appearances in the last six years with a title in 2016, and now they’ll have help from outfielder Joc Pederson, the former Dodgers slugger who had a torrid spring training as he tries to shed his platoon label.

Half empty: The Cubs dealt the ace starter Yu Darvish to San Diego, and their rotation is overloaded with pitch-to-contact right-handers: Kyle Hendricks, Zach Davies, Trevor Williams and the returning Jake Arrieta. If the Cubs stumble, expect trade rumors to swirl with those Wrigley Field winds.

6.00: E.R.A. for Craig Kimbrel in two years with the Cubs (1.91 in previous nine years).

4. Cincinnati Reds

Half full: The Reds made the playoffs last season after six losing seasons in a row, and their 3.84 E.R.A. trailed only the Dodgers in the N.L. Outfielder Jesse Winker gets better and better, and starters Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray can match up with anyone.

Half empty: If the Reds hope to build off last season, they have a strange way of showing it, chipping away at their strong pitching and doubling down on their weak offense. Closer Raisel Iglesias was traded to the Angels, the Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer signed with the Dodgers as a free agent, and after hitting .212 as a team during the regular season — and scoring no runs in their two playoff games — the Reds mostly left the offense intact.

0: sacrifice bunts by the Reds in 2020 (Milwaukee and Tampa Bay also had none).

5. Pittsburgh Pirates

Half full: Whether the Pirates are good or bad (and they’re going to be really bad), you can’t beat the ambience of PNC Park, perhaps the most picturesque setting for a ballgame in all of Major League Baseball. Also, a full season of Ke’Bryan Hayes, Charlie’s son, should be fun. Hayes, a 24-year-old third baseman, made his debut last Sept. 1 and batted .376.

Half empty: Remember how hopeless things seemed in Pittsburgh for two decades after Barry Bonds left for San Francisco? Last year’s 19-41 fiasco produced the Pirates’ worst winning percentage (.317) since 1952 — and at least that team talked a good game, with Ralph Kiner and Joe Garagiola in the lineup. These Pirates did little to improve over the winter, trading veterans for prospects and waiting for better days.

5: No. 1 overall picks for the Pirates, including 2021, in the last 40 years (most in M.L.B.).

National League West

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

Half full: No more qualifiers — the Dodgers are the best team in baseball, and they finally proved it in October with the first World Series title in their eight-year run of division crowns. Already overflowing with pitching depth, they signed the N.L. Cy Young Award winner, Trevor Bauer, and their fans will finally get to see the enchanting Mookie Betts in person.

Half empty: You’ll need to buy a new jersey if you’ve been representing Enrique Hernandez or Joc Pederson, who left as free agents after a final fall flourish. Otherwise there’s no reason to worry, except for the presence of the ever-improving Padres in the N.L. West. Finishing first still seems likely, but it won’t be automatic.

3: Cy Young Award winners (Trevor Bauer, Clayton Kershaw, David Price) and M.V.P. winners (Clay Bellinger, Mookie Betts, Kershaw) on the Dodgers’ roster.

2. San Diego Padres* (wild card)

Half full: The “hot talent lava” — a term used in 2018 by Eric Hosmer’s agent, Scott Boras, to describe the Padres’ potential — now flows freely in San Diego, where fans have a team to celebrate in baseball’s only market without N.F.L., N.B.A. or N.H.L. competition. The Padres have used their farm system to trade for high-impact talent throughout the roster, building a team led by Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Hosmer that ranks among the most exciting in the majors.

Half empty: In one sense, it’s a shame that the Padres’ moment arrives at a time when the majors’ premier franchise resides close by. The Dodgers are the best team in the majors until proven otherwise, but the Padres — who ooze swagger to go with their talent — will make this a must-watch rivalry.

53.4: Percentage of Dinelson Lamet’s pitches that were sliders in 2020, highest slider usage among M.L.B. starters since 2008. Lamet is working his way back from an elbow injury.

3. San Francisco Giants

Half full: The Giants stayed in the playoff hunt until their 60th and final game last season, a nice surprise after three years as an also-ran. They retained starter Kevin Gausman, who looked sharp last season, and gave a three-year deal to infielder Tommy La Stella, a rare contact hitter with pop (21 homers and just 40 strikeouts across 135 games the last two seasons).

Half empty: The last pillars of the Giants’ championship years — Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford — all reach the end of their contracts in 2021. The Giants hold an option on Posey for 2022, but they could shed more than $100 million in expiring contracts after this season. With the Dodgers and the Padres so strong, the Giants are essentially biding time until a possible spending spree as a springboard to contention.

1.015: O.P.S. by Brandon Belt in 2020, best in N.L. West.

4. Arizona Diamondbacks

Half full: Madison Bumgarner looked good for most of spring training after struggling in his debut season with the Diamondbacks, and the third-year right-hander Zac Gallen is emerging as a possible ace, with a 2.78 E.R.A. in 27 career starts.

Half empty: Gallen is out with a stress fracture in his forearm, a casualty of a batting practice session in mid-March. The injury highlights the shortsightedness of M.L.B. and the union in using the universal D.H. as a bargaining tool instead of prioritizing pitchers’ health.

$8.5 million: Total free-agent spending by Arizona this off-season (on Asdrubal Cabrera, Tyler Clippard and Joakim Soria).

5. Colorado Rockies

Half full: In German Marquez, Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela, the Rockies have three starters, all 26 or 27 years old, who should keep them in games, though Freeland will miss time with a shoulder injury. Jon Gray, 29, is solid every other year, and he’s due for a good one. Austin Gomber, 27, acquired from St. Louis in the Nolan Arenado deal, also offers promise.

Half empty: The Rockies have fallen hard since signing Arenado to an eight-year contract extension in 2019. Years of disastrous decisions caught up to them — they lavished money on has-beens, but let D.J. LeMahieu walk — and after trading Arenado in February, they face another crossroads with the star shortstop Trevor Story, who can be a free agent after the season.

191: Extra-base hits for Trevor Story since 2018, most in M.L.B.

American League East

1. New York Yankees

Half full: Expect the Yankees’ stacked lineup to regularly punish the dubious pitching staffs of the Orioles, Red Sox and Blue Jays. Every hitter can slug, and even with first baseman Luke Voit expected to miss a month, there’s no weak spot provided catcher Gary Sanchez follows his pattern of making the All-Star team every odd season. The best version of their top three starters — Gerrit Cole, Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon — would give the Yankees an imposing rotation, too.

Half empty: Zack Britton’s elbow surgery weakens a bullpen that lost Adam Ottavino in a trade to the Red Sox. For all of their promise, Kluber and Taillon have combined for one inning in the majors since May 2019. And the Yankees’ lineup always looks strong in theory, but keeping it healthy is an annual challenge.

33: Regular-season games, of a possible 222, in which both Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have played since 2019.

2. Tampa Bay Rays

Half full: When last we saw Randy Arozarena, he was all but unstoppable, hitting .377 with 10 homers in 20 postseason games. His development will be fascinating, especially as one of few everyday players in the Rays’ mix-and-match offense, which returns almost fully intact from the World Series. Starters Blake Snell and Charlie Morton are gone, but both averaged fewer than five innings per start last season, and the Rays always seem to find quality innings from unlikely sources. As you read this, they’re probably making a waiver claim on a guy with two Tommy John scars who throws 99 miles an hour.

Half empty: Arozarena can’t possibly be as electric for six months as he was last October; he’s still a rookie, technically, and he’ll have to adjust as pitchers hunt for weaknesses. Were the Rays wise to spread $13.8 million among the veteran pitchers Chris Archer, Rich Hill, Collin McHugh and Michael Wacha, or should they have just picked up Morton’s $15 million option? They tend to know what they’re doing, but it’s a fair question.

1: Farm system ranking by Baseball America, led by shortstop Wander Franco, the No. 1 overall prospect.

3. Toronto Blue Jays

Half full: The Blue Jays did what they promised, spending on free agents with their homegrown core coming of age. They signed outfielder George Springer for six years and $150 million and shortstop Marcus Semien for one year and $18 million. With Teoscar Hernandez and a celebrated quartet of second-generation hitters — Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. — the Blue Jays’ offense will be dangerous.

Half empty: Still barred from playing in Canada, the Blue Jays will stage home games at their spring training park, tucked into a cozy neighborhood in Dunedin, Fla. They may return to Toronto at some point, but over a 162-game grind, the lack of a stable home base could wear them down. They’re also relying on notoriously erratic starting pitchers, they’ve already lost their projected closer, Kirby Yates, to a serious elbow injury, and Springer is slowed by a strained left oblique.

42: Pounds lost by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. between July 2020 and the start of 2021 spring training.

4. Boston Red Sox

Half full: Young hitters like Alex Verdugo and Bobby Dalbec offer hope for the future, and some old friends return — Eduardo Rodriguez should be back in the starting rotation soon after missing last season with myocarditis, a result of contracting the coronavirus; Chris Sale should be back this summer from Tommy John surgery; and designated hitter J.D. Martinez will again be allowed to watch in-game video thanks to a rule change by M.L.B. Without it last season, Martinez slumped to a .680 O.P.S. and a career-low .213 average.

Half empty: Boston fans know their history, so they’re praying for a different type of century than the 1900s, which started with a flurry of World Series titles but was doomed by the trade of a transcendent star who quickly led his new team to glory. Mookie Betts isn’t Babe Ruth, and the Red Sox actually got a solid return for him in their trade with the Dodgers … but the parallel is chilling.

98: Home runs allowed by the Red Sox in 2020, most in M.L.B.

5. Baltimore Orioles

Half full: The return of first baseman Trey Mancini is a genuine cause for celebration. Mancini, 29, learned he had Stage 3 colon cancer last March and missed the season. He got a standing ovation from the small crowd at his spring training debut, and will surely earn another at the Orioles’ home opener on April 8. Mancini batted .291 with 35 homers in 2019.

Half empty: Only true die-hards could name more than a few Orioles. The team hopes that outfielders Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays can be part of the long-term foundation, and starters Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer will get every chance to join them. But the Orioles have gone nearly 40 years without a pennant, and they won’t win another one soon.

5.29: E.R.A. by the Orioles since 2018, highest in M.L.B.

American League Central

1. Chicago White Sox

Half full: “It’s not about the past wins, it’s about the next ones,” said the new Chicago manager, Tony La Russa, who has 2,728 career victories and is poised to add a lot more. The White Sox have a blend of savvy, dependable veterans — first baseman Jose Abreu, fresh off an M.V.P. season, starters Dallas Keuchel and Lance Lynn, closer Liam Hendriks — and young stars entering their prime. The continued development of that group, including infielders Tim Anderson and Yoan Moncada, outfielder Luis Robert and starter Lucas Giolito, gives La Russa, 76, a chance to become the first manager to win championships with three teams.

Half empty: The fourth starter, Dylan Cease, led the A.L. in walks last season, and the fifth starter, Carlos Rodon, has been slowed in recent years by shoulder and elbow surgeries. The White Sox tend to hit their way on base, which is a fun approach to watch, but a bit more patience might help — they ranked 24th in walks among the 30 teams last season, and all the teams below them had losing records.

183: Runs batted in by the A.L. M.V.P. Jose Abreu since 2019, most in M.L.B.

2. Minnesota Twins* (wild card)

Half full: Andrelton Simmons, a four-time Gold Glove shortstop, arrives to shore up a weak spot in the Twins’ defense. The new closer, Alex Colome, has been durable and dominant: Since 2016, only Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen and Andrew Miller have a better E.R.A. and more appearances among active pitchers than Colome (275 games, 2.62 E.R.A.). The returning Nelson Cruz, Josh Donaldson, Miguel Sano & Co. will keep the Twins an elite slugging team.

Half empty: Always solid as a Dodger, Kenta Maeda was a revelation in his first A.L. season, placing second in voting for the Cy Young Award. But is that who he really is? If it’s not, the Twins might not have the pitching to keep up with the White Sox, who have passed Minnesota for overall talent throughout the roster.

137: Wins by the Twins since 2019, most in the A.L.

3. Kansas City Royals

Half full: The shortstop prospect Bobby Witt Jr., 20, was a spring training sensation, and the Royals won’t hesitate to call him up when he’s ready. The team can hit for power (Jorge Soler, Hunter Dozier, Salvador Perez) and steal bases (Andrew Benintendi, Whit Merrifield, Adalberto Mondesi), and Brady Singer has ace potential.

Half empty: The Royals acted aggressively to improve the team, but most of the newcomers struggled last season, including Benintendi, Mike Minor, Wade Davis, Carlos Santana and Michael A. Taylor. Like so many other players around the league, they’ll trust in their track records and try to dismiss the truncated 2020 season.

637: Hits by Whit Merrifield since 2017, most in the A.L.

4. Cleveland

Half full: The team finally has Eddie Rosario on its side. Rosario, the longtime Twins outfielder, has hit .353 with 11 home runs in 45 career games in Cleveland, where he signed for one year and $8 million. He’ll play behind the Cy Young-winner Shane Bieber and other talented starters who should keep most games competitive.

Half empty: After shedding Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger, Carlos Carrasco and Brad Hand over 18 months, the staff is bound to suffer eventually, and there’s simply no replacing shortstop Francisco Lindor, who was traded with Carrasco to the Mets. With an A.L.-low projected payroll of $62.6 million, it’s clear where this team is headed. In the words of the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer John Lennon: “It’ll be just like starting over.”

.895: O.P.S. by Jose Ramirez since 2016, best among M.L.B. switch-hitters.

5. Detroit Tigers

Half full: The Tigers seem to be making the most of their years in obscurity. According to rankings, they have five of the game’s top 25 prospects, including starter Casey Mize and infielder Spencer Torkelson, both former No. 1 overall picks. They’ll add to their crop with the No. 3 overall pick this summer as Miguel Cabrera (487 homers, 2,866 hits) chases down milestones in his 19th major league season.

Half empty: The team’s new manager, A.J. Hinch, has seen the worst of the Tigers as a backup catcher with their 119-loss team in 2003. They’ve already reached the nadir of their current reconstruction (114 losses in 2019), but it isn’t quite over: Only one newcomer (outfielder Robbie Grossman) received a multiyear contract over the off-season.

.349: Average by Willi Castro in 2020, fourth in M.L.B. (min. 140 plate appearances).

1. Oakland Athletics

Half full: The A’s shopped in bulk for seasoned pros with World Series experience, trading for shortstop Elvis Andrus and signing closer Trevor Rosenthal, the setup man Sergio Romo and first baseman Mitch Moreland in late February. They’ll fortify a team seeking its fourth playoff appearance in a row and hoping that starters Jesus Luzardo and A.J. Puk — highly touted lefties who lived and trained together over the winter — blossom into aces.

Half empty: First baseman Matt Olson and third baseman Matt Chapman both hit 36 home runs while winning a Gold Glove in 2019. Last season, though, Olson hit just .195 and Chapman needed surgery to repair a torn right hip labrum. Can they resume their upward trajectory — and can Andrus be a viable hitter again? In the last three seasons, his on-base percentage is a meager .306.

11: Playoff appearances in the 2000s for the A’s, more than every other A.L. team except the Yankees (17).

2. Houston Astros* (wild card)

Half full: The Astros lost their best player from 2020, George Springer, but welcome back designated hitter Yordan Alvarez, the 2019 A.L. rookie of the year, who had knee surgery last summer and played just two games. A finger injury to lefty Framber Valdez was not as serious as first feared, and as an added bonus, it motivated the Astros to sign Jake Odorizzi, an All-Star for the Twins in 2019. Valdez’s eventual return will deepen the group.

Half empty: The ace starter Justin Verlander will probably miss the season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, the untested Myles Straw takes over for Springer in center, and while the Astros looked strong in October, mainstays like Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel — who combined to hit .230 last season — must prove that their struggles were a collective fluke. Oh, and they’ll be playing with fans in the stands this season, so reminders of the 2017 sign-stealing scandal could shadow them on the road.

459: Career starts by Zack Greinke, most among active pitchers.

3. Los Angeles Angels

Half full: After three years of mixed results, the Angels will try again to get a two-way season from the still-fascinating Shohei Ohtani, who sizzled in spring training on the mound and at the plate. Injuries have limited Ohtani to just 12 career starts with a 4.39 E.R.A., but now the Angels want the full Ohtani experience, with plans to use him as a hitter even on days he pitches. Add Ohtani to Anthony Rendon and the incomparable Mike Trout, and the Angels have three of the game’s most dynamic players.

Half empty: The Angels plan to use six starting pitchers, which is quite ambitious for a team that struggles every year to find two or three. In the six seasons since the Angels’ last playoff appearance, in 2014, their starters have compiled just 37.1 wins above replacement (as calculated by Fangraphs), the fewest of any team in the majors. They’re counting on Dylan Bundy, Griffin Canning, Alex Cobb, Andrew Heaney, Jose Quintana and Ohtani to reverse that trend.

1,185: Draft spot in 2015 of first baseman Jared Walsh, who hit .337 with nine homers last September.

4. Seattle Mariners

Half full: Center fielder Kyle Lewis was the A.L. rookie of the year last season, and a pair of former New York pitching prospects — Justus Sheffield (Yankees) and Justin Dunn (Mets) — looked solid in 10 starts apiece. The top outfield prospects Julio Rodriguez, 20, and Jarred Kelenic, 21, are eager to make their mark in Seattle.

Half empty: “Half empty” roughly describes T-Mobile Park, which welcomed an average of 43,200 fans per game in the team’s last playoff season, 2001, but just 22,112 in 2019. The team must repair trust with fans and players after the former chief executive Kevin Mather’s infamous Rotary Club speech in February, when he exposed the organization’s strategy of keeping prospects in the minors unless they sign long-term, team-friendly contracts.

36: Wins by Marco Gonzales since 2018, trailing only Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander in M.L.B.

5. Texas Rangers

Half full: It took until their 50th season in Texas, but the Rangers can finally welcome fans inside to see them play during the roasting summer months. Their retractable-roof ballpark opened amid the pandemic and hosted fans for neutral-site postseason games only.

Half empty: The Rangers have never won the World Series, yet they’ve also never endured a streak of five losing seasons since the 1960s, when they were the Washington Senators. They open this season with a streak of four that seems likely to grow; the team made only marginal improvements to the A.L.’s worst offense, but did get a promising young starter, Dane Dunning, from the White Sox for Lance Lynn.

40,300: Seats at Globe Life Field, which will be open at 100 percent capacity for opening day.

Postseason Predictions


Dodgers over Braves


White Sox over Yankees

World Series

Dodgers over White Sox



EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Indiana University baseball team fell in the series finale at Michigan State on a blustery, cloudy afternoon in East Lansing, Mich. on Sunday, 5-1.

With the loss, the Hoosiers fall to 11-3 on the season overall and in Big Ten conference play. The Spartans improve to 7-8 on the year and in league action.


• The Spartans seized control of the game with two runs in the bottom of the second inning, one in the third and two in the sixth.

• INF Jeremy Houston got the Hoosiers on the board with an RBI single in the top of the seventh.

• RHP Gabe Bierman (1-2) took the loss after allowing three earned runs over four innings of work, striking out three.

• LHP Ty Bothwell tossed four innings of relief, allowing two unearned runs on three hits while striking out four.

• The Hoosiers tried to rally in the ninth inning, but stranded a pair of runners to end the game.


• Despite the loss, Indiana has won all of the team’s Big Ten series this year.

• INF Drew Ashley extended his on-base streak to 39-games dating back to the 2019 season with a walk in the seventh inning.

• Ashley and INF Paul Toetz both saw their 13-game hitting streaks come to an end.


• The Indiana Hoosiers will travel to Columbus, Ohio for a four-game, Big Ten series with Ohio State starting on Friday, Apr. 2.



Ann Arbor, Mich. – On Sunday afternoon, Indiana women’s soccer toppled Michigan, 2-0, at U-M Soccer Stadium for its first win in Ann Arbor since 2006.


• Indiana (5-4-0) struck first in the 37th minute as freshman Gabi Rennie threaded a pass through the defense on the right side of the field to sophomore Avery Lockwood. Lockwood, who was in the 18-yard box, slid into the shot using her right foot as she launched it into the far-left post for her first goal this season and what would prove to be the gamewinner.

• Michigan (5-3-2) saw a couple of chances in the 16th and 20th minute to get the equalizer, but senior goalkeeper Bethany Kopel had quick hands this afternoon as she saved them both.

• The Hoosiers would find the net again in the 44th minute after freshman Anna Bennett sent a cross from the baseline that ricocheted off fellow classmate Sofia Black into the near post. IU would hold a 2-0 lead at the half.

• In the second half, Michigan saw their best opportunity as their offensive leader, Nicki Hernandez, earned a penalty kick in the 58th minute. However, Kopel got the save as she dove for the ball with two hands.

• The penalty kick proved to be the last opportunity for the Wolverines as they failed to attempt a shot for the rest of the game.


• This is the second time the Hoosiers have won in Ann Arbor. The last time was October 1, 2006.

• The victory marks the first time since 2013 that IU has had five conference wins and sets a new record of conference wins under head coach Erwin van Bennekom in his second season after going 4-5-2 in conference play in his first year.

• IU has won two out of the last three matchups. In the 2019 season, the game ended in a double overtime decision with the teams tied 0-0.

• Indiana has shutout its opponents four times this season.

• Bethany Kopel recorded five saves aiding in the Hoosiers shutout and earned her fifth victory this season. She is tied with two others (Lauren Hollandsworth, Stacey Van Boxmeer) in third place for most conference wins in a single season.

• Natalie Lunt earned her first career start against the Wolverines.

• Sophomore Avery Lockwood netted her first goal of the season and the gamewinner. She now has six goals on her career.

• Gabi Rennie earns her first career point on the assist to Lockwood.

• Freshman Sofia Black scored her first collegiate goal on the assist from Anna Bennett. 


• Indiana heads home to Bill Armstrong Stadium for its last home game of the season. The Hoosiers will face the Michigan State Spartans on Wednesday, March 31 at 12 p.m. with kickoff set to air on Big Ten Network +.



WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – One day after the Boilermakers rode a seven-run ninth inning to victory, it was sevens that were wild for Rutgers as the visitors built an early 7-0 lead and then scored seven times in the fourth inning to defeat Purdue baseball 15-4 in Sunday’s rubber game at Alexander Field.

While the Boilermakers (3-11) used 11 pitchers, RU starter Brent Teller (1-2) made the most of the big lead his teammates provided. The right-hander worked seven innings of two-run ball in his most effective outing of the young season. The Scarlet Knights (8-6) received 22 1/3 innings of four-run ball from their starting pitchers in the series.

Rutgers’ Chris Brito hit the second grand slam of the series, going deep to right field with two outs in the top of the fourth to blow the game open. It was his league-leading ninth home run. Brito finished the weekend with eight RBI to extend his Big Ten lead (28) in the category.

The Scarlet Knights sent 10 men to the plate in the first inning, chasing Purdue starter Jett Jackson (0-3) while batting around. Before RU scored its first run, the Boilermakers nearly turned a 5-2-3 double play with the bases loaded and no outs. But the throw was dropped at first base. Ryan Lasko followed with a two-run double. Rutgers connected for a pair of RBI doubles in the following frame to extend its lead to 7-0.

Tyler Powers singled and scored in the third inning, extending his hitting streak to six straight games and his reached base safely streak to eight consecutive games. Powers finished the series with six hits. Miles Simington had two hits and two runs scored Sunday, doubling with Powers aboard in the bottom of the third. Simington had two hits in all three games of the series. Zac Fascia delivered an RBI double as part of a two-hit effort.

Avery Cook, Eric Hildebrand and James Kulak each worked a scoreless inning of relief. Hildebrand and Kulak each struck out the first and final batters they faced in their frames. Calvin Starnes retired both batters he faced in the eighth inning.

The Boilermakers remained winless in Big Ten rubber games at home since May 2009. They’ve lost 12 consecutive home games to decide a conference series during the unlikely streak.

Purdue hosts Iowa next weekend for the second half of its consecutive home series. First pitch Friday is set for 4 p.m. ET.



IOWA CITY, Iowa – The Purdue soccer team suffered a 1-0 loss at Iowa on Sunday afternoon at the Iowa Soccer Complex in Iowa City, Iowa.

The Boilermakers (4-5-1) had a 16-6 advantage in shots and a 6-3 edge in shots on goal. However, the Hawkeyes (2-7-1) were able to convert in the 21st minute for the match’s lone goal.

Redshirt junior forward Sarah Griffith led the team with seven shots, five on goal, and junior midfielder Teagan Jones and freshman midfielder Emily Mathews each had two shots.

Junior goalkeeper Marisa Bova made two saves. Iowa’s keeper stopped all six shots she faced.

It was a chilly, windy afternoon that caused problems on several balls in the air. With temperatures in the mid-40s, the Sunday afternoon contest also was senior day for Iowa.

Purdue held an 11-5 advantage in shots in the first half and both teams had three shots on goal. The visitors had four corner kicks to UI’s two.

The Boilermakers had a pair of shots in the fifth minute, as Griffith and junior midfielder Sydney Duarte each had chances that were saved, with Duarte’s coming off the rebound.

In the 17th minute, Mathews had a great chance off a corner kick, but her shot was tipped out by the keeper. Purdue had another opportunity the next minute on a nice cross into the box, but the visitors could not connect to get a shot off.

Bova made a pair of saves in the minutes before Iowa took a 1-0 lead. The goal came on a centering pass from the near side inside the penalty box to Samantha Tawharu, who gave the Hawkeyes the lead at 20:02.

Freshman midfielder Victoria Kevdzija came off the bench in the 27th minute and quickly had a shot that went wide, and two minutes later Iowa had an opportunity that also was barely off target.

Purdue had several good chances beginning in the 31st minute thanks to Griffith. Her first shot, from the edge of the penalty box while surrounded by three Hawkeye defenders, was saved. Thirty seconds later, the forward sent in a shot that was just high.

The Boilermakers continued to apply offensive pressure, as junior defender Skylurr Patrick had a long shot from 30 yards away on the far side, but it was high. Two minutes later, Mathews hit the crossbar. She received a great pass from 30 yards away into the box, where she was alone near the penalty spot. Griffith’s last shot of the half was wide in the 41st minute.

Purdue had five shots in the second half, all in the opening 15 minutes, while the defense limited Iowa to one shot. Three of the Boilermakers’ shots were on goal.

Griffith had three of Purdue’s chances in the second half, though all were saved. Her first was sent towards the left corner of the net, while the second, less than a minute later at 54:29, was rebounded to freshman midfielder Callie Ingram. However, that opportunity was blocked. Off the ensuing corner kick, Griffith had a shot from just inside the box that went right into the chest of Iowa’s keeper.

Freshman forward Nicole Kevdzija had a shot that went wide three minutes later, though that proved to be the final attempt of the match for the Boilermakers.

Iowa’s only shot of the half went high in the 78th minute on a centering ball from the near corner.

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



WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Despite having the game-tying run on the on-deck circle, the Purdue softball team saw its seventh-inning rally come up short in the series finale against Iowa on Sunday afternoon at Bittinger Stadium, falling 8-3.

The Boilermakers outhit the Hawkeyes 11-9, led by Cora Bassett’s 3-for-4, two-RBI day at the plate. The top there of Purdue’s order recorded six hits and accounted for all three RBI.

A trio of Purdue defensive miscues gave Iowa the opportunity to plate five unearned runs, while the Boilermakers stranded eight runners, including the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh.

The Boilermakers took an early lead in the first inning on a first-pitch Cora Bassett RBI single through the left side that plated Rachel Becker from second.

The advantage was shortlived, as the Hawkeyes scored six runs over the next three innings. Five of the six were unearned. Iowa tacked on two more scores in the top of the sixth with a two-run home run.

Down to their final out, the Boilermakers pulled a run back when Ryleigh Scott singles to left center to score Kiersen George from third. Bassett cut the gap down to five runs in two batters later when she legged out an infield single that scored a run.

Savanah Henley took the loss for the Boilermakers, going 3 2/3 with a pair of strikeouts. The southpaw surrendered six runs on the afternoon, but only one was earned. Ashley Peters came on in relief for the final 3 1/3 innings, giving up just a pair of hits and two runs.

Allison Doocy pitched the complete game for Iowa, striking out four, scattering 11 hits and surrendering a trio of earned runs.

Purdue (5-11, 5-11) – 3, Iowa (10-6, 10-6) – 8

Winning pitcher: Allison Doocy (4-3)

Losing pitcher: Savanah Henley (0-3


• Iowa leads the all-time series 48-19.

• Bassett finished the weekend with a .400 batting clip and a team-high seven RBI.

• Bassett was caught stealing, marking just the first time the Boilermakers were put out when swiping this season.

• Kaitlyn Brannstrom tallied her first extra-base hit of the season with a double in the seventh.

• Rachel Becker reached base all four times to the plate, going 2-for-2 with two walks and a run scored.


The Boilermakers will head to Minneapolis for a four-game set against Minnesota next weekend. First pitch for the series opener is slated for Friday at 4 p.m. ET.



Katie Soderstrom scored the game-winning goal in the 104th minute to lift Butler over Marquette in Milwaukee, Wis. on Sunday. The win moves Butler to 8-1 and 5-1 in the BIG EAST.

How It Happened:

The first 100 minutes went by without a score from either side. Butler fired 17 shots, but none of which could find the mark. Halfway through the second overtime, the Bulldogs got their chance.

Morgan Kloosterman cleared an advance at the top of Butler’s box to Alli Leonard at the mid-field line, who immediately sent a lead pass to Soderstrom coming up the right side of the field. Soderstrom made two quick touches before sending the ball into the bottom left corner of the goal, clinching the win.

Stephanie Rodriguez grabbed six saves throughout play to maintain the shutout.

Notable Game Stats

Soderstrom took a team high eight shots. Her game-winner was her fifth goal of the season

Butler lead 18-10 in shots and 6-5 in corner opportunities

Rodriguez posted her fifth shutout of the season and fourth in BIG EAST play

Rodriguez, Caitlin O’Malley and Morgan Kloosterman played all 105 minutes for Butler

Next Up

The Bulldogs will have another mid-week bye before facing Xavier on Saturday, April 3 in Cincinnati, Ohio.



MUNCIE, Ind. — Most balls that had any carry on them Sunday were going to right field.

The cold, late March wind was howling that direction, taking anything lifted that way much farther than normal. Most of the big hits in the air had gone that way.

Not Noah Navarro’s.

When the Ball State second baseman stepped to the plate with two outs and the score tied in the bottom of the ninth, he did it the hard way.

Navarro smashed an 0-1 offering from Cal McAninch through the wind and over the left center field fence for his first home run of the season. It gave the Cardinals an 8-7 win for the day and a 3-1 victory in the series.

It was the second walk-off win in as many weekends for Ball State (12-9, 6-2 MAC), as the Cardinals won a second straight series to open MAC play.

Ryan Peltier continued a hot-hitting weekend, going 3-for-4 at the plate and driving in three runs. His two-RBI single helped stake Ball State to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, and his two-RBI double in the sixth tied the game at 5-all after Toledo (4-17, 2-6 MAC) had scored five unanswered.

“Noah Navarro and Ryan Peltier had big weekends and really carried our offense,” BSU head coach Rich Maloney said. “But the home run through the teeth of the wind by Noah Navarro was something special and something he’ll always remember the rest of his life. It was a big win for our team.”



MUNCIE, Ind. – – It’s hard to beat any opponent four straight times, and for much of Sunday afternoon it looked like the Ball State softball team was going to come up on the short end of its Mid-American Conference series finale versus Bowling Green.

However, on a cold, blustery day at the Softball Field at First Merchants Ballpark Complex, senior catcher Stacy Payton smashed the first pitch she saw in the bottom of the sixth out of the park to open the floodgates for the Cardinals (10-9; 4-0 MAC).

“The whole game was just sticking to the process,” Payton said when asked about her sixth-inning home run. “The main thing today was being in attack mode. Whenever they threw the ball over the white, just be ready to swing. That’s what happened, first pitch it was over the white and I was ready, had my timing and all the pieces fell.”

Ball State would go on to score five runs in the inning, the final five of eight unanswered runs overall, to complete the four-game series sweep of the Falcons (10-13; 2-6 MAC) with a 9-5 victory.

“The energy this weekend was fantastic, and opening up conference play is always fun and exciting,” first-year head coach Lacy Wood said when asked about the weekend. “Every game, it seemed like someone different was coming up clutch for us. It’s fun when you look at your lineup and one through nine can come in and either hit the ball over the fence or challenge you on the base paths.”

It is the Cardinals’ first 4-0 start to MAC play since 2013, when the program opened 12-0 on its way to capturing a fourth MAC Regular Season title with an 18-3 league mark.

Aside from her sixth-inning home run, Payton recorded an RBI double in the third to give Ball State its first run of the game. She also started the scoring in the three-run fourth with an RBI single. Overall, she went 3-for-4 on the day with three RBI and two runs scored.

“Stacy is our spark plug,” Wood said. “People look to her, and she is a leader both on and off the field. We were talking about being aggressive early in the count, and the first pitch of the inning she sends over the center field fence. She set the example, she set the tone and everybody else followed suit.”

As a team, Ball State tallied a season-high 13 hits on the day, with eight different Cardinals recording at least one. In addition, five different players logged at least one RBI.

Perhaps the most impressive hit came off the bat of sophomore third baseman Haley Wynn, who capped the scoring with her first career home run, a two-run liner over the fence in right.

Senior designated player Delanie Johnson also had a solid day, going 3-for-3 at the plate. Junior second baseman Amaia Daniel added two hits, including an RBI double in the five-run sixth.

In the circle, junior reliever Tieghan Morio picked up the win by holding the Falcons scoreless over the final three innings. She retired the first six batters she faced, including three strikeouts, while not allowing a hit to improve to 4-2 overall and to 2-0 in league play.

Senior Darcie Huber started the game for the Cardinals, striking out a series-high five batters over her 4.0 innings of work.

Overall, the Falcons entered the series leading the league with 196 strikeouts. However, Ball State batters struck out just eight times on the weekend, while drawing 23 walks. BGSU had only walked 39 batters in its first 19 games.

Sammy Dees led the Falcons with three this in the game, while Hannah Davies suffered the pitching loss after allowing eight hits and eight runs over her 2.2 innings of relief work.

The Ball State softball team returns to action Friday, when it opens its first MAC road series of the season with a 3 p.m. first pitch at Central Michigan.



TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The Indiana State softball team downed Northern Iowa on Sunday afternoon Thanks to the combined efforts of Lexi Benko and Gabbi Schnaiter. The duo led he Sycamores (7-15, 1-5 MVC) to a 2-0 shutout at Price Field.


Benko matched a career-high with six strikeouts in five innings while only giving up three hitsto earn her first win of the season. Schnaiter worked two scoreless innings of relief and struck out five to earn her first save of the campaign.


Bottom 3rd – (UNI 0, ISU 1)

Bella Peterson roped a single to left center field bringing in Mycaela Miller plating the first Sycamore run.

Bottom 4th – (UNI 0, ISU 2)

Cassie Thomerson’s pinch hit single up the middle, plated Mallory Marsicek.


Win: Lexi Benko, Indiana State (1-3)

Loss: Kailyn Packard, Northern Iowa (8-5)

Save: Gabbi Schnaiter (1)


Indiana State will hit the road to Indianapolis, Ind. to face Butler in a mid-week matchup with first-pitch slated for 4 p.m. ET.



TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Indiana State volleyball fell in straights sets [16-25, 23-25, 22-25] during their season finale against Missouri State on Sunday afternoon inside the ISU Arena.

With the defeat, the Sycamores (7-12, 7-11 MVC) have solidified their position in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament next week, claiming the eighth seed. They will open on Thursday afternoon at noon ET against regular-season champions, Illinois State.

Offensively on Sunday, the Trees ended with a 42-36 kill advantage over the Bears (15-6, 11-5 MVC), led by freshmen Mallory Keller and Kaitlyn Hamilton who ended with nine and seven kills, respectively. The difference in the match came from 25 errors from the Sycamores compared to nine from Missouri State.

On the defensive side of the net, three Sycamores tallied exactly 10 digs. Melina Tedrow, Ashley Eck and Gretchen Kuckkan all tallied 10 digs, making up 30 of the Sycamores’ 43 team digs. In addition to their 10 digs, both Kuckkan and Tedrow recorded a service ace. The opposition ended their day with 38 digs.

Another key difference in the match came at the net. Madeline Williams led the charge for the Blue & White with a solo block and block assist, but as a team ISU ended with just three total blocks. The Bears were dominant at the net in a reversal from Saturday, ending with 14 total blocks.

Indiana State also ended the afternoon with a 42-33 assist advantage, led by Chloe Mason with 19 assists and four digs while Mary Hannah Lewis, in her last home match of her career, tallied 18 assists, two digs and a service ace.

The Sycamores will now turn their attention to the MVC Tournament on Thursday, Apr. 1 when they open with Illinois State at 12 p.m. ET in Normal, Ill. The match will be streamed live on ESPN+.



DAYTON, Ohio – The Purdue Fort Wayne women’s volleyball team’s first shot at a Horizon League Championship fell short on Sunday (March 28), as the Mastodons fell to Wright State 3-0 (25-14, 25-19, 25-19) on the Raiders’ home floor.

The difference in Sunday’s match came from Wright State’s stout defense, led by Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year Jenna Story, who finished with 24 digs.

In set one, the Mastodons had a 4-1 run that saw Madelyn Wurster get one of her team-high nine kills, but Wright State went on a 4-0 run right after to lead into the media timeout. The Raiders finished the frame on a 5-1 run. Crucis had eight of her 19 digs in the second set.

The Mastodons had a 4-0 run early in the second set after a timeout. This stretch featured kills from Sydney Boerst and Sidney Schiller, followed by a block by Boerst and Madison Gates. After two Raider errors, Wright State took the final three points of the set.

Purdue Fort Wayne held close in the third set until a 4-0 Raider run that put them up 23-16. Apart from this run, neither team could score more than two points in a row through the third set.

Three Mastodons reached double-figures in digs: Crucis (19), Gates (15) and Schiller (12). Gates finished with a double-double with 14 assists as well.

Purdue Fort Wayne falls to 10-7 while Wright State improves to 15-1 and moves on to the championship match.



DES MOINES, Iowa. – The University of Evansville women’s soccer team fell, 1-0, against Drake Sunday at Drake Stadium.

Drake found the back of the goal at the 9:57 minute mark which ended up becoming the deciding score. The Bulldogs ended the Aces 352-minute streak of not giving up a goal, which stretched over a month.

UE’s offensive effort was highlighted by Abby Phelps with five attempts, including three back-to-back at the start of the second half. Alex Eyler, Reilly Patterson and Emily Ormson also added shot attempts for the Aces.

Starting in goal for the Aces, Lauren Fischer faced 13 shots and made five saves.

Evansville will next take on Loyola on April 3 at 5 p.m. on the road in Chicago.



EVANSVILLE, Ind. – A 3-run sixth inning helped the University of Evansville softball team finish the series sweep over Valparaiso with a 5-3 victory on Sunday at Cooper Stadium.

The sweep marks the first for the Purple Aces (17-7, 5-1 MVC) since taking all three games in the 2019 trip to Missouri State.  With UE trailing 3-0, Marah Wood had a 2-run shot in the contest to get the Aces on the board before Jessica Fehr, Lindsay Renneisen and Alyssa Barela posted RBIs in the sixth to complete the comeback.  UE had eight hits on the day while Izzy Vetter held Valparaiso (5-15, 1-5 MVC) to just three hits.

With the wind blowing out to right field, Valparaiso took early advantage when Addi Burke hit a 2-run homer to right in the top of the first.  They added a third run in the top of the fourth on a squeeze play.

Evansville posted just one hit through the first three innings, but produced three hits in the fourth.  Haley Woolf recorded a double before Marah Wood hit her sixth home run of the season to get the Aces on the board and cut the Valpo lead to 3-2.  Looking for a late rally in the sixth, the Aces got exactly what they needed.  With one out, Jenna Lis reached on an infield single and was pinch run for by Mackenzie McFeron.

McFeron stole second before scoring on a Jessica Fehr single. Solid baserunning saw Fehr move to second on a passed ball before coming home on a Lindsay Renneisen single.  UE added an insurance run later in the frame when Alyssa Barela hit a sacrifice fly.

With her team in front, Vetter kept Valpo off the board in the seventh to clinch her 8th victory of the season and secure the sweep.  Vetter tossed the complete game and struck out nine batters.

Next up for UE is a doubleheader against UT Martin on Tuesday at 3 p.m.



INDIANAPOLIS – UIndy softball’s Melissa Frost won her 700th career game as an NCAA head coach Sunday afternoon after her Greyhounds picked up a pair of victories over visiting Quincy University.

The 11th-ranked Hounds (17-2, 8-0 GLVC) handed the Hawks losses of 4-2 and 8-0, with senior first baseman Gianni Iannantone providing three extra-base hits on the day and freshman pitcher Kenzee Smith delivering another shutout from the circle. UIndy has now won 10 consecutive games.

GAME 1 | UIndy 4, QU 2

The Hawks struck first with two runs in the top of the first, putting the Hounds behind for the first time in six games. The predicament did not last long, however, as UIndy managed a three spot in the bottom half of the first and didn’t look back.

Senior Brooke Montgomery sparked the rally with a leadoff double, while a Emily O’Connor single, two Hawks fielding errors and a wild pitch fanned the flames.

Meanwhile, senior starter Hallie Waters settled in to pitch a complete game for her ninth win of the season. After escaping a bumpy first inning, the Boonville, Ind., native would go on to retire the game’s final 14 batters, fanning 10 and walking only one.

GAME 2 | UIndy 8, QU 0 (5 innings)

Freshman sensation Kenzee Smith (7-0) was once again masterful in the circle. The Indy product tossed her fourth consecutive shutout, holding the Hawks to just two hits. She has not allowed an earned run in 31 1/3 innings.

Smith got more than enough run support in the very first inning, as Iannantone sent one up into the jet stream for a three-run blast, scoring Montgomery and Kamrie Foster.

Iannantone would later add an RBI double and Haylie Foster chipped in a two-run single, both in the fourth inning.


The Greyhounds hit the road next weekend with doubleheaders at Southern Indiana (April 2) and Missouri-St. Louis (April 3).



INDIANAPOLIS – After the No. 6 UIndy men’s soccer team (8-0-1, 8-0-1 GLVC) shut out the Hawks on Friday, the Greyhounds laced up on Sunday afternoon for a contest against Southwest Baptist (3-5-1, 3-5-1). After a scoreless first half, the Hounds placed three shots in the back of the net to garner their fourth win in a row on a final score of 3-0.


Both UIndy and Southwest Baptist were able to create offensive pressure in the first half of action in different forms. The Greyhounds took six shots compared to the Bearcats’ four, but Dimitrious Karusos was the only goalkeeper to register saves in the first segment of the contest. The Hounds were able to showcase the depth on the roster against SBU, changing up the lineup with Robert Lenhrin and Mason Stearn earning starts on Sunday.

UIndy kicked off the second half with a new surge of energy, providing a better performance on both the offensive and defensive end of the field. Alejandro Steinwascher continued his reign as one of the top scorers in the GLVC, netting his seventh goal of the season off a beautiful 20-yard chip from Jakub Olczyk. The Hounds wouldn’t strike again until the final 10 minutes of the contest, Vincent Stone slapping a pass over to Cole Rainwater to knock in a shot past a defender and the goalkeeper. The nail in the coffin would come in at the 88′ mark, Rainwater collecting an assist on the day after knocking a beautiful ball over Southwest Baptist’s heads into the foot of senior Jack Berger.


– The last time the Greyhounds won four shut outs in a row was the start of the 2018 season, the team marked five straight shutout wins.

– The Hounds have scored multiple goals in each of the four shutout victories.

– UIndy now heads as the No. 1 team in the GLVC Standings with Sunday’s win.


The Greyhounds will take their talents outside of Indianapolis this upcoming week. playing an unconventional Thursday-Saturday schedule to avoid East conflicts. Their first matchup will be against Drury on Thursday, April 1 at 1:30 p.m. ET.



FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Purdue Fort Wayne men’s volleyball team finished with a split on the weekend with No. 10 McKendree after a 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 25-14) loss on Sunday (March 28) on Arnie Ball Court.

Set One

McKendree took the lead early in set one with a four-point run to make the score 5-1. That was all the Bearcats needed to secure the set. The ‘Dons tried to keep up and after a kill and an ace by Pelegrin Vargas, the Mastodons closed the gap, but were still down 11-7. It didn’t take long for Zach Schnittker to get a kill for the Bearcats and close set one 25-17.

Set Two

Purdue Fort Wayne found what they needed and took control of set two 4-1. The ‘Dons fell behind, but quickly came back 18-17 after two attack errors by McKendree. The Bearcats responded with a six-point run and extended the score to 23-18. Vargas attempted to get the Mastodons back in the game on a kill for point 22, but it was too late and the Bearcats took set two 25-22.

Set Three

Set three was all McKendree after a 9-4 start. Richie Diedrich and Vargas combined for a block to cap a three-point run for the ‘Dons to make the score 17-11. Purdue Fort Wayne would fall to the Bearcats 25-14.

Purdue Fort Wayne Individual Stats

Pelegrin Vargas tallied 13 kills and seven digs.

Frederico Santos recorded 24 assists with one service ace.

Richie Diedrich had three block assists with six kills.

McKendree Individual Stats

Patrick Ross earned 16 kills and had .600 hitting.

Ryan Serrano had 26 assists.

Lucas Galifos recorded 5.5 blocks in three sets.


Sunday’s match was senior day for the Mastodons and all four seniors (Vargas, Santos, Tomas Gago and Diedrich) started.

As a team, McKendree hit .380 compared to Purdue Fort Wayne’s .103.

The ‘Dons led the Bearcats 27-25 in digs.

Up Next

The Mastodons drop to a record of 5-7 (5-7 MIVA) and No. 10 McKendree will move to a record of 9-4 (8-4 MIVA). Purdue Fort Wayne will hit the road one last time for their final regular season match up against Lindenwood on Friday (April 2) and Saturday (April 3). Both matches will begin at 4 p.m. at the Hyland Arena in St. Charles, Mo.



It was a total team effort as the Valpo volleyball team closed the regular season Sunday at Evansville, as all 14 players in uniform played in a 3-1 (25-21, 19-25, 25-22, 25-16) victory over the Purple Aces. With the win, Valpo enters the Missouri Valley Conference Championship as the fifth seed and will open tournament play against fourth-seeded Bradley Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m.

How It Happened

Valpo tried to jump out to an insurmountable lead in the opening set, as junior Jillie Grant (Maumee, Ohio/Anthony Wayne) had two kills and a service ace during a 7-1 run which gave Valpo a 9-4 lead.

Evansville came back with a 7-1 run of its own to take a brief 11-10 lead.

The margin remained two points or fewer until a kill from Grant gave Valpo a 19-16 advantage. The Purple Aces came back with the next two points, but Valpo responded with four in a row — including two kills by senior Jaclyn Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) — to go up 23-18. Valpo eventually ended the set on a kill by Grant on its third set point chance.

Evansville scored the first four points of the second set as it led start to finish to even up the match.

Valpo closed to within two points multiple times during the second half of the frame, the latest coming at 19-17 before the Purple Aces ended the set with a 6-2 spurt.

Evansville used a 9-1 run to turn a three-point deficit into a 14-9 lead midway through the third set.

The Aces still led 16-12 before Valpo scored four in a row — two coming on kills from Peyton McCarthy (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton) — to even things up at 16-all.

The teams traded the lead multiple times in the late stages of the set. Evansville led 22-21, but Valpo scored the final four points of the set — capped by a service ace from Rylee Cookerly (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) — to take the 2-1 lead in the match.

The fourth set was decided early on, as Valpo scored six of the frame’s first seven points. The lead never fell under four points, and Valpo eventually closed out the victory on a kill by freshman Mallory Januski (Bourbonnais, Ill./Bradley-Bourbonnais).

Inside the Match

Sunday’s win clinched a top-half finish in the MVC standings for Valpo. Valpo and Illinois State are the only two MVC programs to finish in the top half of the final conference standings in each of Valpo’s four seasons in the MVC.

Valpo has now finished above its preseason poll rank in each of its four seasons in the Valley.

Valpo claimed at least one match in eight of its nine series against MVC opponents this year, with Missouri State the only exception.

Valpo secured a winning record for the season with Sunday’s win as well, the 17th time in the 19 seasons under head coach Carin Avery the program has posted a record above .500.

One night after being limited to a season-low 33 kills on .117 hitting, Valpo hit .248 as a team with 60 kills in Sunday’s win.

Bulmahn led the way offensively with 15 kills on .250 hitting, while Grant posted 14 kills and 10 digs.

McCarthy enjoyed her second consecutive big match on both sides of the net, hitting .409 with 11 kills and matching her season high for the second straight contest with six blocks.

Freshman Victoria Bulmahn (McCordsville, Ind./Mt. Vernon) handed out 45 assists and tallied 12 digs and three blocks as well.

Cookerly surpassed the 2,500-dig mark for her career in Sunday’s win, posting a team-high 20 digs. With 2,514 career digs, she enters the MVC Tournament just four shy of the top-15 in NCAA history in the category.

All 14 players in uniform saw action on Sunday, highlighted by the collegiate debut of Januski, who finished with a pair of kills — including match point — two blocks and an assist.

Next Up

Valpo (11-9, 10-8 MVC) takes on Bradley at the MVC Championship at 2 p.m. on Thursday from Illinois State. The match can be seen live on ESPN+.



Taking on UNI in MVC play Sunday afternoon in Waterloo, Iowa, the Valpo soccer team surrendered one goal or fewer for the sixth consecutive game, but it wouldn’t be enough to come out victorious as the host Panthers earned the 1-0 victory.

How It Happened

The first half featured just three combined shot attempts as the two sides battled for control of the match. Valpo’s Kiera Pratt (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield Central) had the lone shot on frame in the half, an effort in the 43rd minute which was saved by UNI goalkeeper Caitlin Richards.

The Panthers broke through for what proved to be the game’s lone goal in the 55th minute, as Izzy LaFollette scored from the edge of the six-yard box.

Valpo goalkeeper Nikki Coryell (Aurora, Ill./Metea Valley) totaled five saves in the second half to help keep it a one-goal game.

Senior Tahelah Noel (Buffalo, N.Y./Christian Central Academy) had a shot attempt go wide in the 85th minute and Valpo had a corner kick in the 87th minute as they pushed in search of the equalizer.

Inside the Match

Sunday’s matchup was the second of the meeting between Valpo and UNI, as the two sides battled to a scoreless draw in February in a non-conference meeting.

Coryell allowed just the one goal and made five saves in goal, while Richards stopped the lone shot on goal she faced to earn the shutout.

Freshman Hannah Mares (Castle Rock, Colo./Castle View) made her first career start on Sunday, becoming the sixth different freshman on this year’s squad to earn a spot in the starting XI.

Six field players went the full 90 minutes on Sunday, including senior Keegan Maris (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) and sophomore Nicole Norfolk (Menomonee Falls, Wis./Divine Savior Holy Angels), both of whom have played all 890 minutes this year.

Thoughts From Coach Marovich

“It’s a disappointing loss on the road today. We found a good rhythm midway through the first half. Our midfield three started solving pressure and it allowed us to be attack-minded. We put a ball across the six-yard box late in the first half, but the final touch was off the mark.”

“The match didn’t have many real chances on either side. Unfortunately, UNI was able to nick a goal against the run of play.”

“We have put ourselves in every match this spring and found a few wins and four ties. We must focus on the final touch to capitalize on those moments to elevate the ties and one-goal games into the win column.”

Next Up

Valpo (2-3-4, 1-2-3 MVC) plays its final home match of the season and hosts Senior Day at Brown Field on Saturday, April 3 when the Brown and Gold takes on Missouri State. Kickoff is slated for noon and will be broadcast live on The Valley on ESPN.



OXFORD, Ohio —  The Miami University baseball team had a five-run inning to get on the board and grab the lead in the fifth, but the visitors from DeKalb scored five unanswered, as the ‘Hawks fell to the Northern Illinois Huskies at McKie Field, 10-7. With the loss, the RedHawks fall to 13-9 (6-2 MAC), while the Huskies improve to 5-14 (4-4 MAC).


In the bottom of the third, freshman Dalton Back singled up the middle. Redshirt freshman Nate Stone followed up with a two-run homer to right field, cutting the Huskies lead in half.

In the bottom of the fifth, Stone led off the inning with a walk. Graduate student Will Vogelgesang reached on a hit by pitch, then junior Cole Andrews singled to the right, bringing home Stone. Senior Nate Stolze walked, loading the bases. Sophomore Billy Kopicki doubled to deep center field, clearing the bases and giving the RedHawks their first lead of the game.  Benji Brokemond tripled to right field, driving in Kopicki and giving Miami a two-run lead to close the inning out.


Kopicki went 2-for-3 with the RBI. He also stole two bases and reached base a third time on a hit by pitch.

Stone went 2-for-3 with a two-run home run. He also walked twice and scored two runs.

Andrews went 2-for-4 with an RBI. He also scored and reached base a third time on a hit by pitch.


The RedHawks will travel to Ypsilanti, Mich. for their first MAC road test, where they will face the Eastern Michigan University Eagles in a four-game series. Game one is scheduled for Friday, April 2, with the first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m. at Oestrike Stadium.



The Wright State baseball team jumped out to an early lead on Sunday, but saw Youngstown State push across an unearned run in the bottom of the eighth to hand the Raiders an 11-10 loss in the series finale.

The Raiders (13-8, 13-3 HL) scored five runs in the top of the first and added a ruin in the second to lead by six before Youngstown State (11-12, 6-6 HL) scored its first runs, but the Penguins plated four runs in both the fifth and seventh innings to tie the game before the eventual winning run in the bottom of the eighth.

After Wright State scored three runs in the top of the seventh to take a 10-6 lead, Youngstown State plated four runs of its own in the bottom of the seventh to knot things up. In the eighth, the Penguins got their leadoff runner on via a Raider error, advancing him over to third thanks to a sacrifice bunt and a groundout before two-out, bad hop single plated the go-ahead run.

The Raiders had their own chance in the ninth, with Konner Piotto and Gehrig Anglin each singling to open the inning before Alex Alders bunt attempt was popped up, resulting in a double play after Youngstown State was able to double off Piotto at second base. With two outs and the tying runner at first, Damon Dues flew out to center field to end the afternoon.

Julian Greenwell was handed the tough luck loss after 1.2 innings of relief, allowing just one hit and the one unearned run while striking out three batters. Raider starter Alex Theis allowed five runs (two earned) over 4.1 innings, striking out four but also walking four batters.

Wright State outhit the Penguins 14-10, with Dues and Anglin each with three hits. Sammy Sass finished with a pair of hits and four RBI, while Piotto also had a pair of hits.

After a Zane Harris RBI single in the first, Sass connected on a grand slam to right field to set the Raider offense in motion, with Quincy Hamilton’s RBI groundout in the second extending the lead. After a single run in the third, Youngstown State posted four runs in the bottom of the fifth, keyed by a two-run single from Steven D’Eusanio, to pull to within one run at 6-5.

Dues’ RBI single in the sixth extended the lead back to two runs but the Penguins answered with an RBI single of their own in the bottom of the frame. Justin McConnell sent a solo shot over the left field wall to begin a three-run seventh for the Raiders, but Youngstown State’s four runs in the bottom of the seventh tied the game at 10-all and set up the hosts for the eventual game-winning run in the eighth.

Gary Clift, Jr. earned the win for Youngstown State after two innings of scoreless relief, while starter Nick Perez didn’t factor in the decision after allowing six runs on five hits over the opening two frames.



KENT, Ohio – The University of Dayton baseball team won both games of a doubleheader with Kent State on Sunday afternoon.

With the wins, the Flyers take the four-game series with Kent State and improve to 8-15 in 2021. Senior Riley Tirotta led the offense, going 4-6 with a home run, four RBIs, and three runs scored over the two games. Senior Mariano Ricciardi and junior Benjamin Blackwell each also picked up three hits.

Senior Mitchell Garrity moved into a tie for first in program history getting hit by a pitch for the 48th time in his career at Dayton. He was hit in the first game to tie Cole Tyrell’s mark of 48 from 2007-2010.

In the second game senior Cole Pletka put up a dominating performance on the mound for Dayton. Pletka struck out 10 Golden Flashes and allowed just two hits in seven shutout innings, finishing the game and earning his first win of the season.



Junior Dylan Keller got the start in the first game of the doubleheader, going 2.1 innings allowing four runs on four hits and picking up four strikeouts. He was relieved by senior Jonathan Brus, who would go the next 1.2 innings allowing just one run and picking up his first win of the season.

Junior Bryce Hellgeth earned the save, going the next three innings, scattering two hits without allowing a run and striking out five for his first save of 2021, and the second of his career at Dayton.


Bottom 2: (4-0 Golden Flashes)

Two walks to lead off the inning put two on and a single up the middle brought home the first run of the game. Kent State then hit a three-run home run to go up 4-0 early on.

Top 3: (4-4 Tie)

Junior Jay Curtis and senior Michael Cleary were both hit by a pitch and Ricciardi loaded the bases with a single to right field. A walk by Blackwell brought home the first run for Dayton and an RBI single from Pujols cut the lead to two. Tirotta was hit by a pitch to bring home the third run of the inning and Garrity’s 48th career hit by pitch brought home the tying run.

Top 5: (7-4 Flyers)

Junior Marcos Pujols led off the inning with a walk and a double by graduate student Alex Brickman put two in scoring position for Tirotta. The senior hit his fourth home run of the season to give Dayton the lead for the first time in the contest.

Bottom 5: (7-5 Flyers)

A leadoff walk was followed by back-to-back singles to load the bases. After a strikeout by Hellgeth, a fielder’s choice brought home the run and cut the UD lead to two.

Top 7: (10-5 Flyers)

Tirotta and graduate student Eddie Pursinger hit back-to-back doubles to make it 8-5 Dayton. Garrity would reach on an error, scoring Pursinger and advancing to second himself. Junior Jake Silverstein would hit a two-out ball back up the middle for his first RBI of the season, giving the game its final score.



Pletka would tie his career high with 10 strikeouts in his best outing to date this season. The senior was dominant the entire game, with his two hits and one walk season lows.


Top 1: (1-0 Flyers)

Ricciardi reached on an error and two batters later moved to second on a single by Tirotta. The Dayton second baseman would score on a throwing error to put the Flyers on the board.

Top 3: (4-0 Flyers)

Pujols and Tirotta each singled to open up the inning and Pursinger’s triple down the right field line scored them both to make it a three-run lead. Garrity would lay down a bunt to score Pursinger from third on the next pitch to give the Flyers a 4-0 lead and the game its final score.


The Flyers will return to action on Tuesday, March 30 for a home game with Akron. The game is scheduled to be broadcast on ESPN+ and the first pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.



DAYTON – The University of Dayton will serve as host of the 2020-21 Atlantic 10 Volleyball Championship after the Flyers finished the A-10 regular season with the best record in the league. UD’s Frericks Center will serve as the host site for the tournament which will be played April 2-3.

Dayton earned the No. 1 seed and the right to host the championship after posting an 8-1 (.889) record in Atlantic 10 matches this season, placing the Flyers in first place in the West Division standings.

UD is led by the 2019 Player of the Year Jamie Peterson with 4.33 kills per set and a .316 hitting percentage and Lexie Almodovar’s 3.21 kills per set. Defensively, Alayna Yates’ 1.19 blocks per set paces Dayton, which enters the A-10 Championship as winners of 11 straight.

All three games of the A-10 Volleyball Championship will be aired on ESPN+. For watch links, result, photos and more visit Volleyball Championship Central at Spectators will be limited to family and friends of the participating teams. There will be no public ticket sales due to COVID-19 restrictions.


1. Dayton (11-1, 8-1 A-10)

2. VCU (12-4, 7-2 A-10)

3. Rhode Island (7-7, 6-3 A-10)

4. Fordham (5-4, 5-3 A-10)



Match 1: #2 VCU vs. #3 Rhode Island, Noon ET

Match 2: #1 Dayton vs. #4 Fordham, 4:00 pm ET


Match 3: Winner of Match 1 vs. Winner of Match 2, Noon ET



CINCINNATI – The University of Cincinnati baseball team got off to a promising start, but it was undone by a fierce wind and Saint Louis’ offense in an 21-6 loss to the Billikens on Sunday at UC Baseball Stadium.

Cincinnati (10-10) took two of three games in the series and tallied seven runs on six hits Sunday. A 20 MPH wind was gusting throughout the game and played havoc when the ball was in the air for both teams.

The Bearcats had taken an early 1-0 lead after a Cole Harting leadoff double led to the freshman scoring on a throwing error by the pitcher on a bunt single laid down by Jace Mercer.

Saint Louis (7-16) took the lead with six runs with two outs in the second and combined for 14 more runs over the next five innings. UC had seven pitchers throw on the day and gave up 17 hits with 11 walks and nine hit batters.

Billikens starter Trevor Harris got the win. He threw 99 pitches over 6.0 innings, scattering three runs on five hits and striking out six with no walks.


• Jake Hansen finished 2-for-3 with 3 RBIs on an eighth-inning double. He also scored a run.

• Harting was 2-for-5 with a double, RBI, stolen base and run scored.

• Mercer finished 1-for-2 with an RBI.


• Griffin Merritt hit .545 with six hits, including two home runs, three RBIs and three runs scored.

• Hansen and Paul Komistek each belted four hits and batted five runs in.


UC closes out nonconference play with a midweek matchup against No. 6 Louisville on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 6 p.m. ET inside UC Baseball Stadium. The game will air on ESPN+ with live stats on



COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State pitchers struck out 16 Maryland hitters and the Buckeyes bounced back with a 5-4 victory over Maryland on a crisp, breezy Sunday afternoon at Bill Davis Stadium.

Neely had his best start as a Buckeye, going a season high five innings and tying a career high with 11 strike outs. The only hit and run he gave up was a solo home run to the first batter of the game.

Bayden Root worked his way through two innings and then turned the ball over to closer TJ Brock, who recorded the final six outs of the game for his fourth save of the season.

At the plate, the Buckeyes banged out eight hits, led by shortstop Zach Dezenzo who was 3-for-3 with a home run and double. He also knocked in a pair of runs. Nick Erwin also had two hits and scored two runs in the game.

Maryland’s leadoff batter Chris Alleyne led off the game with a long homerun right on a 3-2 pitch. Dezenzo then tied it with a home run of his own in the fourth. That was his first home run of the season and the 11th of his career.

The Buckeyes took the lead in the fifth with a pair of runs. Brent Todys led-off with a single and Erwin followed with a walk. After a sac bunt from Mitchell Okuley, Colton Bauer hit a sac fly to left center to score Todys. Dezenzo then came through with his second hit of the game, a double down the leftfield line to score Erwin and the Buckeyes led 3-1.

The lead didn’t last long as Maryland answered with two runs in the sixth on the pair of hits and an error. Root came on in relief of Neely and worked his way through a 26-pitch inning, ultimately getting out of a bases loaded jam.

In the seventh, Erwin and Okuley started the inning with back-to-back singles. After a flyout, Maryland walked Dezenzo to load the bases with one out. Conner Pohl then fouled out and Maryland was an out away from getting out of it. Kade Kern hit a hard grounder to second and it was mishandled by Kevin Keister. Kern was safe at first and Okuley followed Erwin around from second to plate two runs as the Buckeyes retook at 5-3 lead.

But again, Maryland answered right back with three-consecutive hits to start the eighth and cut the lead to 5-4. Brock came on and struck the next two guys outs on six pitches. After a two-out walk, he fanned Randy Bednar to end the inning. Brock then worked a scoreless ninth for the six-out save.

The two teams will complete the weekend on Monday afternoon. First pitch it set for 3:05 p.m.



EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Xavier took Evansville to the seventh inning in a 2-2 tie, but the Purple Aces scored seven in the seventh and eighth to take a 9-2 win in game four, securing the series victory for Evansville, 3-1. Xavier moves to 6-12 on the season.

Xavier scored a pair in the second inning to take the lead. Evansville responded in the bottom of the inning, then added another in the fourth inning to send the game to the Ethan Bosacker went 6.0 innings in the start, striking out a career-high 10 strikeouts, exiting the game in a 2-2 tie. The tie held through the seventh inning, when the Purple Aces added a run to take the 3-2 lead, then Evansville broke the game open with a six-run eighth, taking a 9-2 lead into the final inning.

The Musketeers return home to host Dayton for a pair of game on Thursday and Friday, both starting at 3:00 p.m. Xavier will then head up to Dayton for a double-header with the Flyers on Saturday, April 3, with game one set to begin at 12:00 p.m.



CHICAGO –  Xavier women’s soccer used a golden goal from Maddie Thiss to pick up an overtime win at DePaul, 3-2, on Sunday afternoon. Xavier moves to 3-5 on the season and 2-3 in BIG EAST play.

Rachel Butler scored in the first half and Molly McLaughlin added a tally in the second half to give Xavier a 2-0 lead going into the final 10 minutes of regulation. DePaul answered with goals in the 83rd minute, as well as in the final 90 seconds of regulation to for overtime. In the second overtime period, Maddie Thiss scored off a corner kick from Carrie Lewis to secure the win for the Musketeers.

Xavier returns to action next Saturday, hosting Butler on Saturday, April 3. Xavier hosts the Bulldogs at 1:00 p.m. at XU Soccer Complex as part of a doubleheader with the Xavier and Butler men.



OMAHA, Neb. – Xavier dropped a three-set match (21-25, 21-25, 17-25) at Creighton on Sunday night at D.J. Sokol Arena.

Xavier dropped to 7-7 (3-3 BIG EAST), while the Bluejays improved to 10-3 (7-2 BIG EAST).

• Delaney Hogan led the Musketeers with 10 kills, her eighth match of the season with 10 or more kills. She added a .400 hitting percentage and one dig.

• Kelly Franxman chipped in six kills, while Ellie Chaffee and Norah Painter both added five kills. Franxman chipped in eight digs and three aces, while Chaffee and Painter both added two blocks.

• Carrigan O’Reilly posted a match-high 28 assists to go along with three kills and one dig.

• Stevie Wolf led the Musketeers in digs with 11. Alyssa Overbeck added nine digs.

• Creighton held a 10-1 advantage in total team blocks and had one more ace (7-6) than the Musketeers. The Bluejays also recorded a .276 hitting percentage, while limiting the Musketeers to a .114 clip.



FORT WAYNE – The Fuel ended the three game series on a high note after goals from Willie Raskob, Brad Morrison and Michael Pelech would help lead Indy to a 3-2 victory over the Fort Wayne Komets at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum Sunday evening.

Indy would notch a goal on their first shot of the evening when Morrison found Raskob at the top of the right circle who lifted the puck over Louis-Philip Guindon’s shoulder that would be the lone goal of the first.

It wouldn’t take long for the Fuel to extend their lead to two when Pelech went top shelf at 1:14 in the second. However, the Komets responded quickly as Justin Vaive put in a rebound to earn their first of the night just two minutes later. On a man advantage chance, Spencer Watson snuck a cross ice pass to Morrison who buried one to bring the Fuel’s lead to two once again. Fort Wayne also got their shot on the power play immediately after allowing AJ Jenks to score and bring the score to 3-2 at the end of the second.

The Fuel killed off two critical penalties in the third and netminder Dan Bakala would tally 32 saves that would help Indy secure a 3-2 win over the Komets in Fort Wayne.

The Fuel head home to take on the Komets at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum Wednesday night after being traveling on the road for two weeks.

Single-Game tickets are now available for Fuel seventh season at Indiana Farmers Coliseum! Fans can also take advantage of full season, 18 ticket and 12 ticket flex packages by calling 317-925-FUEL or visiting Don’t miss a second of the action during the 2019-20 season – follow the Fuel on Twitter and Instagram (@IndyFuel) and ‘Like’ the Fuel on Facebook.


NEW YORK-At the opening of the Baltimore Colts’ new suburban offices and training complex four years ago, Robert Irsay addressed the small audience that had gathered in Owings Mills, Md. “This building,” the Colts’ owner said, “is a symbol of our dedication to bring winning football back to our fans. We want our team to match the standards set by this building.”

Dedication and standards-words to remember Robert Irsay by now that he has shown he understands neither. But in trying to sneak his National Football League club’s belongings to Indianapolis in the dark of night this morning in 12 moving vans, he did show what a grimy business so much of sports has become. He also showed that the Supreme Court must rule on the legality of “free-agent franchises,” as created in the N.F.L. by Al Davis in winning his Federal antitrust case that permitted the Raiders to go to Los Angeles from Oakland in 1982.

By moving the Colts’ franchise in such a murky manner, Robert Irsay almost makes Al Davis look like a silver-and-black knight. Almost. But at least Al Davis went to court. In baseball, Walter O’Malley and Horace Stoneham at least had the permission of the other National League club owners before taking the Dodgers and Giants to California for the 1958 season. Without the necessity of N.F.L. approval, Robert Irsay moved his club’s shoulder pads and film projectors in the middle of the night after a decent average of 40,923 ticket sales in Memorial Stadium last season, including a regular-season club record of 60,559 for one game. If the Colts can be moved that way, any other franchise area in any sport can wake up some morning to find itself without a team.

The offices and training complex in Owings Mills are now as empty as Robert Irsay’s promise to notify Mayor William Donald Schaefer of Baltimore of his decision before he moved the franchise. From now on, when people think of Robert Irsay, they will remember the television film-clips of big yellow moving vans rumbling along dark rain-slicked roads after the Colts’ offices and locker rooms had been evacuated.

Moving vans usually project a sense of success-a new home or a new job. And the movers always arrive early in the morning. But these movers resembled kidnappers or burglars using darkness to avoid detection. The yellow Mayflower vans had been gathered yesterday afternoon from as far north as New Jersey and as far south as Virginia, along with a busload of 45 movers and a truckload of packing material. The vans arrived at the Colts’ complex about 10 that evening. Shortly before dawn today, the vans had been loaded and were on their way to Indianapolis.

The vans had been arranged by Mayor William Hudnut of Indianapolis with his neighbor, John B. Smith, the president of the Mayflower Corporation, as part of that city’s offer to snatch the Colts. When the Colts’ office staff arrived this morning at the empty complex, they were paid through the remainder of the week with checks drawn on an Indianapolis bank. The coaches, trainers and equipment men needed to accompany the team had been alerted to the move quietly late last night. Not that they were surprised. Robert Irsay also had shopped the franchise to city officials in Phoenix, Memphis and Jacksonville in recent years.

As with almost all the other teams that have moved since World War II, beginning with the football Rams going to Los Angeles from Cleveland in 1946, the new Indianapolis franchise will steal the nickname, too. That’s always the cheapest trick in any franchise move.


1982: Apparently mistaking North Carolina’s James Worthy for a teammate, Georgetown University’s Fred Brown made a bad pass to him with five seconds left in the N.C.A.A. championship game at New Orleans to give the Tar Heels a 63‚62 victory and their first national title under Dean Smith. Michael Jordan scored the winning basket.

1976: Bobby Knight’s Indiana team, led by Scott May, Kent Benson, Bobby Wilkerson and Quinn Buckner, defeated the University of Michigan, 86‚68, for the national title at the Spectrum in Philadelphia. The victory capped a 32‚0 season for the Hoosiers.

2000: Major-league baseball played its first regular-season game outside North America when the Mets and the Chicago Cubs opened in the Tokyo Dome before a crowd announced at an even 55,000. The Cubs won, 5‚3, 13 time zones ahead of the near North Side.


1933       After missing half of last season when he broke his leg, Cubs outfielder Kiki Cuyler breaks his other leg and will miss nearly three months of this season. The 36 year-old future Hall of Famer has led the league in stolen bases four times and will finish with 328 career steals.

1935       The reigning National League champion Cardinals release 44 year-old right-hander Dazzy Vance, who appeared in his first and only World Series this season. The future Hall of Fame hurler will return to the Dodgers, where he spent the most productive years of his career, finishing his major league 16-year tenure in the major leagues with a 197-140 (.585) record along with an ERA of 3.24.

1944       During a Pacific Coast League minor league exhibition game, Oakland lends L.A. five players after some of their opponents suffer an assortment of injuries in a car accident. The ‘visiting’ team beats the hometown Oaks, 6-2.

1948       Thirty-four players participate in an unusually long exhibition game when the Yankees and the Red Sox take 17 innings to play to a 2-2 tie. The four-hour, two-minute contest features the Bronx Bombers scoring runs in the bottom of the ninth and tenth innings to keep the score knotted, but the team fails to push in the winning run in the final frame when Frank Crosetti attempts a two-out bunt to squeeze in a runner from third.

1954       The Cubs fire skipper Phil Cavarretta after he tells reporters the team had little chance to finish in the first division. The 36 year-old player-manager, who compiled a 169-213 (.442) record during his three years at the helm, is the first to lose a managerial position during spring training.

1973       At the suggestion of A’s owner Charlie Finley, orange-colored balls are used in an 11-5 exhibition game loss to the Indians. Major League Baseball drops the novel concept after Cleveland outfielder George Hendrick, who hit three home runs in the contest, claims he had difficulty picking up the ball due to the lack of red seams on a white sphere.

1975       Mel Stottlemyre, suffering from a torn rotator cuff, is given his unconditional release by the Yankees. The team’s future pitching coach compiled a 164-139 record and a 2.97 ERA, tossing 152 complete games that include 40 shutouts.

2000       The Expos and Labatt announce the C$100M sponsorship deal, negotiated two years ago, will go forward as planned. The Brewery has committed to pay C$40M over the next twenty years for the naming rights to Montreal’s proposed downtown ballpark and approximately another C$60M to be the team’s primary sponsor, a role the company has played for the past 15 years.

2001       Todd Helton signs a nine-year, $141.5 million contract extension, making him the highest-paid player in Rockies’ history. Last season, the Colorado first baseman batted .372, hit 42 homers, and knocked in 147 runs.

2002       After the team purchases Rickey Henderson’s contract from Pawtucket, the Red Sox places future Hall of Fame outfielder on their Opening Day roster. The ‘Man of Steal,’ who joined the exclusive 3,000-hit club on the final day of last season, will begin his 24th year in the majors, appearing with his eighth different club.

2002       Major League Baseball announces there will be a minute of silence at 9:11 at every major league team’s first-night game this season to remember September 11th’s tragic events. The song God Bless America will continue to be sung during the seventh-inning stretch of all contests.

2002       The Brewers announce the Miller Park’s retractable roof will be used only on a limited basis at the start of the season as engineers try to eliminate persistent noise coming from the year-old structure. According to the engineers who designed the building, the problem in the pivot system, located behind and above home plate in the so-called Uecker seats, is not a hazard.

2007       In a split-squad game between the Cubs and Diamondbacks at Mesa’s HoHoKam Park, Ria Cortesio, serving alternately as the first and third base umpire, becomes the first female ump to work a major league exhibition game since Pam Postema in 1989. The thirty-year-old Davenport (IA) native, who is starting her ninth year overall as an arbitrator and fifth in Double-A minor league ball, hopes to be the first woman umpire in major league history.

2008       In an exhibition game celebrating the club’s 50th anniversary of their move west from Brooklyn, the Dodgers lose to the Red Sox in front of 115,300 fans at the LA Coliseum. The crowd is the largest ever to watch a baseball game, surpassing the previous record when approximately 114,000 patrons attended an exhibition contest between the Australian national team and an American services team during the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne.

2009       The Yankees dedicate a permanent September 11th memorial at the entrance of George M. Steinbrenner Field, the team’s Spring Training home in Tampa (FL). The tribute to the victims and their families of the terrorist attacks of 2001 features a foundation in the shape of the Pentagon, which supports two towers made from steel from the World Trade Center placed on a grassy spot representing the heroes of United Flight 93, who perished in a field in Pennsylvania.

2009       John Franco throws out the ceremonial first pitch to a standing ovation from the crowd attending the collegiate matchup between St. John’s and Georgetown in the first baseball game ever played at Citi Field. Before tossing his signature pitch, a breaking ball in the dirt, the former Mets reliever goes to the mound wearing a familiar blue and orange jacket, removes his coat to reveal his alma mater’s colors, a Red Storm jersey with his number 45.

2009       On a damp and chilly afternoon, 22,397 patrons become the first fans to attend a baseball game at Citi Field, the Mets’ new home, when St. John’s University hosts Georgetown in a collegiate contest. The weather dampened the schools’ hope of breaking the NCAA attendance record of 40,106, set during a game between San Diego State and Houston played at Petco Park in 2004.

2009       Dontrelle Willis is placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Tigers. D-Train, unsuccessful since winning 22 games with the Marlins in 2003, has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, believed by the doctors to be easily treatable, according to the southpaw.

2010       Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announces President Obama will throw out the first pitch before Washington’s game against the Phillies at Nationals Park on Opening Day, continuing a century-old tradition. In 1910, William Howard Taft became the first Commander-in-Chief to toss the ceremonial first pitch to start the season.

2013       The Giants and Buster Posey, the National League’s MVP, come to terms on an eight-year, $159 million extension that includes a full no-trade clause. The deal, which will keep the 26 year-old backstop in a Giants’ uniform through 2021, is the second-richest contract ever given to a catcher, surpassed only by the Twins’ signing of Joe Mauer two seasons ago to an eight-year, $184 million pact.

2013       Tiger right-hander Justin Verlander agrees to a seven-year, $180 million contract, the richest deal for a pitcher in baseball history. The 2011 American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner, already signed through 2014 under a previous $80 million, five-year deal, decides not to test free agency in two years, stating that “the pull of Detroit was too much.”

2017       The Dodgers commemorate Kirk Gibson’s historic pinch-hit, walk-off home run in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series by offering a special ticket package to sit in the right-field pavilion seat, recently painted blue and autographed by him, where the ball landed. The team is donating two-thirds of the $300 price of the ducats, including a companion seat, two commemorative T-shirts, and food and drink, to the Kirk Gibson Foundation to raise money and awareness for Parkinson’s research, a neurological disease affecting the Fall Classic hero.

2018       Matt Davidson becomes the fourth major leaguer to hit three home runs on Opening Day, contributing to the White Sox’s 14-7 victory over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. The White Sox slugging third baseman joins Dmitri Young (Tigers, 2005), Tuffy Rhodes (Cubs, 1994), and George Bell (Blue Jays, 1988) in accomplishing the feat on the first day of the season.

2018       Excluding international openers, this date marks the earliest start of the major league season in the history of the game. The schedule calls for all the teams to play on Opening Day for the first time since April 10th, 1968, the last season before divisional play started in the American and National Leagues.

2018       On Opening Day, the late right-hander Roy Halladay’s number #32 is retired during an emotional on-field ceremony at Rogers Centre. In his 12 seasons with Toronto, the six-time American League All-Star, who died in a plane crash off the coast of Florida in November, compiled a 148-76 record along with a 3.43 ERA before his trade to the Phillies in 2009 for minor league prospects.


Eastern Conference
 WLPctConf GBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Philadelphia3214.69619-413-108-222-78-21 L
Brooklyn3115.6741.017-614-95-217-108-21 W
Milwaukee2916.6442.518-711-99-018-98-22 L
New York2422.5228.014-810-141-617-146-43 W
Charlotte2322.5118.513-910-136-112-96-41 L
Atlanta2323.5009.011-912-143-313-127-31 L
Boston2323.5009.013-710-163-516-134-62 W
Miami2224.47810.012-1210-125-513-154-66 L
Indiana2123.47710.08-1213-115-313-135-52 W
10 Chicago1925.43212.09-1610-93-39-113-73 L
11 Toronto1828.39114.09-129-163-512-161-92 L
12 Cleveland1729.37015.011-126-173-513-123-72 L
13 Washington1628.36415.09-147-141-66-202-81 W
14 Orlando1531.32617.010-155-164-410-172-82 L
15 Detroit1233.26719.57-135-200-98-212-84 L
Western Conference
 WLPctConf GBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Utah3411.75619-215-93-215-67-35 W
Phoenix3114.6893.015-816-65-219-87-32 W
LA Clippers3116.6604.016-615-106-218-97-35 W
LA Lakers3017.6385.016-1014-72-519-106-42 W
Denver2818.6096.513-915-97-115-117-32 W
Portland2818.6096.514-914-93-415-127-33 W
San Antonio2320.53510.011-1312-74-612-165-51 W
Dallas2321.52310.511-1012-115-214-145-52 L
Memphis2122.48812.011-1310-93-510-164-62 L
10 Golden State2224.47812.513-99-153-712-143-74 L
11 Sacramento2125.45713.512-129-134-49-117-34 W
12 New Orleans2025.44414.014-116-145-312-175-51 W
13 Oklahoma City1926.42215.08-1411-123-611-175-52 L
14 Houston1332.28921.06-167-164-59-162-81 W
15 Minnesota1135.23923.56-175-183-68-214-61 L


Washington Capitals34237450211199913-4-210-3-29-1-0
New York Islanders35229448201058213-1-29-8-27-3-0
Pittsburgh Penguins352211246191159315-3-17-8-17-2-1
Boston Bruins311795391583738-4-29-5-34-4-2
Philadelphia Flyers331613436151021208-7-38-6-13-6-1
New York Rangers34151543414107927-6-38-9-15-4-1
New Jersey Devils33131643013791014-11-29-5-25-4-1
Buffalo Sabres336234164681182-11-24-12-20-9-1
Vegas Golden Knights32238147231047413-2-110-6-07-3-0
Colorado Avalanche33218446211137513-4-28-4-28-0-2
Minnesota Wild32211014321947813-3-08-7-18-2-0
St. Louis Blues351613638141001134-8-412-5-22-5-3
Arizona Coyotes351614537139210310-8-36-6-24-4-2
Los Angeles Kings3213136321291906-4-47-9-24-5-1
San Jose Sharks3313164309911155-6-28-10-24-5-1
Anaheim Ducks36111962810811185-11-36-8-33-7-0
Toronto Maple Leafs342210246221148812-6-110-4-14-6-0
Winnipeg Jets352112244211149810-5-111-7-15-4-1
Edmonton Oilers3521131432111910112-8-09-5-17-2-1
Montreal Canadiens3114893713100876-5-28-3-74-2-4
Calgary Flames36161733515951079-6-17-11-25-5-0
Vancouver Canucks371618335131001209-9-27-9-16-3-1
Ottawa Senators36122042810941358-6-44-14-04-3-3
Tampa Bay Lightning34248250231238213-2-011-6-26-4-0
Carolina Hurricanes33237349191128411-1-312-6-07-1-2
Florida Panthers35229448211159810-4-312-5-16-4-0
Nashville Predators36181713715921079-7-09-10-17-3-0
Chicago Blackhawks361615537141041149-6-27-9-33-7-0
Columbus Blue Jackets36131583411911177-6-66-9-23-4-3
Dallas Stars3211129311089887-6-74-6-23-3-4
Detroit Red Wings36122042812791159-8-33-12-15-4-1