HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL-AREA/NCC

McCutcheon 12 Twin Lakes 1

Lafayette Jeff 19 North Central 12

Frankton 6 Kokomo 4

Wabash 11 Marion 0

East Central 13 South Ripley 2

Brebeuf 6 Mount Vernon 0

HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL-AREA/NCC

Greenfield Central 14 Scecina 4

New Palestine 5 Carmel 1

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Atlanta 5 Chicago Cubs 2

Cincinnati 10 Cleveland 3

Chicago White Sox at Boston postponed

Toronto at Kansas City postponed

Tampa Bay 8 NY Yankees 2

Baltimore 5 Texas 2

LA Angels 10 Minnesota 3

Oakland 3 Detroit 0

Seattle 6 Houston 5

Atlanta 5 Chicago Cubs 2

Washington 1 Arizona 0

Philadelphia 9 St. Louis 2

Miami 4 San Francisco 1

Pittsburgh 6 Milwaukee 1

LA Dodgers 11 San Diego 6 (11)

NY Mets Colorado postponed

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

NBA SCOREBOARD

Utah 119 Indiana 111

Detroit 110 Oklahoma City 104

Philadelphia 106 LA Clippers 103

Washington 117 New Orleans 115 OT

Brooklyn 130 Charlotte 115

Toronto 113 Orlando 12

Memphis 126 Chicago 115….DESMOND BANE 8PTS, 4REB, 2ASST

Denver 128 Houston 99

Minnesota 119 Miami 111

Portland 107 San Antonio 106

New York 117 Dallas 109

FRIDAY’S STATS/BOX SCORES: http://hosted.stats.com/nba/scoreboard.asp

NHL SCOREBOARD

Montreal 2 Calgary 1

Boston 3 NY Islanders 0

Minnesota 3 San Jose 2

Los Angeles at Colorado postponed

Edmonton at Vancouver postponed

Vegas 4 Anaheim 0

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

COLLEGE BASEBALL

Indiana 5 Northwestern 4

Notre Dame 3 North Carolina State 2

Xavier 9 Butler 2

Central Michigan 10 Kent State 0

George Mason 7 Dayton 6

Eastern Michigan 10 Ball State 6

Florida Gulf Coast 13 Wright State 12

Wright State 10 Florida Gulf Coast 3

Missouri State 5 Evansville 3

Maryland 10 Ohio State 6

Cincinnati 11 Memphis 3

Cincinnati 10 Memphis 6

Iowa 14 Rutgers 12

Toledo 6 Akron 1

Illinois Chicago 1 Purdue Fort Wayne 0

Illinois 13 Michigan State 4

Nebraska 8 Penn State 2

COLLEGE SOFTBALL SCORES

Illinois 9 Purdue 3

Indiana 4 Ohio State 1

Ball State 6 Akron 5

Robert Morris 5 IUPUI 3

Robert Morris 3 IUPUI 2 (8)

Miami Ohio 3 Buffalo 0

Northern Kentucky 7 Purdue Fort Wayne 3

Purdue Fort Wayne 1 Northern Kentucky 0

Notre Dame 7 Virginia 1

WOMEN’S COLLEGE TENNIS

IU East 4 IU Southeast 3

MEN’S COLLEGE TENNIS

IU East 5 IU Southeast 2

PGA LEADERBOARD

RBC HERITAGE

RankNameRound 1Round 2Round 3Round 4Total Thru 
1Stewart Cink6363  -16 (126)F
2Corey Conners6764  -11 (131)F
3Emiliano Grillo6864  -10 (132)F
4tCameron Smith6271  -9 (133)F
4tCollin Morikawa6568  -9 (133)F
4tSungjae Im6865  -9 (133)F
4tBilly Horschel6667  -9 (133)F
8tWesley Bryan6866  -8 (134)F
8tTom Hoge6767  -8 (134)F
8tHarold Varner III6668  -8 (134)F
11tAbraham Ancer6966  -7 (135)F
11tShane Lowry7065  -7 (135)F
11tMatthew Fitzpatrick7164  -7 (135)F
11tWill Zalatoris6867  -7 (135)F
11tMichael Thompson6867  -7 (135)F
16tLucas Glover6769  -6 (136)F
16tSung Kang6868  -6 (136)F
16tCharles Howell III6670  -6 (136)F
19tRobert MacIntyre7067  -5 (137)F
19tAdam Schenk6869  -5 (137)F
19tRobert Streb6869  -5 (137)F
19tIan Poulter6968  -5 (137)F
19tChris Kirk7067  -5 (137)F
19tSepp Straka7067  -5 (137)F
19tBrian Harman6770  -5 (137)F
19tCamilo Villegas6968  -5 (137)F
19tMatt Wallace6572  -5 (137)F
19tCharley Hoffman6869  -5 (137)F
19tBranden Grace6869  -5 (137)F
19tDustin Johnson7067  -5 (137)F
31tBrian Stuard7068  -4 (138)F
31tDylan Frittelli7167  -4 (138)F
31tMackenzie Hughes6771  -4 (138)F
31tMaverick McNealy7167  -4 (138)F
31tCameron Davis6969  -4 (138)F
31tKevin Streelman6771  -4 (138)F
31tSi Woo Kim7167  -4 (138)F
31tMatt Kuchar7068  -4 (138)F
31tDaniel Berger6771  -4 (138)F
40tChristiaan Bezuidenhout7069  -3 (139)F
40tRussell Henley6970  -3 (139)F
40tLee Westwood7168  -3 (139)F
40tTom Lewis7267  -3 (139)F
40tWebb Simpson7168  -3 (139)F
40tDanny Willett6871  -3 (139)F
40tTyrrell Hatton7366  -3 (139)F
40tRyan Moore7069  -3 (139)F
40tHarry Higgs7168  -3 (139)F
40tChase Seiffert7168  -3 (139)F
40tDoug Ghim7069  -3 (139)F
40tBrice Garnett6970  -3 (139)F
40tRory Sabbatini7069  -3 (139)F
40tAlex Noren7168  -3 (139)F
54tMatthew NeSmith6872  -2 (140)F
54tWyndham Clark7070  -2 (140)F
54tSam Burns7268  -2 (140)F
54tBrendon Todd7070  -2 (140)F
54tScott Piercy7070  -2 (140)F
54tKyoung-Hoon Lee6773  -2 (140)F
54tDenny McCarthy7367  -2 (140)F
54tAndrew Landry7070  -2 (140)F
54tKevin Tway6971  -2 (140)F
54tBrandt Snedeker6971  -2 (140)F
54tLuke List7466  -2 (140)F
54tScott Harrington6971  -2 (140)F

TOP HEADLINES

PURDUE // Furst Named Indiana Mr. Basketball

(PURDUE RELEASE)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Incoming freshman Caleb Furst has been named Indiana’s Mr. Basketball in voting conducted by the Indianapolis Star and media members throughout the state.

Furst becomes the first Indiana Mr. Basketball to sign for Purdue since Caleb Swanigan in 2015. He is the 12th recipient of Indiana Mr. Basketball to play at Purdue, and 14th Purdue representative all-time to win Mr. Basketball.

2021 – Caleb Furst (Indiana)

2020 – Ethan Morton (Pennsylvania)

2015 – Caleb Swanigan (Indiana)

1991 – Glenn Robinson (Indiana)

1988 – Woody Austin (Indiana)

1987 – Jimmy Oliver (Arkansas)

1984 – Troy Lewis (Indiana)

1981 – Dan Palombizio (Indiana)

1975 – Kyle Macy (Indiana)

1966 – Rick Mount (Indiana)

1965 – Billy Keller (Indiana)

1964 – Dennis Brady (Indiana)

1955 – Wilson Eison (Indiana)

1952 – Joe Sexson (Indiana)

Furst, a 6-foot, 10-inch, 230-pound post player, led Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian (28-3) to the last two Class 2A state championships, averaging 21.4 points, 14.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.2 blocks per game as a senior. In the state title game two weeks ago in Indianapolis, Furst scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half and set a Class 2A Championship game record with six blocks while adding seven rebounds. He also was named the recipient of the Class 2A Trester Mental Attitude Award.

During his career, he scored 2,087 career points and was the school’s all-time leader in points and rebounds. He won 105 games in his four years at Blackhawk Christian, and becomes the first Class 2A player in Indiana to win Mr. Basketball since DeShaun Thomas of Fort Wayne Bishop Luers in 2010.

He was named an Honorable Mention MaxPreps All-American and at the time of his signing, was ranked No. 30 nationally by ESPN, 34 by 247Sports and 38 by Rivals.

Leading Blackhawk Christian to the 2019 state title, he averaged 22.1 points, 13.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game and 18.7 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game as a sophomore.

Furst is part of an impressive incoming class that ranks among the nation’s top-25 classes, despite having just two players. He is joined by 6-foot, 9-inch forward Trey Kaufman-Renn, who was the Indiana Mr. Basketball runner-up after leading Silver Creek High School to its second straight Class 3A state title and averaging 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.9 blocks per game.

INDIANA PACERS: Minus injured Mitchell, Jazz rally to beat Pacers 119-111

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Donovan Mitchell scored 22 points before leaving the game with a sprained ankle in the third quarter, and the NBA-leading Utah Jazz beat the Indiana Pacers 119-111 on Friday.

Bojan Bogdanovic had 24 points and Rudy Gobert added 13 points, 23 rebounds and four blocks for the Jazz. Jordan Clarkson chipped in 18 points off the bench while Mike Conley had 10 points and 10 assists. Utah won its second straight game.

Mitchell went to the locker room after suffering a right ankle sprain with 8:18 left in the third quarter. He could not put any weight on his leg and had to be helped off the floor by teammates.

Domantas Sabonis had 22 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists for the Pacers. Caris LeVert scored 24 points and Malcolm Brogdon added 16. Indiana led by as many as 17 points in the first half but lost for the second time in its last six games.

In Mitchell’s absence, the Jazz erased a double-digit deficit and tied the game at 89 heading into the fourth quarter on back-to-back baskets from Clarkson.

Utah overtook Indiana for good with a 10-0 run, highlighted by back-to-back baskets from Bogdanovic, to take a 108-99 lead. Utah held Indiana scoreless on eight straight possessions over 4 1/2 minutes during the decisive burst.

The Pacers led 53-36 midway through the second quarter when Goga Bitadze capped a 9-0 spurt with a dunk.

Utah cut the deficit to 63-56 in the final minute before halftime on a layup from Mitchell. But the Jazz then gave up two 3-pointers in the final 4.7 seconds of the half. Brogdon drained one, and then LeVert stole an inbounds pass from Royce O’Neale and sank an uncontested corner 3 before the buzzer.

INDIANA BASEBALL: Indiana Earns Road Win at Northwestern, 5-4

(IU RELEASE)

EVANSTON, Ill. – The Indiana University baseball team extended its winning-streak to three games with a 5-4 win over Northwestern at Miller Park in Evanston, Ill. on Friday afternoon.

With the victory, the Hoosiers improve to 14-7 on the season overall and in Big Ten conference play. The Wildcats fall to 11-11 on the year and in league action.

KEY MOMENTS

• After two scoreless frames, the Hoosiers jumped on the board first with a clutch RBI single from INF Kip Fougerousse. With the bases loaded and two outs, the freshman lined an 0-2 offering to right field, plating two runs to give IU the lead.

• Indiana added three runs in the top of the seventh to break the game open. INF Paul Toetz talled an RBI double before OF Morgan Colopy added another with a sacrifice fly. DH Tyler Van Pelt capped the scoring with an RBI single through the right side to push the Hoosiers’ lead to 5-0.

• The Wildcats made it a game in the bottom of the frame, however, cutting the deficit to just one with four runs.

• With the still 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth, RHP Matt Litwicki worked around a leadoff single to earn his fourth save of the season and secure the win for Indiana.

• LHP Tommy Sommer (4-1) earned the win for the Hoosiers, allowing four runs in 6.1 innings of work. The lefty struck out five on the day.

NOTABLES

• Dating back to the game against Illinois on April 9, Indiana didn’t allow a hit for 12.1 innings.

• Out of the bullpen, RHP Nathan Stahl tossed 1.2 innings of relief. He allowed just two hits and struck out one.

• OF Grant Richardson had a pair of hits and scored two runs, while Toetz also had two knocks. Fougerousse had two hits and two RBI on the day.

• INF Cole Barr drew three walks and scored a run.

• INF James Espalin recorded his first career hit with a double in the top of the fourth inning.

UP NEXT

• The Hoosiers and Wildcats will continue their three-game, Big Ten series in Evanston, Ill. at Miller Park on Saturday, April 17. First pitched is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. ET.

INDIANA SOFTBALL: Indiana Takes Game One of Weekend Series, 4-1

Freshman Allison Smith strikes out six over five innings

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana took game one of a four-game weekend series on Friday afternoon, 4-1, as the Hoosiers struck for two runs in the bottom of the fifth and one more in the sixth for the victory. Ohio State is now 13-11 on the season while Indiana improves to 12-13.

The Short Story
IU’s Emily Goodin pitched a complete game with eight strikeouts but was matched by freshman Allison Smith, who entered the game in the second inning and fanned six over five innings of work. Indiana, however, broke a 1-all tie in the bottom of the fifth inning RBI single by Grayson Radcliffe and an RBI ground out off the bat of Bella Norton that scored Gabby Jenkins from third. The Hoosiers tacked on a run in the bottom of the sixth via a Brooke Benson RBI single.

Moments That Mattered

  • The Buckeyes were able to generate scoring chances against Goodin, including in the top of the second inning when Ohio State loaded the bases with two outs following a walk by Carley Gaskill. A ground out, however, ended the half inning.
  • Ohio State left two more runners on the top of the fourth. The first two batters reached base – Mariah Rodriguez via a single and a walk by Taylor Pack – before advancing on a sac bunt off the bat of Megan McMenemy. Rodriguez stole home in some heads-up base running to tie the game, but the Buckeyes couldn’t push ahead as the next three outs were made via a fielder’s choice, strike out and ground out.
  • After Indiana went ahead 3-1, back to back singles from Rodriguez and Pack gave Ohio State two on with nobody out in the top of the sixth. The Buckeyes couldn’t capitalize, though, with a fielder’s choice, fly out and strike out.

Statistically Speaking

·        Ohio State left 10 runners on base, getting seven hits off Goodin and well as working four walks.

·        Rodriguez went three-for-three with three singles and scored the Buckeyes’ only run of the game. It was her seventh multi-hit game of the season.

·        Ashley Prange, an Indiana native playing in her home state, also had two hits in four at-bats.

·        Payton Buresch started the game but was relieved by Allison Smith after one inning. Smith walked just one over five innings to go along with her six strikeouts.

·        Senior Megan McMenemy started for the first time this season and had a hit in two at-bats.

Next Up
The two teams continue their four-game series tomorrow with a doubleheader in Bloomington beginning at noon. Both games will be streamed live on BTN Plus. Live stats will also be available on the schedule page of OhioStateBuckeyes.com and Twitter updates available at @OhioStateSB.

BUTLER FOOTBALL: Butler Football to End Spring Season at Morehead State

(BU RELEASE)

INDIANAPOLIS – The final game of the 2021 spring season will be played Saturday at Morehead State. The Bulldogs and the Eagles played earlier this year on April 3. The rematch at Jayne Stadium is set for 4 PM on ESPN+

Bulldog Talk

– Connor Reid led BU with 11 tackles vs. Drake and recorded the first interception of his Bulldog career.

– Tommy Carlsen also made 11 tackles last Saturday to give him a team-high 29 tackles on the season.

– Eloi Bigirimana matched his career-best performance with five tackles against Drake.

– Bret Bushka tossed the first TD pass of his career vs. Drake. He completed six passes for 95 yards.

– Luka Popovic scored the first TD of his young career in the fourth quarter vs. Drake.

– Grant Stegman caught a team-high four passes vs. Drake.

– OL Ben Treece, Grant Purlee and Skyler Spetter have started each game for BU this season.

– Butler is the least penalized team in the PFL.

– Nick Orlando scored two TDs the last time BU played MSU. One 11-yard pass and one 1-yard rush.

– There were six total interceptions the last time these two teams met.

SCOUTING MOREHEAD STATE: The Eagles have won their last two games and head into Saturday with a 3-3 overall record. QB Mark Pappas leads an aerial attack that ranks third in the PFL in passing offense (235.5). The Eagles also defend the pass better than any other team in the conference (144.3). They have a conference-best 13 interceptions in 2021 and rank second in sacks with 10. LB Vincent Winey is one of the top tacklers in the conference.  He has 61 total, an average of 10 stops per Saturday. The ‘Dawgs will also need to game plan for DL Vaughn Taylor. The senior has a team-high three sacks and six tackles for loss.

PFL Defensive Player of the Week Brandon Barbee had two interceptions last Saturday, giving him five on the year. He had five tackles and a pick in the first meeting vs. BU.

REMATCH FROM APRIL 3: Butler and Morehead State will meet for the second time this month, this time on ESPN+. In the first meeting, BU rushed for 185 yards behind a strong performance from Kavon Samuels, but gave up 382 yards through the air. Turnovers were critical in the outcome with BU tossing four picks in the setback.

Kavon Samuels rushed 25 times for 108 yards and Johnny O’Shea would bring down eight receptions for a team-high 108 yards.

SERIES HISTORY: Morehead State leads the all-time series 16-8. Butler’s last win over the Eagles came in 2018, 24-21.

The first-ever meeting between these two programs was played in 1963. The Eagles won the first five matchups. Butler’s first win came at home in 2001, 29-27.

LAST SATURDAY: Drake scored 23 points in the second quarter to post a 33-7 win over Butler at the Sellick Bowl. Heavy rain came down for much of the game. The ‘Dawgs were limited to just 28 rushing yards, while Drake posted 225 yards on the ground. QB Ian Corwin entered the game in the second quarter and would be named PFL Offensive Player of the Week the next day. He went 7-for-8 in pass attempts for 75 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed six times for 67 yards.

Butler broke-up the shutout with a fourth quarter TD pass from Bret Bushka to Luka Popovic.

SEASON FINALE: The Bulldogs have not won their regular season finale since 2013 when they defeated Morehead State 58-27. The ‘Dawgs went 7-1 in the conference that season and would host Tennessee State in the NCAA Playoffs as the PFL’s first automatic bid.

2013 was Butler’s first appearance in the NCAA Division I FCS Championship.

NEW RECIPE: Butler had three different players complete a pass last Saturday, seven different players take a hand-off and 11 different Bulldogs catch a pass in the set-back to Drake.

Luka Popovic, Colin Kelly, Wayne Dixie, and Matthew Kentgen all recorded their first reception of the season in the Battle of the Bulldogs.

BULLDOG DEFENSE: Six players on the roster have recorded at least one tackle in all five games this season. Tommy Carlsen, Devin Aguilar, Bradley Magee, Mike Manning, Mickey Kane and Thomas Rousseau make up that list.

Aguilar was the best defensive player on the field the first time these two teams met. He had 10 tackles and an interception.

KAVON WITH THE CARRY: Kavon Samuels is the only player on the roster with 10+ carries in a single game for BU. He has three games with 20+ carries this season, but is coming off a season-low seven rush attempts.

Samuels rushed the ball 25 times in the first meeting vs. MSU, setting a new season and career-high.

BALL STATE WTENNIS: Women’s Tennis Wins 18th-Straight With Win Over EMU

(BSU RELEASE)

MUNCIE, Ind. – The Ball State women’s tennis team continues to make program history under the direction of eighth-year head coach Max Norris, winning their 18th-straight match along with remaining undefeated in Mid-American Conference action.

After losing the doubles point, the Cardinals (18-2, 9-0 MAC) came back in singles winning four-straight points to claim the 4-3 upset over Eastern Michigan (9-12, 1-8 MAC) Friday afternoon at the Cardinal Creek Tennis Center.

“Eastern Michigan came out ready to go,” Norris said. “I did not have us prepared in doubles and they capitalized. Credit to them. We fought back really well in singles winning five of the six first sets and from there we closed the match out strong. I’m proud of our competitive toughness and we will use lessons from today to be better next match. Go cards!”

Sophomore Emma Peeler, who recently was named the MAC Singles Player of The Week, only gave up three games on the top court in her 6-2, 6-1 take down over EMU’s Isabelle Popma. Shortly after Peeler’s win, veteran Rebecca Herrington breezed past Emma Lou-Pommiers, 6-0, 6-4 to give BSU its first lead of the match (1-0).

After that, the Cardinals lead escalated quickly (3-1) when junior Livia Lukacs beat her opponent at the No. 6 position in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1.

Today’s game-winner would come from Ball State’s No. 5 singles player, Silvia Martinez, as the true freshman swept (6-0, 6-0) the Eagles Julia Piatek for BSU’s match point.

The Ball State women’s tennis team continues Mid-American Conference action when it hosts Buffalo on Sunday, April 18. If played outdoors at the Cardinal Creek Tennis Center the match will begin at Noon. If inclement weather were to occur, first serve will be at 1 p.m. ET indoors at the Northwest YMCA.

BALL STATE SOFTBALL: Bottom of Lineup Big in Softball Win at Akron

(BSU RELEASE)

AKRON, Ohio – – It is no secret that anyone in the lineup can make a huge impact for the Ball State softball team.

In Friday’s Mid-American Conference series opener at Akron, it was batters eight and nine who came up with clutch hits to help account for five unanswered runs as the Cardinals (18-10; 12-0 MAC) rallied for a 6-5 come-from-behind victory over the Zips (3-23; 2-10 MAC).

It was the 12th straight MAC win for BSU and ties the 2013 squad for the best start to league play in program history.

While Ball State scored the game’s first run in the top of the first, courtesy of a two-out RBI single from senior first baseman Janae Hogg, it was Akron which would take control of the contest early.

The Zips countered BSU’s opening-inning run with a three-run home run in the bottom of the frame, then added two more runs in the bottom of the second to pull ahead 5-1.

The Cardinals would not be deterred, however, countering with an explosive four-run third inning. Senior catcher Stacy Payton started the rally with a walk, while junior left fielder Faith Hensley and senior designated player Delaney Johnson followed with back-to-back one-out singles.

BSU’s eight-hole hitter Kennedy Wynn was then able to cut the Zips lead to two with a two-run double to right field. Freshman shortstop Kayla Lissy followed from the ninth spot with an RBI groundout which also moved K. Wynn to third.

It proved to be an even bigger play moments later, as a wild pitch allowed K. Wynn to score the game-tying run.

Lissy would come up big again in the top of the fifth, driving in what proved to be the game-winning run with a two-out RBI single to center field. Hensley scored on the play after a single through the left side with one out and moving to second on a Johnson single to nearly the identical spot.

Combined, K. Wynn and Lissy helped account for Ball State’s final five runs. Each tallied two RBI, while Wynn also scored on the wild pitch.

Overall, Hensley led the way on offense for Ball State by going 3-for-3 with two runs scored and a walk. Johnson was 2-for-3, while K. Wynn and Lissy each added a hit as the bottom four in the order accounted for seven of Ball State’s 10 hits.

In the circle, sophomore Deborah Jones improved to 8-2 on the year after throwing the first 5.0 innings. After a rough opening two innings, Jones responded by retiring 10 of the final 11 batters she faced.

Junior pitcher Tieghan Morio took the mound for the final two innings, and picked up right were Jones left off by retiring six of the seven batters she faced. She ended the game by getting a batter looking to secure her second career save.

Ball State and Akron will battle again Saturday, this time for a 1 p.m. doubleheader at Lee R. Jackson Softball Field.

BALL STATE WSOCCER: Soccer Looking to Make History in MAC Title Game

(BSU RELEASE)

MAC Championship Game

Ball State at Bowling Green

Saturday, April 17 (7 p.m.)

Bowling Green, Ohio (Cochrane Stadium)

The Ball State soccer team has a chance to make a little history Saturday night.

BSU has long featured one of the MAC’s winningest programs. In fact, no league team owns more regular season championships than the Cardinals’ four.

Just one thing has eluded the Soccer Cardinals: a trip to the NCAA Tournament. And this year’s group has its sights set on changing that.

West Division champion Ball State (6-2-1) will visit East Division champion Bowling Green (5-1-0) for the MAC Championship with an automatic NCAA berth on the line.

The Cardinals have played in the title game twice before: in 2013 against Western Michigan and in 2018 against this same Bowling Green program. The teams played to a 1-1 draw in that one before the Falcons emerged on their home turf in penalty kicks.

Ball State is looking to even the score this time around.

“That left a really bad taste in our mouth,” said Jenna Dombrowski, a freshman on that 2018 team. “We’re more than ready, and we’re so excited.”

The MAC may have gone away from a full-on tournament this year, opting instead for a single championship game featuring the division winners, but make no mistake, Ball State has been in tournament mode for a while now.

The Cardinals entered the last week of the regular season needing to win their final two games to get to this point. They treated last Thursday at Northern Illinois like a quarterfinal game. And Sunday’s matchup with Eastern Michigan truly was a de facto semifinal. Whichever team won was headed for the title game.

Melissa Diceman’s 84th-minute goal secured the win at NIU, and Dombrowski’s brace powered the Cardinals past EMU and into this showdown with Bowling Green.

“We’ve talked about this from the day I got here and all through the season,” said second-year head coach Josh Rife, the MAC Coach of the Year. “We want to go do something that’s never been done before in this program’s history. It’s a goal we’ve had since day one, but it doesn’t just happen. There’s a lot of work that has gone into getting us to this point, so I know the ladies are excited.”

The numbers bear out why these two teams are here. Ball State has surrendered only seven goals in its nine games and has featured a variety of goal scorers led by Diceman and All-MAC Second Team forward Tatiana Mason with three each. Bowling Green has scored 15 goals and surrendered only two (both in its lone loss to Buffalo) in six games. The Falcons did not play their last four scheduled games because of a COVID pause.

The teams have not faced each other, playing only divisional opponents in this COVID-shortened season, but they have been dueling it out at the top of this league for several years now.

Ball State has been standard bearer for more than half a decade, going 50-9-5 in conference play over the past six seasons for an .820 winning percentage that is far and away the best in the league. Bowling Green has become a dominant program over the second half of that stretch, going 25-3-0 for an .893 winning percentage over the past three years.

One of those three losses came last season to these Ball State Cardinals on the same Cochrane Stadium turf that will host Saturday’s championship game. All-MAC First Team midfielder Nicky Potts scored in the 101st minute that afternoon for a double-overtime BSU victory.

Ball State will look to channel some of that positive energy this time around against a Bowling Green team that has won each of the past two MAC Championship games in PKs (two years ago against BSU, last year against Eastern Michigan).

If they can, they will write an historic new chapter for an already accomplished program and book their ticket to the NCAA Tournament later this month in North Carolina.

BALL STATE MEN’S VOLLEYBALL: Men’s Volleyball Travels To Lewis For MIVA Tournament Semifinals

(BSU RELEASE)

#15 Ball State (4th Seed) (12-7, 8-6 MIVA) at #4 Lewis (1st Seed) (18-2, 12-2 MIVA)

MIVA Tournament Semifinals

Saturday, April 17, 8 p.m. ET | Neil Carey Arena

Last meeting: March 6, 2021 | Ball State lost 3-0

Series History: Lewis leads the series 33-32

HOW WE GOT HERE: In the Cardinals last MIVA regular season weekend series, Felix Egharevba led Ball State to a split with 10th-ranked McKendree. Saturday’s five-set victory over the Bearcats allowed the Cardinals clinch a home match for the 2021 MIVA Tournament quarterfinal round, which was played last Saturday night in Worthen Arena. The Cardinals advanced to the semifinal round for the first time since the 2017 season after defeating the Buckeyes, 3-1.

OHIO STATE RECAP: Graduate senior Blake Reardon, who was a freshman the last time the Cardinals won a quarterfinal round, had an impressive performance after leading his squad with 19 kills off of 32 attempts for a .500 hitting percentage. Junior Kaleb Jenness was not too far behind Reardon turning in a 16-kill showing. No team is successful without a good setter in which senior Quinn Isaacson dished out a game high 53 assists to his counterparts while also leading the Cardinals with 13 defensive digs. Junior Felix Egharevba, also factored in registering seven block assists while the team as a whole totaled 19. Egharevba also had nine kills off of 12 swings for a .667 attack percentage.

FOUR CARDINALS EARN ALL-MIVA HONORS: The Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association announced the members of the 2021 All-MIVA First and Second teams Friday morning. Ball State senior setter Quinn Isaacson and junior outside hitter Kaleb Jenness were tabbed to the All-MIVA First Team, while junior middle attacker Felix Egharevba and graduate senior outside hitter Blake Reardon were both selected to the All-MIVA Second Team. This is the first time Isaacson has earned All-MIVA First Team accolades, as he was a second-team honoree in 2020.

SCOUTING LEWIS: The Flyers advanced to Saturday’s semifinal with a straight sets win over Quincy last Saturday evening in the opening round of the MIVA Tournament. Ryan Coenen (Franklin, WI/Franklin) and Tyler Mitchem (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook HS) led the way for Lewis combining for 25 kills in the contest. Lewis in currently ranked No. 4 in the national rankings and is the No. 1 seed in the MIVA Tournament. The Flyers swept the Cardinals in both meetings this year.

THE END OF AN ERA:  One of the winningest coaches in NCAA men’s volleyball history will lead Ball State’s program for one more season. Head coach Joel Walton announced he will retire following the completion of the 2021 season. A two-time Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) Coach of the Year, Walton enters his 23rd and final season at the helm of the Cardinals ranked fourth among active NCAA men’s volleyball head coaches (Divisions I, II or III) with 410 career wins, owning an overall record of 415-237 (.637).

MIVA TOURNAMENT TIME:  The MIVA Tournament begins this week and will be followed by the semifinals on April 17. The championship match will be played on April 24. All eight teams qualified this year. The higher seed of each matchup will host. The Cardinals haven’t won a quarterfinal match since April 15, 2017 which was against Loyola in Worthen Arena. BSU won that match 3-1. The last time the Cardinals won a semifinal round in the MIVA Tournament was on April 26, 2002 when Ball State defeated ironically enough Lewis by a score of 3-1 in Muncie, Ind. Ball State went on to host Loyola Chicago in the title match on April 27 earning a 3-0 sweep over the Ramblers advancing to the NCAA Tournament where BSU fell to Pepperdine 3-1 in Malibu, Calif.

Semifinals – Saturday, April 17

Game 5: No. 1 Lewis vs. No. 4 Ball State at 8 p.m. ET

Game 6: No. 2 Loyola-Chicago vs. No. 3 McKendree 7 p.m. ET

Final – Saturday, April 24

Game 7: Winners of games 5 & 6 (at higher seed)

BALL STATE WBASKETBALL: Ball State Women’s Basketball Adds Skyla Knight To 2021-22 Roster

(BSU RELEASE)

MUNCIE, Ind. – Ball State 10th-year head women’s basketball coach Brady Sallee has announced the signing of Skyla Knight (Los Angeles, Calif./Hoover [Ala.] HS) from Butler Community College.

“We are ecstatic to bring a high-level winner like Skyla into our program,” Sallee said. “She will immediately make a difference on both ends of the floor for us. You will see a motor that is second to none, a three-level scorer, and a truly impactful defender. Her versatility and no-nonsense approach have me so excited to coach her, it’s hard to put into words. A high-level student, high-level player and high-level person is headed to Cardinal country.”

 Knight is currently still playing at Butler Community College located in El Dorado, Kansas, and is competing in the national tournament. The Grizzlies take on Otero Junior College in the first round of the NJCAA tournament on Monday, April 19 at 8 p.m. CT.

So far for her career at Butler CC, she has averaged 15.0 points, 3.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds per contest in helping the Girzzlies to a Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference regular season title. Skyla recently was named First Team All-KJCCC. She also previously played one season at Little Rock.

Knight averaged 13.2 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.5 steals per game for her career at Hoover High School in Alabama. She is a member of the program’s 1,000-point club. Knight helped the Buccaneers win Alabama Class 7A State Championships in 2017 and 2019.

As a senior, Knight was named First Team All-State while also being tabbed as the state tournament’s most valuable player. Knight was a member of the AHSAA 7A Northwest All-Region Team in 2019 while also earning AHSAA Area 5 MVP accolades. She ended her senior season as a participant in the Alabama vs. Mississippi All-Star Game.

Knight is the sixth addition to the Cardinals’ incoming crop and joins a group featuring Ally Becki (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg HS), Madelyn Bischoff (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncalli HS), Makenna Burch (Tulsa, Okla./Northeastern Oklahoma A&M), Marie Kiefer (Melbourne, Ky./Bishop Brossart HS) and Jazmyn Turner (Marion, Ind./Wabash Valley CC).

BALL STATE WBASKETBALL: 2021 WBB Signee Ally Becki Named To The Indiana All-Star Team

(BSU RELEASE)

MUNCIE, Ind. – Ball State women’s basketball 2021 commit Ally Becki (Brownsburg, Ind./Brownsburg) has been named to the Indiana All-Star team which consists of the 14 best players in the state of Indiana. The All-Stars will play the Junior All-Stars on June 9 before playing the Kentucky All-Stars on June 11 (in Kentucky) and June 12 (at Southport Fieldhouse).

Becki had a star-studded senior year with the Brownsburg Bulldogs after leading her squad to the Class 4A Indiana State Championship game.

Becki scored a career high 31 points in Brownburg’s 49-27 win over Franklin in the Class 4A semifinals outscoring the Grizzly Cubs on her own after making 12 of her 14 shots while also grabbing six rebounds, dishing out four assists and had a steal.

During postseason action, in the six games leading up to the state title contest, Becki averaged 21.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.6 steals and 3.6 assists while shooting 61 percent from the floor. In the state title game, Becki scored 14 points in the first quarter alone against Crown Point and finished the game with 19.

Today it was announced that Becki has been tabbed a 2021 IndyStar Miss Basketball finalist after wrapping up her career with Bulldogs averaging 18.0 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.1 seals per game this season.

Becki has been successful from the start of her high school career, earning a spot on the varsity squad as a true freshman. She averaged 11.7 points, 2.7 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game in her debut season for the Bulldogs. As a sophomore, Becki managed to score 13.4 points per game, while dishing out 4.4 assists and pulling down 5.5 rebounds per contest. She also received the All-State Underclassman Subway Award in each of her first two seasons with the Bulldogs.  

Becki continued to make a strong presence on the court her junior year with her highest rebounding average yet, at 7.2 per game, while also scoring 11.5 points per game. For her play, Becki was tabbed Subway Supreme 15 and selected to the junior All-Star team. Becki is a three-time All-Hendricks County award winner. She was also a member of the 2018-19 IndyStar girls basketball preseason Super Team.

Becki, will begin her journey with the Ball State women’s basketball team come this fall.

NOTRE DAME WOMEN’S SOCCER: MATCH 13 PREVIEW: NO. 7 TCU

(ND RELEASE)

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame women’s soccer team is off for their final game of the regular season and another Big 12 opponent awaits them. The Irish are set to battle the seventh-ranked TCU Horned Frogs Saturday night in Fort Worth. There is no stream of the match but it is set for an 8 p.m. ET start from Garvey-Rosenthal Soccer Stadium.

Know the Opponent: No. 7 TCU Horned Frogs

The Irish are set to take on another ranked foe in the No. 7 Horned Frogs this weekend.

TCU is the fourth Top-10 team the Irish will face this season and the sixth ranked team overall out of 13 total games.

Saturday’s meeting will be the third all-time between the two schools and the Irish hold a 2-0 advantage all-time over TCU.

The last time these two teams played was down in Fort Worth on September 8, 2006. Notre Dame entered the matchup as the top-ranked team in the country and defeated the Horned Frogs 2-0.

Jill Krivacek and Brittany Bock both scored for the Irish in the second half and the Irish defense did not allow a shot on goal all game.

The seventh-ranked Horned Frogs head into the match with a 10-1-1 record and are coming off their first loss of the season on the road against Texas A&M.

TCU had won their 10 previous matches in a row heading into the matchup with the Aggies, including a 4-0 victory over Oklahoma State who the Irish just narrowly lost in overtime against last weekend.

Irish Take No. 18 Oklahoma State to the Brink

Facing their first ranked team of the spring season, the Irish were ready to go when they faced No. 18 Oklahoma State on the road last weekend.

The Irish looked to strike first in the opening minutes as Kiki Van Zanten had a great effort at goal that deflected off the underside of the bar and came out, denying the Irish of the opening goal.

Oklahoma State struck first in the match in the 19th minute but the Irish were not behind for long.

Maddie Mercado was set up for the free kick just about five yards outside the box. She curled a shot over the wall but it snuck under the bar to beat the keeper and grab the equalizer for the Irish in the 27th minute.

The Irish maintained possession for most of the match and had a great opportunity to snag the game winner in the 67th minute off a corner kick. Kati Druzina connected on a one-timer but Oklahoma State’s Plotz was in the right position at the right time.

In overtime, the Cowgirls ended up with the game-winner in the 98th minute coming off a counter attack opportunity up the left side.

A Gift Like No Other

Doug and Lisa Jones of Westlake Village, California have made an incredible gift to the University of Notre Dame to endow the women’s soccer head coach position.

This gift will help underwrite the salary of the coach, provide stability and resources for the long term and create funds for use within the athletics department. Nate Norman will become the first Doug and Lisa Jones Family Head Women’s Soccer Coach. Norman, a 2007 Notre Dame graduate and former soccer student-athlete, currently is in his third season as head coach of the Fighting Irish.

The Joneses have a strong connection to the Fighting Irish women’s soccer program as their daughter, Ashley Jones Penn, is a 2008 and 2009 Notre Dame graduate and former member of the team. While earning four Monograms with the Fighting Irish, she helped Notre Dame win the 2004 NCAA Championship and advance to the College Cup Final Four in three of her four years. She was a two-time first team Academic All-American as an accounting major.

INDIANA STATE BASEBALL: Guerrero Pitches Two-Hit Shutout as Sycamores Take Opener over Valpo, 5-0

(ISU BASEBALL RELEASE)

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Left-hander Geremy Guerrero pitched his second shutout of the season as he led No. 22 Indiana State to a 5-0 victory over Valparaiso at Bob Warn Field Friday afternoon. With the win, the Sycamores moved to 17-8 on the year and 4-1 in Missouri Valley Conference action while Valpo fell to 5-17 and 0-5 in MVC play.

Guerrero retired the first seven Valpo hitters he faced on strikeouts and before popup to third base ended the run. VU did not record a hit until the sixth inning of play when Brady Renfro led off the inning with a single to right. The Metamora, Ill. native retired 11 batters on strikeouts and allowed only two base hits over nine innings to improve to 7-0 on the season.

The Sycamores went for nine hits on the day, led by a 4-for-4 day at the plate from Aaron Beck who fell a home run short of the cycle. Beck recorded three RBIs while Josue Urdaneta and Miguel Rivera added an RBI each.

Indiana State tallied three runs on three hits in the third inning, all with two outs on the scoreboard. Brian Fuentes kicked off the rally with a hit-by-pitch and moved to third on a Max Wright single. Rivera drove a 2-2 pitch to right center for an RBI double before Beck cleared the bases with a triple to the gap in left.

Urdaneta added to the ISU lead in the seventh with a single up the middle to score Seth Gergely before Beck doubled in another insurance run in the eighth to cap off the scoring. 

Riley Dent and Renfro recorded the lone Valparaiso base hits in the game.

Easton Rhodehouse went a scheduled two innings, allowing two base hits and striking out three. Ryan Mintz was charged with the loss, falling to 0-3. He allowed four runs on six hits over five innings.

The two teams will continue the four-game series Saturday with a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. ET.

INDIANA STATE SOFTBALL: Softball Heads to Peoria for Three-Game Series with Bradley

(ISU RELEASE)

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The Indiana State softball team is set to travel to Peoria, Ill. for a three-game series with Bradley at Peterson Hotels Field at the Louisville Sports Complex. The Sycamores will open play on Saturday, Apr. 17 with a doubleheader slated to begin at 1 p.m. ET with game two set to start at approximately 3:30 p.m. The series finale will be played on Sunday, Apr. 18 with a start time of noon.

Peterson Hotels Field is closed to the public and only fans on student-athletes pass list will be admitted into the complex.

Series History

Bradley leads the all-time series 60-35 over Indiana State. The two squads last met on Apr. 28, 2019 resulting in an 10-2 Bradley victory.

Three Things to Know

Powerful Peterson

Bella Peterson is the MVC doubles leader with twelve on the year. She posted a 1.000 slugging percentage in series sweep of Drake last weekend. Peterson broke the career doubles record after hitting four in the Drake series and she is the new ISU record holder in the category with 46. Peterson is also tied for twelfth in the NCAA standings in doubles.

Sweepin’ Sycamores

Indiana State has swept back-to-back conference series for the first time in program history. ISU won the series over Drake for the first time since 2006 and swept the Bulldogs for the first time since 1991.

Swinging Siwek

Over the past two conference series with Valpo and Drake, Lexie Siwek has led the Sycamore offense with a .522 batting average recording a team high twelve hits. The lefty slapper, drove in six runs posting a .565 slugging percentage, being a key in ISU’s comeback win over Drake.

INDIANA STATE WSOCCER: Sycamore Program-Best Seven Athletes Earn MVC Postseason Honors

(ISU RELEASE)

ST. LOUIS — An Indiana State program-best seven women’s soccer players earned All-Missouri Valley Conference honors, the Valley announced Friday morning.

In all, the Sycamores collected nine MVC postseason honors, the most in the 21-year history of the program.

The duo of Chloee Kooker and CeCe Wahlberg were both named to the All-MVC First Team following strong sophomore campaigns. Wahlberg sits at third in the MVC in total shots (32) and shots per game (2.3) while also sitting at seventh in shots on goal (12). She is also tied for second in the league with two game-winning goals and is 10th with .50 points per game.

Kooker appeared and started in all 10 matches for the Trees during the 2021 spring season, recording 895 minutes of action, including at least 90 minutes in nine of their 10 games. The sophomore recorded three shots throughout the course of the year, with two coming in the MVC Tournament semi-final against Valparaiso.

A trio of Sycamores also earned Honorable Mention All-MVC honors this season including Maddie Alexander, Kloe Pettigrew and Sidney Ewing. In addition to earning Honorable Mention honors, Alexander and Pettigrew were also named to the All-Freshman team alongside Audrey Stephens and Katie Yankey.

Just a freshman, Alexander has already made an impression as one of the top goalies in the Missouri Valley Conference. She recorded the second-best season in Sycamore history with six shutouts, trailing only Erin Mitchell who tallied seven during the 2012 season. She is second in the Valley in total shutouts (6), total saves (51) an saves per game (5.1).

Pettigrew, who was also earned both Honorable Mention and All-Freshman honors, started in all 10 matches for the Blue & White, not missing a single minute of play, logging 928 minutes of action. She ended the year with one shot on goal in a victory over Southern Illinois on Mar. 5.

In addition to Alexander and Pettigrew, Ewing earned her third MVC honor after named to the All-Freshman Team in 2018 and earning Honorable Mention honors during the 2019 season. The junior played in all 10 matches for the Trees, starting in seven and recording 455 minutes. She ended her season with four points after tallying two assists, the 10th-best number in the MVC, on the year and a game-winning goal against Evansville on Apr. 7. Both of her shot attempts during the season were on goal.

On the All-Freshman team, Stephens is tied with Wahlberg for the second-most game-winning goals in the MVC at two, one coming against Missouri State on Mar. 28 and the other against Northern Iowa on Apr. 3. The freshman played in all 10 matches on the year, starting in five while posting five shot attempts on the year, two of which were on goal.

Katie Yankey was also named to the All-Freshman team after an impressive freshman campaign where she saw action in all 10 matches. She posted two goals on the year with one coming against Drake on Feb. 28 and the other versus Loyola Chicago on Mar. 24. During her 442 minutes of competition, Yankey recorded five shots with three ending on goal.

PURDUE FT. WAYNE BASEBALL: Pitcher’s Duel Goes to UIC 1-0

(PFW RELEASE)

CHICAGO – Gerald Pintarich gave up just one run in 8.0 innings of work, but in the end it wasn’t enough as the UIC Flames defeated Purdue Fort Wayne 1-0 on Friday (April 16) afternoon in the series opener between the two baseball programs.

Pintarich falls to 1-2 with the loss. He was out-dueled by UIC pitcher Jacob Key. The Flames hurler took a no-hitter into the ninth inning before Aaron Chapman singled with two outs. Chapman was the third baserunner of the game for the Mastodons. Chapman walked in the fourth inning and Justin Greene reached on an error in the eighth inning. Key had two strikeouts in his nine-inning shutout. Key moves his record to 4-2.

The lone run of the game came in the seventh inning. Bryan Rosario started the inning with a single. He stole second and then went to third on a sacrifice bunt. Sean Dee knocked him in with a single.

UIC improves to 11-15 (10-10 Horizon League). The ‘Dons fall to 9-15 (6-11 Horizon League). The two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday (April 17) in a 1 p.m. ET start.

PURDUE FT. WAYNE SOFTBALL: ‘Dons Pick Up Horizon League Win in Split With Northern Kentucky

(PFW RELEASE)

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – The Purdue Fort Wayne softball team picked up a Horizon League win on Friday (April 16), as the Mastodons split the opening doubleheader with Northern Kentucky.

Game 1, Mastodons 3, Norse 7

In the opening contest of the series, Olivia Stansbury had two RBIs, bringing Madeline Swart home twice. In the first inning, Swart reached on a double to right center, then advanced to third with a sacrifice bunt from Meagan Mullaney. Stansbury was able to bring her home with a sacrifice fly to center. Two innings later, it was nearly replicated to a T, as Swart singled, then advanced on a wild pitch. She was advanced on a sacrifice bunt from Mullaney, then Stansbury brought her home.

In the second, the ‘Dons got another run on the board after Kyndell Ethridge tripled to right field then Rachel Everson singled to score her.

NKU scored a run in the second, but the difference came in the third, when the Norse scored six. Most of that damage was done with one out.

Lauren McConnell (1-5) threw three innings with a pair of strikeouts. Jadelyn Johnson threw three innings with two K’s as well. Faith Howard (1-3) got the win after six innings of work.

Game 2, Mastodons 1, Norse 0

In the nightcap, it looked as though the Norse had luck on their side, as they took a perfect game into the fifth inning. Kennedy Steele broke up the chance for perfection by drawing a walk in the top of the fifth, but nothing came of it.

The only run of the contest came in the sixth inning. Lexi Smalarz dropped a bunt to the pitcher and beat the tag at first to vanquish NKU’s chance at a no-hitter. Mullaney doubled to left center to score Smalarz, breaking the 0-0 stymie.

The Mastodons had two more singles in the top of the seventh from Ethridge and Steele.

Shaina Eyre threw the seven-inning shutout, fanning two in the process. She was able to strand seven Norse on base, including three in the first inning. Eyre improved to 5-10 with the win. Madisyn Eads fell to 1-2 for NKU.

With the split, the Mastodons move to 7-20, 6-17 Horizon League while Northern Kentucky goes to 8-20, 7-13. These two teams will meet again tomorrow (Saturday, April 17) for an 11 a.m. start.

EVANSVILLE SOFTBALL: Evansville softball travels to Drake for three games

(ACES RELEASE)

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – For the third weekend in a row, the University of Evansville softball team takes to the road as a 3-game series at Drake will take place on Saturday and Sunday in Des Moines.  Saturday’s action features a 12 p.m. doubleheader while Sunday’s final contest will start at 12 p.m.; Sunday’s contest will be featured on ESPN3.

Last Time Out

– Facing preseason MVC favorite Southern Illinois, the Purple Aces left it all on the field, outscoring the Salukis by a 10-9 margin in the three games while taking the second contest by a final of 8-2

– The opener was a pitcher’s duel that saw the game tied up at 1-1 heading into the bottom of the 7th before SIU hit a walk-off 2-run home run

– Evansville scored two runs apiece in the first two innings of game two on their way to an 8-2 victory…Marah Wood added a 3-run home run to add some insurance…Wood and Eryn Gould each scored twice

– In the third contest, the Salukis picked up a 4-1 win to clinch the series

One of the Best

– Eryn Gould continues to shine in her final season at UE and is currently batting .439 with an on-base percentage of .580

– The on-base tally ranks 13th in the country while her average is 44th…she has reached base safely in 28 out of 30 games this season and has gotten even better in MVC games – reaching base 67.5% of the time…between March 20 and 28, Gould reached base in 21 out of 26 plate appearances – a rate of 80.7%

Finding her Groove

– Izzy Vetter was spectacular at Southern Illinois, throwing 13 innings while striking out 14 batters and finishing with a 2.69 ERA

– She kept the Aces in the opener, allowing one run through six innings before picking up her 10th win of the season with another gem in game two

– With a total of 139 strikeouts in 2021, Izzy Vetter is 18th in the nation and second in the MVC…she reset her career mark with 12 strikeouts in the opener against Valpo…prior to that, she recorded 11 K’s in wins over Purdue Fort Wayne and Green Bay

– Vetter checks in with a 10-6 record and a 2.75 ERA

– On the national side, Vetter is 49th with an average of 8.9 strikeouts per 7 innings

EVANSVILLE WSOCCER: Women’s Soccer Places Four on MVC All-Conference Team

(ACES RELEASE)

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Evansville women’s soccer program wraps up a successful season in the Missouri Valley placing four on the All-Conference team.

Highlighting the squad is senior goalkeeper Michaela TIll, who earns second team all-MVC after an incredible season between the pipes for the Purple Aces. Till finished the season ranked 12th in the country in goals-against-average and first in the MVC, allowing two goals in five games played for a .367 GAA on the season. Till also posted 26 saves, including 11 against Loyola to help give UE the 1-0 victory over the Ramblers, she ranks eighth in the NCAA in saves percentage .929.

“This team from the very first training in August until the last game has shown up and competed,” head coach Chris Pfau said.

Rachel Rosborough earned All-Freshman team honors after playing in all eight games for the Aces in the back line. The freshman from Ontario, Canada was key in both the Aces top-20 NCAA defense and the forward moments of the ball on the offensive end. Rosborough saw action in 666 minutes and earned freshman of the week on March 16 this season.

Emilie Hill and Abby Phelps both found places on the honorable mention team. Hill recorded most of her time as a center back for the Purple Aces, while also finding the back of the net against Loyola to help earn her first career goal and the win over the Ramblers. Hill also played in all eight games, playing all but 10 minutes this season. Phelps earned her spot after her top notch midfield play during the season, attempting 10 shots, including a career high five at Drake.

“It has been an incredible year for our women and what they have accomplished this spring,” Pfau said. “Three weeks after I was hired we were shut down due to COVID and we missed out on our spring games to build that foundation. Then our first games that we got to play opened right in our conference schedule.  As a new coach you never know what to expect until you start playing. Then as you get into games you start to figure things out, start to get to know the players and what works and what does not work. And at the end of the spring season we qualified for conference tournament.”

The Aces ranked as the best defensive team in the Missouri Valley Conference this season and one of the top-20 in the NCAA, posting a top-10 in goal-against-average, allowing only three goals in eight games, posting five shutouts and not losing back to back games on the season.

“We built a great foundation in the fall and for our players to have the spring we had shows that we are headed in the right direction and can compete with anyone in our conference,” Pfau said. “We are all excited about the fall and the future of our program.”

INDIANAPOLIS WSOCCER: Peck’s Goal Takes Win in Regular Series Finale

(U OF I RELEASE)

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Taylor Peck scored her second goal of the season, assisted by Kiki Sauceda, in the start of the second half to defeat the USML in the Hounds last match of the season, 1-0, at the Lou Fusz Soccer Complex at 2 p.m. ET.

HOW IT HAPPENED

The Greyhounds outshot the Tritons 12 to three in the win, Kiki Sauceda and Taylor Peck both led the squad with three shots each.

“Always great to get a win on the road and this win will help us capitalize and build confidence going into Monday,” said Head Coach Holly Cox. “We need to capitalize on the opportunities, we need to capitalize on the opportunities we work hard to create.”

The Hounds ended with four shots on goal, while the Tritons had one. Both teams racked up 11 fouls each, and a yellow card each, with Maya Ware receiving one for USML and Stephanie Brady received one for the Greyhounds.

“We want to score more goals, we need to be hungry the full 90 minutes.” Cox added.

INS AND OUTS

-The Hounds and Tritons both earned nine corners a piece.

– Amber Hayes of USML posted three saves in the loss.

-Sophia Saucerman posted a save in the win for the Greyhounds.

GOING POST

“A new season now begins with the start of the conference tournament,” Cox said. “We need to take this one game at a time.”

The Hounds will begin the GLVC Tournament on Monday.

VALPO BASEBALL: Baseball Drops Opener at Nationally-Ranked Indiana State

(VALPO RELEASE)

The Valparaiso University baseball team dropped the opener of a four-game, weekend series with Indiana State 5-0 on Friday afternoon at Bob Warn Field in Terre Haute, Ind. The No. 23 Sycamores received a masterful pitching performance from ace Geremy Guerrero. Valpo continued to pitch well, but a strong effort on the mound was outdone by the best pitcher on one of the nation’s best teams.

How It Happened

Valpo starter Easton Rhodehouse (Gilbert, Ariz. / Highland) struck out three over two scoreless innings. He wiggled out of a second-inning jam with help from third baseman Kaleb Hannahs (West Terre Haute, Ind. / West Vigo), who fielded a ground ball and threw out a runner trying to score to keep the contest scoreless.

The Sycamores jumped on the board with three two-out runs in the third. An RBI double by Miguel Rivera and a two-run triple by Aaron Beck supplied the scoring.

After being touched for three runs in his first frame of work, Ryan Mintz (Lombard, Ill. / Willowbrook) settled in to send down the side in order in both the fourth and fifth frames.

Designated hitter Brady Renfro (Antigo, Wis. / Antigo) ended Guerrero’s no-hit bid in the sixth by ripping one to right for Valpo’s first knock of the afternoon. The Brown & Gold mounted a threat in that frame as Jake Kapers (Schererville, Ind. / Mount Carmel) drew a walk, but the Sycamores escaped without yielding a run.

A double play helped Mintz post another scoreless frame in the sixth, then he was touched for a single tally despite striking out a pair in the seventh. That run came on a two-out single by Josue Urdaneta and made it 4-0 in favor of Indiana State.

The Sycamores got their final run in the bottom of the eighth as Beck doubled down the left-field line.

Inside the Game

Renfro and Riley Dent (Long Beach, Calif. / Wilson) accounted for the Valpo hits.

Rhodehouse worked two scoreless frames and yielded three hits. The righty has allowed two earned runs or fewer in all 11 appearances this season, and he now has 29 strikeouts against just five walks in 22 innings.

Mintz (0-3) allowed four runs on six hits while striking out four and walking none over his five innings. Valpo pitching issued just one walk against eight strikeouts, the fourth time this season the team has allowed one walk or fewer and the first time in the last seven games.

Valpo played errorless defense for the ninth time this season.

Guerrero threw a two-hit shutout and improved to 7-0 on the season.

Up Next

Valpo (5-17, 0-5) and Indiana State (17-8, 4-1) will match up again on Saturday at noon CT in a doubleheader in Terre Haute. Both games will be broadcast on ESPN3. Links to live video, audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.

VALPO WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: Olivia Brown Signs With Valpo Women’s Basketball

(VALPO RELEASE)

Valpo women’s basketball head coach Mary Evans announced today that Olivia Brown, a 5-8 guard from East Grand Rapids, Mich., has signed with the Valpo program and will suit up for the Brown and Gold beginning with the 2021-22 season. Brown comes to Valpo from St. Bonaventure, where she played two seasons for the Bonnies.

“Olivia is both a tremendous young person and a tremendous basketball player,” Evans said. “She was a player that we targeted coming out of high school and I am excited that she has chosen Valpo to finish her career. Olivia will give us added depth at the wing position and is a gifted shooter who can also guard. A big emphasis in our program is family, and family is really important to her — I am glad that we are able to help her get back closer to her family in Michigan.”

Brown appeared in 51 games in her two years at St. Bonaventure, making 35 starts for the Bonnies. She averaged 7.2 points/game over her two seasons, scored in double figures 12 times and connected at a 36.5% rate from the 3-point line. This past season, Brown averaged 7.2 points per game and hit 39 3-pointers on 38.2% shooting from deep, leading the Bonnies in both 3-pointers and 3-point percentage and ranking eighth in the Atlantic 10 in the latter category.

Brown played her prep basketball at East Grand Rapids H.S. She was a two-time Honorable Mention All-State and four-time All-Conference honoree. Brown helped lead the Pioneers to a 73-17 record over her four seasons, including a district title her junior year.

Brown joins incoming freshmen Lovie Malone and Ella Van Weelden as newcomers who will join the program for the first time in the 2021-22 season, in addition to freshmen Katie Beyer and Molly Sheehan, who enrolled early and joined the program this semester.

VALPO WOMEN’S SOCCER: Valpo Soccer Set for MVC Championship Match Sunday

(VALPO RELEASE)

Valparaiso (5-3-5, 3-2-3 MVC)

Title Match – MVC Championship

April 18 – at Loyola (7-1-1, 6-1-1 MVC) – 1 p.m.

Loyola Soccer Park – Chicago, Ill.

Next Up in Valpo Soccer: One match is all that separates Valpo from its first conference championship and NCAA Tournament berth since 2014, as the third-seeded Brown and Gold face off against top-seeded Loyola Sunday afternoon in the title match of the MVC Championship.

Previously: Freshman Lindsey Dusatko found the back of the net in Wednesday’s MVC semifinal match at Indiana State with just over a minute left in extra time to give Valpo the 1-0 victory on the golden goal. The thriller saw Valpo goalkeeper Nikki Coryell make five saves as the defense posted its third consecutive clean sheet.

Next Up: The winner of Sunday’s championship match earns the MVC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The tournament field will be unveiled on Monday.

Following the Brown and Gold: The tournament championship will be broadcast live on ESPN+, with Tom Ackerman and David Dir on the call. WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) will carry a radio broadcast well. Links for the live coverage will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.

Head Coach John Marovich: In his 13th season at the helm of the Brown and Gold, John Marovich holds a 103-98-36 (.511) record both overall and at Valpo as a head coach. The 2014 Horizon League Coach of the Year, Marovich holds Valpo’s all-time records for both victories and winning percentage.

Series Notes: The most common opponent in program history, Valpo and Loyola will be matching up for the 30th time Sunday. The Ramblers hold an 19-9-1 advantage in the all-time series and have won the last four matches since Valpo won 2-1 in October 2017 in their first meeting as MVC opponents, including a 1-0 victory at Brown Field earlier this season. The two sides have met twice in postseason action previously: the first round of the 2012 Horizon League Tournament (1-0 Loyola win) and the first round of the 2017 MVC Championship (2-1 Loyola win).

Scouting the Opposition: Loyola enters the championship match at 7-1-1 overall this season, and earned the top seed in the tournament after going 6-1-1 in conference play. Lindsey Hardiman scored the golden goal in the 103rd minute of the Ramblers’ semifinal versus Illinois State to give them a 2-1 win and advance them to the title match. Hardiman has scored a team-high five goals this year, while 2021 MVC Player of the Year Megan Nemec has a team-best 14 points on three goals and eight assists.

Valpo Outperforms Preseason Poll: For the second straight season, Valpo outperformed its projection in the MVC preseason poll, as the Brown and Gold were picked to finish sixth before eventually finishing in third position. The 2019 Valpo side finished in fifth place after being picked seventh in the preseason. In fact, in its first four seasons in the Valley, Valpo has never finished below its preseason projection, as the 2017 (fifth) and 2018 (sixth) squads both matched their preseason poll position.

A Championship Appearance: When Valpo steps on the pitch Sunday, it will be making the sixth conference championship match appearance in program history, but its first in the MVC Championship:

1999 – 4th seed in Mid-Continent Conference Tournament – L 2-1 (ot) vs. Oral Roberts

2004 – 3rd seed in Mid-Con Tournament – L 3-1 vs. Oral Roberts

2005 – 2nd seed in Mid-Con Tournament – W 3-1 vs. Oakland

2009 – 3rd seed in Horizon League Tournament – L 4-0 vs. Milwaukee

2014 – 1st seed in Horizon League Tournament – W 1-0 vs. Detroit

The Goldenest of Goals: Lindsey Dusatko’s golden goal in the 109th minute Wednesday at Indiana State was noteworthy for a number of reasons, beyond the obvious of it sending Valpo into the title match. It marked the first time in program history Valpo has scored a golden goal in a postseason match (previously 0-3-3 in the postseason when a match has gone to extra time). It also marked the first time Valpo scored a golden goal in any match since a 3-2 win over Eastern Illinois in September 2017 (0-3-9 since that match in overtime fixtures before Wednesday). Dusatko now owns the latest golden goal by a Valpo player in program history, surpassing Jackie Thomas’ match-winner against Oral Roberts in September 2006 by 31 seconds.

Maintaining the Shutout Streak: The Valpo defense withstood an Indiana State attack which generated 23 shots in Wednesday’s win, limiting the Sycamores to just five shots on goal in posting its third consecutive clean sheet. This is the first time the Brown and Gold have recorded three straight shutouts since the 2014 team racked up four consectuive clean sheets early in the campaign. Valpo’s shutout streak currently stands at 312 straight minutes, dating back to Missouri State’s second-half goal on April 3 – that is the program’s longest streak since 2014 as well. That 2014 team was also the only other side in program history to post two shutouts in postseason play.

A Historic Haul: It was a historic haul of postseason awards for the Valpo soccer program as the MVC announced its awards on Friday. Nikki Coryell became the first goalie in program history to earn a league’s Goalkeeper of the Year accolade and is the first freshman to earn MVC Goalkeeper of the Year honors since 2012. Meanwhile, Valpo’s three honorees on the First Team not only tied for the conference high, it surpassed the program’s total number of two First Team All-MVC recipients entering this season in six years as a league member (1996-98 as an affiliate member; 2017-19 as a full member) and was the most First Team All-Conference honorees in a single season since the 2006 side placed three players onto the First Team All Mid-Continent Conference squad.

Goalkeeper of the Year: Coryell has been stellar all season long backstopping the Valpo defense between the goalposts and earned Valpo’s first major award since joining the Valley, while also earning spots on the All-MVC First Team and All-Freshman Team. A two-time MVC Defensive Player of the Week selection, Coryell surrendered just four goals in eight MVC fixtures and allowed one goal or fewer in all eight regular season conference contests. She has been just as strong as ever since the start of the MVC Championship, posting a pair of clean sheets to lower her season GAA to 0.49 and her save percentage to .885. She ranks ninth in the nation with seven shutouts, 18th in save percentage and 27th in GAA. Coryell already owns Valpo’s freshman record with her seven clean sheets, a mark which is tied for sixth in a single season in program history, and is within range of the program’s single-season GAA (0.43) and save percentage (.885) records.

VALPO WOMEN’S SOCCER: Coryell Named MVC Goalkeeper of the Year; Four Players Earn Postseason Recognition

(VALPO RELEASE)

The Valpo soccer team was well represented as the Missouri Valley Conference announced its postseason awards on Friday morning, highlighted by the selection of freshman goalkeeper Nikki Coryell (Aurora, Ill./Metea Valley) as the conference’s Goalkeeper of the Year.

Coryell was one of three Valpo players to earn First Team All-Conference recognition, as she was joined by senior defender Keegan Maris (Batavia, Ill./Batavia) and sophomore forward Kiley Dugan (Irwin, Pa./Penn-Trafford). Freshman forward Kelsie James (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) received Honorable Mention All-Conference honors and joined Coryell on the All-Freshman Team as well. The awards were voted on by conference coaches based on regular season performance.

Coryell has been stellar all season long backstopping the Valpo defense between the goalposts, as she closed the regular season with a 0.59 GAA and an .868 save percentage, posting five shutouts in 11 regular season matches. A two-time MVC Defensive Player of the Week selection, Coryell surrendered just four goals in eight MVC fixtures and allowed one goal or fewer in all eight regular season conference contests.

Coryell has been just as strong as ever since the start of the MVC Championship, posting a pair of clean sheets to lower her season GAA to 0.49 and her save percentage to .885. She already owns Valpo’s freshman record with seven shutouts —a mark which currently ranks ninth nationally — and is within range of the program’s overall single-season records for both GAA and save percentage as well.

Maris earned First Team All-Conference recognition for her role in Valpo’s robust defensive effort this season. After not playing a competitive match in over two and a half years due to injury, Maris has returned this year and has played every minute of every match at left back for the Brown and Gold. During the regular season, that amounted to 1,070 minutes over 11 matches, in which the Valpo defense surrendered just seven goals and recorded five shutouts. Maris has then played all 219 minutes at right back in Valpo’s pair of clean sheets in the MVC Championship. Maris also contributed on the offensive end with an assist on Valpo’s opening goal in its win over Missouri State late in the regular season schedule, a victory which secured a key three points.

Dugan received First Team All-MVC honors for her work up front for the Brown and Gold this spring. Dugan has been a stalwart on the attack for Valpo this year, playing 1,096 of 1,289 possible minutes through the MVC semifinals — by far the most of any Valpo attacker. She played 80 or more minutes seven times over 11 regular season matches. Dugan notched a key goal for the Brown and Gold in the 67th minute against Drake to equalize the match against the Bulldogs less than four minutes after Drake had taken the lead in an eventual draw.

James picked up spots on the Honorable Mention All-MVC and All-Freshman squads after closing the regular season with a team-high eight points. The rookie, who was a three-time MVC Freshman of the Week selection this season, notched goals in non-conference play against Chicago State and DePaul, and then was involved with all three of Valpo’s match-winning goals in MVC action. James scored the match-winner in Valpo’s key victory in the penultimate match of the regular season against Missouri State, while assisting on the game-winners against Indiana State and Illinois State — the latter clinching the three seed in the MVC Championship for Valpo.

It was a historic haul of postseason awards for the soccer program. Coryell became the first goalie in program history to earn a league’s Goalkeeper of the Year accolade and is the first freshman to earn MVC Goalkeeper of the Year honors since 2012. Meanwhile, Valpo’s three honorees on the First Team not only tied for the conference high, it surpassed the program’s total number of two First Team All-MVC recipients entering this season in six years as a league member (1996-98 as an affiliate member; 2017-19 as a full member) and was the most First Team All-Conference honorees in a single season since the 2006 side placed three players onto the First Team All Mid-Continent Conference squad.

VINCENNES BASEBALL: VU baseball falls in home conference double-header to Heartland

(VU RELEASE)

VINCENNES, Ind. – The Trailblazer baseball team continued their MWAC conference schedule Friday afternoon, hosting Heartland Community College in the first two games of a four-game weekend set.

Vincennes fell in both games after some excellent pitching performances on both sides, dropping game one, 3-1 and game two 7-0.

VU was the first time to score in game one, when Peyton Lane singled in Max Flock in the third inning to give the Blazers a 1-0 lead.

Gehrig Tenhumberg was holding up his end on the bump midway through game one, only allowing four hits and striking out five batters through the first five innings.

Heartland managed to string together some hits in the sixth and took the lead back from VU, 3-1.

The lead would hold as the Trailblazers were unable to bring home any more runs as the Hawks took game one, 3-1.

Tenhumberg pitched six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, while striking out five batters and allowing three walks.

Conner VanLannen pitched the final three innings in relief and surrendered two hits and got a pair of strike outs.

Game two was much like game one, with the two teams locked in a 0-0 stalemate after the first four innings of play.

Heartland broke the tie in the fifth inning, pushing across a pair of runs, then added five more insurance runs in the top of the seventh.

The Hawks took game two 7-0 and the claimed the Friday sweep at Jerry Blemker Field.

“We have to do a better job offensively executing,” VU baseball coach Chris Barney said. “We didn’t execute on a bunt situation. You’re only going to get one or two of those a game against teams number one and two starters and we didn’t make it happen. We popped up on a hit-and-run, we just did some things that we just haven’t been able to get through it yet.”

“You have to tip your hat to Heartland, their pitchers did a great job, especially their first pitcher in game one. Game two we imploded on the mound in the seventh with a hit batsmen, a walk and a few other things that didn’t go our way, so we’ve got to do a better job defensively and offensively to make sure that we get ready to play on Sunday.”

Cooper Thacker toed the rubber for VU to start game two and threw five innings, giving up two runs on four hits and striking out five.

“Gehrig and Cooper did really well. They kept us in the game, they gave us an opportunity to be in the game and they gave us a chance to win these games and our offense just has to do a better job. Tip your hats to Gehrig and Cooper for stepping up and competing like they are in our number one and number two slots.”

Parker Watts pitched an inning-plus in relief, giving up three runs on three hits.

Cody Swimm pitched in the seventh, getting the first two outs of the inning before allowing two runs on three hits. Swimm did record a strikeout.

Luke Osborn finished out the seventh, getting the first batter he faced to fly out to left field on the first pitch.

The four-game conference series now shift to Normal, Ill. where VU will take on Heartland Sunday, April 18 at the all-turf Corn Crib. First pitch Sunday is set for 2 p.m. eastern.

“We have to see some resiliency and some opportunities for us to bounce back because Heartland is a much better club at home. Heartland came in to today with a 2-10 record on the road and they’re a much better club at home and they are feeling good about themselves after today, competing with us. Sam Steimel and Braedon Nichols are going to have to step up and our offense and defense are going to have to play well.”

All-River States Conference Men’s Soccer Teams & Awards announced for 2020-21

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — The 2020-21 All-River States Conference Men’s Soccer Teams & Awards have been selected, and they are announced here at RiverStatesConference.com. The awards were voted on by the 10 RSC men’s soccer head coaches. 

The All-RSC First & Second Teams consist of 14 players each — four forwards, four midfielders, four defenders and two goalkeepers. Also named was the RSC Men’s Soccer Champions of Character Team.

University of Rio Grande (Ohio) sophomore forward Sebastian Borquez leads the All-RSC First Team as the RSC Men’s Soccer Player of the Year and RSC Offensive Player of the Year. The native of Santiago, Chile, has scored 12 goals and 30 points leading the RedStorm into the RSC Championship final on Saturday, April 17. Borquez ranks second in the conference in goals and third in points as the top scorer for Rio Grande (13-4, 7-1 RSC). 

Brescia (Ky.) University goalkeeper Ruben Burgos was voted as the RSC Men’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Year. Burgos, a junior from Madrid, Spain, led the conference with 105 saves, a figure that ranks seventh in the NAIA. In 17 games, Burgos had a goals-against average of 2.03 and led the Bearcats to a 9-8-1 overall record. 

WVU Tech head coach Oliver Hewitt-Fisher was voted by his peers as RSC Men’s Soccer Coach of the Year. Hewitt-Fisher, in his third year, has led the Golden Bears to a record of 12-3 overall and 7-1 RSC this season. WVU Tech won the RSC Regular Season Championship and the playoff No. 1 seed and are ranked No. 24 in the NAIA Top 25. 

Point Park (Pa.) University defender Marco Monteiro was named the RSC Men’s Soccer Newcomer of the Year. The junior transfer from Villa Boa, Portugal, was the top vote-getter among new players to the conference this year. He was one of four defenders on the All-RSC First Team and the only first-team member who is new to the RSC. 

The complete All-RSC First & Second Teams are posted below. The RSC Men’s Soccer Champions of Character Team recognized one member of each team who best represents the NAIA five core values of respect, responsibility, integrity, servant leadership and sportsmanship. 

2020-21 ALL-RIVER STATES CONFERENCE MEN’S SOCCER TEAMS & AWARDS

RSC Player of the Year — Sebastian Borquez, So., F, Rio Grande (Ohio)
RSC Offensive Player of the Year — Sebastian Borquez, So., F, Rio Grande (Ohio)
RSC Defensive Player of the Year — Ruben Burgos, Jr., GK, Brescia (Ky.)
RSC Newcomer of the Year — Marco Monteiro, Jr., D, Point Park (Pa.)
RSC Coach of the Year — Oliver Hewitt-Fisher, WVU Tech

ALL-RIVER STATES CONFERENCE MEN’S SOCCER FIRST TEAM

First NameLast NameCl.Pos.School
SebastianBorquezSo.FRio Grande
MitchellRoellSr.FPoint Park
TrevorLenkeSr.FIU East
Luis AlejandroJaimesSo.FWVU Tech
GeertBijlSr.MPoint Park
GustavoFerrariSo.MIU East
EwanMcLauchlanSr.MRio Grande
PabloMunizSr.MWVU Tech
MarcoMonteiroJr.DPoint Park
Ruben MartinMaciasSo.DWVU Tech
AlexIzagaJr.DIU East
ZachRobbinsJr.DAsbury
RubenBurgosJr.GKBrescia
TreyMillerJr.GKAsbury


ALL-RIVER STATES CONFERENCE MEN’S SOCCER SECOND TEAM


First NameLast NameCl.Pos.School
LuisBaldiviesoFr.FBrescia
OwenSigeySr.FAsbury
AndersSandstoFr.FWVU Tech
SamPedersenSr.FRio Grande
CharlieChechlaczJr.MRio Grande
IanFierroSo.MOakland City
FletcherCaponecchiaSo.MWVU Tech
DrewBlaydesJr.MMidway
RodrigoBassoSo.DRio Grande
SilasMachadoSr.DRio Grande
DiegoMontenegroSo.DRio Grande
ManuelSegarraSr.DWVU Tech
Hunter CaudillSo.GKMidway
JacquesD’MonteFr.GKWVU Tech


RSC MEN’S SOCCER CHAMPIONS OF CHARACTER TEAM


SchoolName
Asbury UniversityTrey Miller
Brescia UniversityFabian Torres
Carlow UniversityZachary Lindow-Straub
Indiana University EastCole Fosbrink
Midway UniversityEvan Sakamaki
Oakland City UniversityCameron Breese
Ohio Christian UniversityJesse Current
Point Park UniversityMitchell Roell
University of Rio GrandeConnor Paine
WVU TechLogan Thomasson

OHIO STATE MEN’S TENNIS: Buckeyes Sweep MSU For Fourth Time This Year

(OSU RELEASE)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – For the fourth time this season, Ohio State swept Michigan State, winning 7-0 Friday afternoon at the Auer Tennis Complex.

Playing outdoors at home for the first time since May 11, 2019, the Buckeyes (17-2) took the doubles point and then grinded their way to six singles victories. The win sets up a matchup on Sunday with No. 7 Michigan and the Big Ten East title will be on the line. If Ohio State wins, the teams will share the 2021 East Division crown.

The Buckeyes took the doubles point quickly with a 6-0 win from Cannon Kingsley and JJ Tracy on court three and then John McNally and Robert Cash won 6-1 on court one.

Michigan State pushed back a little in singles. Tracy continued his solid run of 21 consecutive victories with a 6-1, 6-2 win and then Kyle Seelig made it 3-0 with his 6-2, 6-3 win on court five. The clinching point came from Trotter with a 6-1, 7-5 victory on court three.

McNally claimed his 19th victory of the season with a 6-3, 6-3 win on court one over Nick Williams. Boulais won 6-3 in his first set with Anthony Pero and then battled his way to a 9-7 victory in a second-set tiebreak to put the sixth point on the board.

Cannon Kingsley didn’t have his A game on Friday but like all top players do, he grinded his way to a three-set victory to keep a perfect sheet on the season. The Northport, N.Y. native bested Carson Gates 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 to improve to 24-0.

The Buckeyes will look to avenge one of their two losses this season when it hosts the Wolverines on Sunday afternoon.

#8 Ohio State 7, Michigan State 0


Singles
1. John McNally (OSU) def. Nick Williams (MSU) 6-3, 6-3
2. Cannon Kingsley (OSU) def. Carson Gates (MSU) 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
3. James Trotter (OSU) def. Josh Mukherjee (MSU) 6-1, 7-5
4. Justin Boulais (OSU) def. Anthony Pero (MSU) 6-3, 7-6 (9-7)
5. Kyle Seelig (OSU) def. Graydon Lair (MSU) 6-2, 6-3
6. JJ Tracy (OSU) def. Jarreau Campbell (MSU) 6-1, 6-2

Doubles
1. John McNally/Robert Cash (OSU) def. Nick Williams/Kazuki Matsuno (MSU) 6-1
2. James Trotter/Justin Boulais (OSU) vs. Jarreau Campbell/Drew Keene (MSU) 5-3, unfinished
3. Cannon Kingsley/JJ Tracy (OSU) def. Graydon Lair/Carson Gates (MSU) 6-0

Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (6,5,3,1,4,2)
Official: Julio Colon T-2:25 A-40

MIAMI SOFTBALL: RedHawks Stay Perfect; Vierstra Nearly Does the Same

(MIAMI RELEASE)

OXFORD, Ohio – Senior Courtney Vierstra took a perfect game into the seventh inning as the Miami University softball team downed the University at Buffalo 3-0 on Friday afternoon at the Softball Complex. The win, Miami’s 17th in a row, moves the RedHawks to 23-6 overall and 13-0 in Mid-American Conference play. Buffalo drops to 9-21 overall, 7-8 in MAC play.

How it Happened:

Vierstra continued her dominance inside the circle. After throwing a perfect game last Sunday, the senior was perfect again through six innings this afternoon before a Buffalo single in the top of the seventh broke up the perfect game. Vierstra finished the contest with a career-high 17 strikeouts.

Allie Cummins gave Miami an early 1-0 lead with a single to right field as Karli Spaid came around to score in the bottom of the first.

A two-run blast from Adriana Barlow in the fourth spotted the Red and White a 3-0 advantage and the game’s final score.

Up Next:

These same two teams are back at it on Saturday, April 17 for a doubleheader. Opening pitch is slated for 1 p.m.

MIAMI MEN’S BASKETBALL: Ayah to Return to Miami for Extra Year of Eligibility

(MIAMI RELEASE)

OXFORD, Ohio—Precious Ayah (Bayelsa State, Nigeria/Greenforest [Ga.]) has announced that he will return to the Miami University men’s basketball program for the 2021-22 season with his extra year of eligibility.

Ayah, a four-year letterwinner for the RedHawks, has played in 93 career games and is on pace to break onto Miami’s career games played top 10 list in 2021-22. He earned Academic All-MAC honors during the 2020-21 season.

“I have had an incredible journey here at Miami,” said Ayah. “The guys here have become family, and our bond has only gotten stronger over the years. It only feels right to play the game I love with the guys I call my brothers one more time! I am excited to be returning for my final year of eligibility.”

“We are excited about Precious’ decision to use his final year of eligibility as a RedHawk,” said head coach Jack Owens. “His leadership and work ethic are a staple in the locker room. He is an everyday guy who has fought through a lot of adversity to get to this point in his career.”

Ayah has continued to increase his production with each season. He has shot better than 50.0 percent from the field for the campaign for the last three seasons and shot 50.0 percent or better in 12 contests last season. Ayah played in all 23 games during the 2020-21 season, making 11 starts, including starting the last six games of the season.

In 2020-21, Ayah helped a Miami team that recorded its first winning season since 2009 and notched a Ken Pom rating of 157, which was the RedHawks’ highest since 2010. He helped the RedHawks earn a berth in the eight-team Mid-American Conference Tournament as Miami advanced to the quarterfinal round for the fourth time in the last six years, including three of the last four MAC Tournaments.

DAYTON SOFTBALL: UDSB Returns Home For Four-Game Set Against George Mason

(DAYTON RELEASE)

DAYTON – The University of Dayton softball team will return home this weekend for a four-game Atlantic 10 series with visiting George Mason. The Flyers and Patriots will square off in back-to-back doubleheaders at UD Softball Stadium Saturday and Sunday with first pitch set for 12 p.m. ET both days.

SCOUTING GEORGE MASON

George Mason (14-8, 9-7 A-10), currently in second place in the Central division standings, is coming off a 1-3 weekend at Saint Louis April 9-11. The Patriots took the Billikens to 15 innings in game one before falling 5-4, claimed game two, 4-2, but dropped the final two games of the series, 2-0 and 5-1. The Mason offense is led by Rachel Warrens (.375), one of five Patriots hitting at .300 or above, with a team-high 27 hits and 15 RBI while. As a team, George Mason is 50-for-59 in stolen bases led by Saige Cisler who is a perfect 9-for-9. In the circle, Bekah Ansbro (6-3) carries the team’s low ERA of 2.48 with a team-high 77 strikeouts.

ABOUT DAYTON

Dayton (11-21, 6-6 A-10) is currently battling through an eight-game losing streak including a 1-0 loss at Butler on Wednesday. The Flyers are in third place in the A-10 Central standings and looking to get back into the win column this weekend. Dayton freshman Megan Ward paces the offense with a .404 average on the strength of 44 hits and has scored a team-best 18 runs while senior Abby Ehrenborg (.308) has tallied 32 hits, including a team-high 11 home runs, and has collected 27 RBI on the season. Freshman Addy Bullis (6-6) leads the Flyer pitching corps with a team-low 2.19 ERA and a team-best 59 strikeouts.

ATLANTIC 10 FORMAT

The Atlantic 10 will be divided into two divisions with five teams in each regionally-based pod. Dayton will be competing in the central division which also features George Mason, St. Bonaventure, Saint Louis and George Washington. The north division is made up of Fordham, La Salle, Saint Joseph’s, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Also new to the 2021 Atlantic 10 schedule is that conference series have moved from three to four-game series, featuring doubleheaders each day of the two-day series.

ATTENDANCE AT UD SOFTBALL STADIUM

Based on campus and local COVID-19 protocols and capacity restrictions, Dayton home athletic events will not be open to the general public. Limited seating is available to guests of Dayton student-athletes (names must be on a pass list for admission). Currently, visiting team fans are not permitted in/at the facility. Additionally, attendance at Dayton home athletic events will be socially distanced and fans are required to wear masks.

XAVIER BASEBALL: Baseball Takes 9-2 Win in Series Opener Against Butler

(XAVIER RELEASE)

CINCINNATI – Xavier baseball opened up four-game series against Butler with a 9-2 win over the Bulldogs at Hayden Field. Luke Stephenson collected four RBI on a pair of home runs and Nick Zwack went 7.0 innings in the start on the way to the win.

Xavier jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first three Butler scored runs in the fifth and eighth but the Musketeers continued to pad the lead with runs in the fifth and the seventh to take the 9-2 win. Xavier moved to 12-14 (3-1 BIG EAST), while Butler moved to 6-13 (1-4 BIG EAST). The Musketeers and the Bulldogs continue action on Saturday with a doubleheader, getting underway at noon at Hayden Field.

In game one of Xavier’s Pledge It campaign to support Vs. Cancer, Xavier batters had 10 hits, and the Musketeers pitchers finished with six strikeouts. The campaign continues through the rest of the Butler series and through next weekend’s series with UConn.

Luke Stephenson hit a pair of home runs, a three-run shot in the third and a solo shot in the seventh inning. Stephenson finished with a team-high four RBI and extended his team-best on-base streak to 12 games.

Luke Franzoni hit two run homer in the fifth inning, finishing with two runs and two RBI. Franzoni also had a pair of walks.

Alex Helmin went 2-3 at the plate with a walk, scoring three runs. His reached-safely streak extends to eight games.

Garrett Schultz had a pair of hits, collecting an RBI.

Andrew Walker finished with a hit an RBI extending his hitting streak to seven games.

Jack Housinger reached safely for an ninth-straight game, getting on with a walk.

Ryan Altenberger and Grant Stephenson each had a hit, bringing the Musketeers’ total to 10 for the game.

Nick Zwack went 7.0 innings in the start, allowing just one run on four hits, striking out five with out a walk. Zwack picked up the win, his third of the season.

Griffin Lanoue entered in the eighth, going 2.0 innings with one earned run allowed on one hit with a strikeout.

Xavier’s pitchers totaled six strikeouts for the game.

MARIAN SOFTBALL: GAME TWO WALK-OFF CAPITALIZES MARIAN’S SWEEP OF SPRING ARBOR

(MARIAN RELEASE)

INDIANAPOLIS – The Marian softball team grinded out two Crossroads League wins on Friday afternoon, sweeping Spring Arbor to move to 32-8 overall this season. The Knights won game one 1-0, before taking the second act 4-3, walking-off the Cougars in the bottom of the seventh. Marian is now 21-3 in Crossroads League play, and winners of their last nine games.

Game 1 | Marian 1-0 Spring Arbor

Defense highlighted the entirety of game one, as both the Knights and Cougars combined for just seven hits and nine total base runners. The Cougars were able to scatter two of their four hits in the first inning, but Sydney Wilson stood tall and picked up her first strikeout of the game to end the threat. Wilson returned in the second with a perfect second innings forcing two groundouts to third, and in the third retired the side in three batters once again.

Marian’s offense broke through in the bottom of the third inning, starting a rally with two-outs. Savannah Harweger slapped a two-out single back up the middle off Emma Hamp, and stole second to give Marian a runner in scoring position. Kassidi Cadle brought the shortstop home with a single on a 2-1 count, poking the RBI hit to center to give the Knights a 1-0 lead.

The lead held at one after both teams were retired in order in the fourth inning, and the Cougars showed life with a two-out single and walk in the fifth, but Wilson was able to keep a 1-0 lead after forcing a flyout to left to end the inning. In the sixth, the southpaw jammed the Cougars into a pair of foul outs, before ending the inning on a grounder to third to leave a runner on base.

Wilson closed her 14th win of the season with a perfect seventh inning, striking out the final batter of the game to close the shutout win. The junior allowed just four hits to match four strikeouts in the win, throwing 91 pitches. Harweger accounted for two of Marian’s three hits and scored the game’s only run, while Cadle went 1-3 with an RBI single. Caitlyn Phillips was a wall defensively, creating seven of the 21 outs at third base.

Game 2 | Marian x-x Spring Arbor

Spring Arbor made the first move to score in game two, plating a run in the top of the first inning. The Cougars’ Jessie Panchaud led off the inning with a single, and after reaching third on a sacrifice bunt and a passed ball, Hamp recorded an RBI groundout to score the first run of the game. Marian attempted to tie the game in the home half inning with a Cadle single and Raegan Hiatt walk, but a flyout ended the threat for Marian.

After a scoreless second and third inning which featured three strikeouts from Abigail McPherson, the Knights’ offense got started in the bottom of the third. Cadle recorded a single past the shortstop, and made her way to third after Shelbie Stotts delivered a single to right center. Marian loaded the bases after Hiatt was hit by a pitch, allowing Sierra Norman to drive in the first run for Marian with a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Cadle.

The Cougars threatened to break the game open in the top of the fourth in response to Marian’s run, picking up two singles and a walk to load the bases. Coach Scott Fleming went to the bullpen to get the final two outs of the inning, turning to Jaylah Guilliam, who immediately got a force play at the plate and a pop up to Phillips to end the threat.

Spring Arbor did take the lead back in the top of the fifth inning, turning back to back one-out walks into runs after a two-RBI double from Hamp was slammed into left field, but the Knights minimized the damage to two runs. Looking to return the favor in the bottom of the fifth, Harweger and Cadle delivered back to back singles through the left side of the infield in the exact same spot. Stotts finished the hit parade with a two-RBI double to left field, tying the game at 3-3 after Cadle and Harweger scored.

Neither team scored in the sixth, and after Guilliam stranded two hits in the top of the seventh, Cadle recorded a lead-off single in the bottom of the inning, dropping the ball just inside the chalk of the line. After seeing two pitches, Stotts made a sacrifice attempt to move Cadle. Stotts legged out the bunt, but the throw to first from the third baseman sailed wide of the bag, allowing Cadle to score all the way from first base and give Marian the walk-off win.

Cadle was a perfect 4-4 scoring three of Marian’s four runs in game two, and made eight of the 21 outs on defense. Harweger finished 1-4 with a run scored, and Stotts and Mady Foster both had two hits. Guilliam picked up the win in the circle, allowing two runs and four hits in 3.2 innings pitched. McPherson earned a no-decision, and struckout four in 3.1 innings.

The Knights will look to extend their win-streak on Saturday when they travel to No. 10 Indiana Wesleyan.

MARIAN FOOTBALL: MARIAN CLAIMS MSFA MIDEAST BEST 19 ALL-LEAGUE HONORS

(MARIAN RELEASE)

INDIANAPOLIS – The Marian football team turned in a 3-1 record in the 2020-21 season in the Mid-States Football Association Mideast League play to go with their 5-1 overall mark, and claimed a Mideast best 19 All-League honors, as announced by the league Friday morning. Marian had eight players represented on both the first and second teams, and claimed three honorable mention honors.

Wide receiver Johnny William headlined Marian’s first team winners, as he was named to the MSFA Mideast League Team for the fourth time in his career. William led Marian in both receptions (20) and receiving touchdowns (5), and was second on the team in the regular season with 342 yards. William’s fifth touchdown reception broke the all-time record for career receiving touchdowns, as the senior surpassed Krishawn Hogan with his 43rd career touchdown. Joining William on the first team offense was tight end Anton Berry, as the senior claimed his first career honor. Berry had one reception during the season, and helped pave Marian’s run game that averaged 164.8 yards per game in the regular season.

Defensively, the Knights were represented by interior lineman Cameron Harris and Dylan Roth, linebackers Sir’Zion Dance and Logan Blake, and cornerback TJ Comer. Harris was a force inside, finishing third on the team with 24 total tackles. Harris had five tackles for loss and three sacks, and forced a fumble. Roth recorded 17 total tackles, and had one for loss with one sack. Blake led the Knights in tackling with 53 total, 30 of which were solos, and led the Knights with seven sacks. Blake also had two interceptions for a team-best 74 yards, and scored two touchdowns.

Dance was second on the team with 42 total takcles, and made 1.5 sacks to go with two interceptions. Comer was a lockdown corner and earned his third MSFA All-League honor, breaking up five passes and intercepting two. Comer had a pick-six in the win against Taylor, and also had a sack against Trinity International that led to a safety.

Completing Marian’s first team winners was punter Taylor Soper, as the first-year starter at punter had a monster year, averaging 39 yards per kick to earn his first MSFA honor.

The Knights placed eight on the second team, with four on offense, two on defense, and two on special teams. Frankie Young earned his first career MSFA Honor as a second team winner, and threw for 1102 yards and 12 touchdowns on the year, completing 58.9 percent of his passes. Receiver Jacob Pressler was also named to the second team, hauling in 16 receptions for 239 yards and three scores. Offensive linemen Darren Dillon and Zach Sibila also earned second team honors.

Ricky Kwak and Diomoni Small both earned their first career honors by making the MSFA Second Team. Kwak led the Knights with four interceptions on the year, while Small was part of the force on defense that held opponents to under 150 yards passing per game. Kicker Merrick Strykowski and return specialist Ben Stevens maded second team special teams.

Earning honorable mention honors were senior defensive end Ryley Pease, junior nickel Joey Floccari, and freshman offensive lineman Austin Jones. Pease made 14 tackles after transitioning from safety to defensive end, and had 1.5 sacks. Florcarri had 10 total tackles and three passes defensed, and the freshman Jones started every game at left tackle.

MLB NEWS: AP study: MLB salary down 4.8% in 2 years; top 100 earn half

NEW YORK (AP) — The average major league salary dropped 4.8% to just under $4.17 million on opening day from the start of the previous full season in 2019.

The average has fallen 6.4% since the start of the 2017 season, when it peaked at $4.45 million, according to a study of major league contracts by The Associated Press. The salary downturn is yet another sign baseball could be headed toward labor strife and a possible work stoppage in 2022.

Baseball’s middle class has borne the brunt of the drop. The median salary — the point at which an equal number of players are above and below — is $1.15 million, down 18% from $1.4 million two years ago and a drop of 30% from the $1.65 million record high at the start of 2015.

Of 902 players on opening-day rosters, 417 (62%) had salaries under $1 million, including 316 (35%) under $600,000.

The 50 highest-paid players are getting 33.4% of all salaries, up from 28.6% in 2017, and the 100 highest-paid are receiving 52.4%, an increase from 42.5% in 2017.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer is the highest-paid player in 2021 at $38 million after agreeing to a $102 million, three-year contract he can terminate after one season. Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout is second at $37.1 million, followed by Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole ($36 million) and St. Louis third baseman Nolan Arenado ($35 million), who was acquired in an offseason trade with Colorado.

The World Series champion Dodgers topped the major leagues at $241 million, the highest big league total since the Dodgers set the record at $270 million at the start of the 2015 season.

Players are unhappy with the slide in salaries under the current collective bargaining agreement, even before last year’s pandemic-shortened season, and intend to press for changes during labor talks this year to replace the contract that expires Dec. 1.

The average was just over $500,000 when AP started its salary studies in 1989 and went down just twice before 2017: after the 1994-95 strike and between the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

The average has dropped 4.9% under the current labor agreement, which started after the 2016 season. The average rose 15.3% under the 2007-11 contract and 32.6% under the 2012-16 deal.

This year’s average was depressed by the opening-day absence of Houston pitcher Jake Odorizzi, who was left off the initial roster, and infielder Rougned Odor, who had been designated for assignment by Texas and later was traded to the New York Yankees. Their presence on opening day would have increased by average by roughly $24,000, cutting the drop over two years to 4.2%.

Add the money Boston owes second baseman Dustin Pedroia, on the voluntary retired list after missing most of the prior three seasons while hurt, and the average would have been down 3.9% to $4.2 million. Termination pay, option buyouts and portions of signing bonuses paid to released players are not included in the average.

In addition, the average likely was lowered slightly by the expansion of active rosters to 26, which probably caused teams to add 30 players making near the $570,500 minimum.

The New York Yankees are second at $201 million and the New York Mets, under new owner Steven Cohen, third at $186 million. The Angels are next at $181 million, followed by Washington ($179.6 million), Boston ($179.5 million), Houston ($176.5 million), San Diego ($175.7 million) and Philadelphia ($174.8 million).

Twelve teams are under $100 million, with Pittsburgh at $46 million the lowest on opening day in a full season since Houston’s $44.6 million in 2014. Slightly above the Pirates are Cleveland ($51 million), Baltimore ($56 million) and Miami ($57 million).

Last year’s salaries were cut to 60/162nd because of the shortened season and cannot be compared with other years.

Average and median salaries decline over the course of the season as veterans are released and replaced by younger players making closer to the minimum.

The AP’s figures include salaries and prorated shares of signing bonuses and other guaranteed income for players on active rosters and injured lists and one player who started the season on the paternity list. For some players, parts of deferred money are discounted to reflect current values.

Luxury tax payrolls computed by Major League Baseball are different, using average annual values of contracts on 40-man rosters plus about $15 million per team for benefits and extended benefits.

REDS BASEBALL: Votto, Castellanos homer in Reds’ 10-3 rout of Indians

CINCINNATI (AP) Joey Votto hit a two-run homer to cap a seven-run third inning and the Cincinnati Reds cruised to a 10-3 rout of the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.

Jeff Hoffman (2-1) gave the Reds another solid start, surrendering just a run and seven hits through six innings and helping himself with a looping RBI single in the third. Hoffman loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the third but got out of it with no damage.

Seven of the Reds starters scored in the bottom of the inning. Eugenio Suarez doubled down the third base line to drive in two, and Votto followed with his shot off the top of the left field wall.

“That inning was huge and set the tone for the rest of the game,” Hoffman said.

Reds manager David Bell said Hoffman pitched even better after contributing offensively.

“I think it got him into the game and gave him some confidence,” Bell said. “That was all he needed. He came out in the fourth, all the way through the end of his night, pitched really well.”

Tyler Stephenson had a two-run single in the fifth inning.

Amed Rosario and Jordan Luplow homered for Cleveland, and Josh Naylor had three hits.

Indians starter Logan Allen (1-2) didn’t make it out of the third inning. He gave up five runs on three hits, but reliever Phil Maton surrendered the big hits to Suarez and Votto before getting out of the inning.

“Allen didn’t have a good fastball early,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “I thought we were swinging the bats well enough. I was hoping they wouldn’t get to him but that’s what ended up happening.”

HOME COOKING

Cincinnati got a good start to the homestand after losing four of six games on a road trip to Arizona and San Francisco. That came after the Reds had started 5-1 at home to start the season.

“Clearly we were dissatisfied with our road trip, certainly the way it finished,” Votto said. “And it was good to be back, good to play well in front of the Reds fans. But we think often about being a dangerous team everywhere. Of course we want to win as often as possible at home, but we’ve got our eyes on bigger and better things.”

In the postgame video session with reporters, Votto wore teammate Kyle Farmer’s football jersey from the Marist School near Atlanta. Farmer was a high school quarterback and had a bit part in the the 2009 movie “The Blind Side.”

CUBS BASEBALL: Cubs hit by 4 more pitches, Braves hold on in 9th to win 5-2

CHICAGO (AP) Kyle Wright plunked four Cubs batters but still left with the lead after a last-minute call-up, Will Smith stranded the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Atlanta Braves escaped with a bizarre 5-2 win Friday over Chicago.

Wright was recalled from the club’s alternate site to replace Drew Smyly, who was scratched and placed on the 10-day injured list with left forearm inflammation Friday morning. Wright hit four batters, including Javier Baez twice, but limited Chicago to two runs and three hits over 4 1/3 innings. He also doubled for his first career hit.

“I thought he did a great job,” catcher Travis d’Arnaud said. “For the most part, he kept us in the game.”

Four relievers, including winner Josh Tomlin (2-0), kept the Cubs scoreless until Smith entered for the ninth. Atlanta’s closer walked the bases loaded with two outs before striking out Joc Pederson to cap his third save in three tries.

Willson Contreras homered off Wright as the Cubs lost their second straight and fifth of six. Contreras was one of three Cubs struck by Wright pitches Friday as the Cubs assumed the major league lead for hit batsmen with 13.

Chicago batters were hit a league-most 52 times last season.

Braves manager Brian Snitker wasn’t bowled over by Wright’s performance but was pleased to see the right-hander stay out of deep trouble.

“I loved the way he didn’t let the thing get out of hand,” he said. “He made big pitches and got big outs when we needed them.”

The Braves took the lead for good with a three-run fourth highlighted by Ronald Acuna Jr.’s two-run single. Marcell Ozuna added three hits and an RBI for Atlanta, which has won two straight since ending a four-game skid.

The first four runs came off Chicago starter Zach Davies (1-2), who was making his first outing since giving up five earned runs in fewer than two innings in an April 10 loss at Pittsburgh.

The Cubs began the day hitting a majors-worst .168 and ended it stranding a dozen runners.

MLB NEWS: Cubs’ Tepera surprised by 3-game ban: Baseball has become ‘soft’

Chicago Cubs reliever Ryan Tepera was perplexed to find out he received a three-game suspension from MLB for throwing behind Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Brandon Woodruff during an at-bat in Tuesday’s game.

“I believe over time baseball has changed, and, to be blunt, today’s baseball has become a bit soft,” Tepera said Friday, according to Meghan Montemurro of the Chicago Tribune.

Tepera, who’s appealing the ban, said he was trying to let the Brewers know the Cubs were tired of getting hit by pitches after Woodruff nailed catcher Willson Contreras earlier in the game.

“Back in the day, matters were settled on the field,” Tepera said. “There was no malicious intent. It was a message that we’d had enough.”

Cubs manager David Ross was also suspended one game for the incident.

“I voiced my displeasure to the powers that be, and we’ll move on. … The game polices itself, in my opinion,” Ross said.

Chicago faces Milwaukee again for a three-game series starting April 23.

NBA NEWS: Dwyane Wade joins Utah Jazz ownership group

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Dwyane Wade is an NBA owner.

The Utah Jazz announced Friday that the 13-time NBA All-Star will join the youngest ownership group in the league.

The group is headed by technology entrepreneur Ryan Smith, who along with his wife, Ashley, acquired majority interest in the Jazz in late 2020.

Wade and Smith have known each other for several years and had discussed working with each other in various capacities.

“Dwyane is not only a basketball legend, he is also a great leader, businessman, and human being,” Smith said in a statement. “As we continue to build on the incredible legacy of the Utah Jazz franchise, we are excited to add Dwyane’s experience and expertise to the equation. Utah is an amazing place and I couldn’t be more thrilled about the future of the franchise and the future of this state. Dwyane’s influence will be important to both.”

Wade played 16 NBA seasons with Miami, Chicago and Cleveland before retiring after the 2018-19 season. He won three NBA titles and had his No. 3 jersey retired by the Heat last month.

“Partnering with Ryan and the Utah Jazz is the perfect fit as we share the same vision and values,” Wade said. “Not only is this group focused on building a championship franchise, they are also committed to using their platform to do good and actively create a more inclusive, equitable world. We share a lot of the same goals and are trying to go the same places in life.”

Wade talked about entering into NBA ownership in the final seasons of his career and said in 2019 that he wanted to discuss the potential of joining the Heat leadership group. The sides talked later that year, with no agreement, and it’s not known if the conversations ever resumed.

“I want to congratulate Dwyane on his recent announcement,” Heat managing general partner Micky Arison said Friday. “We had discussed having him join our ownership group after his retirement but he was not prepared to commit at the time. Of course I am disappointed that he didn’t reconsider.

“Having said that I wish him good luck and much success with the Jazz. To me Dwyane will always be a Heat lifer.”

NBA NEWS: Projected top-3 pick Evan Mobley declares for NBA draft

USC’s Evan Mobley announced Friday his decision to enter the 2021 NBA Draft. He’s expected to be a top-three pick following a stellar freshman campaign.

Mobley, 19, was a consensus second-team All-American after guiding the Trojans to a 25-8 regular-season record this season. He was also the Pac-12 Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Freshman of the Year.

The 7-footer became just the second player from a major Division I conference to earn all three conference awards after Anthony Davis accomplished the feat with SEC powerhouse Kentucky in 2012.

A former McDonald’s All-American and five-star recruit, Mobley led the Trojans in points (16.4), rebounds (8.7), and blocks (2.9) this past season; his block mark was sixth-best in the nation.

NFL NEWS: Steelers players 10th group skipping in-person workouts

(AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers have become the 10th group of NFL players to say they won’t be attending in-person voluntary offseason workouts.

With a post through the NFL Players Association, the Steelers joined the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers, Broncos, Seahawks, Giants, Bears, Raiders, Lions, Browns, and Patriots in declaring their intent to skip the sessions that can begin on Monday.

An 11th team might also be passing on attending: New York Jets players posted on social media that “many” of them will not show up in person.

“We should not be made to compromise our health and safety,” the Pittsburgh players wrote. “With the current pandemic still affecting our communities and country, and the lack of clear protocols and protections regarding returning to work at full capacity, the players … have decided to exercise our right to not participate in voluntary offseason activities.

“A virtual offseason (in 2020) helped keep us safe to not only start but finish the regular season as safely as possible,” Steelers players added, “and it makes no sense for us to risk infection or injury in the spring if we don’t have to.

“The protections we had in place last year are not fully in place now and remain unclear. We are professionals and are committed to being in the best shape possible. Our team holds each other accountable to the highest professional standards and we will prepare as we always do to be the best for Steelers Nation.”

On Wednesday, the league issued a memo to all 32 teams announcing that the first four weeks of the voluntary program will be virtual before transitioning to in person at the team’s respective training facilities. Last year, the offseason programs were all done virtually and training camp was pushed back because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jets players wrote:

“Football is a labor of love for our men, who work year-round to stay in shape and prepare ourselves to perform at the highest level. Given that we are still in a pandemic and based on the facts provided to our membership by our union about the health and safety benefits of virtual offseason, many of us will exercise our CBA right and not attend in-person voluntary workouts.

“We respect that every player has a right to make a decision about what is best for him and his family, and we stand in solidarity with other players across the NFL who are making informed choices about this offseason.”

NFL NEWS: Jackson returning to Patriots after signing one-year tender

BOSTON (AP) The Patriots have re-signed cornerback J.C. Jackson, bringing back the former undrafted free agent who finished second in the NFL in interceptions in 2020.

The restricted free agent returns to New England where he will be paid $3.88 million this upcoming season after signing the second-round tender the Patriots placed on him prior to the start of free agency. He will become an unrestricted free agent next offseason.

The Patriots also announced Friday they released offensive lineman Dustin Woodard.

Jackson made an instant impact in New England’s secondary since signing in 2018 out of Maryland. The 25-year-old’s career-high nine interceptions last season led the Patriots and were second in the NFL behind Miami cornerback Xavien Howard’s 10. Jackson had eight interceptions over his first two seasons in the league, and has started 22 of 45 career games.

He’ll return to a transitioning secondary that still has 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore and safety Devin McCourty. Veteran safety Patrick Chung recently announced his retirement, but the Patriots did add versatile defensive back Jalen Mills during free agency.

NFL NEWS: Browns release veteran DT Richardson in salary-cap move

CLEVELAND (AP) This off-season remodeling of the Browns’ defense includes a surprising removal.

Veteran tackle Sheldon Richardson’s contract was terminated on Friday, a head-scratching move that creates more salary-cap space but also a hole in the middle of Cleveland’s defensive line.

Days after adding free agent end Jadeveon Clowney, the Browns parted with Richardson, who started 16 games last season and played well for the team since signing a three-year, $37 million contract with Cleveland in 2019.

The Browns will save around $12 million in cash and salary cap space with Richardson off the roster. Cleveland had roughly $10.3 million left under the cap after signing Clowney to an incentive-laden, one-year deal this week.

The Browns, who ended their long playoff drought last season, have some major financial decisions ahead with possible long-term contracts for quarterback Baker Mayfield, running back Nick Chubb and cornerback Denzel Ward on the table.

It’s not yet known if the Browns asked Richardson to restructure his contract or if he’d be willing to re-sign for less money.

Shortly after the move was made official, Richardson posted a goodbye to Cleveland fans on his Instagram account.

“It was just starting to feel like home,” Richardson wrote as the caption to a photo of him on the field. “Dawg Pound I had a great time….(hash)til next time.”

Richardson’s loss leaves the Browns thin on the interior of their line as the team chose not to re-sign tackle Larry Ogunjobi this winter. The team signed veteran Malik Jackson to a one-year contract in free agency and is counting on Andrew Billings to return after he opted out in 2020. Jordan Elliott played sparingly as a rookie last season.

Primarily a run stopper, the 6-foot-3, 294-pound Richardson finished with 64 tackles and 4 1/2 sacks last year as the Browns earned a wild-card berth.

A first-round pick of the Jets, he was the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013. Richardson spent four seasons with New York and one each with Seattle and Minnesota before signing with the Browns.

NFL NEWS: Aaron Donald’s lawyer says video refutes man’s assault claim

PITTSBURGH (AP) The lawyer for Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald said Friday that witnesses and surveillance video refute a man’s claim the player assaulted him at a Pittsburgh nightclub last weekend.

Attorney Casey White told WPXI-TV that the video indicates Donald did not assault anyone but was trying to save the victim, De’Vincent Spriggs.

The station aired black-and-white video that shows about a dozen men and a melee in which one man, purportedly Spriggs, ended up on the ground. White says Donald is in the video, pulling someone away from the fight.

“Aaron’s like, `I don’t have anything to hide, let’s go to police, let’s do what we’ve got to do. Because all I want to do is go to the weight room, work out and not be bothered with this,'” White told the station.

White told ESPN that five witnesses say Donald helped pull people away.

“He’s trying to get these kids off Spriggs; He gets at least two or three people off of Spriggs and at that point in time, somebody grabs Aaron and says, `This is not a good situation, let’s get the heck out of here,'” White told ESPN.

A message seeking further comment was left for White.

Spriggs’ lawyer Todd J. Hollis has said Donald and others assaulted Spriggs, causing multiple injuries that required hospital treatment.

Spriggs, 26, filed a complaint on Wednesday with Pittsburgh police, who are investigating. No charges have been filed.

Hollis’ office said Friday he had no comment on the video or White’s statements.

White said Spriggs had earlier jabbed Donald with his elbow and swung a liquor bottle that grazed Donald’s face, and that Donald did not fight back.

“He turned around and it’s this Mr. Spriggs … and Aaron goes, `What’s up?’ and Mr. Spriggs starts yelling belligerently, `Did I mean to? Did I mean to?’ He keeps repeating, it’s kind of nonsensical, but he keeps yelling, `Did I mean to?’ It’s apparent to Aaron and it’s apparent to all the witnesses that (Spriggs) is intoxicated,” White told ESPN.

Hollis has said Spriggs bumped into Donald and that Donald escalated the matter, leading to the alleged assault.

NFL NEWS: Police report reveals no clear motive for shooting involving ex-NFL player Phillip Adams

ROCK HILL, S.C. — The police report on last week’s mass shooting involving former NFL cornerback Phillip Adams revealed little motive to what led the Rock Hill native to kill six people and then himself.

The report, released Friday from the York County Sheriff’s office, listed six counts of murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and burglary first degree.

According to officer Kyle Merck’s recount of what happened from one of the victims, who was still alive and alert at the scene with multiple gunshot wounds, a “black male” emerged from the woods around the Marshall Road home wearing a black hoodie, camouflage pants and “opened fire.”

The victim, Robert Shook, one of two HVAC technicians working at the home, “then stated the suspect went into the house, then exited and went back through the woods the way he came.”

Shook, 38, died three days later. The others, found dead at the scene, were his partner, James Lewis, 38; homeowners Dr. Robert Lesslie, 70; his wife, Barbara Lesslie, 69; and their grandchildren, Adah Lesslie, 9, and Noah Lesslie, 5.

Robert Lesslie and his wife and grandchildren were found dead inside the house.

The report said during the initial investigation Adams was identified as the suspect. Police then went to Adams’ home a quarter of a mile away.

“Upon making entry into the residence, Phillip Matthews Adams (DOB 7/20/1988) was located in his bedroom deceased from a gunshot wound,” the report said.

The type of gun used in the shooting was not listed in the report.

The Lesslies were laid to rest at a service at West End Baptist Church in Rock Hill on Wednesday. Adams was laid to rest on Thursday after a private service for family members at Robinson Funeral Home.

Those that grew up in the community with Adams said the shooting did not fit the person they knew. Several of those who attended a viewing of Adams later Thursday afternoon continued to look for answers.

“It’s just all messed up,” Kevin Davis, 54, told ESPN.com. “A lot of us think maybe the concussions had something to do with it and he just went off. It’s odd for him just to go into that doctor’s house and do that. No one really knows what type of relationship he had with the doctor.

“It’s really hard.”

NFL NEWS: 2021 NFL DRAFT PROFILE…QB TREVOR LAWRENCE (CLEMSON)

6′ 6″

213 lbs

Lawrence broke Deshaun Watson’s Georgia high school career passing yards (13,908) and passing touchdowns (161) records, won two state titles as a starter and was the USA Today National Player of the Year as a senior. Lawrence and fellow quarterback prospect Justin Fields (who started his collegiate career at Georgia before transferring to Ohio State) grew up 20 miles apart and were the top two prospects in the 2018 recruiting class. Lawrence stepped into the starting lineup for 11 of 15 games played in 2018, earning ACC Rookie of the Year and second-team all-conference honors while leading the Tigers to a national title (the first freshman quarterback to do so since Jamelle Holieway at Oklahoma in 1985). The Manning Award finalist completed 65.2 percent of his passes (259 of 397) for 3,280 yards and 30 touchdowns against four interceptions (60-177-3.0, one TD rushing). Lawrence and his Clemson teammates came up short in their effort to repeat as national champions against the LSU juggernaut in 2019 (18 of 37, 234 yards in the title game). However, he still garnered first-team All-ACC honors (268 of 407, 65.8%, 3,665 yards, 36 TDs, eight INTs; 103-563-5.5, nine TDs rushing in 15 starts) and was a finalist for the Sullivan Award, which goes to the nation’s top amateur athlete. Lawrence was the ACC Offensive Player of the Year and a third-team Associated Press All-American in 2020. He was also a finalist for the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell, Davey O’Brien and Walter Camp Player of the Year Awards. He started 10 games, ranking ninth in the FBS in completion percentage (231 of 334, 69.2%) and eighth with 315.3 passing yards per game (3,153 total with 24 TDs, five INTs; also 68-203-3.0, eight TDs rushing), missing two games after testing positive for COVID-19. Lawrence decided to hold his pro day on Feb. 12 rather than wait for Clemson’s pro day a month later. The earlier workout date gave him more time to recover from the Feb. 16 surgery on an injury to the labrum of his left (non-throwing) shoulder. The timeframe for recovery is five to six months. 

Overview

Refined and polished for his age, Lawrence is the ultimate prototype for today’s brand of franchise quarterback. He has great size. He also possesses elite pocket-passing qualities paired with dual-threat athleticism that makes him an unpredictable weapon on every down if play-callers are willing to expand their playbooks for him. While he’s fairly polished with his approach from the pocket, he has better improvisational talent than many of the quarterbacks who have come up through the quarterback camp circuits from a young age. He has the arm and eyes to make all the throws and to create explosive plays from outside the pocket. There are some areas of concern, though. Lawrence’s poise, decision-making and accuracy all took a hit in 2020 when he was forced to work under pressure. His performance against Virginia Tech showed there is still room for improvement with how he processes his options against the blitz. There were times when he looked encumbered by his play-action-heavy, shotgun offense. Getting away from that system could help him post-snap. He’s generally a smooth operator, with an abundance of experience and tape against high-level competition over three seasons. His body of work should give NFL teams a clear view of who he is and the type of player he could become. Lawrence has an extremely high ceiling and a floor as a very good player who will start for a long time.

Strengths

  • Played rare volume of high-leverage games as three-year starter.
  • 86-4 record as a starter dating back to high school.
  • Commanding presence with unmistakable air of confidence.
  • Elite size, athleticism and play traits.
  • Dual-threat capabilities will add to his explosive play totals.
  • Speed, wiggle and toughness for zone-read and called runs.
  • Understands how to protect himself.
  • Feet stay calm when working from pocket.
  • Subtle pocket slides to stay pass-ready and on platform.
  • Internal clock helps him stay on schedule.
  • High-level escapability when pocket collapses.
  • Pinpoint accuracy on basic throws.
  • Sticks short throws into run-ready placement.
  • Ability to generate sudden torque for drive velocity.
  • Arm to challenge safeties and work into tight windows.
  • Willing to take punishment to deliver throw with poise.
  • Alters arm slot to sling it around incoming bodies.
  • Capable of altering touch and trajectory when needed.
  • Unlikely to opt-out into checkdown prematurely.
  • Delivers lasers to the back shoulder.

Weaknesses

  • Benefits from heavy play-action and quick game.
  • Offense limited amount of full-field reads asked of him.
  • Inconsistent eye manipulation of safeties.
  • Play can become frenetic when pressure arises.
  • Struggled deciphering blitz and coverage packages against Virginia Tech.
  • Has ball dip in his passing delivery.
  • Can improve in throwing receivers open.
  • Sailed a few more throws than expected.
  • Will make ill-advised throw over taking sack on occasion.
  • Average deep-ball placement.
  • Will need to incorporate a slide into his game as a runner.
  • Threw an interception in five of his last six games.

NFL NEWS: 2021 NFL DRAFT PROFILE: TE KYLE PITTS, FLORIDA

6′ 6″

245 lbs

Pitts, who grew up in Philadelphia, transferred to Archbishop Wood High School after his sophomore year and moved from quarterback to tight end. Pitts committed to Florida and got on the field for 11 games as a reserve in 2018, catching three passes for 73 yards (24.3 per) and a score. His sophomore campaign was outstanding, as he led the Gators with 54 catches for 649 yards (12.0 per) and scored five times in 13 games (12 starts) to earn first-team All-SEC accolades. Pitts became a superstar in 2020, winning the John Mackey award (top TE) and earning Associated Press first-team All-American honors. He was also the first tight end to be named a Fred Biletnikoff award (top WR) finalist after catching 43 passes for 770 yards (17.9 per) and 12 receiving touchdowns (tied for third-most in the FBS) in eight starts. Pitts missed three games due to a concussion/facial injury and decided not to play in Florida’s bowl game.

Overview

While the player comparison for the purposes of this scouting report is Darren Waller, Pitts may have the traits and talent to create mismatches similar to those created by Calvin Johnson and Tyreek Hill. His rare blend of size, athleticism and ball skills are reminiscent of Megatron’s. His ability as a pass-catching tight end could force defenses in his division to alter the way they construct their roster. He’s a tough matchup for most linebackers and too big for most cornerbacks. He offers offensive coordinators the ability to align him all over the field and, like Waller, can become a highly targeted, highly productive pass catcher from the tight end position. He puts in effort as a blocker but with limited success. That’s not what makes him special, though. Along with Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, Pitts has a chance to become the biggest game-changer in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Strengths

  • Challenging matchup who might require specialty defenders.
  • Rare combination of size, speed, athleticism and elite ball skills.
  • Puts in work on all three levels as pass catcher.
  • Allows offense to align him into mismatches against static coverage schemes.
  • Keeps defender on the back foot with alterations of route speed.
  • Clever workarounds in space without getting slowed.
  • Quick accelerator to explode past off-man near the line.
  • Turn burst and long strides create instant separation for quarterback.
  • Hand chops dislodge grabby defender inside the route.
  • Quick to locate and track the throw while maintaining positioning.
  • Tremendous poise with laser-sharp focus on contested catches.
  • Clears catch space suddenly with subtle hand-fighting.
  • Body control and timing make time stand still as airborne baller.
  • Should consistently win back-shoulder and red-zone looks.
  • Catches with strong, soft hands and consistent extension.
  • Eliminated his focus drops in 2020.
  • Good effort in trying to stay connected to the block.

Weaknesses

  • Leggy into route breaks and can improve short-area footwork.
  • Doesn’t throw many fakes to knock coverage off the scent.
  • Mass and core strength missing for in-line blocking.
  • Struggles to sustain at the point of attack.
  • Needs to work with inside hands when taking on defenders.
  • Below-average instincts as a lead blocker in space.
  • Injury history will require examination, as he suffered a concussion in 2020.

NFL NEWS: 2021 NFL DRAFT PROFILE- WR DEVONTA SMITH, ALABAMA

6′ 0″

170 lbs

Smith arrived in Tuscaloosa as a five-star recruit and top-10 receiver prospect nationally. He played in all 14 games as a freshman, but he caught just eight passes for 160 yards (20.0 per) and three scores. His final catch of the year, though, was the national title game-winner from fellow freshman Tua Tagovailoa in overtime. The Louisiana native started 10 of 14 games played as a sophomore, becoming a regular target for Tagovailoa, with 42 catches for 693 yards (16.5 per) and six touchdowns. In 2019, Smith was a second-team Associated Press All-American and second-team all-SEC selection. He led the Tide with 1,256 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns (on 68 catches, 18.5 per), including an 11-catch performance for a school-record 274 yards and five scores against Ole Miss. His decision to return for 2020 paid off in a major way. “Smitty” won the Heisman Trophy as well as the Biletnikoff and Walter Camp Player of the Year Awards. He was a first-team Associated Press All-American and the SEC Offensive Player of the Year (and first-team all-conference). Smith led the FBS with 23 receiving touchdowns, which put him fifth in the career all-time list nationally (46 in four years) and first in the SEC annals. He also led the country in receptions (117) and receiving yards (1,856). He became the record-holder in career receiving yards in the SEC. Smith also returned 11 punts for 237 yards (21.5 per) and a score but did not qualify for the FBS leaderboard. Smith finished the year strong, earning MVP of the College Football Playoff semifinal win over Notre Dame (seven receptions, 130 yards, three TDs) and then excelling in the first half of the national title game (12 receptions, 215 yards, three TDs) against Ohio State before going to the sideline with a dislocated finger. He accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl but did not participate in practices or the game due to the injury. 

Overview

While Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley is my NFL comparison for Smith, I feel like a better comp might be Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry. Like Curry, Smith is thinner than you’d like and isn’t the strongest player, but he has rare quickness, speed, and change-of-direction fluidity, and he creates separation from defenders seemingly at will. He possesses an elite skill level for the position and can hit the defense from short, mid-range or deep. Smith has quietly been the most complete of the receivers at Alabama over the last two seasons and will give an NFL team the ability to mismatch him against the weak links either inside or outside in coverage. He’s a detailed route runner with the athletic ability to really make them count, from a separation standpoint, and his ball skills are unquestioned. Smith has the football character, athletic gifts and upper-echelon skill level to become a long-time starter and Pro Bowl regular.

Strengths

  • Buttery smooth route runner with long, loose strides.
  • Elevated production no matter his quarterback or teammates.
  • Equally effective outside or from the slot.
  • Uses sudden feet, forward lean and shoulder turn to avoid handsy press.
  • Urgent takeoff creates opportunities for easy comeback routes.
  • Routes are equally fluid and effective on all three levels.
  • Unpredictable route tempo keeps coverage on its heels.
  • Rare ability for speedy strider to quickly sink and break sharply.
  • The most talented corners struggle to keep him close throughout routes.
  • Rarely drops the catchable throw.
  • As natural a hands catcher as you will find.
  • Elite body control and catch focus in the air.
  • Takes his defenders to the circus with ridiculous catches.
  • Hungry getting back to the throw and creating late separation.
  • Able to hit big plays after slipping first tackle.
  • Has talent as a return man and gunner.

Weaknesses

  • Bone-thin with playing weight near 170.
  • Teams will have concerns about his frame and durability.
  • Feisty but lacking average play strength.
  • Can be forced against sideline on outside release.
  • Gets jostled at the top of the route at times.
  • Big NFL cornerbacks will close some high-point windows on him.

PGA: Unstoppable Cink: 47-year-old sets midway record at Heritage

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Two-time champion Stewart Cink moved into position for a third RBC Heritage title, shooting a second straight 63 to set the 36-hole scoring mark at Harbour Town.

Cink, 47, appears unstoppable after two amazing days. He sits at 16-under 126, five shots ahead of Corey Conners. The previous best midway score was 129, set by Jack Nicklaus en route to victory in 1975 and matched by Phil Mickelson, who wound up third in 2002.

Conners shot 64 and was 11 under. Emiliano Grillo (64) was another shot behind.

Fourth-ranked Collin Morikawa, preparing to defend his PGA Championship title next month, was tied for fourth at 9-under with Sungjae Im (65), Billy Horschel (67) and Cameron Smith, who followed his opening-round 62 with a 71.

Cink was hardly overwhelmed by the scores he posted, chalking them up to smart preparation and strong execution alongside his 24-year-old son, Reagan, who’s caddying for him.

“It doesn’t feel all that special, to be honest with you,” Cink said. “We just kind of worked our game plan.”

It was certainly unexpected. Cink hasn’t finished in the top 20 at Harbour Town in a decade, hadn’t led halfway since the Travelers Championship in 2008 and is closer to the PGA Tour Champions than his prime.

Yet Cink has had a renaissance on golf’s biggest stage this season. He won for the first time in 11 years at the Safeway Open in September and has added five top-20 finishes including a tie for 12th last week at the Masters.

Cink was down three shots to Conners when he teed off Friday.

No matter. Cink quickly erased the deficit with an eagle on the par-5 second and a birdie on No. 3. Cink moved in front with a birdie on the sixth and steadily built his margin the rest of the way, adding birdies on the 11th, 13th, 15th and 17th holes.

The veteran is two solid rounds away from adding a third plaid jacket to the two he earned in 2000 and 2004. In both of those wins, Cink came from behind on Sunday. This time he’ll need to just maintain his strong overall play.

Since Reagan became his caddie, father and son have been collaborating on strategy before tournaments.

“We call it bludgeoning and we’re just bludgeoning that plan almost to death,” the elder Cink said with a grin. “When you manage yourself around a course like that and execute, the golf courses yield.”

Conners entered the week with Masters momentum, having tied for eighth at Augusta National for his second top-10 finish there in five months. He birdied seven of his final 13 holes.

“Giving myself lots of chances and was really nice to see some go in,” Conners said. “Hopefully, can keep that up going into the weekend.”

Morikawa had chances, too, He had seven birdie opportunities from 20 feet or less on his final nine holes, but the only one that dropped was an 18-footer on No. 6.

Morikawa said changing wind conditions made it difficult to judge green speeds.

“It was tough not seeing a few birdies in,” he said. “But we’ll work on a few things and be fine for the weekend.”

Smith, who was bogey-free in his opening 62, dropped three shots in a five-hole stretch on Friday.

“I think the golfing gods got a few back on me today,” the Australian said.

Top-ranked Dustin Johnson used a back-nine surge to avoid his second straight missed cut and after leaving the Masters early, returning only to slip the green jacket on new champ Hideki Matsuyama. Consecutive bogeys on the fourth and fifth holes at Harbour Town dropped him to 1-under, but four birdies coming in gave him a 67 and left him 11 shots behind Cink.

Those going home included Patrick Cantlay, Harris English, Sergio Garcia and Kevin Na, all among the top 30 in the FedEx Cup point standings this season.

MEN’S TENNIS NEWS: Rublev stuns 11-time champion Nadal at Monte Carlo Masters

MONACO (AP) Andrey Rublev produced an audacious display of attacking tennis to hand record 11-time champion Rafael Nadal a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 defeat on clay in the Monte Carlo Masters quarterfinals on Friday.

The sixth-seeded Russian might have won even more convincingly, with Nadal saving break points at 3-1 down in the second set.

Nadal clawed his way back to win that set and seemed to have settled down, but Rublev broke him immediately at the start of the decider in which the 34-year-old Nadal looked very tired.

“When you face a great player like him and you don’t play well, you should lose,” Nadal said. “He played great, he played aggressive. Well done to him.”

Rublev clinched his first win against third-seeded Nadal on his first match point with a typically powerful winner on forehand — a weapon Nadal struggled to contain all match.

“I don’t even know what to say. I cannot imagine being in the situation of Rafa, knowing that you are the best player on clay,” Rublev said. “I think for him it must be incredibly tough.”

Having beaten the 20-time Grand Slam champion on one of his clay strongholds, Rublev’s next opponent is unseeded Norwegian Casper Ruud.

The 22-year-old Ruud, who has just one career title compared to 86 for Nadal, also beat a former champion by knocking out 2019 winner Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-4, 6-3.

“(Casper) is playing really well. I have known him a long time,” said Rublev, who is 3-0 against him overall. “He finished today much earlier. I will try to recover as best as I can.”

There are no former champions left, with Nadal and 15th-seeded Fognini joining two-time winner Novak Djokovic at the exit before the last four.

Nadal last won the tournament in 2018 and had high hopes after saying he was in good shape for clay. It certainly seemed so when he swept aside Grigor Dimitrov in under an hour Thursday in the third round.

It was a different story against the 23-year-old Rublev, who drained Nadal after 2 1/2 hours on court. Nadal hit seven double-faults, conceded 15 break points and dropped serve seven times – on his dominant surface and one of his favorite courts.

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Jimmy Boeheim transferring to Syracuse Orange basketball to join brother Buddy Boeheim, dad Jim Boeheim

The  Syracuse Orange’s men’s basketball program is getting a third Boeheim.

Cornell transfer Jimmy Boeheim announced his commitment to the Orange on Friday; he will join his brother, Buddy, and will play for their father, Jim.

“Back home to the place that made me fall in love with the game,” Jimmy Boeheim wrote on Instagram.

Boeheim, a 6-foot-8 forward, didn’t play last season due to the Ivy League canceling winter sports. In 2019-20, he averaged 16.7 points and 5.6 rebounds, making 31 3-pointers in 21 games. He entered the transfer portal in the fall and will graduate from Cornell this spring.

“It just feels right,” Boeheim told the Syracuse Post-Standard. “I can’t wait. I’m really just counting down the days when I can get into the Melo Center. Just picturing my name on a locker there. My name on the back of a jersey. It’s honestly surreal. I never expected this was going to happen. My plan was always to stay at Cornell, graduate and use my eligibility up there. But given the circumstances of the last year, here we are. I really can’t wait. I’m counting down the minutes.”

Syracuse recently saw starting forward Alan Griffin enter his name into the NBA draft, while fellow starter Marek Dolezaj finished his senior season and will not use his extra year of eligibility. Along with Jimmy Boeheim, the Orange are bringing in top-30 forward recruit Benny Williams and Villanova  transfer Cole Swider to help in the frontcourt.

Buddy Boeheim (17.8 PPG) enjoyed a breakout junior season for Syracuse and was one of the stars of the NCAA tournament.

INDYCAR: Scott Dixon seeks motorsports milestone 7th championship

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Scott Dixon looks around the IndyCar paddock and sees drivers half his age acting like A.J. Foyt even if they’ve never crossed the finish line first.

They are young and brash with the same swagger of “Super Tex,” the winningest driver in IndyCar history.

“Most of them rock up these days feeling, you know, it seems like they’ve won everything in the world already, you know?” Dixon said Friday. ”You definitely see the changing of the guard, which is always interesting.”

The Iceman isn’t ready to pass the torch anytime soon. Dixon begins his 21st season in IndyCar with Sunday’s season-opening race at Barber Motorsports Park in pursuit of Foyt’s all-time marks.

The six-time champion needs just one more title to tie Foyt’s record of seven and his 50 career victories trail only Foyt (67) and Mario Andretti (52) in the record books. Will Power and Sebastien Bourdais at 39 wins each are the only active drivers even remotely in Dixon’s class.

And yet those trophies and numbers and his two decades of dominance don’t drive Dixon the way they once did. Don’t get him wrong — he loves to win. But losing sticks with him a whole lot longer than a victory celebration.

He led wire-to-wire last year in winning his sixth title, but those celebratory moments were fleeting.

“It’s nice to have victories but it’s not something I really dwell on too much,” Dixon said. “The hard part is always all the things you remember the most of the close misses. I think that’s the part of what drives you. I don’t go to bed thinking about how great it was to win a sixth championship. But I do go to bed thinking about how close we lost the Indy 500 last year. That’s what keeps the fire strong.”

Dixon is now in pursuit of motorsports’ magical number: Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton both won seven Formula One titles, while Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson each won seven in NASCAR. Foyt is alone in IndyCar.

But time is not on Dixon’s side.

He turns 41 in July and although he has won two of the last three championships, he has never won back-to-back titles and guesses he has five good years left in his career. Team owner Chip Ganassi noted that Alex Palou, the 24-year-old second-year IndyCar driver, was the fastest of the four Ganassi drivers in preseason testing and might very well be the one Dixon has to beat this year.

Dixon thinks he is up for the challenge and finds that much like Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady, who at 43 won his sixth Super Bowl in February, he’s in the best physical shape of his life. His cardio and strength training has evolved over the last decade, and he said he doesn’t have a great gauge on his reaction speeds “because I still pass my tests, so that’s a good thing.”

His biggest challenge, he’s found, has been time management since he and wife, Emma, decided to expand their family last year. They welcomed a third child — their only son — a decade after starting their family.

Kit Dixon has been an eye-opening adjustment after two daughters because every crash, bang and fall creates a momentary panic only for the toddler to bounce back up and get back on his way.

“He definitely loves adventure and has a pretty high pain tolerance,” Dixon said. “It’s very different from the girls.”

This weekend will be the first race for father and son, a moment Dixon can’t wait to share with his little boy.

“I took him to a go-kart race once and his eyes were popping out of his head, so I’m really looking forward to taking him out and showing him cars on the track,” Dixon said. “I think this is going to be a very fun year for our family.”

TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY

1820       Alexander Cartwright, considered by many the ‘father’ of the national pastime, is born in New York City. The banker, who is given credit for establishing three strikes for an out and three outs for each half inning, will be elected into the Hall of Fame in 1938 after a review of his journals reveals the many contributions he made in developing and promoting the sport of baseball.

1869       The Cincinnati Red Stockings defeat the rival Amateurs, 24-15, in baseball’s first professional game. Team captain Harry Wright had put all of his players under contract, making the club, that will become known as the Reds, the first pro team in sports history.

1904       By not charging admission but requiring fans to buy a scorecard, the Superbas find a way to play their first Sunday game at home, beating the Beaneaters, 9-1, at Brooklyn’s Washington Park. The strategy is an attempt to circumvent the existing blue laws, legislation designed to enforce religious edicts, including the observance of Sunday as a day of worship.

1912       In front of a larger than usual crowd at the Polo Grounds of over 14,000 patrons that includes Broadway legend George M. Cohan, the Giants beat the new-look Yankees, now sporting pinstripes, in an unscheduled exhibition game, 11-2, to raise money for the survivors of the HMS Titanic. The charity contest, the first Sunday game ever played between major league teams at the Coogan’s Bluff ballpark, raises over $9,000 when each fan donates the price of an admission ticket to purchase a special program for the event.

1925       Babe Ruth undergoes an operation for an intestinal abscess at St. Vincent’s Hospital, where he will remain for six weeks. The 30 year-old Yankee outfielder will miss the first forty games of the season due to his “bellyache heard ’round the world,” a popular misconception that blamed the consumption of an abundance of hot dogs and soda for his illness.

1929       In a ceremony that takes place on Opening Day at five a.m. to avoid crowds, Claire Hodgson becomes the second Mrs. Babe Ruth. The Yankees’ outfielder’s first wife, Julia Woodford, died in a house fire in January.

1929       On a cold and dreary day at Griffith Stadium, President Herbert Hoover throws out the first ball and then stays for the entire game, watching the A’s beat the hometown Senators, 13-4. The loss spoils the managerial debut of Washington legend Walter Johnson.

1934       On Opening Day at the newly-named Crosley Field, Reds’ announcer Red Barber calls his first play-by-play for a major league team. The 26 year-old future Hall of Fame broadcaster had never attended a major league game before today’s 6-0 loss to the Cubs.

1939       On the morning of Opening Day in Washington, D.C., President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Yankees visit Abner Doubleday’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery. A rainout this afternoon cancels FDR’s ceremonial first pitch at Griffith Stadium, with Veep Garner doing the honors in the season opener against the same opponents four days later after the Bombers return from New York having played Boston to start their campaign. Library of Congress

1945       Browns outfielder Pete Gray, playing with one arm, makes his major league debut with one hit in four at-bats in a 7-1 victory over Detroit at Sportsman’s Park. The 30 year-old St. Louis outfielder, who lost his right arm in a childhood accident, batted .333 last season as a minor leaguer.

1951       Before the Cubs’ home opener, Sam Snead tees off from home plate, sending a golf ball soaring over the 89-foot Wrigley Field scoreboard in center field. ‘Slammin’ Sammy’ won three Masters, three PGA Championships, and one British Open during his nearly 40 years as a professional golfer.

1951       Mickey Mantle, batting third, grounds out to second base in his first major league at-bat. The 19 year-old right fielder will hit a sixth-inning run-scoring single, going 1-for-4 in the Yankees’ Opening Day 5-0 victory over Boston in the Bronx.

1951       For the first time, in a career that will span more than half of a century, public address announcer Bob Sheppard announces the Yankees’ lineup. The ‘Voice of God’s introduction of the team includes the memorable names of Mickey Mantle, playing his first game, Phil Rizzuto, Yogi Berra, but the first player’s name announced will be DiMaggio – Dom DiMaggio, the leading off for the visiting Red Sox.

1953       Mickey Mantle blasts a ‘reported’ 565-foot homer off southpaw Chuck Stobb in the Yankees’ 7-3 victory over Washington at a windy Griffith Stadium. The distance of the historic round-tripper hit by the 21 year-old Yankee outfielder will become the subject of much debate, with later research debunking its original tape-measure status.

1954       At Milwaukee’s County Stadium, utility man Nino Escalera becomes the first black player to appear in a Reds’ game. The Puerto Rican native, who will bat .159 and collect 11 hits in his only major league season, will eventually become a scout for the Oakland A’s.

1955       In his first major league at-bat, Roberto Clemente singles off Dodger pitcher Johnny Podres. The Pirates’ rookie, who will die in a plane crash attempting to bring relief aid to earthquake-stricken Nicaragua in 1972, will collect precisely 3,000 hits during his 18-year major league career, all with Pittsburgh.

1956       Luis Aparicio, Don Drysdale, and Frank Robinson play in their first major league games, respectively, for the White Sox, Dodgers, and Reds. The trio of debuts marks the first time that three future Hall of Famers have made their initial appearance on the same day.

1960       In a trade of fan favorites, the Tigers swap Harvey Kuenn, last season’s batting champ, for Indians slugger Rocky Colavito. Detroit gets the better of the deal when their new outfielder puts together four consecutive outstanding seasons with their former fly chaser hitting .308 in his only season in Cleveland before being traded by the Tribe to the Giants for Johnny Antonelli and Willie Kirkland.

1964       After spending the first two years of their existence at the Polo Grounds, the Mets play their first game at Shea Stadium in front of 50,312 fans in Queens. The Amazins’ drop the stadium opener to Pittsburgh, 4-3, with Willie Stargell hitting the first homer in the Flushing facility.

1968       In their first game at Oakland-Alameda Coliseum, the newly arrived A’s lose to the Orioles, 4-1. The team, which played in Kansas City last season, is shut down by Baltimore southpaw Dave McNally on two-hits.

1969       In only the ninth game of the franchise’s history, Expos hurler Bill Stoneman, who had never thrown a complete game in the major leagues, tosses a no-hitter, defeating the Phillies at Connie Mack Stadium, 7-0. The 25 year-old right-hander, the future GM of the Angels, will throw another no-hit game in 1972 against the Mets.

1976       At Wrigley Field, Mike Schmidt hits four home runs in one game, including the game-winner, when the Phillies come back from an 11-run deficit to beat the Cubs in ten innings, 18-16. The Phillies’ slugging third baseman is the first National Leaguer, third overall, to hit the homers consecutively.

1976       At Yankee owner’s George Steinbrenner’s insistence, Thurman Munson is named the team captain. The reluctant backstop is the first player to assume the role since the Bronx Bombers honored Lou Gehrig with the position in 1935.

1977       At Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, the umpires walk off the field in the fourth inning to protest the Braves showing a controversial play on the ballpark’s massive instant replay screen that involves Houston’s Bob Watson scoring on a close play at the plate. Team executive Bill Lucas persuades the crew, which includes Terry Tata, Ed Sudol, Dick Stello, and Bruce Froemming, to return the field, after assuring the arbitrators the incident would not occur again.

1977       Mike Pazik posts his first and last major league win when hurls eight innings in the Twins’ 10-2 victory over Oakland at Metropolitan Stadium. The 27 year-old former Yankees farmhand’s career will come to a sudden end on April 25 when his van is hit head-on by a car driving the wrong way on a freeway entrance, resulting in the southpaw fracturing both legs.

1988       The Braves beat the Dodgers, 3-1, after breaking the National League record with ten losses to start the season. The team will drop 27 of its first 39 decisions, costing Chuck Tanner his job as the Atlanta manager.

1995       The Devil Rays and the City of St. Petersburg come to terms on a 30-year lease for the new American League expansion team to play their home games at the ThunderDome. The domed stadium, now known as Tropicana Field, was built originally as the Florida Suncoast Dome in an attempt to coax the White Sox to leave their aging ballpark in Chicago and relocate to the Tampa Bay/St. Pete area.

2001       Barry Bonds becomes the 17th major leaguer, as well as the fourth Giant, to join the 500 home run club when he hits a Terry Adams’ 2-0 heater into McCovey Cove at Pac Bell Park. The San Francisco left-fielder is joined at home plate by two other members of the elite fraternity, Willie Mays (660) and Willie McCovey (521), for a brief ceremony.

2006       In front of 36,867 Shea Stadium patrons, Pedro Martinez becomes the 103rd pitcher in major league history to win 200 games when the Mets beat the Braves, 4-3. The Dominican ace has lost only 84 contests at the time of reaching the milestone, putting him behind only Bob Caruthers (74), Whitey Ford (79), and Lefty Grove (83).

2006       In the bottom ninth inning, Mark Loretta hits a two-out, two-run home run over the left-field wall, giving the Red Sox a dramatic 7-6 victory over the Mariners at Fenway Park on Patriots’ Day. The only other player to end a game with a homer on Boston’s special day of celebration is Frank Malzone, who gave the team a 5-4 walk-off victory over the Yankees in 1959, the year the New England baseball tradition began.

2007       After the second inning of an eventual 6-4 loss to the Braves at RFK Stadium, the Nationals take the field wearing Virginia Tech baseball caps as a tribute to the 32 victims of the shooting rampage which took place on the Blacksburg campus yesterday morning. Nearly a dozen of the burgundy caps signed by the players who wore them will be sent to the nearby college while the hat worn by the Nationals’ last batter of the game, Chris Snelling, will reside in the Hall of Fame.

2009       At Citi Field, Gary Sheffield becomes the 25th player to hit 500 career home runs. Joining Ty Cobb and Rusty Staub as the only major leaguers to homer as a teenager and as a forty year-old, the recently released Tiger DH becomes the first to reach the milestone as a pinch-hitter and the first to accomplish the feat in a Mets uniform.

2009       Washington’s right fielder Adam Dunn and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman start the game against Florida with the word “Nationals” misspelled on the front of their uniforms. Majestic Athletic, the manufacturer of the jerseys, takes full responsibility for the missing “O” and apologizes for the mistake to the organization, the players, and their fans.

2009       Jason Kubel blasts a grand slam to become the ninth Twins player to hit for the cycle, the first to do it at the Metrodome since 1986 when Kirby Puckett accomplished the feat in front of the home crowd. The left fielder’s bases-full homer caps a seven-run eighth inning in Minnesota’s 11-9 comeback victory over the Angels.

2010       The 26-year-old Rockies’ right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, striking out seven and walking six, hurls the first no-hitter in the 18-year history of the franchise. The 4-0 historic victory over Atlanta at Turner Field is saved in the seventh inning with a spectacular catch by center fielder Dexter Fowler.

2012       Throwing seven strong innings in the Rockies’ 5-3 victory over San Diego, Jamie Moyer becomes the oldest pitcher to win a major league contest. The 49-year, 150-day old southpaw surpasses Brooklyn’s Jack Quinn, who was almost three months younger when he got the victory pitching five frames in relief against St. Louis in 1932.

2012       After agreeing on a $1.25 million deal last week, Johnny Damon signs a minor league contract en route to joining the Indians to become their regular left fielder possibly. The 38 year-old career .286 hitter, who needs 277 knocks to reach the 3,000-hit plateau, will bring intangibles to the club by providing veteran leadership for the struggling Tribe in addition to serving as a mentor to the team’s younger stars.

2012       Mark Melancon allows six earned runs without recording an out in the eighth inning, a frame which features three home runs to the six Rangers he faces in the 18-3 rout of the Red Sox at Fenway Park. The Boston reliever yields a double to Ian Kinsler, walks Elvis Andrus, gives up a three-run blast to Josh Hamilton, followed by round-tripper by Adrian Beltre, before David Murphy walks and Nelson Cruz homers, before ending his historic outing.

2013       Clayton Kershaw becomes the second-fastest Dodger to strike out 1,000 batters when he throws a second-inning 93-mph fastball past San Diego first baseman Yonder Alonso. The 25 year-old southpaw reaches the milestone in 970 career innings, 15.2 more than needed by Hideo Nomo, who established the team mark in 2003.

2015       Mike Trout, at the age of 23 years and 253 days, becomes the youngest major league player to compile 100 career home runs and 100 career stolen bases when he homers in the sixth inning off Roberto Hernandez in the Angels’ 6-3 victory over the Astros at the Minute Maid Park. The Melville Millville Meteor surpasses the mark previously set by Alex Rodriguez, who was 56 days older when he reached the 100/100 mark.

2015       Kris Bryant makes his much-anticipated major league debut for the Cubs, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the team’s 5-4 loss to the Padres at Wrigley Field. Chicago had delayed the start of his season to extend the club’s control on the highly-touted freshman, who will go on to be named the National League’s Rookie of the Year.

1945 WORLD SERIES HISTORY

The Chicago Cubs finally made it back to the World Series after a seven year absence thanks to the timely pitching of Henry Borowy. Acquired on waivers in late July after he had compiled a 10-5 record for the New York Yankees, the “newbie” proceeded to win eleven of thirteen decisions and helped Chicago fight off the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League pennant race. Their opponents, the American Leagues’ Detroit Tigers were a familiar post-season rival. The Tigers were shooting for their second World Series crown; their only previous Series title had come in 1935, against the Cubs. The Cubs were eyeing their third Series championship; their two titles came in 1907 and 1908 at the Tigers’ expense.

Borowy had more than earned the start for Game 1 and he proved himself again and again as he held the Tigers to six singles and was a 9-0 victor as the Cubs bombed twenty-five-game winner Hal Newhouser. Bill Nicholson singled, tripled and drove in three runs for Chicago, which got two runs batted in apiece from Phil Cavarretta and Mickey Livingston. Virgil Trucks, a sixteen-game winner for Detroit in 1943 (and only recently discharged from the United States Navy), pitched a seven-hitter in Game 2 and won, 4-1, as midseason service returnee Hank Greenberg unloaded a three-run homer in the fifth. Four days earlier, on the final day of the American league schedule and in a game that marked Trucks’ only appearance of the regular season, Greenberg smashed a pennant-clinching, grand slam in the ninth inning against the defending American League champion St. Louis Browns.

In Game 3, Chicago’s Claude Passeau tossed a one-hitter in which Rudy York singled to left field with two out in the second and led the National Leaguers to a 3-0 triumph. Following his teammate’s cue, Ray Prim sat down the first ten Detroit batters he faced in Game 4, but after yielding a walk, two singles and a double in what became a four-run fourth for the Tigers, Prim was pulled in favor of Paul Derringer. While Derringer and fellow relievers Hy Vandenberg and Paul Erickson pitched shutout ball the rest of the way, it was to no avail. Detroit’s 4-1 triumph, fashioned on Dizzy Trout’s five-hit pitching set the tone for the rest of the contest. Now manager Charley Grimm went to Borowy, not once, not twice, but three times. Grimm, in his second year with the Cubs, was obviously impressed with Borowy’s combined regular-season record of 21-7, his second-half heroics (which netted him the National League’s ERA title with a 2.14) and his 56-30 mark with the Yankees.

Grimm’s newest “go-to-guy” held Game 5 to a 1-1 tie after five innings in which he matched Newhouser, who had just led the American League in victories (twenty-nine in 1944), strikeouts for the second successive season and topped the American League with a 1.81 ERA. Unfrotunately, it would be his turn to fall short as the Tigers’ pitcher would be the one to go the distance. Borowy was pulled after allowing four straight hits at the outset of the sixth as Detroit scored four runs in the inning and swept to an 8-4 victory. Greenberg continued to perform at the plate and slugged three more doubles for the Tigers.

Trucks and Passeau went at it for Game 6 and both dominated the other’s line-up for over four innings. Trucks blinked first and was routed in the Cubs’ four-run fifth which featured Stan Hack’s bases-loaded single. Passeau followed his opponent to the dugout in the seventh after Detroit managed to score twice. After the Cubs answered with two runs in their half of the inning, it was 7-3, Chicago. But Detroit struck for four runs in the eighth, the game-tying run coming on a Greenberg homer. Suddenly Manager Steve O’Neill’s Tigers were in a position to close out the Cubs in six games. Dizzy Trout came on in relief for Detroit in the last of the eighth, and when the 7-7 game moved into the ninth, Grimm decided to make another pitching change. Having followed Passeau with Hank Wyse (the Cubs’ top winner of ’45 with twenty-two victories) and Prim, Grimm now wanted Borowy back. Once again, the “newbie” delivered, holding Detroit at bay with four scoreless innings. Then, in the bottom of the twelfth, with two out and Billy Schuster at first base as a pinch-runner (for Frank Secory, who had come through with a pinch single), Hack hit a drive to left field that took a weird bounce and bounded over Greenberg. The hit, ruled a double, scored Schuster and gave Borowy and the Cubs a crucial 8-7 victory.

As the Tigers prepared to close the door on the Cubs and the 1945 season, Chicago’s newest hero was selected to keep his team alive in Game 6. The Chicago press had questioned the decision and printed that Grimm was making a serious mistake by using Borowy who was going on one day of rest after pitching the final four innings of Game 6. He had also pitched into the sixth inning in Game 5 and many wondered if his arm would hold up. The decision would prove costly as the fatigued pitcher yielded singles to the Detroit’s first three batters, Skeeter Webb, Eddie Mayo and Doc Cramer. Grimm, realizing that Borowy had done all he could for the ’45 Cubs, told his weary pitcher to call it a day. Paul Derringer came in as relief for Chicago, but by the end of the inning Detroit had scored five runs. The well-rested Newhouser went the distance for the 9-3 victory, allowing ten hits and striking out ten Cubs. Once again Chicago had come up short (their seventh Series loss) and even worse, it was (once again), to the Tigers.

BASEBALL BIOGRAPHY: HANK AARON

In 1999 Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced the creation of “The Hank Aaron Award”, initially to honor the 25th anniversary of Hank Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s career home run record. It has since been awarded to the best overall hitter in the National and American Leagues, establishing itself as a fitting tribute to a man arguably recognized as baseball’s most complete performer, and premier example of the definition of the games five tool player (hit, hit with power, field, throw, run).

Born in Mobile, Alabama on February 5, 1934, Hank Aaron never played high school baseball and began his playing career in semi-pro ball before moving on to the Negro Leagues to play shortstop for the Indianapolis Clowns, where his talent and ability were quickly noticed. “He’s a natural born ballplayer. God done sent me something,” said Clowns Manager Buster Haywood. While trying out for the Clowns, Aaron was scouted by the Boston Braves Dewey Griggs and eventually the Braves won out over the Giants for his services. In 1952 he was named the Northern League’s Rookie of the Year, despite playing in just 87 games, batting .336. The following year he was promoted to the South Atlantic League (that circuit’s first African-American player) and earned Most Valuable Player honors by winning the batting title (.362), and leading the league in runs batted in (125), runs (115) and hits (208).

Aaron began his major league career in 1954 (he was the last Negro League player to play in the major leagues) when a spring training injury to Bobby Thomson opened up a spot on the Braves roster. After going 0-5 in his debut on April 13, he settled in and connected for his first career home run off Vic Raschi ten days later. He finished the season with a respectable .280 average. In 1955 he blossomed into one of the game’s best players batting .314 with 27 home runs and 106 runs batted in. He won his first of two National League batting titles in 1956 with a .328 mark and reached the 200 hit plateau for the first time. It all came together for Aaron and the Braves in 1957 as Milwaukee won the NL pennant (with Aaron homering to clinch it.) Hank claimed the Leagues MVP Award and just missing out on winning the Triple Crown, leading in HR (44) and RBI (132), while finishing third in batting with a .322 average. Then it was on to the World Series, Aaron’s first appearance on the national scene, and the now star player didn’t disappoint. Playing against a superstar he was to be compared with in future years, Mickey Mantle, Hank responded with a .393 average, three home runs and seven RBI as the Braves upset the mighty Yankees in seven games to claim baseball’s world championship. 1958 saw the Braves once again win the pennant, but despite another fine World Series performance by Aaron (he batted .333), Milwaukee fell to the Yankees in a seventh and deciding game.

By this time Hank was posting, season after season, the consistent great numbers that were to become his trademark. Another batting title was won in 1959 (.355), and he also led the league in slugging (.636) and had his only lifetime three home run game versus the Giants. As his career moved into the sixties he again just missed winning the Triple Crown in 1963 with league leading totals in HR (44) and RBI (130), while settling for third in batting average (.319). That year he also joined baseball’s exclusive 30/30 club (30 home runs, 30 stolen bases) by stealing 31 bases. Keeping himself in peak physical condition, a typical Aaron season for 19 years was to average 33 HR, drive in and score 100 runs or more, and hit .300. Hank often attributed his remarkable consistency to something Jackie Robinson had said to him early in his career. “He said, baseball was a game you played every day, not once a week,” said Aaron speaking of Robinson. While many times being overlooked by fans and media when compared to other flashy stars in the 1960’s, such as Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente, Aaron was often given his due praise from his competitors. Once after Dodger Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax had struck out young Brave’s hitting star Rico Carty three times in one particular game, the shook up youngster confronted Koufax. “You mad at me, Koufax?” asked Carty. Sandy replied “Young man, I don’t even know you, but as long as you’re hitting in front of Henry Aaron, you’re going to have a tough time with me.” In 1966 the Braves moved to Atlanta and Hank didn’t disappoint his new fans as he clubbed 44 HR and drove in 127 runs. 1969 saw baseball introduce divisional play and Aaron and the Braves were the first winners of the National League’s Western Division. Hank put up his usual consistent great numbers for the season and, despite his team being swept by the eventual World Champion Mets, he homered in all three games of the first National League Championship Series, and batted .357 with seven RBI against the young, hard throwing New York pitching staff.

Continued success came to Hank Aaron in the 1970’s as he collected his 3000th hit (the first player with 500 home runs to do so) in 1970, attained career highs with a .669 slugging percentage and 47 HR in 1971, and accumulated his 2000th lifetime RBI in 1972. His career home run total reached 639, moving him to third on the all-time career HR list behind Willie Mays and Babe Ruth. He was now a clear threat to break what many thought was the insurmountable Ruth total of 714 career HR. “As far as I’m concerned, Aaron is the best ball player of my era…He is to baseball of the last 15 years what Joe DiMaggio was before him,” said Mickey Mantle in 1970. While chasing the Ruth mark Aaron continued to speak out and seek racial equality in baseball. He often criticized the game for not having a minority manager and minorities in front office positions. “On the field, Blacks have been able to be super giants. But, once our playing days are over, this is the end of it and we go back to the back of the bus again.” said Hank. Sadly, the speaking out and the color of his skin deemed Aaron undeserving of Ruth’s hallowed record to many, who showered him and his family with insults at games and death threats through the mail. Hank persevered and, after slamming 40 HR at the age of 39 in 1973, he stood on the threshold of breaking a record few thought would ever be broken.

As if he didn’t have enough distractions in his pursuit of Ruth’s mark, Aaron faced another controversy as the Braves announced at the start of the 1974 season that Hank would not play in any of the games of the their opening series against the Reds in Cincinnati in hopes of Aaron tying and breaking the record in Atlanta the following week. Then MLB Commissioner Bowie Kuhn intervened and ordered the Braves, “in the best interests of baseball”, to play Aaron in at least two of the three games versus the Reds. So Hank was in the lineup for the opener against the Reds on April 4. 1974 and rose to the occasion in the first inning, lining a Jack Billingham pitch over the left field fence to join the Babe at 714. Aaron played one of the other two games in Cincinnati and did not homer, so the stage was set for the record breaker to be hit at home. On Monday night, April 8, 1974, against the Dodgers before a National TV audience, in the bottom of the fourth inning, Hank stroked a 1-0 Al Downing pitch over the left field fence for his 715th career homer and baseball history was made.

Aaron finished 1974 with just 20 home runs and after the season was traded to the American League’s Milwaukee Brewers, enabling him to finish his career in the city he had helped bring many baseball memories. His playing days ended after the 1976 season and along with his all time total of 755 home runs he holds Major League lifetime marks for runs batted in (2,297), extra base hits (1,477), and total bases (6,856). He ranks second in at bats (12,364) and intentional walks (293), is third in runs (2,174 tied with Ruth), games (3,298), and hits (3771), fourth in sacrifice flies (121), and ninth in doubles (624). He hit .300 or better in 14 seasons (winning two National League batting titles), led the NL in hits twice, won three NL home run crowns (and tied for a fourth), slugged 40 HR’s or more eight times, hit 20 or more homers 20 consecutive years, drove in 100 runs on 11 occasions (leading the NL four times), led the NL in slugging percentage four seasons, never struck out 100 times in a year, scored 100 runs in 13 seasons (topping the NL three times), and won three Gold Gloves.

After his retirement as an active player in 1976, Hank Aaron returned to Braves in the front office capacity of Vice President of Player Development. His overseeing of young talent such as former NL MVP Dale Murphy was instrumental in the Braves winning the NL Western Division in 1982. Since 1989 he has served the Braves as Senior Vice President and Assistant to the President. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982 and was named to Baseball’s All-Century Team in 1999.

MLB STANDINGS

American League
East
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
Boston94.6923 – 36 – 16 – 33 – 10 – 09 – 1L 1
Toronto67.46233 – 33 – 44 – 20 – 12 – 44 – 6L 1
Baltimore68.4293.51 – 65 – 24 – 50 – 02 – 33 – 7W 1
Tampa Bay68.4293.53 – 43 – 43 – 40 – 01 – 34 – 6W 1
NY Yankees58.38543 – 42 – 45 – 80 – 00 – 04 – 6L 3
Central
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
Kansas City74.6365 – 22 – 21 – 02 – 24 – 26 – 4W 3
Cleveland76.53814 – 13 – 50 – 07 – 50 – 06 – 4L 1
Chi White Sox67.46223 – 33 – 40 – 03 – 33 – 45 – 5L 1
Detroit68.4292.53 – 33 – 50 – 03 – 63 – 24 – 6L 2
Minnesota68.4292.52 – 54 – 31 – 32 – 11 – 33 – 7L 1
West
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
Seattle95.6434 – 35 – 23 – 13 – 31 – 07 – 3W 3
LA Angels85.6150.55 – 23 – 32 – 15 – 31 – 16 – 4W 1
Oakland77.50023 – 64 – 10 – 02 – 02 – 57 – 3W 6
Houston67.4622.51 – 55 – 20 – 00 – 36 – 43 – 7L 6
Texas68.42932 – 54 – 35 – 31 – 20 – 05 – 5L 1
National League
East
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
NY Mets53.6254 – 11 – 25 – 30 – 00 – 05 – 3W 3
Philadelphia76.5380.56 – 11 – 56 – 61 – 00 – 04 – 6W 1
Miami67.4621.52 – 54 – 24 – 20 – 31 – 05 – 5W 1
Atlanta68.42923 – 43 – 45 – 81 – 00 – 06 – 4W 2
Washington47.3642.52 – 32 – 41 – 22 – 11 – 43 – 7W 1
Central
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
Cincinnati85.6156 – 12 – 40 – 05 – 12 – 46 – 4W 1
Milwaukee76.53813 – 44 – 20 – 06 – 40 – 06 – 4L 1
St. Louis67.46222 – 44 – 34 – 32 – 40 – 05 – 5L 2
Pittsburgh68.4292.54 – 32 – 50 – 04 – 62 – 25 – 5W 1
Chi Cubs58.38533 – 42 – 40 – 15 – 70 – 03 – 7L 2
West
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
LA Dodgers122.8576 – 06 – 23 – 00 – 07 – 19 – 1W 7
San Francisco85.6153.55 – 13 – 40 – 12 – 15 – 17 – 3L 1
San Diego96.6003.54 – 45 – 20 – 02 – 24 – 46 – 4L 1
Arizona59.35772 – 33 – 61 – 12 – 12 – 54 – 6L 1
Colorado310.2318.53 – 40 – 60 – 00 – 03 – 102 – 8L 6

NBA STANDINGS

Eastern Conference
 WLPctConf GBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Philadelphia3917.69622-517-1210-225-77-34 W
Brooklyn3818.6791.023-715-116-320-127-31 W
Milwaukee3520.6363.518-817-129-020-106-43 W
Atlanta3026.5369.014-1116-154-316-137-31 L
Boston3026.5369.017-1013-164-618-147-35 W
New York3027.5269.517-1013-172-819-176-45 W
Miami2828.50011.015-1313-155-516-156-43 L
Charlotte2728.49111.513-1214-167-215-144-64 L
Indiana2629.47312.59-1617-135-414-175-51 L
10 Toronto2334.40416.513-1510-193-615-205-52 W
11 Chicago2233.40016.510-1812-154-312-133-75 L
12 Washington2233.40016.511-1611-172-78-235-53 W
13 Cleveland2035.36418.511-169-193-514-153-71 L
14 Orlando1838.32121.010-198-194-511-213-71 L
15 Detroit1739.30422.010-167-230-910-224-61 W
 
Western Conference
 WLPctConf GBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Utah4214.75026-316-115-219-87-32 W
Phoenix4015.7271.523-817-76-324-99-14 W
LA Clippers3919.6724.022-817-118-222-107-31 L
Denver3620.6436.019-1017-107-119-128-22 W
LA Lakers3422.6078.016-1218-103-620-115-51 L
Portland3223.5829.516-1216-114-517-145-51 W
Dallas3025.54511.513-1317-126-417-166-41 L
Memphis2826.51913.013-1615-104-612-186-41 W
Golden State2828.50014.017-1011-183-715-146-44 W
10 San Antonio2628.48115.012-1814-105-614-203-72 L
11 New Orleans2531.44617.016-149-176-314-174-62 L
12 Sacramento2234.39320.012-1610-184-610-171-99 L
13 Oklahoma City2036.35722.09-2011-163-811-221-99 L
14 Minnesota1542.26327.510-195-233-69-224-61 W
15 Houston1442.25028.07-217-215-710-231-95 L

NHL STANDINGS

GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Washington Capitals4428124602615413214-6-214-6-25-5-0
New York Islanders4427134582312610518-2-29-11-25-5-0
Pittsburgh Penguins4327133572414712016-3-211-10-17-2-1
Boston Bruins4224126542011910713-6-311-6-36-3-1
New York Rangers4321166482014011210-7-311-9-36-2-2
Philadelphia Flyers432017646181251559-9-311-8-34-4-2
New Jersey Devils421422634141031394-16-310-6-32-6-2
Buffalo Sabres43112572981051494-13-47-12-35-2-3
 
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Colorado Avalanche433094643015410118-4-212-5-29-1-0
Vegas Golden Knights433011262301429616-4-214-7-06-3-1
Minnesota Wild4226133552512711316-4-010-9-35-3-2
St. Louis Blues421917644171221327-10-412-7-23-6-1
Arizona Coyotes4419205431611813910-8-39-12-24-6-0
San Jose Sharks431821440131161448-10-210-11-25-5-0
Los Angeles Kings421620638151141277-9-49-11-23-7-0
Anaheim Ducks451424735131011425-15-49-9-34-5-1
 
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Toronto Maple Leafs4428124602714511714-7-314-5-16-2-2
Winnipeg Jets4427143572714411711-6-216-8-16-3-1
Edmonton Oilers4225152522513412013-8-012-7-26-2-2
Montreal Canadiens4119139471812511510-9-29-4-75-5-0
Calgary Flames4419223411811612910-9-19-13-24-6-0
Vancouver Canucks371618335131001209-9-27-9-16-3-1
Ottawa Senators441426432121181649-10-45-16-03-6-1
 
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Carolina Hurricanes4228104602413710315-3-413-7-06-3-1
Tampa Bay Lightning4329122602814611016-4-013-8-25-5-0
Florida Panthers4427125592613812014-4-313-8-26-3-1
Nashville Predators4524201491912012713-9-011-11-17-3-0
Chicago Blackhawks4420195451812313911-8-29-11-34-6-0
Dallas Stars4216141244151171089-6-87-8-45-2-3
Columbus Blue Jackets451521939131131498-8-77-13-22-7-1
Detroit Red Wings4516236381510314110-9-46-14-25-3-2