HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL – NCC/AREA

Anderson 14 Marion 4

McCutcheon 5 Kokomo 4

Yorktown 6 New Castle 0

HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL – NCC/AREA

Union County 8 Richmond 3

Harrison 11 Chatard 3

New Palestine  1 Center Grove 0

Lapel 7 New Castle 2

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Kansas City 9 Pittsburgh 6

Boston 1 NY Mets 0

Washington 8 Toronto 2

Minnesota 10 Cleveland 2

NY Yankees 7 Baltimore 0

Tampa Bay 2 Oakland 0

LA Angels 4 Texas 3

Detroit at Chicago White Sox postponed

Houston 7 Seattle 5

Miami 6 Milwaukee 2

LA Dodgers 8 Cincinnati 0

Atlanta 10 Chicago Cubs 0

Philadelphia 5 St. Louis 3

San Diego 12 Arizona 3

San Francisco 7 Colorado 3

NBA SCOREBOARD

Orlando 109 Cleveland 104

Philadelphia 127 Atlanta 83

Boston 120 Charlotte 111

New York 113 Chicago 94

Washington 116 LA Lakers 107

Miami 116 San Antonio 111

Denver 114 New Orleans 112

Portland 130 Memphis 109…DESMOND BANE 8PTS, 2REB,

Phoenix 109 LA Clippers 101

Utah 154 Sacramento 105

NHL SCOREBOARD

Ottawa 6 Vancouver 3

St. Louis 4 Minnesota 3

Toronto 4 Montréal 1

Edmonton 3 Winnipeg 1

Vegas 5 Colorado 2

Anaheim 3 Los Angeles 2

San Jose 4 Arizona 2

TOP HEADLINES

Kershaw dazzles Reds, Dodgers win 8-0 to snap 3-game skid

LOS ANGELES (AP) When the Los Angeles Dodgers badly needed somebody or something to pull them out of a weeklong slump, Clayton Kershaw did it with cool confidence.

He has been performing these feats regularly for the Dodgers since 2008, and the 33-year-old lefty doesn’t look like he’ll relinquish the responsibility any time soon.

Kershaw yielded four hits over seven masterful innings, Justin Turner homered and the Dodgers ended their three-game losing streak with an 8-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.

“It’s always a good feeling knowing we’ve got Kersh on the mound,” said Chris Taylor, who had an RBI triple and scored two runs. “It was huge to have him get us out of this funk. He was outstanding.”

Kershaw (4-2) racked up eight strikeouts with one walk while never allowing Cincinnati to get a runner to third base in his first win over the Reds since 2016. He won an impressive pitching duel with Sonny Gray (0-2) before his teammates tacked on six runs in the eighth inning.

“We’ve been scuffling a little bit, and we wanted to end the homestand on a good note,” Kershaw said.

Kershaw’s brilliance was the biggest reason the Dodgers avoided their first four-game losing streak since 2018, allowing them to finish a 2-5 homestand with a renewed positivity. Los Angeles still leads the NL at 16-9, but the past week underlined weaknesses that will have to be fixed over the next five months.

Braves hit 5 homers, pound Hendricks, Cubs 10-0

ATLANTA (AP) Marcell Ozuna homered in a four-run first inning, Huascar Ynoa pitched 5 1/3 strong innings and the Atlanta Braves went deep five times to beat the Chicago Cubs 10-0 on Wednesday night for their third straight victory.

Ynoa added his first career homer in the fourth as Atlanta shut out the Cubs for the second straight night. Chicago has lost five in a row.

Freddie Freeman went 4 for 5 and hit his seventh homer in the sixth.

The Braves’ bats have woken up since they scuffled for just one hit while getting swept by Arizona in a doubleheader last Sunday.

“We knew it was going to turn,” Freeman said. “We know what kind of offense we have. It’s the same team we had from last year. We put up some pretty impressive numbers. It’s only a matter of time. We’ve been hitting balls hard. They’ve just been getting caught.”

In the first, Freeman singled before Ozuna’s second homer sailed 453 feet into the seats in left-center. Ozzie Albies followed with a double, and Austin Riley hit his third homer over the left-field fence.

Atlanta went up 6-0 in the second when Ynoa and Ronald Acuna Jr. singled and scored on Freeman’s double. Acuna scored on a headfirst slide after hesitating at third on the relay throw.

The first three homers came off Kyle Hendricks (1-3), who gave up seven runs and 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings. Hendricks’ ERA rose by nearly two runs per game to 7.54. He has allowed 10 homers in 22 2/3 innings this season.

Buxton gets 5 hits, Twins homer 6 times in rout of Indians

CLEVELAND (AP) As Byron Buxton walked to the plate for his final at-bat, he didn’t consider hitting for the cycle until a fan pointed out the obvious.

“I heard this little kid and he’s like, `All you need is a triple,'” said Buxton, who settled for his second double.

It’s the only time he came up short Wednesday.

Buxton homered on Logan Allen’s second pitch and went 5 for 5, Mitch Garver hit two homers and the struggling Twins connected six times to end a four-game losing streak with a 10-2 thumping of the Cleveland Indians.

Buxton’s AL-leading eighth homer triggered a three-homer barrage in the first off Allen (1-4), who allowed six home runs in a 12-batter span over two starts and soon will be on his way to Triple-A Columbus.

Buxton added two doubles, two singles and stole a base while pushing his average to .438.

“Leave it up to Buck to get the team going,” Garver said. “He’s been playing out of his mind right now. We follow his lead when he sets the pace for a game. He’s got to be like the most electric baseball player in the game right now.

“He’s certainly the hottest. Everything is going his way. “

Not long after Buxton returned to the dugout in the first, Josh Donaldson hit a 425-foot homer. Allen walked Nelson Cruz and surrendered Jorge Polanco’s 426-foot homer into the left-field bleachers as the Twins took extended batting practice to open a 4-0 lead after 14 pitches.

The home runs energized the two-time defending AL Central champion Twins, who have fallen into last place.

“It was awesome,” Garver said of the early onslaught as Minnesota became the first visiting team to hit six home runs in one game at Progressive Field, which opened in 1994.

Harper hit in face, leaves game as Phils beat Cardinals 5-3

ST. LOUIS (AP) Andrew McCutchen returned to the lineup and drove in the go-ahead run, helping the Philadelphia Phillies beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-3 Wednesday night after Bryce Harper was hit in the face by a pitch.

Harper left the game in the sixth inning after getting hit in his left cheek on a 96.9 mph fastball from left-handed reliever Genesis Cabrera (0-1).

Harper posted a video on Instagram that said: “Everything came back good. The face is still there. See ya soon.”

The All-Star slugger picked himself up and walked off the field, blood dripping from a cut near the side of his nose.

“He went to the hospital to get a CT scan. We’re awaiting the news. We just pray that everything is OK there. We hope there’s no fractures,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “He was bleeding. He’s a tough character. Say a prayer.”

Matt Joyce came in to run for Harper, who is in the third year of a $330 million, 13-year deal.

Cabrera hit the next batter, Didi Gregorius, with a 94 mph fastball. Girardi came out of the dugout to complain to plate umpire Chris Segal and was ejected.

“I’ve been hit in the face, broke my nose. It’s scary,” Girardi said. “I don’t think he did it on purpose. I’m not saying that. But for the protection of the players, he has to go.”

Cabrera, through translator Antonio Mujica, expressed remorse for his pitching.

“I’m very sorry for Bryce Harper,” Cabrera said. “I want to again to apologize to all of the action that happened, especially to Harper. I really wish him the best and I hope he has a speedy recovery. The game got away from me. I’m really sorry for everything that happened. It was not intentional.”

Machado powers San Diego past Arizona 12-3

PHOENIX (AP) Manny Machado hit a bases-loaded triple during a six-run fifth inning, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Kim Ha-Seong each had two hits and two RBIs, and the San Diego Padres overcame starter Ryan Weathers’ early injury in a 12-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night.

Machado’s triple capped a string of seven straight hits for the Padres, who got only one runner as far as second base in the first four innings against Arizona emergency starter Riley Smith (1-1).

Kim and Tatis had RBI singles in the fifth, Kim had his first career two-RBI game and Jake Cronenworth hit a pinch-homer for San Diego, which broke an 11-game losing streak at Chase Field. Jorge Mateo added a two-run homer in the ninth, his first in the majors.

Weathers, who entered with an 0.59 ERA, was replaced because of left arm soreness after pitching a scoreless first inning. Aaron Northcraft (1-0), the third of eight Padres’ pitchers, got his first major league victory.

Wyatt Mathisen homered and Nick Ahmed had two hits and two RBIs for Arizona, which had won seven of eight. The Diamondbacks won the series opener Tuesday to move over .500 for the first time this season but dropped to 12-12.

Jurickson Profar, who also had two hits, singled to open the San Diego fifth and Victor Caratini, Kim, Tommy Pham, Tatis and Trent Grisham followed with singles for a 3-2 lead before Machado cleared the bases on the line drive just out of the reach of diving left fielder David Peralta.

Tauchman has 3 hits in SF debut, Giants beat Rockies 7-3

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Mike Tauchman had three hits in his first game with San Francisco, Alex Wood struck out nine over six innings and the Giants beat the Colorado Rockies 7-3 Wednesday night.

Tauchman, acquired from the Yankees on Tuesday, started in center field and went 3 for 4 with a run and an RBI. A backup in New York’s star-studded outfield, the 30-year-old Tauchman is hoping to establish himself as an everyday player.

“He was exactly as advertised,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “Comfortable in the outfield. In the batter’s box, he’s a fighter. Very competitive.”

Wood (3-0) held the Rockies hitless through 5 2/3 innings and won his third consecutive start to begin his Giants career. He allowed two runs, four hits and two walks.

Brandon Belt added a two-run single for the Giants, who improved to 16-9 and remained tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the NL West.

Yonathan Daza had an RBI single in Colorado’s two-run seventh, when the Rockies pulled within 4-2. But they fell to an NL-worst 9-15 and are 1-8 on the road.

San Francisco has won eight of its past 11. The rotation has keyed the Giants’ surprising start – their starting pitching leads the majors with a 2.20 ERA.

Soler’s three hits, three RBIs lead Royals over Pirates 9-6

PITTSBURGH (AP) Jorge Soler had two doubles among his three hits and drove in three runs to lead Kansas City over the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-6 on Wednesday night and improve the Royals’ record to a major league-best 15-8.

Soler’s doubles sparked three-run rallies in the first and sixth innings, the latter stretching the lead to 9-5. He came into the game hitting .186 with eight RBIs.

“I’m trying to do this every day, as long as I’m up to bat,” Soler said. “Today I hit a couple of balls hard the other way and they fell in. Today was a good day.”

Kansas City won for the sixth time in seven games.

Salvador Perez also had three of Kansas City’s 12 hits. Hunter Dozier hit a two-run triple and Andrew Benintendi added a two-run double.

Dozier was hitting .129 prior to Wednesday and Benintendi’s batting average was .227.

“The top of the order has been carrying us at times and the bottom third did a nice job early on (in the season),” Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said. “It was the middle third that really came through this time. We saw it coming and Soler, Benintendi and Dozier all put together good at-bats.”

Vázquez helps Red Sox beat deGrom, slumping Mets 1-0

NEW YORK (AP) Jacob deGrom doesn’t give up much on the mound. Fortunately for his opponents, sometimes it doesn’t take a whole lot to beat him.

Christian Vazquez hit an early RBI double, producing the only run required for the Boston Red Sox to slip past deGrom and the punchless New York Mets 1-0 on Wednesday night.

Nick Pivetta (3-0) and three relievers combined on a two-hitter as the surprising AL East leaders swept a two-game interleague series at Citi Field, outscoring the Mets 3-1.

“That was fun. The two games were fun. That’s what baseball is all about,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “Good pitching.”

Xander Bogaerts doubled off the left-center fence to open the second inning and one out later, Vazquez drove a shoulder-high 0-2 fastball clocked at 100 mph the other way into the right-center gap.

After that, deGrom (2-2) held Boston off the scoreboard – but the Mets couldn’t muster anything at the plate in their latest offensive flop with the two-time Cy Young Award winner on the mound. Lack of support has been a troubling theme throughout his stellar career, leaving him with 72 wins in eight seasons despite the lowest ERA in franchise history.

He’s allowed two earned runs all season – and lost two games.

Fedde, Harrison lift Nats over Jays in Springer’s debut

DUNEDIN. Fla. (AP) Erick Fedde went six strong innings, Josh Harrison hit a three-run homer and the Washington Nationals beat Toronto 8-2 in George Springer’s Blue Jays debut Wednesday night.

Fedde (2-2) allowed one run and two hits, including a fifth-inning solo homer by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. The right-hander struck out seven and walked three.

“With cutter, sinker, the combination is really good because he works both sides of the plate,” Washington manager Dave Martinez said. “Today he threw a lot of curveballs, and it was effective for him as well. When you get can all those pitches in the strike zone as you can see he’s real tough to hit.”

Harrison got his third homer in 16 at-bats against Steven Matz (4-1), a three-run shot in the fourth that made it 6-0.

Springer, who signed a team-record $150 million, six-year deal this offseason, went 0 for 4. The World Series MVP when Houston won its first title in 2017 missed time in spring training and the start of the season because of a strained oblique and later due to a right quadriceps strain.

“He ran fine, saw a lot of pitches, which is good,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said.

Trea Turner had four hits and Josh Bell also homered for the Nationals.

Toronto got an eighth-inning solo homer from Bo Bichette.

Germán’s 2nd straight win, Frazier’s 1st homer lifts Yanks

BALTIMORE (AP) Domingo German won his second straight start, combining with Michael King on a four-hitter, and the New York Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-0 Wednesday night.

Mike Ford put the Yankees ahead in the second inning with his second home run in 16 at-bats this season, an opposite-field drive to left, and cleanup hitter Gio Urshela made it 5-0 with a three-run homer in the four-run third.

Four innings after making a baserunning blunder, Clint Frazier hit his first home run in 69 plate appearances this season, capping the scoring in the eighth with a drive off Tyler Wells.

New York has won five of seven. The Yankees scored their most runs since getting a season-high eight on April 11 and pitched their second shutout this season – both have come against the Orioles.

“We scored seven and obviously we’ll take that every time,” manager Aaron Boone said. “It’s also one of those games we probably could have scored more the way the guys swung the bat.”

Baltimore fell to 3-10 at home this season.

Glasnow strikes out 10 in Rays’ 2-0 win over A’s

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Tyler Glasnow struck out 10 in seven innings Wednesday night and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Oakland Athletics 2-0.

Glasnow (3-1) gave up five hits and two walks, dealing the Athletics their third loss in four games after a 13-game winning streak.

The big right-hander threw 98 pitches while dealing with a cramp in his right leg that he said made him feel “weirdly uncomfortable” in the dugout. Glasnow said he had to “grind through it.”

Given his dominant results, Glasnow had second thoughts about mentioning the cramp.

“Can we just forget I said that?” he said. “I feel like an idiot that I even said that.”

Diego Castillo got the final two outs to earn his sixth save in eight chances.

Mike Zunino’s fifth home run, a towering blast off the Tropicana Field catwalk, broke a scoreless tie in the fifth inning.

“Sometimes when you take an easy swing and try not to do too much, that’s what happens,” said Zunino, who is on a six-game hitting streak.

The Rays made it 2-0 after Oakland starter Cole Irvin’s only walk and back-to-back singles by Randy Arozarena and Manuel Margot.

Rodriguez’s 3 1/3 shutout innings lead Angels over Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Rookie Chris Rodriguez pitched 3 1/3 shutout innings for the win, and Anthony Rendon and Jose Iglesias hit two-run singles in the first to lead the Los Angeles Angels over the Texas Rangers 4-3 on Wednesday night.

Rodriguez (2-0) entered to begin the third inning after Alex Cobb allowed three runs and six hits, including two-out RBI singles by Nate Lowe and Willie Calhoun. The 22-year-old right-hander walked none and allowed only a one-out single to Adolis Garcia, his final batter in the sixth inning.

Tony Watson followed and got David Dahl to hit into a double play.

Angels manager Joe Maddon called Rodriguez’s outing “spectacular.”

“He was the star of the game,” Maddon said. “He defined that game for us and gave us a chance to win.

“Great composure. Everything was working. Attacked with his fastball. Loved everything about it.”

Rodriguez’s innings and 42 pitches were the most in his seven-game big league career, which began April 2. He got his first big league win Sunday with a scoreless inning against Houston.

Rodriguez said the call to the bullpen that early didn’t surprise him.

“I kind of saw the game and how it was going,” he said. “I’m always expecting to go first, second, third, fourth, whatever it is. I’m ready the whole game.”

Castro’s walk helps Astros rally in 8th to beat M’s 7-5

HOUSTON (AP) Pinch-hitter Jason Castro drew a bases-loaded walk to put Houston in front during a four-run eighth inning, and the Astros rallied to beat the Seattle Mariners 7-5 on Wednesday night.

Houston has won six of its last seven and handed Seattle its third straight loss.

The Astros pulled ahead in the eighth without an extra-base hit. Kyle Tucker and Yuli Gurriel had back-to-back singles against Rafael Montero (2-1) with one out. An error by first baseman Evan White allowed Tucker to score on a fielder’s choice, and Aledmys Diaz singled to score Gurriel.

“We trust each other in the clubhouse,” Diaz said. “Nobody tries to be a hero. We just try to hit the strikes and get the walks.”

Will Vest came in and walked Castro, and Jose Altuve followed with a sacrifice fly.

“The bottom of the lineup really picked us up today,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “Some day, we’re going to click on all cylinders, and it’s not far off.”

Joe Smith (1-1) struck out one in a scoreless eighth. Ryne Stanek worked the ninth for his first save of the season.

Montero was charged with three hits and four runs, two earned, in 2/3 of an inning.

Aguilar’s 5th HR in 6 games leads Marlins over Brewers 6-2

MILWAUKEE (AP) Jesus Aguilar’s hot bat helped the injury-riddled Miami Marlins win a series against his former team.

Aguilar homered for the fifth time in six games in a 6-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday. His tiebreaking three-run shot off Eric Yardley with two outs in the fourth inning put Miami for good.

“He’s amazing,” Marlins pitcher Sandy Alcantara said.

Aguilar, who played for the Brewers from 2017-19, went 4 of 11 with two homers, four runs and five RBIs in Milwaukee this week to help the Marlins win two of three from the Brewers.

His three-run homer increased his RBIs total to an NL-leading 22.

The Marlins have needed Aguilar’s power to carry them at a time when injuries have decimated their lineup. Marlins second baseman Jazz Chisholm joined outfielder Starling Marte, catcher Jorge Alfaro and third baseman Brian Anderson on the injured list Wednesday.

“He swung the bat good all spring and started off the season good,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He had a little spell there where I think he got a little twisted and got a little turned in. He got himself straightened out, and since then he’s just been homering it feels like on a daily basis.”

With the score 2-2, Miami had runners on first and second when Miguel Rojas hit a comebacker to Yardley, who attempted to start a inning-ending double play. The Brewers got the out at second, but second baseman Kolten Wong lost control of the ball before he could attempt to throw to first.

Miami capitalized when Aguilar drove a 2-1 pitch over the left-field wall.

Magic squander 23-point lead in fourth, beat Cavs 109-104

CLEVELAND (AP) Cole Anthony made the tiebreaking layup with 45 seconds left, and the Orlando Magic squandered a 23-point lead before edging the Cleveland Cavaliers 109-104 on Wednesday night to snap a six-game losing streak.

The Magic went up 86-63 on R.J. Hampton’s hoop with 10:42 remaining, but Cleveland responded with a 41-18 run to tie the score at 104 on a 3-pointer by Kevin Love.

Love was held scoreless until the fourth quarter, two days after his on-court tantrum against the Raptors in Tampa, Florida.

Anthony put Orlando in front for good with a tough driving layup, then made a pair of free throws after a Cavaliers turnover to make it 108-104. The rookie from North Carolina scored 12 of his 18 points in the fourth.

“In order to make the right play, I felt like I had to have the ball in my hands, to be honest,” Anthony said. “My job as a point guard is to make things happen for my team the best way I can.”

Gary Harris had 19 points, six rebounds and seven assists for Orlando, which won for the second time in 14 games and pulled into a tie with Detroit for the worst record in the East. Chuma Okeke had 18 points before exiting with a twisted ankle.

“Cole is a gamer who wants the moment, he wants the ball in his hands,” Harris said. “He’s going to be a very good player for a long time in this league. We’ve had some ups and downs, but we’re building something here.”

76ers rout Hawks 127-83 to clinch playoff spot

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Seth Curry scored 20 points, Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid each added 17 and the Philadelphia 76ers built a big early lead and cruised to a 127-83 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night to clinch an Eastern Conference playoff berth.

Shake Milton and Furkan Korkmaz scored 12 apiece and Tyrese Maxey added 11 for the Sixers, who became the second team in the Eastern Conference to secure a postseason spot.

“Coming into the season, our goal was to win a championship,” Embiid said. “There are a lot of steps to get there. But we have everything we need to make it happen.”

The Sixers are currently second in the East, a game behind Brooklyn and 2 1/2 games ahead of third-place Milwaukee with 10 games to play. Both the Nets and Bucks were off Wednesday.

“We would have loved to be the first team to clinch the playoffs,” Harris said. “We’re not dwelling on that, but this is Philadelphia basketball, where greatness is expected from our fans and us as a group. We understand that. We’re not celebrating for clinching the playoffs.”

Atlanta was missing star guard Trae Young, who missed his fourth game since spraining his left ankle on April 21 against New York. John Collins scored 21 points and Solomon Hill added 14 for Atlanta.

Celtics rebound behind Brown, Tatum, beat Hornets 120-111

BOSTON (AP) Jaylen Brown scored 38 points, Jayson Tatum added 35, and the Boston Celtics rebounded from an embarrassing loss a night earlier with a 120-111 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night.

Brown has reached 30 points in three of his last five games.

“They came in and made it hard for us to be beat tonight,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said of his two stars.

The Celtics remained tied with Miami for sixth in the Eastern Conference. The top six teams avoid a seven-through-10 play-in for the playoffs. Boston plays the Heat at home on May 9 and 11. The Celtics won the only meeting this season.

“That’s what it’s all about,” Brown said. “Turning it up a notch, hitting the next level. The season’s on the line. I feel like every leader wants to do that.”

Tristan Thompson chipped in with 12 points and 13 rebounds for Boston, which had lost four of its last five following a six-game winning streak.

Devonte’ Graham led Charlotte with 25 points, and P.J. Washington and Miles Bridges each had 19.

“You have to give them credit,” Graham said. “Jaylen and Jayson came out hot and they were pretty much comfortable getting anything they want.”

Hornets’ leading scorer Terry Rozier was held to 15 points on 4-for-18 shooting, collecting nine in the final quarter. He entered averaging 20.4 points.

Randle, Knicks beat Bulls 113-94 for 10th win in 11 games

NEW YORK (AP) The New York Knicks made sure their loss to Phoenix was just a temporary bump in the road.

Julius Randle scored 34 points and the Knicks beat the Chicago Bulls 113-94 on Wednesday night for their 10th win in 11 games.

RJ Barrett added 22 points as New York bounced back from its loss Monday that snapped a nine-game winning streak. Immanuel Quickley and Reggie Bullock each scored 13 points as the Knicks regained sole possession of fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

“We just enjoy playing with each other,” Quickley said. “Everything is clicking. We just want to continue to take the right steps and just try and make a playoff push.”

Nikola Vucevic had 26 points and 18 rebounds for Chicago. Lauri Markkanen added 14 points, while Colby White and Garrett Temple each had 12.

The Knicks outscored the Bulls 37-19 in the fourth quarter after leading just 76-75 through three.

“I’m excited about how we compete and how we can still improve,” Randle said. We can still get better.”

New York took a 30-12 lead on Barrett’s drive with 2:11 remaining in the first quarter. The Bulls used a 16-9 run to pull within 52-48 at halftime.

A 9-0 run gave the Bulls their first lead of the game at 59-58 on Tomas Satoransky’s layup with 7:20 left in the third quarter. The Knicks followed with their own 9-0 run and Randle’s short jumper for the final basket of the period put them back in the lead and ignited an 11-0 run that stretched into the final quarter.

Beal, Westbrook lead Wizards past LeBron-less Lakers 116-107

WASHINGTON (AP) When the Washington Wizards started 0-5, or when they were in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak, or when they lost two starters to season-ending injuries, who would have thought they’d find themselves beating the reigning NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers on national TV in late April to sweep the two-game season series?

And who would have thought the Wizards would own a two-game lead for the Eastern Conference’s 10th spot and the inside track for a play-in berth with 10 games left in the regular season?

Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook certainly did not give up on the season, and their performances Wednesday night – Beal’s 27 points and Westbrook’s league-record 13th triple-double of the month – lifted the Wizards past the no-LeBron Lakers 116-107, handing Los Angeles its fourth loss in five games.

“We had a bad season,” said Alex Len, who had 18 points and nine rebounds as part of Washington’s three-man center rotation, “but if we finish strong and make the playoffs, people are going to remember the end of the season.”

LeBron James has been sidelined for more than a month with a sprained right ankle, a 20-game absence during which the Lakers are 8-12 and have dropped to fifth in the Western Conference standings. He sat near LA’s subs, a mask covering his nose and mouth.

Spoelstra gets win No. 600, Heat top Spurs 116-111

MIAMI (AP) Erik Spoelstra got a milestone win, and it didn’t come easily.

Jimmy Butler scored 29 points, Bam Adebayo scored 21 and the Miami Heat went on a 17-0 run in the second half before hanging on late to beat the San Antonio Spurs 116-111 on Wednesday night.

It was the 600th regular-season win for Spoelstra, making him the 27th coach in NBA history to win that many and just the sixth coach to do so with one franchise. He thanked Heat President Pat Riley and managing general partner Micky Arison for the opportunity.

“It is humbling,” Spoelstra said. “Obviously, I always think about Pat and Micky for having this incredible opportunity to be able to coach with this franchise. I feel a great responsibility to do it the right way for something they started and created.”

The Heat (33-30) remained No. 7 in the Eastern Conference, tied with No. 6 Boston (33-30) and now one game behind No. 5 Atlanta (34-29).

“I know if we win, that takes care of everything,” Butler said.

Adebayo added 11 rebounds for Miami, which got 18 points from three players – Kendrick Nunn, plus reserves Goran Dragic and Dewayne Dedmon. Dragic had seven assists, giving him 2,004 in his Miami career and tying him with two-time NBA champion Mario Chalmers for third-most in team history.

Dejounte Murray had 22 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists for the Spurs, who were without starting guard Derrick White, who is expected to miss the rest of the season with a sprained ankle. DeMar DeRozan scored 20 for the Spurs, who got 18 from Lonnie Walker IV, 14 from Keldon Johnson, 13 from Rudy Gay and 11 from Devin Vassell.

Jokic blocks late shot, Nuggets hold off Pelicans 114-112

DENVER (AP) Nikola Jokic swung his right hand down as Zion Williamson was going in for a game-tying, two-handed dunk.

All ball.

At least, that was the ruling on the floor.

Known for his offensive heroics, Jokic came up big on the other end by blocking Williamson’s shot from behind with 2.2 seconds remaining as the Denver Nuggets held off the New Orleans Pelicans 114-112 Wednesday night.

“He went to dunk and I was going hard just to not let him score,” explained Jokic, who finished with 32 points. “I was aiming for the ball.”

Leading by nine points with 52.8 seconds remaining, the Nuggets seemed to have this all sewn up. But they committed one turnover after another and had to withstand a furious rally by the Pelicans, who cut the lead to 114-112 with 9.9 seconds remaining. Then, another Denver turnover.

Williamson was going in for a jam when Jokic slid over to knock the ball away.

Asked about his reaction to the play, Williamson simply said: “They didn’t call it. Not much I can do about that. Just got to learn from it.”

Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy said Williamson has never been one to flop or lobby for calls. His brute force, though, may work to his disadvantage.

“I do think that strength gets punished in this league a lot more than quickness,” Van Gundy said. “If you’re able to go through contact a little bit it’s called differently. If you fall down every time you’re hit or you flop you get calls. That’s just the way it is. It’s not just Zion. That’s just the way it is.”

McCollum, Powell help Trail Blazers defeat Grizzlies 130-109

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) CJ McCollum had 26 points and six assists, and Norman Powell added 24 points, helping the Portland Trail Blazers solidify their hold on seventh place in the West with a 130-109 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.

Damian Lillard finished with 23 points and Carmelo Anthony scored 18 as Portland moved two games ahead of Memphis and San Antonio, which lost 116-111 at Miami on Wednesday night.

“We (were) definitely ready to play,” Anthony said. “You could sense it. You could feel it that we were locked in, and we knew how important this game was for us.”

Jonas Valancuinas led Memphis with 19 points, and Dillon Brooks had 18. Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 13 points and Ja Morant added 10 points and eight assists, but was 3 of 11 from the field as the Grizzlies lost their second straight.

“We had a hard time getting in the paint and finishing,” said reserve forward Brandon Clarke, who had eight points. “We had a harder time with our pace.”

The Grizzlies made a slight dent in what was once a 33-point lead in the first half, getting the deficit to 17 in the third quarter, but Portland was really never threatened after halftime.

The game was the third in six days between the teams maneuvering for the postseason play-in positioning with hopes of possibly moving into the Western Conference’s top six seeds.

While the previous two games were close, Memphis won both last weekend in Portland, leaving the Trail Blazers with a sense of revenge. McCollum and Anthony both recalled that those two losses were on Portland’s home court.

“We came on their court and kicked their (butts),” McCollum said.

Suns beat Clippers, clinch first playoff spot in 11 years

PHOENIX (AP) Chris Paul scored 28 points, Devin Booker added 21 and the Phoenix Suns beat the Los Angeles Clippers 109-101 on Wednesday night to clinch a spot in the playoffs for the first time in 11 years.

The Suns finally figured out a way to beat the Clippers, who won the first two games of the season series. Phoenix didn’t trail the entire game but needed a fourth-quarter push to turn back a Los Angeles rally.

The Suns took an 86-80 lead into the final quarter. The Clippers pulled within 93-92 midway though the fourth but Paul scored three consecutive tough baskets to give Phoenix some space.

The 35-year-old Paul continued to play excellent basketball in his 16th NBA season, shooting 10 of 15 from the field, dishing 10 assists and generally looking like a player a decade younger. He was serenaded with “MVP! MVP!” chants from the crowd by the end of the fourth.

The Suns improved to 44-18 while the Clippers fell to 43-21. The teams are currently ranked No. 2 and 3, respectively, in the Western Conference standings.

Paul George led the Clippers with 25 points and 10 rebounds, while Marcus Morris Sr. added 16 points.

The Suns jumped out to a 39-31 lead after one quarter, making 7 of 9 shots from 3-point range. Phoenix pushed the lead to 14 points by midway through the second before settling for a 63-53 halftime advantage.

Frank Kaminsky led the Suns with 13 points before the break while Booker had 12. George scored 16 for the Clippers. The Phoenix bench outscored LA’s reserves 28-8 in the first half.

Jazz rout Kings 154-105, snap two-game losing streak

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) Like many of his Utah teammates, Matt Thomas felt like he couldn’t miss – and he was right. Seven shots, all makes, on the way to 17 points in a mere nine minutes.

“Its awesome,” Thomas said. “As a shooter and as a scorer it always feels good when the ball is going in the basket. Tonight was one of those nights where the basket looked pretty big to me.”

So much for the idea that the Jazz are easing up in their march to the playoffs.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 24 points, Utah made 24 3-pointers, and the short-handed Jazz bounced back from consecutive losses and set a franchise scoring record in a 154-105 win over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.

Rudy Gobert had 12 points and 10 rebounds, Jordan Clarkson scored 23 points and Georges Niang scored 19 with five 3s for Utah.

“I’m probably in the minority, but I thought we played well (Monday) night and didn’t shoot well,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. “Tonight we played well in a different way. The ball moved. We were solid tonight. Obviously we made shots.”

Utah shot 64% overall and went 24 of 41 on 3s, two nights after missing 41 in the second of back-to-back losses to Minnesota.

The West-leading Jazz jumped on the Kings and never let up. Utah outscored Sacramento 46-17 in the second quarter, built its lead to 54 points and rolled to its most lopsided win of the year.

Utah’s previous record for points in a game was 153, set in 1977-78 when the franchise was in New Orleans.

Pacioretty scores twice, Golden Knights beat Avalanche 5-2

LAS VEGAS (AP) If there’s been one knock on the Vegas Golden Knights this season, it’s been they’ve only dominated the lower half of the West Division.

They knocked that notion and their top contender back to Denver in convincing fashion Wednesday night.

Max Pacioretty scored twice to lead the Golden Knights to a 5-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche in a matchup of the division’s top teams.

Vegas, which has won a franchise-best 10 in a row, now leads Colorado by six points, with the Avalanche having a game in hand. The Golden Knights have outscored teams 45-17 during their win streak.

“Huge result for the standings,” said Peter DeBoer, who registered his 50th win as coach of the Golden Knights. “Gives us a real chance. We’ve still got a lot of business to take care of over the next two weeks. It sets us up where our destiny is in our own hands.”

It marked the 18th time Vegas has scored at least five goals – tops in the NHL.

Vegas, Colorado, and Minnesota, which is one point back of the Avalanche, have all clinched postseason berths. The Golden Knights are 6-6-1 against the Avalanche and Minnesota, while they’re a dominant 29-5-1 against the rest of the division.

“We’re not concerned with who they’re beating and how they’re beating them,” Colorado defenseman Ryan Graves said. “We know that they’re a good team and we respect them. We’re also confident in ourselves that we are a good team and we believe that in a seven-game series I think we’re confident in how we would fare.”

The Golden Knights have two more games at Minnesota, where they’ve won just one time since entering the league in 2017. They play Colorado once more in Las Vegas, on May 10.

“I think you got two teams if you look at the list of players they’re missing, could change the depth of their lineup,” DeBoer said about the Avalanche, who were without Joonas Donskoi, Philipp Grubauer, and Mikko Rantanen – all of whom recently exited the league’s COVID protocol.

Tkachuk leads the way, helps Senators beat Canucks 6-3

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) The Ottawa Senators moved out of last place in the North Division on Wednesday night, with Brady Tkachuk recording a “Gordie Howe hat trick” in a convincing 6-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

Tkachuk was happier with the two points than posting the goal-assist-fight trifecta.

“I’m not going to lie to you, it was pretty cool,” he said of the “hat trick.” “I’ve definitely had opportunities beforehand. I just haven’t got it done.

“I wouldn’t really call that one a fight,” he said, referencing a short bout with Zack MacEwen. “I’m more happy with the outcome and how we played. We played a full 60 (minutes), just a great game top to bottom. Now we’re just kind of showing our true colors right now. We’re a fun team to watch. It’s fun to be a part of right now. Like I’ve been saying all year, we’ve learned a lot and that’s why success is following.”

The win moved Ottawa (19-27-4, 42 points) past Vancouver (19-21-3, 41 points) although the Canucks have seven games in hand due to their lengthy COVID-19 hiatus.

The Senators have won six of their last eight (6-2-0) – after losing six of their previous seven (1-5-1). They improved to 11-10-4 at home this season.

The Senators lost 13 of their first 15 games (2-12-1). They have gone 17-15-3 since.

Josh Norris, Victor Mete, Chris Tierney, Thomas Chabot and Colin White also scored for Ottawa. Marcus Hogberg finished with 16 saves.

Tyler Myers, Jake Virtanen and Brandon Sutter scored for Vancouver, which needed a strong game from Thatcher Demko to keep the score from ballooning. The Canucks have lost three of four.

“it wasn’t a very good one from our group,” Myers said of the Vancouver performance. “I thought any time we were generating momentum, we just kind of shot ourselves in the foot. A few too many turnovers, not making the right decisions at the lines and it ended up costing us.”

Ottawa outshot Vancouver 33-22.

Blues rally to beat Wild 4-3 on Thomas’ goal with 0:23 left

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) The Minnesota Wild recently became the third West Division team to clinch a spot in the playoffs.

The St. Louis Blues made quite the case to join them with this comeback.

Robert Thomas tracked down a skipping puck and snapped it into the top of the net with 23 seconds left, capping a three-goal third-period rally by the Blues for a 4-3 victory on Wednesday night to stop the Wild’s seven-game winning streak.

“It’s a mindset for me more than anything. It’s staying on our toes and being aggressive,” said coach Craig Berube, whose team won its third straight game to improve to 22-19-6 and take another step toward fending off Arizona, San Jose and Los Angeles for the fourth and final spot in the division.

Mike Hoffman’s second power play goal of the game, both assisted by David Perron, brought the Blues within one early in the third period following a hooking call on Matt Dumba. Jordan Kyrou tied the game about four minutes later after a turnover by Dumba.

Colts exercise 5th-year option on star guard Quenton Nelson

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) In a move surprising no one, the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday exercised the fifth-year option on perennial All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson’s rookie contract.

Nelson, the Colts’ first-round selection (sixth overall) in the 2018 draft, has started all 48 regular-season games and three postseason games at left guard. He’s been voted an All-Pro in all three seasons – the first offensive lineman and the fifth player since the 1970 merger to be so honored. The others were Barry Sanders, Keith Jackson, Lawrence Taylor and Earl Campbell.

The Colts have allowed the second-fewest sacks (71) in the NFL since 2018 and had a 1,000-yard rusher during each of the past two seasons.

Panthers trading Teddy Bridgewater to Broncos

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Drew Lock didn’t have to wait around for the NFL draft to get the serious competition for his starting job that new general manager George Paton has been promising for months.

Paton traded a sixth-round pick in this weekend’s draft to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for veteran QB Teddy Bridgewater on Wednesday.

Paton might not be done, either.

The Broncos own the ninth overall selection Thursday night and have had their eyes on several of the quarterback prospects rated a notch or two below Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and BYU’s Zach Wilson, who are expected to go 1-2 to the Jaguars and Jets, respectively.

“We’re really high on Drew,” Paton said at his pre-draft news conference last week. “I like seeing Drew here every morning when I come in. He’s working hard and trending in the right direction. As you know, he has a lot of talent. I think he’s becoming a better pro, but we’re still going to look at the quarterback position. I’ve said since I’ve gotten here that we want to bring in competition. That’s the goal, and we plan on doing that.”

Bridgewater became available when the Panthers traded for former Jets QB Sam Darnold three weeks ago.

Bridgewater went 4-11 as the Panthers’ starter last year and struggled to win close games down the stretch. He completed 69.1% of his passes, throwing 15 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions.

Those numbers are better than Lock’s.

The third-year pro from Missouri tied for the league lead with 15 interceptions in 13 starts and his passer rating ranked 32nd in the NFL last season. He was 4-9 overall with 16 touchdown throws and is 8-10 in two years as Denver’s starter.

After missing most of his rookie season with a thumb injury on his throwing hand, Lock missed 2 1-2 games with a rotator cuff injury to his throwing shoulder and another for COVID-19 tracing in 2020.

Bridgewater has a 26-23 career record as a starter over his six seasons in Minnesota, New Orleans and Carolina.

The Broncos have struggled for years to find a suitable replacement for Peyton Manning, who retired a month after Denver’s 24-10 win over Carolina in Super Bowl 50 and is headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer.

Manning’s induction in Canton, Ohio, further highlights the franchise’s serpentine search for a competent successor.

The Broncos are the first team in NFL history to go five years without a playoff appearance following a championship parade, and they’ve had four consecutive losing seasons for the first time since ending a decade-long stretch of sub-.500 records in 1973.

Among the washouts were first-round bust Paxton Lynch, the worst pick in former GM John Elway’s tenure, trade dud Joe Flacco, and free agent flop Case Keenum.

It was widely believed Bridgewater wouldn’t become available until after the draft and maybe wouldn’t join a new team until June. But, according to the NFL Network, the Panthers agreed to pay a portion of Bridgewater’s salary in 2021.

Bridgewater’s three-year, $63 million contract signed last year calls for him to make $10 million guaranteed and up to $7 million more in 2021.

The Panthers have the eighth overall pick in the draft and with Darnold in the fold can target other areas of need including offensive tackle, linebacker, tight end or cornerback.

AP Source: WR Antonio Brown returning to Bucs on 1-year deal

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Receiver Antonio Brown has agreed to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a one-year contract that could be worth up to $6.5 million, including incentives, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity Wednesday because the agreement, which includes a $2 million signing bonus and a little more than $3 million guaranteed, had not been announced by the reigning Super Bowl champions.

NFL Network was first to report the deal.

The Bucs were already assured of returning all 22 starters from their 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL title game in February. Bringing back Brown ensures Tom Brady will pursue an eighth Super Bowl ring with the entire “band” of offensive playmakers assembled around the 43-year-old quarterback last season.

General manager Jason Licht made good on a promise to keep the team together by placing the franchise tag on receiver Chris Godwin, signing linebackers Shaquil Barrett and Lavonte David to multi-year contracts, and bringing back tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back Leonard Fournette and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh on one-year deals.

Brady and left tackle Donovan Smith contributed to the effort by signing salary-cap- friendly contract extensions that freed money to help Licht get it done.

The agreement with Brown comes after the receiver, who joined the Bucs midway through last season after serving an eight-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, settled a civil lawsuit filed against Brown by a former trainer.

Licht was asked last week if Brown resolving the civil dispute would improve the chances of the 32-year-old receiver coming back.

“We’ve had discussions through the offseason, and as you can tell we’ve put an emphasis on bringing back players from last year that contributed to our success, and he would be no different,” the GM said. “We’ll continue to have talks and see where it goes.”

A four-time All-Pro, Brown had 45 receptions for 483 yards and four touchdowns in eight regular-season games in 2020. He caught a TD pass in the Super Bowl, capping a postseason in which he had eight catches for 81 yards and two TDs.

In 139 regular-season games over 11 seasons with Pittsburgh, New England and Tampa Bay, Brown has amassed 886 career receptions for 11,746 yards and 79 TDs.

GM Schneider: Seahawks ‘never actively negotiated’ Wilson trade

The Seattle Seahawks were apparently never close to trading Russell Wilson.

Despite the quarterback’s frustrations with the franchise and strong interest from multiple teams, Seahawks general manager John Schneider said he didn’t entertain any trade offers over the last few months.

“There were a number of teams that called after that media blitz, but no, I never actively negotiated with any team,” Schneider said Wednesday, according to Joe Fann of NBC Sports.

The Chicago Bears reportedly made the strongest push for Wilson, apparently offering Seattle a package that included three first-round picks and two starters.

Trade rumors involving Wilson began after he publicly expressed frustration in February about the amount of contact he’s taken behind the Seahawks’ offensive line.

The signal-caller later reportedly made clear he wants to remain with Seattle and would only waive his no-trade clause to join the Bears, Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, or Las Vegas Raiders.

“Russ has been our quarterback for a good while,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday, according to Myles Simmons of Pro Football Talk. “We’ve got a long contract with him. And when all of the conversation went about trades and all that, I knew what the truth was: We weren’t trading Russell. So we plan on him being here for a good while.”

Wilson, 32, has led the Seahawks to the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, but the team won just one postseason game in that span. He racked up 4,212 passing yards and 40 touchdowns against 13 interceptions last year.

The eight-time Pro Bowler signed a four-year, $140-million extension with Seattle in 2019.

Report: Barkley on track to be ready for start of season

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is on track to be ready for the start of the 2021 season, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Barkley is rehabbing from a torn ACL he suffered in Week 2 against the Chicago Bears.

Prior to the injury, Barkley rushed for 34 yards on 19 carries last season to go along with six receptions for 60 yards.

The 24-year-old tailback recorded back-to-back 1,000-plus-yard rushing seasons in 2018 and 2019. He’s added 149 career receptions for 1,219 yards.

The 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year is entering the fourth year of his contract and is set to earn $4.8 million in 2021.

Barkley’s return would provide a jolt to a Giants offense that’s also added key free-agent signings in receiver Kenny Golladay and tight end Kyle Rudolph.

The Giants are expected to pick up the fifth-year option on Barkley’s rookie deal ahead of the May 3 deadline. New York would guarantee Barkley’s 2022 salary of $7.2 million should it exercise the option. That would also give the club more time to negotiate a long-term extension with its star running back.

NFL draft could see record run of quarterbacks taken

(AP)  As soon as the San Francisco 49ers traded three first round picks to move up to No. 3 overall, it became clear that quarterbacks would come off the board at a record pace at the NFL draft.

While QBs are widely expected to go 1-2-3 for just the third time in the common draft era that started in 1967, there are still questions about how many others will follow in the top 10 and first round.

Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson are expected to be the top two picks, to Jacksonville and the New York Jets, with the Niners likely choosing among Mac Jones, Trey Lance and Justin Fields at No. 3.

That would match 1971 (Jim Plunkett, Archie Manning, Dan Pastorini) and 1999 (Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, Akili Smith) as the only drafts with quarterbacks taken with the top three picks.

A record could be set with four QBs going in the top four if Atlanta drafts the successor to Matt Ryan or trades down to a quarterback-needy team.

If Fields, Jones and Lance all get taken in the top 10, that would also be a first, beating the four top-10 QBs taken in the 2018 draft when Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Josh Rosen all went off the board quickly.

All five of those QBs are almost assuredly first-round picks, something that also happened in 1999 when the five came off in the top 12, and in 2018 when Lamar Jackson was picked 32nd to join the four top-10 QBs.

If somehow, Kyle Trask, Kellen Mond or Davis Mills go off the board late in the first round, the 2021 draft could match the 1983 class with six first-round QBs.

That class that featured Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino, along with Todd Blackledge, Tony Eason and Ken O’Brien, is widely considered the best ever for quarterbacks.

TOP PICKS

With Lawrence set to be the 26th quarterback to be picked first overall since the merger, quarterbacks will account for exactly half of the top picks since 1970.

This will be the sixth time in the past seven years that a QB went first overall, with Cleveland defensive end Myles Garrett the only other player to break through in 2017.

It wasn’t always this way, with a stretch from 1994-97 when the top picks were defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson, running back Ki-Jana Carter, receiver Keyshawn Johnson and tackle Orlando Pace.

There was even an 11-year stretch from 1976-86 when Elway was the only QB to go first overall.

The most popular position besides quarterback to go first overall since the merger is defensive ends with 11, followed by running backs (six), offensive linemen (3), receivers (2), linebackers (2) and defensive tackles (two). There has never been a tight end or defensive back drafted first.

WAITING FOR D

With most of the teams at the top of the draft appearing to be targeting quarterbacks and other offensive players, this could be the longest wait ever for a defensive player to come off the board.

The latest the first defensive player has gone in the common draft era beginning in 1967 was seventh overall in 1999, when Hall of Famer Champ Bailey was taken by Washington.

As recently as 2019, four of the first five players drafted came on the defensive side, with Nick Bosa, Quinnen Williams, Clelin Ferrell and Devin White following top pick Kyler Murray that year.

This could also mark the first time since 2012 that a defensive lineman didn’t get picked in the top 10. Dontari Poe was the first one off the board that year at No. 11 to Kansas City.

RARE TERRITORY

Florida tight end Kyle Pitts could make some draft history this week. If Atlanta picks Pitts at No. 4 overall, he will be highest drafted tight end in the common draft era.

The only time a tight end was picked in the top five came in 1972, when Denver took Riley Odoms fifth overall. Odoms was a two-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowler with 396 catches in 12 seasons.

Just 15 tight ends in all have gone in the top 10 in the draft since 1967, with the players doing it in the past 25 drafts being T.J. Hockenson (eighth to Detroit in 2019), Eric Ebron (10th to Detroit in 2014), Vernon Davis (sixth to San Francisco in 2006), Kellen Winslow Jr. (sixth to Cleveland in 2004) and Ricky Dudley (ninth to the Raiders in 1996).

DOUBLE TROUBLE

Alabama is set to have a pair of receivers picked in the first round for the second straight year, with DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle set to follow 2020 first-rounders Henry Ruggs III and Jerry Jeudy.

The only other colleges to have a pair of receivers picked in the first round in the common draft era are 2007 LSU (Dwayne Bowe and Craig Davis), 2007 Ohio State (Ted Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez), 2001 Miami (Santana Moss and Reggie Wayne) and 1997 Florida (Ike Hilliard and Reidel Anthony).

Falcons GM Terry Fontenot says he’s keeping options open with No. 4 pick in 2021 NFL draft

Terry Fontenot has gone through all the scenarios. He has weighed a bunch of things in his mind. But the Atlanta Falcons’ first-year general manager still isn’t sure exactly what he’ll end up doing Thursday night when his team comes on the board with the fourth pick in the NFL draft.

He could stay. He could trade back. He could take a quarterback. Or maybe a tight end. The options are there. Fontenot recognizes that but insists there’s “definitely no pressure” heading into his first draft because he believes the pressure comes in the process of preparing for the draft, not the night itself.

“There are still variables involved, so we know the players that we will be discussing there, and we can all anticipate the first three picks, but it has to actually happen,” Fontenot said Wednesday. “And then from that point we have to weigh the options of, do we trade back compared to the player we could get at 4, or if we trade back, what would be the value. So we have to weigh all those different variables and all those scenarios so we know the players that we’re talking about.

“We’ve gone through the different things that can happen. But you never know what is going to happen at that exact moment, but we know the players that we’re talking about.”

Fontenot didn’t go into specific players, although when asked about Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, he called him a special player. The common thought is the Falcons will look at quarterbacks — perhaps North Dakota State’s Trey Lance or Ohio State’s Justin Fields — along with Pitts, while there is the potential to move down away from No. 4 to acquire more assets to help build a younger team in a cap conundrum. The Falcons, at this point, don’t have enough cap room to sign their draft class, so moves will be coming.

Fontenot said Atlanta will have a large rookie class, and that’ll start with whomever the Falcons take at No. 4 or elsewhere in the first round if they trade down.

“It’s really case by case, and we have to weigh it,” Fontenot said. “Wherever that team is and the assets, the draft capital, that that team would give up, and we have to look at the player we would get at 4 compared to us anticipating the players that we would be looking at, at that later pick, and obviously taking into consideration the future picks that we would get. So it’s really a weighing process at that point.”

If the Falcons stay at No. 4, Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith have to balance the short-term, win-now thought process along with the broader plan the two of them have for the franchise beyond 2021.

They could take a player they know would play right away, like Pitts, or one they know might sit behind starting quarterback Matt Ryan in any of the quarterbacks.

“When you’re picking at 4, we’re trying to take an impact player. Whether it’s a player that’s going to sit or a player that’s going to play right away, we want to bring in an impact player that fits the culture, that has the right makeup and that we have clear vision for that player,” Fontenot said. “So whether that’s someone who is going to sit or that’s someone who is going to play day one, we have to have a clear vision, and we have to feel really good about not only the player and the skill set but also the person that we’re bringing into the building.”

Cincinnati Bengals declining Billy Price’s 5th-year option, source says

The Cincinnati Bengals will not pick up the fifth-year option on center Billy Price’s rookie deal, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Wednesday.

Price now is slated to become a free agent after this season. If the Bengals had picked up his option, Price was set to earn an estimated 2022 base salary of $10.4 million that would have been fully guaranteed, according to OverTheCap.com.

Under terms of the 2020 collective bargaining agreement, the 2022 salaries for players selected in the first round of the 2018 draft become fully guaranteed at the time the options are exercised. In the past, the salary on the fifth-year options was guaranteed for injury only and didn’t become fully guaranteed until the first day of the new league year.

Price is the first player drafted in the 2018 first round to have his fifth-year option declined. The deadline for NFL teams to make the decisions on fifth-year options is Monday.

The Bengals selected Price with the 21st pick in the 2018 draft.

Price started 10 games at center in his rookie season but has started just nine games on the offensive line the past two seasons combined. Price played in 16 games last season, with his lone start coming in a Week 8 victory over the Tennessee Titans, one of the Bengals’ four wins in 2020.

Under former offensive line coach Jim Turner, Price’s role was undefined at times. At various points throughout last season, Price took reps at center, left guard and right guard before eventually settling back in at center by the end of the year. Turner was not retained after the 2020 season.

Cincinnati hired former assistant Frank Pollack to replace Turner. The Bengals were tied for 29th in the NFL last season in pass block win rate, an ESPN metric powered by NFL Next Gen Stats.

Bank of America Stadium transitioning to artificial turf before Carolina Panthers’ 2021 season

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Bank of America Stadium will transition from natural grass to artificial turf in time for the Carolina Panthers’ preseason schedule in August, leaving the NFL’s 32 teams with 16 grass venues.

The decision to switch to FieldTurf was made to guarantee a consistent surface for not only the Panthers but also other events. Those events include the Charlotte Football Club of Major League Soccer, which will begin playing at BOA in 2022, college football games and concerts.

There could be up to 30 professional sports events alone played at the stadium every year.

Tepper Sports & Entertainment vice president and chief operating officer Mark Hart said it would be a “heavy lift” to have continued with natural grass, which the stadium has used since the Panthers played their first game there in 1996.

“We believe a synthetic surface provides the best solution,” Hart said.

The organization discussed the switch with the players from the Panthers and Charlotte Football Club before making the final decision.

“We have conveyed our commitment to the players to maintain this field at a level consistent with the highest standards,” Hart said.

In addition to NFL and MLS games, the Panthers traditionally host college football openers, the ACC championship and the Duke’s Mayo Bowl. Georgia and Clemson will kick off the 2021 college football season at BOA Stadium on Sept. 4.

The stadium is on hold for several concerts in 2022 that were postponed because of the pandemic.

“[David Tepper’s] vision is for the building to be a community asset,” Hart said of the team owner.

BOA’s grass surface consistently has ranked among the best in the NFL, according to surveys by the NFL Players Association. The NFLPA historically has been against artificial surfaces.

NFLPA president JC Tretter wrote last year that his group would prefer every team switch to natural grass for health and safety purposes. Research has shown that fewer injuries occur on grass.

Atlanta to allow full capacity at 2 stadiums

Atlanta’s two biggest outdoor pro sports stadiums will both allow 100% capacity at events beginning next month.

The Braves said they will return to normal capacity at 41,084-seat Truist Park beginning May 7, when they face the Philadelphia Phillies to begin their third homestand of the season.

The team allowed 33% capacity for their first homestand and ramped up to 50% for their current homestand.

In a release issued at the same time as the Braves’ announcement, officials said Mercedes-Benz Stadium will return to 100% capacity beginning May 15 when Atlanta United hosts a Major League Soccer match against CF Montreal. Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a retractable-roof venue that can hold more than 70,000 fans.

United allowed up to 50% capacity at its first two home games.

Also, the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons intend to be at 100% capacity for games in the fall, following a statement from Commissioner Roger Goodell that he expects to have full venues for the upcoming season.

Face coverings will continue to be required at both stadiums.

Cavaliers’ Love sorry for on-court tantrum: ‘That wasn’t me’

CLEVELAND (AP) Kevin Love spoke from his heart. Over 13 minutes, he apologized, lectured and asked for forgiveness and understanding.

He regrets his fit of frustration but said it shouldn’t define him.

“That wasn’t me,” Love said. “I apologize for that moment. It was an ugly one. It was one that was not ill-intentioned.”

The five-time All-Star apologized Wednesday for his on-court tantrum two days ago in a game against Toronto, saying his behavior was out of line and out of character – but that it had nothing to do with any frustration toward his teammates or coaches.

Love did not take any questions from reporters after speaking passionately about the incident, using the Zoom call as what he called a “therapy session” to express his feelings about dealing with an injury this season, his leadership role in Cleveland and continued struggle with mental health.

“I (messed) up,” Love said, using an expletive to open his remarks. “Everyone knows that. My intent wasn’t to disrespect the game, my intent wasn’t even for the damn ball to go inbounds. It was a moment that I got caught up in.”

Late in the third quarter against Toronto, a frustrated Love, who was upset with the officials for some non-calls, angrily tapped the ball back into play on an inbounds pass. The loose ball was grabbed by the Raptors, who made a 3-pointer and went on to win 112-96.

Video of the tantrum went viral on social media, and Love was blistered by fans and media for behavior called “childish” and “unacceptable.”

Love took exception to some of the criticism, saying he felt aspects of his behavior were “a little blown out of proportion.”

“I just hope that you judge my character, judge me as a man,” said Love, who helped the Cavaliers win an NBA title in 2016 and signed a four-year, $120 million contract extension two years later. “I mean, the basketball stuff, you can crush me, you can kill me by any means, I’ll take that on the chin all day.

“I don’t care. I love this game. I’ll always love this game. I hope I can play as many years as I possibly can.”

Coach J.B. Bickerstaff called Love’s actions a “lapse in judgment.”

It’s not known if the Cavaliers will discipline Love by benching him for any upcoming games. Cleveland hosts Orlando on Wednesday.

Love said he didn’t realize how bad the incident looked until after the game and he felt embarrassed and ashamed.

The Cavaliers were missing seven players with injuries for the game, and Love’s outburst only compounded things for a young team stumbling to the season’s end. Cleveland is 21-40.

Love said he has only respect for Bickerstaff and his teammates. He believes they’ve accepted his apology knowing how hard he has worked this season to come back from a calf injury that sidelined him for two months.

“I’ll ride or die for J.B. and our coaching staff, and I’ll ride or die for our young guys, even when I’m giving 60%, 70% of myself up right now because I’m still getting over the hump with my injury. But, if you’re not in the arena, and getting your (behind) kicked a lot of the time, I don’t care about your opinion.

“I don’t care about how you feel about me, or what you see in me. What matters to me is the opinion of my teammates, and how they feel about me, and how everybody in this organization feels about me.

“So, I live at peace, knowing that they think highly of me, and I think highly of them.”

WOMEN’S GOLF: Big Ten Announces Women’s Golf All-Conference Teams and Individual Award Winners

ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference office announced the 2021 women’s golf All-Big Ten teams and individual award winners on Wednesday following the 2021 Big Ten Women’s Golf Championships. Northwestern’s Irene Kim was voted Golfer of the Year, Michigan’s Monet Chun earned Freshman of the Year honors and Maryland’s Diana Cantu was named Coach of the Year.

Kim earned Golfer of the Year accolades after finishing the 2021 campaign with a stroke average of 71.81. The 2020 Big Ten Freshman of the Year completed the regular season ranked No. 18 nationally by Golfstat and finished in second place at the Big Ten Women’s Golf Championships at TPC River’s Bend (-6; 210) on April 25. The sophomore registered four top-five finishes this season, tying for second at the Bruin/Wave Invitational (+5; 221), finishing in fourth at the ICON Intercollegiate (-9; 207) and tying for fourth at the Indiana Invitational (-1; 215), in addition to placing second at the Big Ten Championships. Kim becomes Northwestern’s fourth Big Ten Golfer of the Year honoree, with a Wildcat taking home the award four times in the last seven seasons.

Chun was voted Big Ten Freshman of the Year after starting all six tournaments for the Wolverines. The Richmond Hills, Ontario, native earned herself a No. 80 ranking by Golfstat, one of just 22 newcomers to be ranked among the top 100. She earned a top-10 finish at last weekend’s Big Ten Championships after carding a 215 (-1; 71, 72, 72) and posted a season stroke average of 73.06. Chun is just the second Wolverine ever to be named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and the first since Katy Loy won the award in 1996.

Cantu has been named Coach of the Year for the first time since being named head coach of the Maryland program in 2014. The Terrapins finished the regular season and Big Ten Championships ranked No. 19 nationally by Golfstat, marking the highest ranking in the Big Ten. Maryland tied for second at the Big Ten Championships after firing a team score of 858 (-6; 287, 280, 291). The Terrapins boasted four golfers in the top-15 individually, contributing to their best team finish since 2018. Cantu’s 2021 squad includes three All-Big Ten team members in Virunpat OlankitkunchaiLaura Van Respaille and Xiaolin Tian.

The All-Big Ten first team features Maryland’s Olankitkunchai and Van Respaille, Michigan’s Ashley Lau and Chun, Michigan State’s Valery Plata, Nebraska’s Kate Smith, Northwestern’s Kim and Ohio State’s Aneka Seumanutafa.

Smith captured medalist honors at the Big Ten Championships after finishing the event with a score of 207 (-9; 72, 71, 64), while Plata earned the Mary Fossum Award which honors the conference’s player with the lowest stroke average relative to par this season (-0.57).

The Big Ten also recognized 14 Sportsmanship Award honorees. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. In addition, the student-athletes must be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting.

2021 BIG TEN WOMEN’S GOLF ALL-CONFERENCE AND INDIVIDUAL AWARD WINNERS

Big Ten Golfer of the Year: Irene Kim, Northwestern

Big Ten Freshman of the Year: Monet Chun, Michigan

Big Ten Coach of the Year: Diana Cantu, Maryland

ALL-BIG TEN FIRST TEAM

Virunpat Olankitkunchai, Maryland

Laura Van Respaille, Maryland

Monet Chun, Michigan

Ashley Lau, Michigan

Valery Plata, Michigan State

Kate Smith, Nebraska

Irene Kim, Northwestern

Aneka Seumanutafa, Ohio State

ALL-BIG TEN SECOND TEAM

Tristyn Nowlin, Illinois

Crystal Wang, Illinois

Xiaolin Tian, Maryland

Hailey Borja, Michigan

Paz Marfa Sans, Michigan State

Yurika Tanida, Michigan State

Kelly Sim, Northwestern

Thitapa Pakdeesettakul, Purdue

SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD HONOREES

Tristyn Nowlin, Illinois

Angela Aung, Indiana

Morgan Goldstein, Iowa

Laura Van Respaille, Maryland

Ashley Lau, Michigan

Paz Marfa Sans, Michigan State

Grace Curran, Minnesota

Megan Whittaker, Nebraska

Brooke Riley, Northwestern

Kristin Jamieson, Ohio State

Megan McLean, Penn State

Kan Bunnabodee, Purdue

Maeve Rossi, Rutgers

Bobbi Stricker, Wisconsin

BUTLER MEN’S GOLF: Cascino Wins BIG EAST Men’s Golf Title on Third Playoff Hole

Butler senior Michael Cascino captured the BIG EAST title Wednesday afternoon in thrilling fashion, taking the trophy on the third playoff hole. The 7,060-yard Streamsong Blue Course in Bowling Green, Fla., played host to the 54-hole championship.

Cascino becomes the first Butler men’s golfer to capture a BIG EAST title; Lauren Tibbets won the 2017 championship on the women’s side.

Cascino and Hunter Eichhorn of Marquette teed off together in the final group of the day. They played the scheduled 18 holes and then needed three extras to determine who would represent the BIG EAST in the upcoming 2021 NCAA Championships.

Cascino entered Wednesday’s final round with a one-shot advantage over Eichhorn. After the 12th hole, Eichhorn had completely flipped the leaderboard and had taken a three-shot advantage. The margin was short-lived as Eichhorn bogeyed both No. 13 and No. 14 to pull Cascino back within a single shot. A Cascino bogey on the par-5 17th gave Eichhorn a two-shot advantage heading into the 54th hole of the tournament. Cascino buried a 15-foot birdie putt, while Eichhorn bogeyed, pushing the duo to a playoff.

The players returned to the 18th teebox for the first playoff hole. Cascino saved par with a 10-foot par, matching Eichhorn’s score. The players walked back to play No. 18 again; this time, both players bogeyed. On the third playoff hole, once again No. 18, Cascino was just off the green after two shots, while Eichhorn was on the green but 50 feet away. Cascino ran his downhill chip about 10 feet past the cup, but made the par putt coming back. Eichhorn’s second putt lipped out, giving Cascino the trophy and an individual berth in the 2021 NCAA Championships. Officially, Cascino and Eichhorn are co-medalists.

Cascino shot a one-under 71 Wednesday to finish his 54 holes at 209 (-7). That matched Eichhorn, who shot a two-under 70 in his final round. UConn’s Jimmy Paradise finished third at 214 (-2). He and teammate Caleb Manuel, who was fourth at 215 (-1), led UConn to the team title.

Behind a final-round 297 (+9), Butler finished the tournament at 883 (+19) and in fourth place. The Bulldogs entered the day in third. UConn had the best Wednesday of any team with a team score of 292 (+4). The won the team title at 869 (+5), followed by Marquette (875; +11) and Seton Hall (882; +18). Seton Hall was one shot better than Butler.

Raymond Sullivan also posted a top-five finish, tying for fifth at even-par 216. He shot 73 (+1) Wednesday.

Stephen Kocerha also shot a one-over 73 Wednesday, helping the Butler team score. Kocerha subbed into the line-up after the first round so he was not eligible for an individual spot on the leaderboard.

Logan Sabins tied for 18th overall at 224 (+8) after a final-round 80. He shot 72 in each of his two opening rounds.

Jack Wilcox was also among Butler’s five on Wednesday. He shot 86 (+14). He was not part of the line-up Tuesday and therefore not on the individual leaderboard.

Cascino got off to a strong start Monday, carding a six-under 66 which tied a Butler single-round record. He followed that with a Tuesday 72.

Additional information on Cascino’s berth in the NCAA Tournament will be announced in the coming days.

Team Scores – Final Round

1. Connecticut – 292-285-292–869 (+5)

2. Marquette – 286-293-296–875 (+11)

3. Seton Hall – 296-291-295–882 (+18)

4. Butler – 285-301-297–883 (+19)

5. Villanova – 290-299-298–887 (+23)

6. DePaul – 302-293-298–893 (+29)

7. Xavier – 297-301-297–895 (+31)

8. Creighton – 299-303-304–906 (+42)

9. Georgetown – 314-311-299–924 (+60)

Top Individual Scores – Final Round

T1. Michael Cascino, Butler – 66-72-71–209 (-7)

T1. Hunter Eichhorn, Marquette – 68-71-70–209 (-7)

  3. Jimmy Paradise, UConn – 71-75-68–214 (-2)

  4. Caleb Manuel, UConn – 74-66-75–215 (-1)

T5. Gregor Tait, Seton Hall – 74-73-69–216 (E)

T5. Nate Vontz, Creighton – 72-71-73–216 (E)

T5. Andres Acevedo, Seton Hall – 70-74-72–216 (E)

T5. Raymond Sullivan, Butler – 70-73-73–216 (E)

9. Jared Nelson, UConn – 74-71-72–217 (+1)

T10. Noah Peck, Villanova – 69-75-75–219 (+3)

T10. Conor Glennon, DePaul – 75-70-74–219 (+3)

T10. Nicolas Evangelio, Marquette – 73-69-77–219 (-3)

BUTLER SWIMMING: Butler Swimming Adds Six New Swimmers in 2021 Recruiting Class

INDIANAPOLIS – Butler swimming head coach Maurice Stewart is excited to announce the newest recruiting class which consists of Caroline Colombo, Sophia Guyer, Alani Hightower-Bend, Gianna Leffler, Avery Piel, and Cotter Welch. 

“We are very excited about the six-incoming freshmen joining the varsity swim team for the 2021-22 season,” Stewart said. “They all bring solid high school and club racing experience, strong work ethic, and I am confident that these six student-athletes will only strengthen our positive team dynamic and racing competitiveness at Butler.”

Caroline Colombo – Upper Arlington, Ohio (Upper Arlington High School)

Event(s): Freestyle and Backstroke

High School: Four-year varsity letter winner… Team Captain… Lead her team to District Championships in 2018 and 2019… District Runner-Ups in 2021… Four-time Conference Champions… Four-time Sectional Champions… State Champions in 2020 and 2021 in 200 Freestyle Relay… Four-year individual District and State Qualifier… Five-time All-American… Also competed in water polo… Swam for Upper Arlington Swim Club… National Honors Society… Cum Laude Society.

Personal:  Daughter of James and Carrie Colombo… Has five siblings; Jimmy, Caden, Jack, Joseph, and Chase.

Sophia Guyer – York, Pennsylvania (York Suburban High School)

Event(s): Backstroke, IM

High School: Four-year varsity letter winner… Helped her team to YAIAA Division II Champions three years in a row… 2nd Team All-State in 2018… 1st Team All-State in 2019 and 2020… High School’s 2020 Athlete of the postseason… Top 10 in Backstroke and IM in YAIAA history… School record in 100 back… Honor roll student.

Personal: Daughter of Chris and Melissa Guyer… Has three siblings: Olivia Guyer, Andrew Daniels, and William Daniels.

Alani Hightower-Bend – Indianapolis, Indiana (North Central High School)

Event(s): IM, Fly, Free, and Backstroke

High School: Four-year varsity letter winner… Team Captain… Helped team to four IHSAA Sectional Championships… Four-time IHSAA State Qualifier… Three-time All-Academic… Four-time All-MIC… Three-time high school’s Student of the Month… School record in 200 Medley Relay (2019) … Lawrence North Pool Record in 200 IM (2020)… Swam for Carmel Swim Club… Also competed in track & field.

Personal: Daughter of Natalie Hightower.

Gianna Leffler – Mayfield Village, Ohio (Mayfield High School)

Event(s): Backstroke and Freestyle

High School: Four-year varsity letter winner… Team Captain…  Helped lead her team to six conference championships… 16 time All-Conference… Four-time State qualifier… Three-time All-Ohio… Two Individual School Pool Records… Two-time team MVP… Four-time All-Conference Scholar Athlete… Also competed in soccer… Swam for Lake Erie Silver Dolphins.

Personal: Daughter of Keith and Stephanie Leffler… Has one sibling; Sofie Leffler.

Avery Piel – Red Bud, Illinois (Red Bud High School)

Event(s): Butterfly

High School: Four-year varsity starter… Helped team to 3rd place at Illinois High School Sectionals… National Swim Group Award… Swam for Flyers Aquatic Swim Team… 2019 Spring Region VIII Sectional Champions… 2019-20 Senior Championships Champion… Also competed in volleyball… Academic Highest Honor Roll 2017-2021.

Personal: Daughter of Alan and Amber Piel… Has two siblings; Aubrey and Addyson.

Cotter Welch – Northville, Michigan (Mercy High School)

Event(s): Distance Freestyle and Backstroke

High School: Four-year varsity starter… Team captain… Helped team to three state championships… One time state runner up… Swam for Novi Sturgeons… Scholastic All-Catholic… AP Scholar… National Honors Society… Honor Roll student… Scholar Athlete.

Personal: Daughter of Jason and Melissa Welch… Has three siblings; Quinlan, Delaney, and Camden.

Women’s Lacrosse: #5 Irish Defeat #7 Duke, 17-16, in ACC Quarters

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Maddie Howe scored four goals, including the game winner with 2:59 remaining, as #5 Notre Dame earned a thrilling 17-16 win over #7 Duke in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament on Wednesday afternoon at Dorrance Field.

With the victory, the Irish advance to take on #1 North Carolina in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament this Friday, April 30 at noon ET. That matchup will be televised live on ACC Network.

Howe added an assist to earn a game-high five points while Madison Ahern (3G, A) and Jackie Wolak (G, 3A) earned four points each. Kasey Choma notched a hat trick and Andie Aldave netted two goals.

Savannah Buchanan, Erin McBride and Kathleen Roe rounded out the scoring for Notre Dame.

Deehan stopped eight shots, including a clutch save on a free-position shot with two minutes remaining to keep the Irish in front, to earn the victory in goal for Notre Dame.

HOW IT HAPPENED

The Irish jumped out to a 5-1 lead on goals by Roe, Aldave, McBride, Wolak, and Howe in the opening 9:09 of play.

The sides traded goals before back-to-back tallies by Choma and Ahern put the Irish up 10-5 with 7:38 left in the half. 

Aldave and Dorney each netted markers in the final 2:09 of the half to stake the Irish a 12-7 lead at the break.

Ahern restored a five-goal lead for Notre Dame and made it 14-9 with 25:15 remaining before Duke responded with six of the next seven goals to even it at 15-15 with 8:20 left.

Choma’s third put the Irish back in front with 5:55 to play, but the Blue Devils tied the game at 16-all at the 4:19 mark.

Howe’s fourth goal, a bouncer from a sharp angle with 2:59 remaining, put the Irish in front for good at 17-16.

Deehan preserved the Irish lead with a clutch save on a Duke free-position shot with exactly two minutes remaining. Notre Dame would go on to earn possession and run out the clock to secure the one-goal victory.

NOTABLE NUMBERS

  • Kasey Choma has scored 14 goals in her last three outings. 
  • Maddie Howe has 10 points in her last two games and Wednesday marked her third four+ goal performance of the season.
  • Four different players netted at least two goals for Notre Dame, including Maddie Howe, Kasey Choma, Madison Ahern and Andie Aldave.
  • Jackie Wolak has collected three assists in back-to-back games.

UP NEXT

  • Notre Dame (9-5, 5-5 ACC) meets top-ranked North Carolina in the ACC Semifinals on Friday (April 30) at noon ET.
  • That contest, and the entirety of the ACC Tournament, will be televised on the ACC Network.

EVANSVILLE WOMEN’S GOLF: Women’s Golf selected to Columbus Regional!

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Set to take part in its first-ever NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship, the University of Evansville women’s golf team is heading to the Columbus Regional, which will be hosted by Ohio State University.

The OSU Golf Club – Scarlet Course will host the tournament from May 10-12 with a single round played each day.  Each round features start times between 8 a.m. and 10:48 a.m. ET with play beginning on the #1 and #10 tees.

Evansville clinched its spot in the field with last week’s exciting victory at the Missouri Valley Conference Championship in St. Charles, Mo.  The Purple Aces defeated Northern Iowa in a sudden death playoff hole to finish with the victory.  Along with the team success, senior Sophia Rohleder earned the individual championship, joining Kayla Katterhenry as the only UE players to do so in program history.

“It’s everything I can imagine and more.  It really did not set in until now, but it’s a great feeling,” Rohleder said.  “I’m so excited and just ready to play again.”

A watch party was held for the team on Wednesday afternoon during the selection show, which was carried live by the Golf Channel.  The UE program played a large role in the show, including a live shot of the team during the introduction of the show, a live interview with head coach John Andrews as well as video of the team reacting to their pick.

“It means a lot to me and Coach (Jim) Hamilton.  He built this program and this is what it has been leading up to for a long time,” Andrews exclaimed.  “The tournament will be the same: they will still play 18 holes and the golf ball will be the same size.  We’re just playing against bigger competition.  We’re going to go out and play golf.”

Columbus was one of four regions in the championship with each site hosting 18 teams and six individuals.  Duke is the top seed in UE’s region.

COLUMBUS REGION:

1 – Duke

2 – Arizona State

3 – Virginia

4 – Kent State

5 – Georgia

6 – Vanderbilt

7 – Michigan

8 – Clemson

9 – Oklahoma

10 – Kentucky

11 – Illinois

12 – New Mexico

13 – Nebraska

14 – Washington

15 – Coastal Carolina

16 – Campbell

17 – Evansville

18 – Youngstown State

INDIANAPOLIS WOMEN’S SOFTBALL: Greyhounds Maintain Top-5 Ranking in Coaches Poll

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – For the third straight week, the UIndy softball team held steady at No. 5 in the latest National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division II Poll. The Greyhounds recently pushed their win streak to 25 before enduring their first loss in five-plus week last weekend. They currently sport a 34-3 (.919) overall record, good for the second-highest winning percentage in DII.
 
The Hounds represent the lone GLVC school in the poll this week, with Grand Valley State (14th) being the only other Midwest Region team in the top 25. Meanwhile, three teams split the first-place votes this week, with No. 1 Augustana garnering topping 12 of 16 ballots.

NFCA DII TOP 25 COACHES POLL

RKTEAM (1st-place votes)RECPTSPREV
1.Augustana (S.D.) (12)32-43921
2.Valdosta State (3)32-33872
3.UT Tyler31-53663
4.North Georgia (1)33-53564
5.UIndy34-33325
6.Oklahoma Christian33-531610
7.Lincoln Memorial36-63067
8.Young Harris29-82719
9.Texas A&M-Commerce25-122646
10.West Texas A&M30-1023812
11.Auburn Montgomery32-523519
12.Concordia Irvine22-1120211
13.Central Oklahoma29-919716
14.Grand Valley State31-719114
15.Rollins16-21788
16.Colorado Mesa30-217317
17.Minnesota State28-79718
18.Alabama Huntsville27-1014113
19.Saint Anselm20-413615
20.Winona State28-79720
21.Southern Arkansas20-76821
22.West Florida27-125022
23.Angelo State29-114423
24.Biola19-1338NR
25.Northwest Nazarene24-918NR


Others receiving votes: Kutztown (14), Southeastern Oklahoma State (7), Georgian Court (6), Shepherd (5), Central Missouri (1), Tampa (1).

WSOC: Buckeyes Advance In 2021 NCAA Tournament with 5-1 Win

COLUMBUS, Ohio –Ohio State’s 2021 All-Big Ten selections put their talents on display Wednesday in a 5-1 win vs. Stony Brook (6-4-0) in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament in Greenville, North Carolina.

Alyssa Baumbick, a Third Team All-Big Ten selection this year, put Ohio State (8-2-3) on the board first with a goal in the 8th minute. It was her second of the season and sixth career. The assist went to First Team All-Big Ten selection Kayla Fischer, her fourth of the season and 10th career.

Just four minutes later, Emma Sears, a sophomore Second Team All-Big Ten honoree, put the Buckeyes up 2-0 with her seventh goal of the season. Peyton McNamara was credited with the assist, the third for the 2021 Co-Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

The Seawolves cut into the Ohio State lead with a goal in the 18th minute to make it 2-1 Buckeyes.

Baumbick struck again in the 20th minute from Sears to make it 3-1 Buckeyes. Her seventh career goal marked the second two-goal game of her career. She scored twice against Morehead State Aug. 30, 2018 in an 8-0 Ohio State win in Columbus. For Sears, it was her third assist on the year and fourth career.

Kitty Jones-Black put Ohio State up 4-1 with her second career goal and first of the season in the 40th minute.

Senior Meghan Kammerdeiner scored her first of the year and sixth career goal in the 75th minute for the game’s final score.

The five goals scored by the Buckeyes are the most in NCAA Tournament play in program history. Ohio State had scored three goals five times previously in NCAA play, all wins.

The Buckeyes outshot the Seawolves 26-12 with Ohio State owning a 11-4 edge with shots on net.

Keeper Bailey Kolinski recorded a pair of saves for the Buckeyes in the win.

The Buckeyes are making their 14th NCAA Tournament appearance (13-12-2). The win was the first for Ohio State in NCAA Tournament play since a 3-2 win over Dayton Nov. 12, 2016 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the Ohio State campus.

Ohio State advances to face Santa Clara (7-1), the No. 11 seed in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, at 8 p.m. Saturday at Johnson Stadium on the campus of East Carolina University. The game will be streamed on ESPN3.

OHIO STATE SOFTBALL: ROAD TRIP TO PURDUE AWAITS OHIO STATE THIS WEEKEND

COLUMBUS, Ohio – An eight-game road trip for the Ohio State softball team begins this weekend with a four-game series at Purdue. The action begins on Friday at 4 p.m. and continues on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. The series wraps up with a single game on Sunday at noon.

The Basics

Friday: Ohio State at Purdue // April 30 // 4 p.m. // West Lafayette, Ind.

Watch Live: BTN Plus // Live Stats // Twitter Updates

Saturday: Ohio State at Purdue (Gm. 1) // May 1 // 1 p.m. // West Lafayette, Ind.

Watch Live: BTN Plus // Live Stats // Twitter Updates

Ohio State at Purdue (Gm. 2) // May 1 // 4:30 p.m. // West Lafayette, Ind.

Watch Live: BTN Plus // Live Stats // Twitter Updates

Sunday: Ohio State at Purdue // May 2 // Noon // West Lafayette, Ind.

Watch Live: BTN Plus // Live Stats // Twitter Updates

Briefly on the Buckeyes

After claiming a series win over Rutgers last weekend by taking three of four games at Buckeye Field, Ohio State is 17-14 on the season.

Ohio State is batting .270 as a team, the fourth-highest mark in the Big Ten.

Three starters currently are hitting .300 or better: Mariah Rodriguez (.356), Sam Hackenbracht (.342) and Tegan Cortelletti (.313).

The Buckeyes are also in the top half of the league in runs scored at fifth with 128. Over the last 10 games, they are averaging nearly five runs per game (4.8).

Payton Buresch and Allison Smith have pitched 191.2 of 213.0 innings so far this season.

Smith leads all freshmen in the conference with nine wins while averaging just over a strikeout per inning (101 Ks in 99.1 innings).

Buresch is 7-4 on the year with a team-best 2.27 earned run average.

History vs. Purdue

Ohio State and Purdue haven’t played during the regular season since 2016 when the Buckeyes won two of three games against the Boilermakers in Columbus.

Friday will be the 43rd all-time meeting between Ohio State and Purdue. The series is knotted at 21-21.

Ohio State hasn’t played in West Lafayette in over nine years, since a doubleheader on April 15, 2012.

The Buckeyes’ last win at Purdue was on April 13, 2008.

This and That

Ohio State has played 14 one or two-run games this season and is 9-5 in those contests.

Taylor Pack has been hot as of late, batting .407 over the last 10 games with three doubles and six RBI.

Tegan Cortelletti has increased her batting average by 46 points from last year, from .267 in 2020 to .313 in 2021.

That isn’t even the single highest jump on the team, however. Mariah Rodriguez has seen a 173-point improvement. She hit .192 as a freshman last season and is up to .365 this season.

Sam Hackenbracht: Big Ten Player of the Week … Again

Sophomore Sam Hackenbracht has been named the Big Ten’s Player of the Week for the second time this month.

She earned the award after hitting .778 with three home runs, five RBI and nine runs scored in four games last weekend vs. Rutgers.

Hackenbracht finished the weekend with a .867 on-base percentage after reaching base in 13 of her 15 plate appearances.

After hitting three home runs in her first eight at-bats of the series, Hackenbracht was intentionally walked five times over the final two games.

Hackenbracht is currently tied for the Big Ten lead with 10 home runs. Her .803 slugging percentage is tops in the conference and 84 points higher than anyone else.

XAVIER WOMEN’S GOLF: Women’s Golf Set to Play in NCAA Louisville Regional

CINCINNATI – Xavier women’s golf will participate in the NCAA Louisville Regional on May 10-12 at the University of Louisville Golf Club in Simpsonville, Ky. The Musketeers will be participating in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in program history.

The NCAA Tournament field was set on Wednesday afternoon following the NCAA Selection Show on the Golf Channel. A total of 18 teams and six individual qualifiers will participate in four regionals with the top six teams advancing to the NCAA Championships on May 21-26 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. A total of 12 individuals will be selected to participate in the championships as well.

Xavier won its second straight BIG EAST Championship on April 25, finishing 13 strokes ahead of Seton Hall.

Senior Morgan Tinsley won the individual title, the first tournament title of her career.

MARIAN VOLLEYBALL AND WOMEN’S SOCCER NAIA TOURNAMENT CENTRAL

INDIANAPOLIS – This week begins the NAIA National Tournaments for the 2020-21 NAIA Women’s Soccer and Women’s Volleyball Championships. Both the Marian volleyball and women’s soccer teams will be competing, with volleyball beginning pool play on April 27 in Sioux City, Iowa. Women’s soccer begins play in the national quarterfinals on Thursday, April 29 from Foley, Ala.

Below is information needed for the NAIA Tournaments for both teams.

VOLLEYBALL

The defending NAIA Champions will begin play on Tuesday April 27, competing in Pool G with Concordia (Neb.) and Lindsey Wilson. The Knights are the No. 1 seed in their pool and No. 7 seed nationally. Pool play will consist of two games total, with the Knights playing one match on Tuesday and one on Wednesday. Marian will play against Lindsey Wilson on April 27 at 1:30 p.m. ET, while playing Concordia on Wednesady, April 28 at 4:30 p.m. ET. The Knights are 4-0 all-time against the Blue Raiders, with all four matches in the series being played between 2007 and 2009. Wednesday’s contest against the Bulldogs will be the first in program history.

The winner of each of the eight pools will advance to the NAIA Quarterfinals, with bracket play beginning on April 29. The NAIA Championship match is set for Saturday May 1 at 8 p.m. ET. All matches will be played at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.

All matches will be live streamed on the NAIA Network, while all live stats can be found here. Daily passes for the live stream cost $9.95 per day, while the tournament pass costs $39.95. The NAIA Semifinal matches and the NAIA Championship gam will be aired on ESPN3.

WOMEN’S SOCCER

The 2019 NAIA Runner-Up women’s soccer team will begin play in the NAIA National Tournament on April 29, taking on Martin Methodist in the quarterfinal round. Marian is the No. 5 seed, taking on No. 4 Martin Methodist in a rematch of the 2019 NAIA Tournament First Round. Marian won the 2019 matchup 5-3, and all-time is 1-1-1 against the Redhawks.

The NAIA Semifinals will be played on May 1 at 5 p.m. ET, with the winner of Marian/Martin Methodist playing against either Central Methodist, John Brown, or William Carey. The NAIA Championship match is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on Monday, May 3. All matches will be played at the Foley Sports Tourism Championship Field in Foley, Alabama.

All matches will be live streamed on the NAIA Network, while all live stats can be found here. Daily passes for the live stream cost $9.95 per day, while the tournament pass costs $29.95.

IUE WOMEN’S TENNIS: IU EAST EARNS VOTES IN NATIONAL POLL FOR FIRST TIME

The Indiana University East women’s tennis program’s latest reward for its first River States Conference championship: The program’s first appearance in the NAIA Women’s Tennis Coaches’ Poll.

IU East is No. 31 in the poll released April 28. The ranking is the last one of the 2020-21 season.

“This week just keeps getting better for our women’s team,” said IU East coach Jacob Rankin. “To receive a national ranking for the first time in program history is an honor for us. It didn’t happen overnight, and it came with tons of hard work and dedication from our girls. I couldn’t be more proud of them!”

IU East garnered national attention with its victory at the RSC Championship this past weekend. The Red Wolves also earned the RSC’s automatic berth in the NAIA Women’s Tennis National Championships, which get underway May 18 in Mobile, Ala.

IU East is 13-8 and takes a school-record nine-match winning streak into the national tournament.

Georgia Gwinnett College is the No. 1 team in the national poll.

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Center Grove QB Tayven Jackson headed to Tennessee

Tayven Jackson established himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the Midwest this past season and now he is taking his talents to Tennessee.

Jackson made the announcement Wednesday after considering visits to Arizona State and UCLA. Jackson was also considering Florida State, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Auburn, Ole Miss and Washington State.

Jackson helped the Trojans to a Class 6A state championship and 14-0 record this past season.

Jackson ranked as a four-star prospect on the 247sports composite and the No. 18 pro-style quarterback.

Jackson completed 62% of his passes as a junior for 1,756 yards and 17 touchdowns.

TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY

1913       Wearing White Sox uniforms, the Reds are defeated by the Cubs, 7-2, at Chicago’s West Side Park. Cincinnati forgot to pack uniforms and had to don those worn by their opponents’ crosstown rivals.

1922       The Giants hit four inside-the-park home runs at Braves Field in their 15-4 rout of Boston. George Kelly hits a pair, with Ross Youngs and Dave Bancroft accounting for the other two 360-foot dashes around the bases.

1924       Future Yankee starter, schoolboy Bump Hadley throws a perfect game against the Hadley-Lynn team of Massachusetts. The Mercersburg Academy standout will strike out 26 of the 27 batters he faces.

1930       An average of 17+ runs a game cross the in the seven major league games played today. After the dust settles, players from 14 teams score 123 times.

1931       Indians’ hurler Wes Ferrell no-hits the St. Louis Browns, including his brother Rick, 7-0. The pitching star also provided the offense, knocking in four runs with a double and a home run.

1933       Senator catcher Luke Sewell tags out two Yankees runners trying to score on the same play. Lou Gehrig and Dixie Walker are the victims at home plate.

1934       The Pirates and the Phillies become the last two major league franchises allowed to play home games on Sundays when the Bucs beat Cincinnati, 9-5, at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field, along with the Phils dropping an 8-7 decision to Brooklyn at Philadelphia’s Baker Bowl. Games on the Lord’s Day are no longer prohibited in Pennsylvania because the state modified their blue laws, legislation which formerly prevented such events due to religious concerns.

1936       Although the game had been played professionally in Japan since the 1920’s, Nagoya defeats Dai Tokyo, 8-5, in the country’s first game played in a professional league. The new seven-team Japanese Baseball League dedicates itself to the ideals of fair play and improving the national spirit.

1939       On a chilly Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, Lou Gehrig comes to the plate in the fourth inning and singles off Washington hurler Ken Chase for his 2,721st and last hit, the most ever in franchise history. The ‘Iron Horse’s’ record will stand for over 70 years until Derek Jeter, another 35 year-old team captain, surpasses the mark in 2009.

1948       Ted Wilks loses his first game in 77 consecutive appearances, dating back to September 8, 1945. The Cardinal right-handed reliever, known as Cork to his teammates, was 12-0 during the streak, which also included four appearances as a starting pitcher.

1952       Cleveland left fielder Jim Fridley is 6-for-6 as the Indians soundly beat the Philadelphia A’s, 21-9. ‘Big Jim’, who will play briefly for Cleveland, Baltimore, and Cincinnati, respectively, in 1952, 1954, and 1958, collects six singles in the Shibe Park contest.

1953       Little-Bigger League, a baseball program for boys aged 13 to 15, changes its name to the Babe Ruth League, honoring the Yankee legend’s commitment to children. Claire Merritt Ruth, the widow of the Babe, will meet with the Hamilton-based (NJ) organization, permitting the youth circuit to bear her late husband’s name.

1953       Braves’ first baseman Joe Adcock, with his 475-foot third-inning blast in the team’s 3-2 win over the hometown Giants, becomes the first player in a major league game to homer into the Polo Grounds’ center field bleachers. The Coogan’s Bluff feat, which will occur for third on final time when Hank Aaron and Lou Brock, go deep on consecutive days on in 1962, was first accomplished Luke Easter, playing for the by Homestead Grays in a 1948 Negro League contest.

1955       The Orioles snap their 27-game losing streak as the visiting team in Cleveland with a 5-2 victory over the Indians. The record losing streak on the road against one opponent started on August 13th, 1952, when the franchise played as the St. Louis Browns.

1960       Stan Musial plays in his 1,000th game at first base, making him the first major leaguer to reach that milestone at two different positions. The Cardinals’ legend has also played 1,513 games in the outfield for the Redbirds.

1962       During the seven-run fourth inning at the Polo Grounds, Frank Thomas ties a major league mark by being hit twice with a pitch in one inning. Art Mahaffey and Frank Sullivan plunk the Mets outfielder in the Phillies’ 8-0 loss.

1962       Russ Snyder accomplishes the rare feat of getting two hits in one inning as a pinch-hitter in the Orioles’ 8-3 victory at Kansas City’s Municipal Stadium. Leading off the top of the seventh, the Oriole outfielder, batting for Wes Stock, ties the score at 3-3 with a solo home run, and he will add a two-out RBI single before the end of the frame.

1962       Left-hander Al Jackson hurls the first shutout in franchise history, blanking the Phillies, 8-0, at the Polo Grounds. The 26 year-old southpaw’s victory, which marks the first time the Amazins’ have won consecutive games, is one of four whitewashes the team will accomplish in their inaugural season, all thrown by the ‘Little Lefty’ from Waco, Texas.

1972       Don Zimmer, who replaced the recently fired Preston Gomez, gets the first of his of 885 victories as a big-league manager when the Padres blank the Phillies at San Diego Stadium, 4-0. The win is improbable as Steve Arlin, who will lead the league in losses with 21, bests Steve Carlton, this season’s eventual Cy Young Award winner, who will be tops in the majors with 27 victories.

1978       The Cardinals tie a franchise record for the quickest nine-inning game played in their history, taking only one-hour and thirty-three minutes to beat the Dodgers at Busch Stadium, 1-0. The contest marks the managerial debut of Ken Boyer, replacing Vern Rapp, the Redbird skipper fired four days ago.

1981       Philadelphia’s Steve Carlton becomes the sixth major league pitcher to strike out 3,000 batters when he fans the Expos’ Tim Wallach in the first inning en route to a 6-2 complete-game victory over Montreal at Veterans Stadium. The Phillies southpaw, known simply as ‘Lefty’, becomes the first left-handed hurler to accomplish the feat.

1983       After a 7-2 loss to L.A. at Wrigley Field, Cubs manager Lee Elia launches into an obscenity-laced tirade, that will become a much-reported media story on the airwaves and in print for days to come. The Chicago skipper’s rant clearly shows his frustration with the team’s fan base, “the (bleepers) don’t even work. That’s why they’re out at the (bleeping) game. They oughtta go out and get a (bleeping) job and find out what it’s like to go out and earn a (bleeping) living. Eighty-five percent of the (bleeping) world is working. The other 15 come out here. A (bleeping) playground for the (bleepers). Rip them (bleepers)! Rip them (bleeping) (bleepers) like the (bleeping) players!”

1984       Strawberry Sunday, former World Series hero Jerry Koosman is greeted warmly by the Mets’ faithful in his first start at Shea Stadium since 1978 when he faces his old team for the first time. Before the 6-2 victory over Philadelphia, Carvel Ice Cream treats the fans to strawberry sundaes in honor of Darryl Strawberry, last season’s National League Rookie of the Year.

1986       Roger Clemens becomes the first major league hurler to strike out 20 batters in a nine-inning game, strikes out 20 batters in a nine-inning game when he fans Phil Bradley with two outs in the ninth in the Red Sox’ 3-1 victory over Seattle at Fenway Park. Steve Carlton (1969), Tom Seaver (1970), and Nolan Ryan (1974) shared the previous mark of 19.

1987       Andre Dawson hits for the cycle in the Cubs’ 8-4 victory over San Francisco at Wrigley Field. The ‘Hawk’, who enjoys a five-hit day, completes the feat with a sixth-inning triple, one of only two he will collect for the entire season.

1988       After 21 tries, the Orioles finally win their first game of the season, beating the White Sox, 9-0, at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. The 1-21 ‘Birds’ get the victory thanks to a combined four-hitter thrown by Mark Williamson and Dave Schmidt.

1990       After just five appearances with the Giants, Dan Quisenberry retires, deciding not to go on the disabled list for a torn rotator cuff. The 37 year-old right-handed reliever leaves the game after 12 seasons as the all-time American League save leader with 238.

1994       Kirk Rueter becomes the first pitcher in 13 seasons to begin his major league career with a 10-0 record when the Expos beat San Diego at Olympic Stadium, 3-2. In 1981, Dodgers southpaw Fernando Valenzuela started the year with eight victories to improve his overall record to 10-0 for the Dodgers, somewhat similar to the Montreal left-hander, who began his streak last season with an 8-0 mark before winning his first two decisions this year.

1995       Royals’ rookie John Nunnally hits a home run in his major league first at-bat, going deep off Melido Perez in the team’s 10-3 loss to New York. The 23 year-old outfielder becomes the 73rd major leaguer to accomplish the feat.

1995       Unlike yesterday’s Opening Day crowd, which was supportive, some of the 28,244 fans at today’s Wrigley Field game show their displeasure with the recent baseball strike by littering the field with magnetic souvenir schedules. The incident, which took place in the eighth inning of the Cubs’ 5-4 victory over Montreal, delayed the contest five minutes.

1996       John Franco becomes the first left-hander to record 300 saves, allowing just a hit and no runs in the top of the ninth inning in the Mets’ 3-2 victory over Montreal at Shea Stadium. The southpaw recorded his first save precisely 12 years ago on this date wearing a Reds’ uniform.

1997       Chili Davis becomes the 75th major leaguer to hit 300 home runs. The Royals’ DH joins Al Kaline and Harold Baines as the only players to accomplish the feat without the benefit of a 30-home run season.

1997       Each Angel outfielder throws out a runner in California’s 5-4 victory over Boston. Orlando Palmeiro (cf), Tim Salmon (rf), and Garret Anderson (lf) all get an assist in the Fenway Park contest.

1999       Japanese hurler Hideo Nomo signs a free-agent deal with the Brewers. The ‘Tornado’ will have a comeback season with Milwaukee, posting a 12-8 record in 28 starts.

1999       At the Kingdome, the Mariners set a team scoring record, beating the Tigers, 22-6. Half of the M’s runs score in the 11-run fifth inning, which includes a grand slam hit by center fielder Ken Griffey, Jr.

2000       The Pirates and Reds combine to tie a major league record by hitting a total of five sacrifice flies. Cincinnati’s three run-scoring fly balls prove to be the difference in the team’s 6-5 victory over the Bucs at Three Rivers Stadium.

2000       For the first time in seven tries, the Giants win at Pacific Bell Park as San Francisco becomes the first franchise to lose six games to start a season in a newly constructed ballpark. Barry Bonds’ eighth-inning home run proves to be the difference in a 2-1 victory over the Expos.

2001       In the Brewers’ 10-0 rout of Montreal at Miller Park, Geoff Jenkins homers twice, tying a major league record with five homers in two games. The Milwaukee left fielder is the 22nd player to accomplish the feat and the first NL player since Reds shortstop Barry Larkin’s 1991 power surge.

2002       Brian Sprout, a Division III All-American, becomes the first and only player in the recorded history of the national pastime to hit for the home run cycle in order. The St. Olaf College Ole hits a solo shot, a two-run and a three-run homer, and a grand slam in four consecutive at-bats during a 39-4 rout of Augsburg.

2004       At Indianapolis’ Victory Field, the International League’s contest between the hometown Indians and Louisville Bats is delayed for twenty minutes before the start of the fourth inning as a maintenance crew works to free first baseman Jeff Liefer from a dugout bathroom. Upon returning to the field, the first baseman is greeted with a standing ovation and receives a gift from the opposing dugout, a roll of toilet paper.

2005       The Nationals exercise Jose Guillen’s $4 million contract option for 2006. The sometimes angry 28 year-old outfielder, acquired in a trade with the Angels after feuding with manager Mike Scioscia, appears to have found a home in Washington thanks to a very pleased general manager, Jim Bowden.

2005       Although Eric Gagne is on the disabled list and hasn’t thrown a pitch this season, he is suspended for two games and fined violating Rule 3.17, which states players on the disabled list may not take part in any activity during the game. Although MLB warned the Dodgers closer, he continued to dress and participate in game activities, including being ejected on April 6th for heckling home plate umpire Bill Hohn.

2005       Skippers Lou Piniella (1 game) and Terry Francona (1 game) round out the six members of the Red Sox and Devil Rays suspended for their roles in the two bench-clearing incidents during the beanball contest played on April 24th in Tampa Bay. Boston’s 11-3 victory, which also featured six ejections, results in multi-game suspensions for Bronson Arroyo (6 games), Dewon Brazelton (5 games), Lance Carter (5 games), and Trot Nixon (2 games).

2005       In a matchup of 300-game winners, Greg Maddux bests Roger Clemens as the Cubs edge the Astros at Minute Maid Park, 3-2. The last such showdown occurred in 1987 when Angels’ hurler Don Sutton defeated Twins southpaw Steve Carlton.

2006       Albert Pujols sets a major league mark for homers in April when his 14th of the month, a solo shot off Jon Rauch in the eighth inning, is the difference in the Cardinals’ 2-1 victory over Washington at Busch Stadium. The slugging first baseman breaks the record he shared with Ken Griffey Jr. (1997, Mariners) and Luis Gonzalez (2001, Diamondbacks).

2006       The Bronx Bombers rout the Blue Jays, 17-4, becoming the sixth American League team to score in all eight innings the team comes up to bat. The only other time the Bronx Bombers score in every inning of a full game occurred in July of 1939 when they pummel the Browns at Yankee Stadium, 14-1.

2007       Cardinals reliever Josh Hancock dies on impact in an early morning automobile accident when his 2007 Ford Explorer slams into a parked tow truck in the westbound lane of Highway 40 in St. Louis. MLB postpones the nationally televised game scheduled for tonight against the Cubs out of respect to the well-liked 29 year-old pitcher.

2007       Trevor Hoffman appears as a pitcher in his 803rd game for the Padres, establishing a new record for games pitched for any one team. Walter Johnson (Senators, 1907-27) and Elroy Face (Pirates, 1953-68) both shared the previous mark.

2007       At Coors Field during a 9-7 Colorado victory over the Braves, Troy Tulowitzki turns the 13th unassisted triple play in big league history. With the baserunners on first and second on the move in the top of the seventh, Rockies shortstop Tulowitzki catches Chipper Jones’ line drive (1), steps on second to retire Kelly Johnson (2), and then tags Edgar Renteria (3) returning to first base.

2008       At the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Brandon Boggs becomes the first player to start his career with a hit from each side of the plate. Entering the 9-5 loss to the Royals in the bottom of fifth, the 25 year-old switch-hitting rookie singles to left field off Ron Mahay as a right-handed batter and then two innings later singles to center field off Ramon Ramirez batting as a lefty.

2009       In Kansas City’s 11-3 victory over Toronto at Kauffman Stadium, Vernon Wells’ first-inning two-out RBI single ends Zack Greinke’s streak of not allowing an earned run at 43 consecutive innings. The Royals right-hander, who improves his record to 5-0, had not given up an earned run in his last six starts, dating back to September 13th of last season.

2009       With a double off Philadelphia’s Brett Myers, Ryan Zimmerman breaks his own Nationals team record by extending his hitting streak to 18 games. The Washington third baseman established the previous mark of 17 in 2006.

2010       Roy Halladay loses his third consecutive complete game, a 1-0 defeat at Boston’s Fenway Park. The hard-luck Blue Jays right-hander is the first pitcher to suffer such an indignity since Randy Johnson lost three straight complete-game decisions in 1999, and becomes the first Toronto hurler since Jim Clancy had a similar streak in 1982.

2010       During the Diamondbacks game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, scores of protesters wave signs and chant, “Boycott Arizona! Boycott Arizona!” on the sidewalk outside the ballpark. The demonstration is in response to the state’s recently enacted illegal-immigration law, with organizers hoping the movement will inspire baseball fans to stay away from contests that feature the team from The Grand Canyon State.

2013       Donald Lutz, who left the U.S. as an infant, becomes the first German-developed player to appear in the major leagues when he grounds out to second as a pinch-hitter in the Reds’ 2-1 victory over St. Louis at Busch Stadium. The 24 year-old outfielder, a member of the German National Team that competed in the 2013 WBC, joins Seattle’s Alex Liddi as the second graduate of the Major League Baseball International European Academy to make a big-league team.

2013       Brandon Moss’ walk-off two-run homer in the 19th inning ends a six-hour and 32-minute contest, the longest game by time in A’s history. Oakland’s 10-8 victory over Los Angeles features 5.1 innings of outstanding relief by Brett Anderson, who entered the game in the 13th frame after being scratched from his scheduled start to rest a sore right ankle.

2015       In a game that is closed to the public due to the civil unrest in Baltimore, resulting from the death of Freddie Gray, the Orioles beat the White Sox in an afternoon contest at an empty Camden Yards, 8-2. The postponement of the first two games of this series and moving the scheduled weekend series against the Rays to St. Petersburg (FL) is an attempt to save the much-needed law enforcement resources for the affected neighborhoods in the Charm City.

2016       In his 16th career start, Marlins left-hander Adam Conley is four outs away from a no-hitter when he is replaced by reliever Jose Urena, who gives up the Brewers’ first hit with one out in the ninth in the team’s 6-3 victory at Milwaukee’s Miller Park. Miami manager Don Mattingly decided to go to the bullpen after the 25 year-old southpaw needed 16 pitches to get the first two outs of the eighth inning, bringing his total pitch count 116, ten more than the southpaw’s previous career-high.

1935 ALL-STAR GAME

The third exhibition of what was soon to become known as the “Midsummer Classic” was played at Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium on July 8, 1935. Due to the success of the previous two games, available tickets were in short supply and a crowd of 69,831 filled the ball-yard, setting an All-Star Game record that stood until 1981, when more than 72,000 attended the fifty-second All-Star Game in the same park. Unfortunately, after the initial excitement of the first game and the phenomenal pitching by Carl Hubbell in the second, the third was rather uneventful.

The American League won for the third straight year due to the performance of Jimmie Foxx. Once again, he was playing third in deference to Lou Gehrig and belted a two-run homer in the bottom of the first, giving the American League a lead it never relinquished. Making his third All-Star appearance, Al Simmons of the White Sox was the game’s top hitter with a six-for-thirteen showing and a .462 average. It would be his last All-Star showing. Unbelievably, the most frustrated hitter was Gehrig. A Triple Crown winner in 1934, he was hitless in nine at-bats.

1949 WORLD SERIES

After nine unsuccessful seasons with both Boston and Brooklyn (in which he never finished higher than fifth), manager Casey Stengel finally had success in the minors while coaching Oakland to the Pacific Coast League pennant in 1948. Shortly after, he was called up to replace Bucky Harris as the Yankees skipper in what would become the start of a long-standing… and winning relationship. New York, who had fallen from first to third under Harris, responded to Stengel’s appointment by winning their sixteenth American League pennant and doing so in dramatic fashion. Stengel’s team trailed Boston by one game as manager Joe McCarthy’s Red Sox arrived at Yankee Stadium for a season-closing two-game set, but the Yankees swept them in classic “Curse of the Bambino” fashion. Across-town the Brooklyn Dodgers were “cutting it close” as well while managing to beat the St. Louis Cardinals (by one game) in the National League pennant race.

Don Newcombe, who had a 17-8 record as a Dodgers rookie in 1949, drew the start and did all he could to spoil Stengel’s debut. Through eight innings of Game 1, Newcombe struck out eleven Yankees, walked no one, surrendered only four hits and had not permitted a run. Pitching rival Allie Reynolds wasn’t far behind with nine strikeouts, four walks, two hits and no runs. Reynolds managed to retire the order in the ninth on a grounder, popup and fly ball, but Newcombe was not as lucky as the Yankees’ Tommy Henrich put one in the right field stands for the win. The Dodgers answered the close Yankees’ triumph the next day with a Game 2 nailbiter of their own. Preacher Roe outpitched Vic Raschi for the 1-0 win and Gil Hodges singling home Jackie Robinson, who had doubled, in the second inning.

The tensions continued in the third game as both teams remained locked in a 1-1 stalemate through the eighth. Former National League slugger Johnny Mize, (purchased in August from the New York Giants), knocked a bases-loaded single off Dodger starter Ralph Branca in the top of the ninth for the 3-1 Yankee lead and Jerry Coleman followed with a run-scoring single off reliever Jack Banta. New York’s Joe Page, having pitched 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief since taking over for Tommy Byrne in the fourth, shouldered that lead into the Dodgers’ half of the inning. Page was rocked for two home runs, the first a one-out shot by Luis Olmo, who hit one homer for Brooklyn in the regular season, and the second a two-out smash by Roy Campanella. But no one was on base either time, and Page and the Yankees hung on for a 4-3 victory.

In Game 4, the Yankees drove Newcombe from the mound with a three-run, fourth (Cliff Mapes supplied the key hit with a two-run double) and then got three more in the fifth when Bobby Brown drilled a bases-loaded triple off Joe Hatten. Brooklyn answered back with four runs in the sixth off Eddie Lopat. Reynolds came to the rescue by retiring Brooklyn’s final ten batters and New York, a 6-4 winner, was one victory from their twelfth World Series title.

Determined to finish the job, the Bronx Bombers ended all the trends and came out swinging in Game 5. The Yankee sluggers scored in five of the first six innings and promptly built a 10-2 lead. Gil Hodges’ three-run homer in the Dodgers’ four-run, seventh cut into the deficit, but Page’s relief work in place of Vic Raschi shut down Brooklyn’s batters. In the end, the Yankees prevailed 10-6 with Coleman driving in three runs and Brown and DiMaggio both collecting two RBIs each. “Joe D”, (who missed half of the season because of an injury, but still batted .346 with sixty-seven RBIs in seventy-six regular-season games), struggled overall in the Series, but added a bases-empty homer in the fourth. Although it was the Yankees twelfth World Series title, it was Casey Stengel’s first and there were many more to come.

MLB PLAYER PROFILE- EARL AVERILL

There are few instances in baseball history of a player beginning his career at a late age and still going on to achieve Hall of Fame status. One of those to accomplish such a feat is Earl Averill who debuted with the Cleveland Indians a little over a month short of his 27th birthday and went on to become one of the top hitters of his era.

Averill began his career playing semi-pro ball and eventually signed with San Francisco of the Pacific Coast League in 1926. After three solid seasons in the PCL (he had one-hundred seventy-three runs batted in during 1928) he was signed by the Indians in 1929 and immediately became their starting centerfielder. Averill broke in with a flourish, homering in his first Major League at-bat (the second American League player to do so) and went on to hit .332. Although he didn’t possess a strong arm, he played solid defense and led American League outfielders in putouts.

In 1930, Averill followed up his brilliant rookie season by batting .339 and reaching the one-hundred runs batted in mark for the first time (119). In September of that year the small but compactly built slugger hit three homeruns in the first game of a doubleheader and belted another round tripper in the nightcap becoming the first Major League player to homer four times in a twin bill. In that same doubleheader he knocked in a still American League record eleven runs. The next two seasons Averill produced career highs of thirty-two home runs, one-hundred forty-three runs batted in, one-hundred forty runs scored, and he reached the two-hundred hit plateau for the first time in 1931 (209). In the 1932 season the Red Sox showed the ultimate respect for Averill by walking him five consecutive times in a game. “He was treated with the kind of respect usually reserved for imposing specimens like Foxx and Gehrig”, said Boston’s Ted Williams.

After six consecutive seasons of .300 or better, Averill slumped to .288 in 1935, but bounced back to rack up career highs in 1936 in average .378 (finishing second to Luke Appling’s .388) and hits (two-hundred thirty-two). In June of 1937 began being bothered by temporary paralysis in his legs. The final diagnosis was a congenital spinal malformation which forced Averill to alter his batting style in order to continue playing and be a productive player. He made the 1937 All-Star team (it was his line drive in that All-Star game that struck and broke Dizzy Dean’s toe that eventually caused Dean a sore arm and his career) but his overall numbers were below his normal standards. He came back in 1938 to hit .330 but managed just fourteen home runs and shortly into the 1939 season the Indians dealt him to the Tigers in a deal that enraged Cleveland fans. As a part-time player for Detroit he contributed to the Tigers pennant winning season of 1940. Averill’s playing days ended after a brief stop with the National League’s Boston Braves in 1941.

In his thirteen big league seasons Earl Averill batted .300 eight times, scored one-hundred runs nine times, and drove in one-hundred or more runs in five seasons. He led the American League in hits in 1936 (two-hundred thirty-two) and triples (fifteen). He had ten or more triples eight times and thirty or more doubles in nine seasons. He was the only American League outfielder named to their first six All-Star teams (1933-38). “He supports my contention that you don’t have to be a muscle-bound giant to be a great major league hitter”, said Ted Williams. Earl Averill was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the by The Committee on Baseball Veterans in 1975.

MLB Standings
American League
East
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
Boston169.6408 – 88 – 17 – 45 – 32 – 26 – 4W 3
Tampa Bay1312.52036 – 77 – 56 – 62 – 13 – 46 – 4W 2
Toronto1112.47844 – 47 – 87 – 41 – 32 – 45 – 5L 1
NY Yankees1113.4584.54 – 77 – 67 – 113 – 10 – 06 – 4W 2
Baltimore1014.4175.53 – 107 – 45 – 70 – 04 – 64 – 6L 2
Central
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
Kansas City158.6528 – 57 – 34 – 36 – 24 – 27 – 3W 1
Chi White Sox1210.5452.56 – 46 – 62 – 24 – 46 – 46 – 4L 1
Cleveland1112.47847 – 64 – 61 – 39 – 70 – 04 – 6L 1
Minnesota815.34873 – 75 – 81 – 33 – 31 – 62 – 8W 1
Detroit816.3337.54 – 94 – 70 – 04 – 103 – 42 – 8W 1
West
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
Oakland1510.6008 – 67 – 43 – 37 – 02 – 57 – 3L 2
Houston1311.5421.57 – 66 – 50 – 00 – 313 – 66 – 4W 3
LA Angels1211.52226 – 46 – 72 – 15 – 35 – 74 – 6W 1
Seattle1312.52026 – 57 – 75 – 33 – 32 – 44 – 6L 4
Texas1015.40054 – 86 – 76 – 41 – 53 – 34 – 6L 1
National League
East
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
Atlanta1212.5007 – 65 – 65 – 85 – 11 – 26 – 4W 3
Philadelphia1212.5008 – 44 – 86 – 64 – 22 – 45 – 5W 1
NY Mets910.4740.56 – 43 – 67 – 40 – 32 – 13 – 7L 2
Miami1113.45814 – 77 – 64 – 22 – 43 – 44 – 6W 1
Washington912.4291.55 – 54 – 72 – 44 – 22 – 55 – 5W 1
Central
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
Milwaukee1410.5835 – 79 – 31 – 29 – 63 – 06 – 4L 1
Pittsburgh1212.50025 – 47 – 80 – 05 – 72 – 26 – 4L 1
St. Louis1212.50026 – 66 – 67 – 85 – 40 – 05 – 5L 1
Cincinnati1113.45837 – 54 – 80 – 05 – 44 – 82 – 8L 1
Chi Cubs1014.41748 – 72 – 74 – 56 – 90 – 04 – 6L 5
West
TeamWLPctGBHomeRoadEastCentralWestLast 10Streak
LA Dodgers169.6408 – 58 – 43 – 01 – 29 – 53 – 7W 1
San Francisco169.64010 – 36 – 66 – 42 – 17 – 27 – 3W 1
San Diego1412.5382.55 – 89 – 40 – 02 – 59 – 75 – 5W 1
Arizona1212.5003.53 – 49 – 84 – 35 – 13 – 67 – 3L 1
Colorado915.3756.58 – 71 – 83 – 30 – 04 – 126 – 4L 1
NBA Division Standings
Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
x-Brooklyn4220.67725-717-138-422-146-43 W
x-Philadelphia4121.6611.024-717-1410-226-96-42 W
New York3528.5567.522-1113-173-823-179-11 W
Boston3330.5249.520-1213-184-719-176-41 W
Toronto2636.41916.016-1610-204-817-226-41 L
 
Central Divison
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Milwaukee3823.62320-1018-139-023-116-41 W
Indiana2932.4759.011-1818-146-416-185-51 L
Chicago2636.41912.512-1814-185-416-164-61 L
Cleveland2141.33917.512-179-244-715-212-84 L
Detroit1943.30619.512-167-271-1012-243-71 W
 
Southeast Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Atlanta3429.54018-1116-186-320-166-42 L
Miami3330.5241.019-1414-165-618-175-51 W
Charlotte3032.4843.516-1314-197-217-183-72 L
Washington2834.4525.516-1712-172-710-239-11 W
Orlando1943.30614.510-239-204-612-232-81 W
 
Western Conference
Northwest Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
x-Utah4517.72626-419-135-422-116-41 W
Denver4121.6614.023-1018-118-124-137-33 W
Portland3428.54811.016-1618-124-618-183-72 W
Oklahoma City2141.33924.09-2112-203-811-221-91 W
Minnesota1944.30226.511-198-255-613-246-43 W
 
Pacific Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
x-Phoenix4418.71024-920-97-325-107-32 W
LA Clippers4321.6722.024-819-138-326-127-32 L
LA Lakers3626.5818.017-1319-133-621-144-61 L
Golden State3131.50013.019-1112-204-717-157-31 L
Sacramento2537.40319.014-1811-194-713-203-71 L
 
Southwest Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Dallas3427.55716-1418-136-420-185-51 W
Memphis3130.5083.013-1718-134-614-225-52 L
San Antonio3130.5083.013-1918-116-616-206-41 L
New Orleans2735.4357.517-1610-196-415-194-61 L
Houston1547.24219.57-248-235-710-271-95 L
NHL Division Standings
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Washington Capitals4932134682917114415-6-217-7-27-3-0
Pittsburgh Penguins5032153672917013820-4-212-11-17-2-1
New York Islanders4929155632513611419-3-310-12-24-5-1
Boston Bruins4828146622413911914-6-314-8-37-3-0
New York Rangers5026186582516713214-8-312-10-37-2-1
Philadelphia Flyers4922207511914017710-10-412-10-34-5-1
New Jersey Devils491527737151271745-17-310-10-41-8-1
Buffalo Sabres501330733101221746-16-47-14-34-5-1
 
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
x-Vegas Golden Knights4835112723416510519-4-216-7-010-0-0
x-Colorado Avalanche4731124663116411718-4-213-8-26-4-0
x-Minnesota Wild4831143653015412717-5-014-9-37-2-1
St. Louis Blues472219650201391469-11-413-8-26-4-0
Arizona Coyotes5021245471813416011-10-310-14-22-8-0
San Jose Sharks4920245451513516910-11-210-13-32-7-1
Los Angeles Kings471823642171261409-12-49-11-24-6-0
Anaheim Ducks501528737141091625-17-410-11-33-7-0
 
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
x-Toronto Maple Leafs4931135673016313114-7-317-6-25-3-2
Edmonton Oilers4729162602915312714-9-015-7-27-2-1
Winnipeg Jets4927193572715013811-11-216-8-14-6-0
Montreal Canadiens4821189512013714010-11-211-7-74-6-0
Calgary Flames4821243452012813912-11-19-13-25-5-0
Ottawa Senators5019274421713917411-10-48-17-06-4-0
Vancouver Canucks4319213411611713812-10-27-11-14-5-1
 
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
x-Carolina Hurricanes4932107712816111916-3-416-7-35-1-4
x-Florida Panthers5132145693116614117-5-315-9-26-3-1
x-Tampa Bay Lightning4933142683216712919-6-014-8-27-3-0
Nashville Predators5127222562214114615-10-012-12-25-4-1
Dallas Stars49211612541914012913-7-88-9-46-2-2
Chicago Blackhawks4922225492013915812-10-210-12-35-5-0
Detroit Red Wings5117259431611515911-10-56-15-44-3-3
Columbus Blue Jackets5116251042131221709-8-77-17-31-7-2