Saturday, May 30, 2009

RACHEL ALEXANDRA OUT OF BELMONT, BOREL TO GO FOR PERSONAL TRIPLE CROWN ON KY DERBY WINNER

Yesterday, we said Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra should skip the Belmont and later in the day co-owner Jess Jackson made us look smart. Her defection from the race frees up popular rider Calvin Borel who will get back on Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird to go for a first ever jockey Triple Crown.

“While she is in great shape ... we feel Rachel deserves a well-earned vacation,” the Preakness-winning filly’s co-owner Jess Jackson said a statement issued late Friday afternoon.

Calvin Borel will get back on Mine The Bird with a chance to become the first jockey to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and the Belmont on different horses.

Mine That Bird, meanwhile, will attempt to become the 12th horse to complete the Derby-Belmont double and first since Thunder Gulch in 1995.

“Now that this decision is made, I am excited to come to New York and ride Mine That Bird (pictured below) in the Belmont Stakes,” Borel said, thanking the gelding’s trainer Chip Woolley and co-owners Mark Allen and Dr. Leonard Blach for their patience before naming a rider.

Even though a 31st consecutive year has passed without a Triple Crown champion, this season has certainly captured the public’s attention – TV ratings were up as Rachel Alexandra became the first filly in 85 years to win the Preakness, and that came two weeks after fans were still buzzing over Mine That Bird’s incredible 6¾-length win in the Derby.

“It may not be a Triple Crown year, but it’s as far as you can get without having one,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “It just all adds up to a lot of great stories going into the Belmont.”

The field for the 1½-mile Belmont, the longest and most grueling of the three races, is just about set with as many as 10 3-year-olds challenging the Derby winner, including Peter Pan Stakes winner Virginia-bred Charitable Man and several horses who ran in the Derby or the Preakness.

Jackson said it was a tough call, but he pointed out that Rachel Alexandra has had a tough schedule — five races and five wins since Feb. 15 — and added “we will always put her long-term well being first. And, of course, we want to run her when she is fresh.”

Mine That Bird is a son of 2004 Belmont winner Birdstone, who spoiled Smarty Jones’ Triple Crown bid with a dramatic come-from-behind, one-length upset.

Nick Zito, who trained Birdstone for owner Marylou Whitney, is pointing three horses to the race — Brave Victory, Miner’s Escape and Nowhere to Hide.

Friday, May 29, 2009

OUT ON ANOTHER LIMB: RACHEL ALEXANDRA SHOULD SKIP THE BELMONT

Exactly what does Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra have to prove by winning the Belmont Stakes?

We say absolutely nothing.

Two weeks ago, she became the first filly in 85 years to win the Preakness off a stunning 20.25 length victory in the filly version of the Kentucky Derby – the Kentucky Oaks.

How would winning another jewel of the Triple Crown over the archaic, and now little used, distance of 12 furlongs (1.5 miles), add to her value? Simply put, it wouldn’t.

Her appearance in the Belmont could be good for the game if she wins or loses gamely. It would be a disaster if anything goes wrong.

If you own her, you have to ask yourself: Will winning the Belmont enhance her value or the value of her offspring? Winning the race couldn’t possibly enhance her value since she is already worth more than $10 million and she is owned by a multi-multi-millionaire in wine baron Jess “Kendall Jackson” Jackson.

Winning a “classic” race at 1 ½ miles against the boys could make her future offspring more valuable as it would add an important “stamina” influence to a pedigree now overly influenced by “speed” horses and speed races. But the general public and most horse racing fans don’t care about such nuances, nor should they.

More importantly, let’s look back at the last time a filly won the Belmont – it was the 2007 dramatic stretch duel where Kentucky Oaks winner Rags To Riches (outside) narrowly defeated Preakness winner Curlin. After that race Curlin ran poorly in the $1 million Haskell Gr. 1 at Monmouth in July and so-so in the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup in September.

The filly Rags To Riches ran second in the $250,000 Gazelle Handicap Gr. 1 beaten one-half length by a relative unknown named Learl’s Princess in her first post-Belmont start some two months later in September.

Curlin would rally back to win the $5 million Breeders Cup Classic Gr. 1 in October, but Rags to Riches would never race again.

It could be a coincidence that both horses lost their form following that exhilarating (for us, but, no doubt, taxing for them) Belmont stretch drive which came in the last quarter mile of a 1 ½ mile race. Or it could clearly send the message that three major races in five weeks is taxing the point of requiring some substantial r&r.

Look, it ain’t 1845. Thoroughbreds don’t run in multiple heats, nor are they any longer physically capable of doing what Conquistador Cielo did back in 1982 when he won the prestigious Metropolitan Mile on Memorial Day and then won the Belmont Stakes just twelve days later.

Due to inbreeding to the same sire lines for the past fifty years, modern Thoroughbreds just aren’t as durable as they were as little as 25 years ago. It is what it is.

So Rachel’s owner Jess Jackson (who also owned Curlin) has a dilemma. Which way is he leaning?

We’d say he’s leaning in the right direction as he hinted strongly this week that Rachel Alexandra will skip the Belmont. "It's not necessary that she go in the Belmont,'' Jackson said. "She's got a whole season ahead. She's been running the whole year, so we have to monitor her very carefully.''

Meanwhile, Mine That Bird’s trainer Chip Woolley waits. “I’m gonna give Calvin (Borel) as much time as possible to ride 'Mine' and also to keep him from losing two mounts. It just wouldn’t fair to him if they don’t make a decision until the last minute and decide not to go. He won me the Kentucky Derby and I owe him the opportunity if it’s possible. I don’t want to see him sitting on the sidelines when I get to Belmont.”

As for Rachel Alexandra running in the Belmont, Woolley said it doesn’t matter to him one way or other except for how if affects his rider situation.

That's a good story, stick to it.

A LETTER FROM MINE THAT BIRD TO JOHN SWOFFORD

Dear Mr. Swofford, Chairman -Bowl Championship Series:

I recently won the Kentucky Derby in a rather dramatic upset. In fact, it was the second biggest dethroning of favorites in the 135 years of the race. Two weeks later, I legitimized my performance by narrowly losing the Preakness by a length to a freak of a filly that nobody’s gonna beat on her good days. Nobody.

Simply put, from humble beginnings in Canada and New Mexico, the month of May has made me a celebrity. Now, like most celebrities, I feel compelled to utilize my untested intellect and world wide fame to influence other issues on which I have little or no expertise. Are the cameras and microphones on?

On what subject will I be sharing my wealth of now famous knowledge? Why, college football, of course.

Look, my win in the Derby clearly demonstrates to the American people, and one idiotic blog that shall remain nameless (T.A.H.), that it’s a wide open competition and the only way to determine the best horse/team is to let ‘em play. Yes, Mr. BCS, I’m advocating a playoff system for D1 football, because if horse racing utilized an exclusionary system controlled by the fat cats to determine the winner, I’d of been standing in my stall munching hay while Pioneerof the Nile won the run for the roses. How stupid would that be?

Let me take you back. I came from humble beginnings. While my daddy is a Belmont Stakes winner, I’m a bit puny and thus drew a meager $9,500 bid at a Kentucky yearling auction. That's chump change by racehorse standards. That clod Dunkirk I humbled in the Derby cost $3 million!

So a savvy Canadian, Dave Cotey, buys me and takes me to Canada where I show everybody I’m pretty talented winning $324,000 and some important stakes races. Now Mr. Cotey subscribes to the Tyson Gilpin horse business mantras of a) “take the money” and b) “it’s always better to have sold and regretted then to have not sold and regretted” so he sold me to these New Mexico cowboys for $400,000 (a much more respectable figure, I might add.)

Which brings me to the clowns I won’t name here (T.A.H.), and how what they said demonstrates the same attitude you BCS snot noses have about an NCAA Football National Championship, and I quote: “Mine That Bird gets our boot based on the fact that he lost back-to-back races in New Mexico which is not exactly a Kentucky Derby proving ground…”

Well that’s like saying the road to the NCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball National Championship doesn’t go through New Mexico…er…um…OK, bad example, but you get my point. You never know where the next champion is going to come from if you let the best horses/teams compete. That’s exactly why they let 20 horses run in the Kentucky Derby, and guess what? America loves it.

So, Mr. BCS, figure it out and have a football playoff. It might be the most compelling thing (not to mention profitable, and Lord knows we all gotta watch the bottom line) sporting event of the year.

Who knows, some big hearted, overlooked, lovable underdog might even win! As Nick Zito, who trained my dad Birdstone to an upset victory over Smarty Jones in the Belmont a few years back said after I won the Derby:
“See, that’s why they run the race.”

See?

Sincerely,
MINE THAT BIRD (2009 Kentucky Derby Winner)

LOSE EARLY AND REMOVE ALL RIDICULOUS TITLE HOPES FROM UNREALISTIC STUDENTS, FANS, ALUMS, COACHES AND PLAYERS

It seems that the concept of opening the football season against Sisters of the Poor State is waning in popularity...

From ACCNow.com:

N.C. State is set to open the 2012 football season against Tennessee in Atlanta. UNC is trying to work out a deal to open the 2010 season in the Georgia Dome against an SEC team.

It's all apart of the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff, which was started by the Atlanta Sports Council and ESPN in 2008.

"I like it," Wolfpack coach Tom O'Brien said. "You've got to play one major game that gets you on television. It's great exposure for our program."

State also opens the '09 season on national TV but it's a home Thursday date with South Carolina.

UNC opened with a lower-level Division I team in Butch Davis' first two seasons and will again in '09, with The Citadel, a Championship Subdivision program. The '10 opener in Atlanta would be against LSU, Georgia or Ole Miss.

"We're in the preliminary stages," said UNC assistant AD Larry Gallo, who works with Davis on the Tar Heels' football scheduling. "There's a lot still to work out."

UNC has six home games and six road games in '10. The Heels can't afford to lose a home game, Gallo said. They are working with South Carolina and Rutgers — who are scheduled to host UNC in '10 — about the possibility of moving their game to accommodate the Atlanta opener.

"We want this to be a win-win," Gallo said. "We want the teams we are dealing with to be treated fairly and happy with the solution."

Virginia Tech takes on Alabama in this season's college kickoff in Atlanta on Sept. 5. The Crimson Tide beat Clemson in last year's inaugural game at the Georgia Dome.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

FSU ALTHETICS DEPARTMENT DEFINES “EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES” AS “REALLY, REALLY, REALLY GOOD”

Florida State has suspended wide receiver Richard Goodman (who did not play last year due to a leg injury) after he was arrested last night and charged with aggravated battery, a second-degree felony, for his involvement in an on-campus fight last November.

Under Florida State Athletics Department policy, “a student-athlete charged with a felony, absent extraordinary circumstances as determined by the administration, is not permitted to represent Florida State Athletics in game competition until such time as the charge is resolved and all court, university and athletics department conditions for reinstatement have been met.”

So if Goodman was a victim of extraordinary circumstances as determined by the administration - lawyer talk for “really, really, really good” - he could play. But, he’s not, so he’s suspended until some judge that is an FSU alum throws his case out or gives him probation and a stint at washing the cars of booster club members.

Here’s part of the statement from Florida State:

Florida State University football coach Bobby Bowden today announced the suspension of senior wide receiver Richard Goodman following his arrest in connection with a fight that took place last fall at the university’s Oglesby Union.

“We’re suspending Richard Goodman, indefinitely, beginning today until the matter has been resolved,” Bowden said.

Goodman, 22, turned himself in to the Leon County Jail on Tuesday, May 26, on a warrant for his arrest obtained by Florida State University police. He was charged with one count of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon causing great bodily harm, a second-degree felony. Goodman later posted bond and was released.

Goodman is accused of throwing a chair that struck a female bystander in the face during a fight that broke out between Florida State football players and members of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity on Nov. 12, 2008. The woman struck with the chair suffered extensive injuries.

“With all of the information about this case, we knew it was extremely important to be thorough — and we have been,” said Maj. Jim Russell of the Florida State University Police Department. “This arrest concludes our investigation.”

Goodman is the third football player to be charged in the fight. Two others were charged with one count each of misdemeanor battery in November 2008.

TAR HEEL GIVES HOKIE LOVE

Speaking of crime, we haven't said a word about Michael "Bad Dog" Vick's release from prison. Mainly, because we no longer care.

However, the mainstream media has spent zillions of words on whether or not he should be allowed to return the NFL when his sentence (now home confinement) concludes. Well, the answer is obviously "yes."

Vick did the crime, and served the time. We are a country of forgivers no matter how heinous the crime. Vick deserves the chance to serve his time, repent and then take a shot at making a living. As long as there are other convicted felons in the NFL, why single out Vick for post-found guilty exclusion? Doesn't make sense even though his actions were reprehensible.

Fellow pro-athlete Brendan Haywood (00) of the Wizards via North Carolina, makes a case on his blog today via Yardbarker.com on behalf of his fellow ACCer.

I think Roger Goodell is being tough on Vick by asking him to display “genuine remorse” for his actions. Who is he to judge if Vick is genuinely remorseful? Goodell works for the NFL but isn’t Vick’s conscience. Obviously Goodell hasn’t been the best judgment of character lately anyways (Pacman Jones).

Vick was wrong but has paid a steep price. He doesn’t owe Goodell anything. He shouldn’t be held to a higher standard than anyone else. He’s served close to two years, lost all of his money, been crucified by the media and public and any additional punishment from the NFL would be as bad as the torture that he did to those dogs…

To read Haywood’s post, click here.

WELCOME TO BLOGDOME

Yesterday, we received an email from a nice young lad named Gerald "Tripper" Henson. He and two of his buddies, Emmett Corboy and Mark Trible, have started a sports blog called Results Inconclusive.

Tripper said he's a fan of T.A.H., so he deserves a good plug. We liked his site's content, and it is very clear that these guys are serious sports fans with a good eye for the offbeat -- right up T.A.H.'s alley.

It would appear that this comprehensive review of things might be interfering with their academics at Virginia Tech, but we're gonna let that go for now as it's summer break.

If he hangs with his homie M. Hokie Tedeschi, the renown ESPN TV hog, he will most certainly become famous.

As it is, Tripper and Emmett (foreground, hat's backward, not sure which is which) have already scored some celeb celebrity right here on T.A.H. when we published their pic with ESPN's Erin Andrews last winter.

To check out their blog, click here.

Keep up the good work fellas!

PICTURE(S) OF THE DAY

SOCCER = RIOT. Barcelona defeated Manchester United 2-0 for the Champions League title. Riots broke out and hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage was done. Business as usual.
(Photos by Josep Lago and Filipo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

HOKIES’ NEW STADIUM? One might surmise by the color of the workers’ unis that Virginia Tech is building a new football stadium.

Of course, one would be wrong…It’s a new football stadium in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. The stadium will host the Euro 2012 soccer championship matches.

(Photo by Yuriy Dyachyshyn/AFP/Getty Images)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

KRZYJBCV6SKI DISCIPLE NEARLY CRIPPLES LAKER STAR

A day later, the NBA blew the whistle on Dahntay Jones for tripping Kobe Bryant.

The league assessed Denver's defensive specialist a flagrant foul for sending the Lakers' star sprawling through the lane with a trip late in the third quarter that Bennett Salvatore's officiating crew missed.

Jones was drafted 20th by the Celtics in the 2003 NBA draft after playing at Duke.

Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson complained about Jones' (show here tackling Kobe in the first quarter) "unacceptable defense, tripping guys and playing unsportsmanlike basketball" during a rant about the officiating after Los Angeles fell 120-101 to Denver to tie the Western Conference finals at 2.

Asked if he felt Jones went out of his way to trip Bryant, Jackson replied: "Yes. It's not the first time it's happened in this series."

Bryant kept things light when asked if Jones tried to trip him.

"I just fell on my face for no reason," he said. "I'm a klutz."

Evidently, based on the photographic evidence left, he wasn’t so mellow about it just after it happened.

Was Jones playing him dirty?

"Good defense," Bryant said.

Bryant had beaten Jones cutting to the basket when Jones stuck out his right foot.

Jones called it an accident, an instinctive move that lacked any malice or even forethought. (Just like Coach K taught him!)

"It wasn't intentional," said Jones, who was at a loss to explain his actions.

"I can't. I was just playing basketball. We got tangled up."

CLEMSON'S OGLESBY LEAVING FOR EUROPEAN PRO BALL

Clemson sophomore guard Terrence Oglesby stunned head coach Oliver Purnell Tuesday by telling him that he was leaving the Tigers' program, signing with an agent and heading to play in Europe, Purnell told ESPN.com.

Oglesby didn't declare for the NBA draft (because he wouldn't get drafted) but will forego the final two seasons of his eligibility by becoming a pro in Europe. Oglesby, who has a duel citizenship with a Norwegian passport, can play as a European instead of an American (which means he gets a better seat on the bus and a better room at the hostel).

Oglesby averaged a third-best 13.2 points a game last season for the Tigers.

"It's true that Terrence is leaving Clemson and the expectation that he's signing with someone in Europe," Purnell said. "It hasn't been finalized yet or he hasn't gotten an agent. But he felt there were opportunities out there for him in either Spain or Italy."

Oglesby, who made 38.8 percent of his 3s, was considered one of the game changers if he got on a roll and hit a flurry of 3s.

Oglesby leaves Clemson on a bit of a down note. He was ejected for a flagrant elbow in an NCAA tournament first-round loss to Michigan. Oglesby played only 13 minutes and shot 1 of 8 from the field.

Oglesby was in tears in the postgame locker room, visibly upset about letting his team down. At the time, in Kansas City, he vowed that he would make it up to his teammates next season after he couldn't help the Tigers in the three-point loss.

Well...no.

NCAA POSTPONES DECISION ON FSU

Florida State coach Bobby Bowden (pictured here wondering where he is, what the trophy is for, will he be able to keep it and who's the kid to his left?) will have to wait a little longer to find out if he'll lose up to 14 victories.

The NCAA gave its Committee on Infractions another week until June 2 to respond to Florida State's appeal of sanctions resulting from an academic cheating scandal.

They include taking as many as 14 wins off Bowden's coaching record. That would make it impossible for Bowden to catch Penn State's Joe Paterno in their race for most victories among major college coaches.

The 82-year-old Paterno has 383 wins -- one ahead of Bowden, who will turn 80 in November.

Bowden is due to be replaced by coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher by the 2011 season. Fisher is Florida State's offensive coordinator.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

GOOD VIEW. Former Duke star J.J. Redick (standing) has a great view of the action from the bench as Head coach Stan Van Gundy of the Orlando Magic instructs his players during a time out against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Amway Arena on May 26, 2009 in Orlando, FL.

Redick has not played, and, is unlikely to play, in the series.


(Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

AS GOOD A SEAT AS JJ'S. Carolina Panther and former two-sport Tar Heel Julius Peppers and guest sits courtside in Game Four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on May 25, 2009 in Denver, Colorado.

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

SPIDERMAN. Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Team Penske Dallara Honda, celebrates winning the Indianapolis 500 by climbing the fence on May 24, 2009 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana.

(Photo by Darrell Ingham/Getty Images)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

HOOS WIN TWO MORE NATIONAL TITLES

OK, it was polo.

...and, yes, they're club teams. Jeez, back off already.

The Virginia Polo Center recently hosted the National Intercollegiate Tournament and T.A.H. simply missed it until now.

A total of 14 teams, 7 men and 7 women competed for their respective trophies. With 10 very competitive matches played earlier in the week the final teams were set to compete for the championship title on April 11.

The #2 ranked Wahoo squad knocked off previously undefeted #1 Cornell 19-17 to become the 2009 National Women’s Champions. Captain Cristina Fernandez lead her team to victory by scoring 9 goals while senior Leah Hall followed with 5 goals.

Undefeated, and #1 ranked Virginia men’s team took on the also undefeated #2 ranked Texas A&M team securing a 20 to 17 victory to become the 2009 Men’s National Champions.

The UVA Team captained by sophomore Joevy Beh, led at the half by one goal. After a strong third period, Virginia outscored A&M 6 to 3, and took a commanding 4 goal lead. Freshmen CB Scherer, and Mauricio Lopez contributed 6 and 7 goals respectively.

None of these people can throw a football
more than 15 yards or make more than 2-out-fo-10 three-pointers.

DUKE WINS NATIONAL TITLE

Don't panic, it's just tennis.

However, to their credit, there were two.

Duke University freshman Mallory Cecil capped off her stellar rookie season today, defeating Miami’s Laura Vallverdu 7-5, 6-4 to win the NCAA Women’s Tennis Singles Championship. Cecil is the second player in Duke women’s tennis history to win the NCAA individual crown and just the fifth in ACC history.

Cecil becomes just the 14th women’s tennis player in NCAA history and first in ACC history to win both a team national title and individual crown in the same season and the first to do so since 2004. She is the seventh freshman in NCAA history to take home the title with the most recent coming in 2005. Vanessa Webb captured the individual championship for Duke in 1998.

This is Cecil's second national title in a week after she helped guide the Blue Devils to the team title on May 19.

For a shot by shot recap of the match, click here.

WAHOOS CONTINUE DOMINANCE OF "FRINGE" SPORTS

Dominic Inglot (London, England) and Michael Shabaz (Fairfax, Va.) became the first doubles team from the ACC to win the NCAA Doubles Championship, defeating No. 2 seed John-Patrick Smith and Davey Sandgren of Tennessee 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4 in the final Monday at the Mitchell Tennis Center.

Inglot and Shabaz are the first unseeded team to win the title since Rajeev Ram and Brian Wilson of Illinois in 2003. Ranked No. 12 entering the tournament, the Cavalier duo is the lowest ranked team to take the title since Auburn’s Andrew Colombo and Mark Kovacs, ranked No. 27, won the championship in 2002, also in College Station.

For a shot by shot recap of the match, click here.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

RED CLAY. Juan Monaco of Argentina serves during his Men's Singles First Round match against Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus on day three of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 26, 2009 in Paris, France.

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Monday, May 25, 2009

DUKE, UVA KNOCKED OUT OF LAX SEMIS

From TheACC.com:

Duke Falls To Syracuse in NCAA Semifinals The Duke University men’s lacrosse team suffered a 17-7 loss to Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament Semifinal yesterday afternoon at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

The second-seeded Orange outscored the third-seeded Blue Devils 9-3 in the second half to advance to the NCAA Championship on Monday, May 25.

Duke (15-4) advanced to the NCAA Semifinals for the third consecutive season and fourth time in the past five seasons and is 2-3 all-time in semifinal contests. The 15 wins for Duke mark the third most wins in Duke single season history.

Junior Max Quinzani led all Duke scorers with three goals and an assist for four points, while sophomore Zach Howell had three tallies. Quinzani’s hat trick is the ninth time the Duxbury, Mass., native has registered at least two goals in an NCAA Tournament game. Senior Ned Crotty added two assists in the game, falling just one shy of tying the Duke single season mark.

Cavaliers Fall to Cornell 15-6 in National Semifinals Cornell used excellent shooting and tremendous defense to defeat Virginia 15-6 in the semifinals of the NCAA Championship this afternoon at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

The top-seeded Cavaliers see their season end with a 15-3 record, while Cornell improves to 13-3. The Big Red meets Syracuse for the national championship Monday at 1 p.m.

The Big Red shot 40.5 percent (15-of-37) and forced Virginia to commit 18 turnovers, while never allowing the Cavaliers to string together back-to-back goals.

WILDCATS THROTTLE HEELS IN WOMEN'S LAX FINAL

Northwestern won its fifth straight NCAA championship in women's Division I lacrosse with a 21-7 victory over North Carolina on Sunday in Towson, Md.

Hilary Bowen scored five goals, and Katrina Dowd and Danielle Spencer had four apiece to lead the Wildcats.

Top-seeded Northwestern (23-0) broke the record for goals in the title game and has won 20 consecutive tournament games, one shy of the record set by Maryland from 1995 to 2002.

Hannah Nielsen added six assists to give her a record 16 in the tournament. Northwestern trailed only once the entire tournament. Jenn Russell had two goals for third-seeded North Carolina (16-5), which was making its first appearance in the title game.

WAHOOS WIN ACC BASEBALL TOURNAMENT

Virginia's John Hicks singled through the left side of the Florida State infield, driving home the two go-ahead runs in the ninth inning Sunday as the sixth-seeded Cavaliers edged the Seminoles 6-3 for the 2009 ACC Baseball Championship.

FSU and Virginia entered the final innings tied, 3-3. The Seminoles (42-16) loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the eighth, but Virginia reliever Tyler Wilson (W, 8-3) struck out pinch hitter Tommy Oravetz and induced first baseman Jack Posey to fly to right, escaping the jam.

In the top of the ninth, Virginia also managed to load the bases with one out on FSU reliever Sean Gilmartin (L, 11-3), thanks to a single by designated hitter Phil Gosselin, an error by FSU second baseman Jason Stridham and a walk.

The Seminole battery struggled throwing five wild pitches and allowing two passed balls.
It was the third ACC baseball title for Virginia (43-12-1), which last won the ACC Tournament in 1996. It was the sixth conference championship for the Cavalier athletic program this scholastic year -- one more than FSU and Maryland, which claimed five titles each.

This year's tournament 39,639 fans for 13 games -- the ninth best total in ACC history.

2009 ACC Baseball All-Tournament Team:

C-Franco Valdes, Virginia
1B-Dustin Ackley, North Carolina
2B-Jason Stidham, Florida State
3B-Mickey Wiswall, Boston College
SS-Jake Lemmerman, Duke
OF-Dan Grovatt, Virginia
OF-Wilson Boyd, Clemson
OF-Mike McGee, Florida State
UT/DH-Danny Hultzen, Virginia
P-Pat Dean, Boston College
P-Casey Harman, Clemson
All-Tournament Most Valuable Player Dan Grovatt, Virginia

Notes:

· Virginia wins its third ACC Baseball Championship and second in the tournament era (since 1973).

· Sixth seeded Virginia is the lowest seed to win the ACC Baseball Championship.

· The league title is the sixth for Virginia this season in all sports which ties a school record for ACC titles in a season and earns UVA the most crowns in the ACC this academic year. The Cavaliers also accomplished the feat in the 2003-04 and 2007-08 academic years.

· The ACC leads all conferences with fourth hosts selected this afternoon for the upcoming NCAA Baseball Tournament. Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech and North Carolina were given a home regional for the 64-team tournament which begins next weekend.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

THREE TIME WINNER. Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Team Penske Dallara Honda, crosses the finish line to win the IRL IndyCar Series 93rd running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 24, 2009 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana.

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

PICTURE OF THE DA(L)Y

IN THE PINK. John Daly wore bright pink trousers during Sunday's final round of the BMW PGA Championship in a gesture of support for Phil Mickelson's wife after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Amy Mickelson was diagnosed last week with the disease and received a message of support on Friday from Darren Clarke, who lost his wife to breast cancer in 2006.

"I had a pair, so I figured I'd do that for her today. I thought it would be a good gesture," Daly said of his trousers. "I know Phil very well and I know Amy. I've known them for a long time -- we've played the Tour together. She's a great lady. She has always been a sweetheart to everybody."

(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

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