Friday, June 19, 2009

SUN DEVILS SEND TAR HEELS PACKING

The University of North Carolina Tar Heels were cruising along with a 4-0 lead in last night’s elimination game against Arizona State in their quest to become the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Baseball National Champion in the same year that the round ball Heels were the NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball National Champions.

Then ASU’s Kole Calhoun smashed a grand slam to tie the game sending the Tar Heels reeling. They stumbled through the sixth, but the seventh inning seemed to last an hour as the Devils scored eight runs to take a commanding 12-4 lead. The Heels would add one more for a final score of 12-5 and a ride back home to Chapel Hill.

In the Sun Devils’ three CWS games, Calhoun has hit three homers and driven in 10 runs.
The Sun Devils (51-13) are hoping Calhoun hasn’t used up all his big hits, because now they must beat No. 1 national seed Texas twice to reach next week’s best-of-three finals. The teams meet Friday night and, if ASU wins, would play again Saturday.

North Carolina’s usually dependable pitching staff melted down in the muggy 92-degree heat. Colin Bates (4-4) took the loss in relief of Matt Harvey, who threw a CWS-record four wild pitches.

Harvey’s control problems caught up to the Tar Heels in the fifth. He was pulled in favor of Brian Moran after hitting Jason Kipnis and walking Carlos Ramirez to load the bases.

Calhoun, the first batter to face Moran, slugged a 3-2 pitch into the seats 390 feet away in right-center field to tie it at 4.

Harvey and the six pitchers who followed him Thursday combined to walk 10, hit four batters and throw five wild pitches.

Game over.

North Carolina finishes up the year having made their fourth straight CWS appearance with a final record of 48-18.

FSU SAYS NCAA “IS JUST WRONG.” NCAA REPLIES "EFF YOU!"

According to AP, The NCAA infractions committee intends to uphold sanctions against Florida State that would take away wins in 10 sports, including as many as 14 by football coach Bobby Bowden.

After a public records lawsuit and intervention by Florida’s attorney general, the NCAA allowed Florida State to release the committee’s June 2 response to FSU’s appeal of the NCAA punishment that would strip the school of the victories.

Though university officials had said earlier Thursday that there would be no comment from Florida State, president T.K. Wetherell denounced the NCAA’s response.

“This committee is just wrong,” Wetherell said. “The rationale for doing that isn’t accurate.”
Wetherell, a former Seminole football player, said the school would exhaust all appeal opportunities with the NCAA “before going anywhere else.”

If the penalty sticks, Bowden would have little chance to stay abreast of Penn State’s Joe Paterno in their competition to finish as major college football’s winningest coach. Paterno begins the 2009 season with 383 wins, right now that is one more than Bowden has entering his 34th season at Florida State.

“There was no coach involved in this,” Wetherell said. “The one group of people that were not involved in this thing were the coaches. They’re the one group that’s being penalized.”

Bowden, who was back in his Birmingham, Ala., hometown for a week of golfing with childhood buddies, was also mystified by the NCAA’s response.

“Joe, who I love to death, he and I got a battle that neither one of us thought would ever happen,” Bowden told WBRC-TV in Birmingham after a round of golf Thursday. “Joe would not want to win this thing the way they (NCAA) are doing this.”

To read the entire story, click here.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

LOSING BATTLE. Members of the grounds staff work on a soggy 18th green during the rain-soaked and ultimately suspended first round of the 109th U.S. Open on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park on June 18, 2009 in Farmingdale, New York.

(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

WHERE'S WALDO? If you ignore the “Palms” sign in the background which tips you off that this photo was taken in Las Vegas, the woman standing to Alex Ovechkin’s right would surely hip you to the locale…That’s not an outfit folks wear in Cleveland.

Ovechkin, of the Washington Capitals, is escorted by showgirls as he arrives at the 2009 NHL Awards at the Palms Casino Resort on June 18, 2009 in – drum roll, please – Las Vegas, Nevada.

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

JUST ANOTHER NIGHT IN L.A. First baseman James Loney(notes) of the Los Angeles Dodgers sets for a pitch against the Oakland Athletics on June 18, 2009 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers won 3-2.

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

COULDA, WOULDA, SHOULDA: CAVS OUT OF CWS



T.A.H. Virginia Baseball Month came to conclusion when Arkansas eliminated the Wahoos late last night 4-3 in 12 innings in a game UVa simply should have won.

The game finally concluded almost two hours after it appeared it would. It could have ended with one more strike in the top of the ninth inning, or one more ball in the bottom of the ninth inning. But in the bottom of the 12th inning and with the game-tying run 90 feet away, Franco Valdes (pictured below) struck out to end Virginia's season in an elimination game in the College World Series.

Although several base running gaffes limited the Cavs 3-1 lead in the top of the ninth, Virginia closer Kevin Arico was one strike away from ending the game. Arico allowed a single, and three pitches later Brett Eibner tied the game with a towering home run.

The Razorbacks, who had come from behind from the seventh in or later to win 15 games this year, looked perfectly comfortable with their brush with elimination.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Hoos had the bases loaded with one out and freshmen phenom (and the game’s starting pitcher) Danny Hultzen (pictured) looking at a 3-0 count. Hultzen hit the 3-1 pitch to short, ending the inning in a double play.

Another scoring opportunity came in the bottom of the 10th inning, when the Wahoos had runners on first and third base with one out. Jarrett Parker and John Hicks both struck out.

But wait…there’s more.

In the 11th inning, Virginia had the bases loaded and two outs for clean-up hitter Dan Grovatt, who earlier had hit a home run. Grovatt grounded out.

Arkansas responded in the 12th inning with a run, but UVa’s Steven Proscia led off with a double, and advanced to third base while Parker whiffed on a third strike for the first out of the inning. Hicks followed with another strikeout, and the game-tying run remained 90 feet away.

The final innings overshadowed a memorable pitching performance by Hultzen, whose freshman season had already entered Virginia baseball lore even before he took the Rosenblatt Stadium mound on only three days of rest.

Hultzen did not allow an earned run in 6 1/3 innings, striking out seven and allowing only five hits.

Fourteen Wahoos were left on base.

"This team will always be remembered as the first team to play in the College World Series at the University of Virginia," Brian O'Connor said. "We're looking forward to the future, and hopefully we can have these opportunities again."

PICTURE(S) OF THE DAY

EVERYBODY LOVES A PARADE. Even if they have to pay for it themselves.

Los Angeles Lakers Championship Parade on June 17, 2009 in Los Angeles, California which was followed by a rally at the L.A. Coliseum.

Approx cost: $2 million.

(Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

GAME ON. Fans watch the first tee ball of the championship in the rain during the first round of the 109th U.S. Open on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park on June 18, 2009 in Farmingdale, New York.

(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY BLANCO BRONCO

O.J. Simpson, June 17, 1994.

HEELS DEFEAT SOUTHERN MISS IN CWS

(AP) When it comes to naming the greatest hitters in College World Series history, the conversation now must include Dustin Ackley (pictured). His numbers certainly back up the argument.

Ackley went 5 for 6 on Tuesday and became the CWS' career hits leader in North Carolina's 11-4 victory over Southern Mississippi.

The Tar Heels (48-17), who will play Thursday against the winner of Tuesday night's Texas-Arizona State game, eliminated the Golden Eagles (40-26) and sent Southern Mississippi coach Corky Palmer into retirement.

Ackley has 27 hits in 14 CWS games. The No. 2 overall draft pick by the Seattle Mariners, in his bid to become the second player to have six hits in a CWS game, flew out to left in the ninth inning.

Ackley doubled and hit four singles to all parts of the field. It was the kind of performance put up in the 1990s by Cal State Fullerton's Mark Kotsay, who batted a combined .517 in two CWS appearances and is widely considered the best pure hitter to play in the tournament.

The left handed-batting first baseman, who has hits in 21 consecutive NCAA tournament games since 2007, singled to left in the third inning to break the record of 24 career hits by Stanford's Sam Fuld (2001-03).

The rest of the Tar Heels were pretty good, too. Ryan Graepel added four hits, Ben Bunting had three, and Kyle Seager homered as Carolina banged out a CWS record-tying 23 hits.

The last team to have 23 hits at the CWS was Southern California, which did it against Arizona State in the 1998 championship contest.

North Carolina's Adam Warren (10-2) allowed three hits and struck out six in six innings.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

WAHOOS RALLY TO STAY ALIVE IN CWS

June: The second longest month of the year no matter what the damn calendar says...

Virginia recorded its first-ever win in the College World Series with a 7-5 victory over No. 2 national seed Cal State Fullerton Monday afternoon in front of 17,589 at Rosenblatt Stadium. The Cavaliers advance to face Arkansas next, while Cal State Fullerton is eliminated.

Virginia (49-14-1) avenged a 2008 loss to Cal State Fullerton in which the Titans ended the Cavaliers’ season in the NCAA Fullerton Regional. UVa built on its record season with its school-record 49th win of the year. Three of those wins have come in the NCAA tournament over national seeds (two vs. No. 6 UC Irvine).

Andrew Carraway (Sr., Marietta, Ga.) earned the win for Virginia with 2.2 scoreless innings of relief. Carraway (9-1) notched his 20th career victory – tied for sixth most in Virginia history. Matt Packer (Jr., Germantown, Tenn.), Tyler Wilson (So., Midlothian, Va.) and Kevin Arico (So., Flemington, N.J.) combined to pitch the last 2.1 innings to finish off the win.

Virginia starting pitcher Robert Morey (So., Virginia Beach, Va.) worked four innings, giving up three earned runs, four hits and two walks with one strikeout.

(AP Photos/Dave Weaver and Eric Francis)

NBA DRAFT COMINGS AND GOINGS

The final tally:

In the draft
G Jeff Teague, Wake Forest
F James Johnson, Wake Forest
G Gerald Henderson, Duke
G Wayne Ellington, UNC
G Ty Lawson, UNC
F Brandon Costner, N.C. State

Out of the draft:
G Greivis Vasquez, Maryland
F Gani Lawal, Georgia Tech
F Dwayne Collins, Miami
F Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO…

Hmmm…

The U.S.G.A. has gained a bit of a reputation in recent years for how they set-up their golf course for the U.S. Open Championship. Clearly, they don’t want somebody shooting -15 under or even -10 for that matter. They like par or just under.

So they have changed the setup at Bethpage Black to now include the longest par 4 ever in the tournament – 525 yards. No, that’s not a misprint. It’s a par 4 and it’s 525 yards. So if you hit your tee shot 315 yards, you still have 210 left to the flag.

Nice, U.S.G.A., NICE!

It gotten so bad, that Bethpage black actually has a warning sign on the first tee…

Some noteworthy tidbits about the course:

• In 2002, it was the longest course in U.S. Open history. At its yardage for the 2009 tournament (7,426 yards), it will be the seventh-longest course in major championship history.

• There are three par-4s of more than 500 yards. One of them -- the 525-yard seventh hole – is longer than the par-5 fourth hole, which is 517 yards.

• The seventh hole will be the longest par-4 in U.S. Open history, overtaking the 515-yard sixth hole last year at Torrey Pines.

• New York State residents have to pay only $50 to play Bethpage Black on weekdays and $60 on weekends. Nonresidents pay $100 and $120, respectively.

HANSBROUGH GOES CAR SHOPPING BECAUSE HE CAN

So what does a soon-to-be first-round draft pick do between workouts?

Go car shopping.

Former North Carolina forward Tyler Hansbrough spent last weekend checking out the sleek rides at Performance BMW in Chapel Hill, he writes in his blog at NBA.com.

"Coach [Roy] Williams has always had a BMW, so I've always liked his,'' he writes. "But I'm out there looking at different ones because I've always been a truck guy all my life. So it's been pretty cool checking out the cars and driving them around."

Hansbrough, who has been moving up the mock draft boards, worked out for the Utah Jazz on Monday.

The draft is June 25.

AIR JORDAN, BIG BEN, JAY-TIMB TAKE ON BETHPAGE BLACK

Last Friday, Michael Jordan, Ben Roethlisberger, Justin Timberlake and Larry Giebelhausen took on Bethpage Black in the U.S. Open Challenge. Giebelhausen is a Phoenix police lieutenant who’s six word essay “I’m a cop. I’ll shoot low” won him the final spot in a Golf Digest contest.

Add to the mix the caddies – Rocco Mediate, Anthony Kim and Fred Couples.

Jordan said later he was so nervous he triple bogeyed the first hole and double bogeyed the second. He rallied with a four-over on the back to finish up with an 86.

Roethlisberger fared the best of the group, shooting an 81. Timberlake had an 88. Their playing partner, Larry Giebelhausen, just missed his goal of breaking 100 with a 101.

The 59-year-old Giebelhausen said he's not easily awed by celebrities.

"That doesn't impress me," he said. "What impresses me was that they were nice guys. That they were fun. That they were genuine. That they were pulling for me. That they were supportive."

Shockingly, Charles Barkley was not asked to participate in the event.

PICTURE OF THE DAY


WRONG. Just plain wrong. The woman just won a major, who makes her pose with a clown? A short clown at that...? Really?

Anna Nordqvist of Sweden poses with Ronald McDonald after winning the McDonald's LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock Golf Course on June 14, 2009 in Havre de Grace, Maryland.


(Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

DUDE...A streaker jumps on the pitch during the group B Euro U21 championships football match between England and Finland on June 15, 2009 in Halmstad.

(Photo by Bjorn Lindgren/AFP/Getty Images)

Monday, June 15, 2009

UNC LOSES IN TENTH INNING TO ARIZONA STATE

Like their conference mates from C’ville, now the Tar Heels also have to do it the hard way – from the dreaded losers' bracket.

North Carolina starter Alex White and Arizona State hurler Josh Spence hooked up in a classic pitcher's duel Sunday afternoon, with neither figuring in the decision of what would be a 5-2, 10-inning win for the Sun Devils. ASU improved to 50-12 with the victory, while Carolina dropped to 47-17 with the loss, its first of the postseason.

Spence allowed just one run in seven innings of work, throwing 122 pitches (77 for strikes) and allowing eight hits and three walks. He also hit a batter, struck out eight and picked off a runner at first. The junior southpaw kept the Tar Heels off the board until the sixth, when Levi Michael drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Mark Fleury, and raced home with the game-tying run on a single by Garrett Gore.

White, who threw 87 of his 131 pitches for strikes, escaped trouble in the first and fifth frames.

ASU broke through against the Tar Heel bullpen in the top of the 10th. The Sun Devils scored the game winning run after the Heels dropped a fly ball and then Kole Calhoun capped the rally with a three-run opposite field homer to make it 5-1.

Lefty reliever Mitchell Lambson picked up the win for ASU, going three innings and striking out five while working around shaky defense in the bottom of the 10th inning.

North Carolina committed three errors and left 11 men stranded.

UNC will face the loser of the Southern Miss-Texas game Tuesday at 2 p.m.

VIDEO OF THE DAY

OK, this has nothing to do with the ACC or sports. It’s British stand up comic Eddie Izzard, and it’s just funny. It is brought to you by Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post reporter Ian Shapira. Thanks, Ian, we’re still giggling…

Be advised it’s R rated for a couple of F-bombs.

LAWAL GOING BACK TO GEORGIA TECH

Gani Lawal, the 6'9 rising junior has taken his name out of the NBA draft hat. Lawal told Hoopsworld.com that he valued the experienced he gained throughout the past two months (of NBA workoust), but after talking with teams and his family he decided the 2010 draft was better suited for him.

No one is happier to hear this news than Paul Hewitt and the Georgia Tech basketball program. With Lawal back in the mix the Yellow Jackets will undoubtedly improve on last season's 12-19 record. Lawal will be joined in the frontcourt by top-ranked forward Derrick Favors, forming one of the most talented low post duos in the country.

A strong sophomore campaign with averages of 15 points and nine rebounds firmly put Lawal on the NBA radar. But Lawal has since been told his stock could rise significantly with another year of development. Rather than going in the 15-25 range as projected this year, Lawal could work his way into the early first round.

Lawal will battle for a spot in next year's lottery against the likes of Cole Aldrich, Ed Davis (UNC), Craig Brackins, Greg Monroe, and Patrick Patterson.

Expect to see many more underclassmen pull their names out of this year's draft as the deadline for them to preserve their college eligibility is today at 5 pm EST.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

KEEPING UP WITH SHAQ. Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates victory following Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Orlando Magic at Amway Arena on June 14, 2009 in Orlando, Florida.

The Lakers won the NBA championships defeating Orlando 99-86 for their 15th title and first since 2002. Bryant had 30 points, eight rebounds and six assists as the Lakers completed a four-games-to-one victory in the best-of-seven NBA Finals.

(Photo by Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 2

BIG FISH, BIG POND. T.A.H. Founding Member Rex Cooper of Warrenton, VA displays his catch earning him a gold star and free drinks back on shore during the final day of the Ernest Hemingway Parrotthead Invitational June 11-13 in Key West, FL.

How the T.A.H. Inshore/Offshore Fishing team finished is still undetermined as official results of the tournament have not been released by the officials rumored to have absconded with the entry fees and skipped to Cuba.


(Phot by Rob Flikied)

PICTURE OF THE DAY 3

THE KEY TO MAKING MONEY AT THE TRACK? Journalist and race horse aficianado Nick Hahn caught this rainbow in action on Friday, June 12 at Colonial Downs in Providence Forge, VA.

(Photo by Nick Hahn)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

LSU TOPS VIRGINIA 9-5 IN CWS OPENER

The Wahoo baseball team dropped a 9-5 decision to No. 3 national seed LSU Saturday evening in the opening round of the College World Series in front of 24,904 fans at Rosenblatt Stadium – the largest crowd to ever witness a UVa baseball game. The attendance figure tied a session two record at the CWS.

Virginia next will play Cal State Fullerton, the No. 2 national seed, at 2 p.m. Monday in an elimination game. Arkansas defeated the Titans, 10-6, in the first session.

The Cavs racked up 14 hits in the game but left 14 players on base which tied a season high. UVa got 11 of its 14 hits from the 6-9 hitters in its batting order. Keith Werman (Fr., Vienna, Va.) went 4-for-5 with a double and an RBI as he set a career high in hits. Tyler Cannon (Jr., Pigeon Forge, Tenn.) and Franco Valdes (Jr., Miami, Fla.) each added three hits.

The Tigers knocked Virginia ace Danny Hultzen #23 out of the game earlier than any of his previous 15 starts this season. Hultzen, a freshman from Bethesda who has starred since arriving in Charlottesville, struggled even when cornering LSU hitters into two-strike counts.

The Tigers continued fouling pitches off, and when Hultzen threw a 30-pitch third inning, O'Connor pulled his freshman even though he had allowed only three runs while striking out five.

MIAMI OFFICIALLY “THE U”

The University of Miami is adopting its sports logo to represent the entire educational institution.

The Hurricanes' ''split U'' -- orange on left side, green on the right -- began appearing on nonathletic materials on Tuesday.

The name ''University of Miami'' will accompany the ''U'' logo on letterheads and most other uses. In some cases, the name of the college or other unit will be used, too. Previously, UM used an all-type logo that featured the word ''Miami'' in large letters with a smaller ''University of'' above it and a thick line underneath.

The university's health system also will adopt the new mark. (Creating marketing opportunities such as “U May Live”)

The new logo follows research including focus groups in three major cities and a survey of alumni. The research found that the split-U was seen as ''diverse, modern, confident, and bold.''

Not to mention the simple fact that "U" is easy to spell.

PICTURE OF THE DA(L)Y

HOW DOES COURT JESTER NOT COME TO MIND? Nice pants.

John Daly putts on the first green to make par during the third round of the St. Jude Classic golf tournament in Memphis, Tenn., Saturday, June 13, 2009.

(AP Photo/Lance Murphey)

PICTURE OF THE DAY

ORGANIZED CHAOS. Cars enter the pits during the Meijer 300 Nationwide Series race at the Kentucky Speedway on June 13, 2009 in Sparta, Kentucky.

(Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)

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