Monthly Archives: September 2019

Archive of posts published in the specified Month

Sep
30

Gonzaga Women Earn Still More Chances To Play Close To Home

If you’re nostalgic for the days when Gonzaga was a reliable source of March Madness upsets, look to the women’s tournament.As a No. 11 seed, the Bulldogs are making an unlikely run, having already knocked off No. 6 George Washington and No. 3 Oregon State last weekend in Corvallis, Oregon. That earned the Bulldogs a trip home this weekend: They get to play in their city of Spokane, Washington, on Saturday against eight-time national champ Tennessee. Our March Madness predictions give Gonzaga a 31 percent chance of pulling off the upset, thanks to home-city advantage, and projects this matchup to be the closest of any Sweet 16 game on Saturday.Gonzaga’s women’s team has thrived in the NCAA tournament in recent years despite usually playing with a double-digit number next to its name. In 2009, Gonzaga won its opener as a No. 12 seed. That was the Bulldogs’ first tournament win ever. They lost narrowly in the next round, but the program was just getting started. Three times since then when seeded at No. 11, Gonzaga advanced to the Sweet 16. One of those times, in 2011, it went all the way to the Elite 8, the furthest any team seeded so low has ever advanced.In just the last seven tournaments, Gonzaga has written a significant portion of the short history of upsets in the women’s tournament. In 1994, the event expanded to 64 teams. Since then, favorites have ruled. In the last 22 tournaments, teams seeded 10th or lower have won just 102 games, according to data provided by ESPN Stats and Information. That’s fewer than five wins per year, over all rounds, for 28 teams. Gonzaga has eight of those 102 wins, all since 2009. No other program has more than four.Here are the teams with at least three wins as a No. 10 seed or worse since 1994:Gonzaga, 8BYU, 4Florida State, 4Kansas, 4Marist, 4UC Santa Barbara, 4Notre Dame, 3San Diego State, 3SMU, 3Stephen F. Austin, 3Gonzaga’s return to the Sweet 16 this spring after a two-year absence is particularly impressive because the Bulldogs are playing for a first-year coach. Kelly Graves, who led Gonzaga to its first NCAA tournament win in 2009 and three straight Sweet 16 appearances in the next three years, left to coach Oregon last April. Lisa Fortier, his longtime assistant, replaced Graves. Fortier also had to contend with the graduation of her two starting guards. She helped fill one of the vacancies on the coaching staff with her husband, Craig, who left Eastern Washington’s men’s program to work as one of her assistants.“Winning and losing, he’s fixed in,” the head coach told the Spokesman-Review of Spokane about her assistant and husband this week. “It’s been especially helpful in this first year.”Part of Gonzaga’s success stems from its good fortune to play so many games in and near Spokane, turning the national tournament into what sometimes feels like the Spokane Invitational. In 2010, as a No. 7 seed, Gonzaga won its first two games in Seattle. In 2011, the scheduling worked even more in the Bulldogs’ favor: They played their first two rounds at their home arena, and their next two at another arena in Spokane.1UCLA’s coach said “no favors were done” in scheduling for her Bruins, in a comment made before they lost to Gonzaga. In 2012 and 2013 Gonzaga again got to open at home, which helped it to a Sweet 16 berth in 2012 but wasn’t enough to upset Iowa State the next year. And this weekend it gets to play at a Spokane arena about a mile from campus.“It’s kind of like a home game for [Gonzaga] and so it’s going to be loud with a lot of people there, but we’re excited,” Tennessee guard Ariel Massengale told the AP.Gonzaga’s men used to be the ones regularly upsetting higher ranked teams. In the three tournaments from 1999 to 2001, each time Gonzaga was seeded 10th or worse, and each time the Bulldogs reached at least the Sweet 16. They won seven games altogether, six of them against teams with better seeds. Now the Gonzaga men regularly get much better seeds, including a No. 2 seed this year on their way to the Elite 8.“The men helped the Gonzaga name get out there,” Gonzaga women’s star Courtney Vandersloot said after leading the Bulldogs to the 2011 Elite 8, “and they showed that even though we don’t play in a big conference and we’re not really nationally known that we can go far in the tournament.”Perhaps in the future the Gonzaga women’s team will have the advantage of a favorable draw to go along with the home-court advantage it has already enjoyed.Check out FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictions. read more

Sep
30

Why Jamaica Consistently Produces Top Calibre Sprinters

The race ends in the blink of an eye. With millions watching around the world, a pistol shatters the silence and in a little over nine seconds, a mere 40 strides, the 100-metre sprint is history. The 100-metre event, among the oldest and greatest athletic competitions ever devised, is the ultimate test of nerve, skill and explosive athleticism. That sprint in the London Olympics will probably decide the fastest person in human history.Favoured to win is the metaphorically named Jamaican sprinter, Usain St Leo Bolt. At 26, Bolt has been the runner to beat since winning three gold medals in Beijing in 2008 for the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4×100-metre relay. Bolt also holds the record for the fastest 100-metre sprint ever, an incredible 9.58 seconds.He is an extraordinary physical specimen. At 6ft 5in (195cm) and weighing 200 pounds (90kg), Bolt has the physique of an Olympic swimmer, rather than the more compact frame typical of a sprinter.There are two crucial factors in sprinting ability. One is stride frequency: how fast you can step. The other is stride length: how long each of those steps is. World-class sprinters tend to have very fast stride frequency but ordinary stature, lengthening their strides by applying extraordinary force. Bolt turns his size into an advantage and uses not only remarkable strength but his long bone structure to dominate opponents.His biggest threat is his teammate and training partner Yohan Blake. The only sprinters close to their ability are Americans Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin. But London bookmakers are offering overwhelming odds that one of the Jamaicans will win.Which raises a fascinating question. In a nation of just 2.8 million people, it’s incredible that Jamaica has produced not just one contender for the fastest person in the world, but two. You’d expect the US – the richest nation in the world, with a long sporting tradition and a population 100 times greater – to produce champions.Is it pure luck that Jamaica is sending not one but two of the fastest men in the world to London?It turns out Bolt and Blake are not unique in Jamaica…Read more: Financial Review read more

Sep
30

Victor Conte Says Half Of Baseball On Illegal Drugs

Victor Conte, founder of the infamous BALCO and sort of mad scientist behind the steroid era, said he estimates that “as much as half” of current players in Major League Baseball are using performance-enhancing drugs of some kind.Conte told USA Today, “I’m not going to name names, but I’ve talked to a lot of top players in Major League Baseball, and they tell me this is what they’re doing. There is rampant use of synthetic testosterone in Major League Baseball.”Conte’s comments come after the San Francisco Giants’ star Melky Cabrera was suspended for 50 games for positive test for synthetic testosterone.Of course, MLB disagrees with Conte’s estimates.“There is no way that Victor Conte would have information that would allow him to have any basis on that,” MLB vice president Rob Manfred said. “He’s just making that up. It’s a guess. We use the very best, most sophisticated methodologies that are available.”Many baseball experts believe Conte could not be so tuned into the baseball world to have an accurate assessment. They further believe he likes being in the spotlight and misses the controversy he used to enjoy before becoming an athletic leper.Conte also indicated he wonders if  “Major League Baseball has a genuine interest in stopping these guys.”Ryan Braun, the 2011 National League MVP tested positive before having his suspension overturned by an independent arbitrator, and now this year’s All-Star Game MVP has been hit with a 50-game suspension.Seems like there’s truly an effort by baseball to clean it up based on those high-profile cases. But it would not be surprising if Conte is throwing around big numbers for a cause that would benefit him.On the other hand, an even more forceful assault on PED use in baseball might make Victor Conte go away, so there’s that. read more

Sep
30

Tubby Smith Surprisingly Fired as Minnesota Coach

Tubby Smith, who signed a three-year contract extension with Minnesota in July, was fired by the Gophers on Monday, the day after his team lost to Florida in the round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament.“Tubby has had a long and distinguished career and we feel it’s time for a fresh set of eyes for our student-athletes and our program in general,” Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague said in a statement released by the school. “We are grateful to Tubby and his entire staff for their hard work and dedication to this university, our students and the entire Minnesota community. We wish Tubby, Donna and the entire staff well.”Smith earned about $2 million annually, with a $600,000 base salary plus 5 percent annual raises he had been entitled to since 2008 and supplemental compensation of $1.2 million.“I want to thank the University of Minnesota and the people of Minnesota for giving me the opportunity to lead the Golden Gopher basketball program for six years,” Smith said in the news release. “Our staff did things the right way and will leave knowing that the program is in far better shape than when we arrived. The people of the state of Minnesota embraced Donna and me from the beginning and we will always be grateful.”The contract of former Kentucky coach, who won a national championship with the Wildcats in 1999, states that if he was terminated before April 30, 2016, the university will pay one-half of his base salary and supplemental compensation for each of the remaining seasons on the contract. The total amount cannot exceed $2.5 million.The 11th-seeded Gophers were 21-13 and 8-10 in the Big Ten after the 78-64 loss to the No. 3 seed Gators. For his career at Minnesota, Smith was 124-81 with NCAA Tournament berths in half of his six years there.In 2012, his team finished with 23 victories, the most by the program since the 1996-97 Final Four season that was later erased by NCAA punishment.Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, for one, was surprised by the news.“It’ll be a loss for this league and a loss for college basketball if he doesn’t stay in it,” Izzo said to reporters. “He’s got integrity beyond belief and let me tell ya, he’s been in some tough situations. I’ll close it up by saying it bothers me, saddens me.” read more

Sep
28

Djokovic Makes a Run at No 1

At the end of a strange day at the Monte Carlo Masters men’s tennis tournament Friday, Novak Djokovic emerged as a growing threat to Rafael Nadal’s No. 1 ranking.The world’s top four players appeared on the Monte Carlo Country Club’s red clay on Friday. Three of the four won. The lone upset victim was the least likely: Nadal had won 30 straight matches on clay before losing to David Ferrer. Like Nadal, No. 4 Roger Federer and No. 2 Djokovic each lost the first set of their matches, but they came back to win and join Ferrer and No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka in the semifinals Saturday.The loss left Nadal with just 180 ranking points for the tournament, which he had won eight straight times before losing to Djokovic in last year’s final. The loss also dropped Nadal further back in a little-noticed rankings-point race. In the seven months since Nadal won last September’s U.S. Open, Djokovic has amassed 6,830 ranking points to Nadal’s 4,800 (including the results through Friday at Monte Carlo). Federer and Wawrinka aren’t far behind Nadal’s total and they, along with Djokovic and Ferrer, will split the remaining 880 ranking points available in the Monte Carlo tournament. Djokovic, who has won the last four Masters events and is the defending champion in Monte Carlo, is the favorite to collect most of those points.The official rankings are based on the last 12 months, and these split-season rankings aren’t readily available; they’re my best approximation from the players’ ranking breakdowns on their ATP World Tour Web pages. The advantage of these split-season rankings is that they show who has amassed the most points, most recently. Those players who’ve earned points recently are at an advantage in future rankings because points drop off a year after they were earned. About two-thirds of Nadal’s points are due to drop off by the end of the U.S. Open; about 40 percent of Djokovic’s will fall off in that time.Djokovic still has work to do to overtake Nadal for the No. 1 ranking that Nadal seized from him last October. Nadal got there by sweeping the clay events at Barcelona, Madrid and Rome, before winning his eighth French Open. Nadal, the world’s best clay-court player, then looked like its best hard-court player (a title Djokovic mostly has held since the start of 2011) by winning titles in Montreal, Cincinnati and New York — his second U.S. Open title. That sparkling spring and summer still leaves Nadal with a lead of nearly 2,000 points even if Djokovic wins Monte Carlo this weekend. But Nadal may have to repeat his run on clay last year to hold off Djokovic before the tour moves to grass in June. read more

Sep
28

Yogi Berra Was One Of A Kind

Long after he retired, Berra remained one of the most quotable and beloved figures in baseball’s considerable history. Measured by the frequency with which his name is mentioned in books, Berra is more prominent by a large margin than any of the four catchers who produced more total WAR in their careers. Instead, Berra’s name appears in books at a frequency closer to that of historic greats like Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams. Berra’s outsize popularity is a testament to his special character and likability, which came to overshadow his no-less-impressive or -unusual accomplishments on the field.CORRECTION (Sept. 23, 5:17 p.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly described comparisons of Berra’s strikeout rate and home runs with those of other players. In the text, we compared Berra’s strikeout rate with that of players who have hit more than 350 home runs since 1940, and, in the chart, we compared his strikeout rate and home run total with those of players who have had more than 2,000 plate appearances since 1940. None of those comparisons were with all players with more than 350 home runs or more than 2,000 plate appearances. Yogi Berra, the ever-quotable former catcher and manager, died Tuesday at the age of 90. By quality, he was one of the best catchers ever, amassing the fifth-most total wins above replacement at the position and the 11th-most WAR per game.1I applied a minimum of 1,000 games played at catcher. By quantity, he played in 13.2 percent of all of the Yankees games in history and more World Series games than any other single player. But more than the obvious accolades — the three Most Valuable Player awards, the 10 World Series wins — Berra was exceptional by virtue of his improbability.As a 19-year-old, Berra participated in the D-Day invasion as a member of the U.S. Navy, fighting from a boat at Omaha Beach, where there were some 2,000 casualties. He was later injured in Marseilles and earned a Purple Heart. After he returned to baseball, he played in just 77 minor-league games before advancing to the majors. Because of his service, Berra didn’t begin his career in earnest until he was 21 years old.Berra was unlikely even as a baseball player: All of 5 feet 7 inches tall, he launched 358 home runs during his career, 90 more than anyone his height or shorter.2Here I am using the Lahman database numbers. The runner-up is Joe Morgan (5 feet 7 inches, 268 home runs). The shortest player who hit more home runs than Berra is Mel Ott (5 feet 9 inches, 511 home runs). Berra was an unusually disciplined batter, striking out in only 4.9 percent of his plate appearances. That combination of power and plate discipline is exceptionally rare in MLB history. Sluggers tend to strike out at higher-than-average rates because they are often selective and waiting for a pitch to drive. Players with more than 350 home runs since 1940 have struck out, on average, in 15.8 percent of plate appearances, more than three times Berra’s rate. No one else with a strikeout rate below 5.5 percent hit more home runs than Berra did during that period. When you add up his position, size, power and plate discipline, Berra is unique in all of baseball’s history. read more

Sep
28

Gronk Was The Most Efficient Receiver Weve Seen

7Jordy NelsonWR9248,5879.3 6Michael IrvinWR9608,9369.3 10Travis KelceTE5795,2369.0 2Julio JonesWR1,09510,7319.8 5Brandin CooksWR5465,1479.4 3Malcom FloydWR5705,5509.7 PlayerPositionTargetsYardsyards per target 9Doug BaldwinWR7226,5639.1 Among players with at least 500 career targetsSource: Pro-Football-Reference.com Good things happened when you throw to GronkMost career yards per target for NFL players, 1992-2018 1Rob GronkowskiTE7947,8619.9 It was the Instagram post that shook the NFL. New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski took to the social-media platform Sunday night to announce what had been speculated for the better part of two years: He was retiring from football at age 29, leaving the Pats less than two months after New England won Super Bowl LIII. Despite his relatively short career, Gronk seems like an ironclad lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame based on his three championships and many spike-worthy touchdowns. And there’s plenty of evidence that the traditional markers of tight end production undersell Gronkowski’s success. When healthy, Gronk was one of the most efficient offensive weapons in NFL history, notable as much for the nightmares he caused defenses as for the short amount of time his star shone (or his party-loving ways off the field).Not that Gronkowski’s conventional stats are anything to scoff at. He was named to the Pro Bowl in five of the seven seasons in which he played more than half of the Patriots’ games and was the first-team All-Pro tight end in four of those years. In the 2010s, no tight end had more receiving yards, and no receiver of any kind scored more receiving touchdowns. Only two tight ends in history — Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez — have more regular-season career TD catches, and Gronkowski caught 12 more in the postseason, which ties him with John Stallworth for the second-most playoff TDs among all players behind Jerry Rice.On a per-16-game basis, the average Gronk campaign would consist of 72 catches, 1,094 yards and 11 touchdowns — numbers that would rank among the top 25 tight end seasons in history. And Gronkowski sustained that pace for nine seasons.Those numbers are only scratching the surface in terms of how valuable Gronk was to Tom Brady and the Patriots over the years. On a per-target basis, Gronkowksi picked up 9.9 yards — basically an entire first down every time the ball was thrown in his direction — according to Pro-Football-Reference.com. Since 1992 (the first season for target data on PFR), that’s the best of any receiver — wideout or tight end — in the NFL. 8T.Y. HiltonWR8788,0979.2 4DeSean JacksonWR1,05710,2619.7 Remember longtime Vikings WR Cris Carter’s old reputation — “all he does is catch touchdowns”? For Gronkowski, that was closer to being true than for any player of his generation — and it was a very good thing for the Patriots. With 521 career receptions and 79 career touchdown grabs, Gronk hauled in a TD once every 6.6 catches. Only eight players in NFL history with a minimum of 400 lifetime receptions — Don Hutson, Paul Warfield, Tommy McDonald, Art Powell, Jimmy Orr, Wesley Walker, Randy Moss and Lance Alworth — caught touchdowns as a greater share of their total catches than Gronkowski did.With those rates of great things happening whenever he was involved in the play, it’s easy to make a case that Gronkowski was the most efficient receiver (of any type) in NFL history. What’s more, Gronkowski consistently made his teammates more efficient, too.When our colleague Kyle Wagner looked at Gronk’s impact during the 2017-18 playoffs, he found that Brady’s passing efficiency numbers were significantly higher when his favorite tight end was on the field than not, one of the big ways Gronkowski has been a secret weapon for the Pats during the latter phase of their record-smashing dynasty. Since Gronk’s debut in 2010, Brady’s passer rating when targeting Gronkowski is 124.7, but it was just 96.8 when throwing to any other receiver. Even when it came to the greatest quarterback of all time, Gronkowski found a way to make him look much better.And then there was Gronkowski’s effect as a blocker. He frequently graded out as the best blocking tight end in the game, according to ProFootballFocus.com’s ratings. This aspect of his game made Gronk an asset whether the play call was a pass or run — keeping the Patriots from having to sub him in and out depending on the situation, or having his presence tip the Pats’ hand on which type of play was coming. No matter what Gronkowski was asked to do, he generated a mismatch with the defense.(All of this is to say nothing of the fun-loving image Gronkowski cultivated both on and off the field. We’ll leave others to judge his extracurricular activities, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t reference this great description of Gronkowski’s playing style from The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay: He was “six-foot-6, 265 pounds, galloping straight at you in the open field like a pony who just broke loose at a children’s birthday party.”)Gronkowski was still a valuable player in 2018, but there’s no denying that he was a shell of his old self. According to ProFootballFocus, he was ranked 11th best overall at the position. But as he showed in the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory this year, Gronkowski could still be a game-changing player. His 29-yard reception in the fourth quarter set New England up on the goal line, leading to the game’s only touchdown. While Gronkowksi’s impact as a blocker generated great fanfare during the regular season and in the playoffs, he also was the team’s primary downfield weapon after Josh Gordon exited New England, averaging 16.4 air yards per reception, according to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group. That was more than 50 percent greater than Brady’s overall mark per attempt during the same span.Few Hall of Famers have ever retired before their age-30 season,1In the parlance of Pro-Football-Reference, which calculates its seasonal ages based on the player’s age as of Dec. 31 during the year in question. but Gronkowski is destined to join a group that also includes Jim Brown, Terrell Davis, Kenny Easley and Gale Sayers (among modern2Retiring since 1960. players). Though his time in the NFL was relatively short, Gronk made his mark on the league as a receiver, blocker and all-around offensive terror. The game — and its greatest quarterback — will miss him dearly next season. read more

Sep
28

Ohio State softball completes perfect week vs Big Ten teams with sweep

OSU sophomore Taylor White (21) makes a catch during a game against Penn State on April 6 at Buckeye Field.Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorThe Ohio State softball team swept its third Big Ten opponent of the season this weekend, taking down Rutgers (18-23, 2-7) in a three-game series.The Buckeyes (24-8-1, 9-1-1) scored at least 10 runs in each of the three matchups, and seven players hit home runs, including three each by freshman Emily Clark and redshirt junior Alex Bayne. Bayne is now three home runs away from breaking the program’s single-season home run record, which has stood at 19 since 2009.Bayne hit .615 over the three games, while Clark hit .545, and eight of the nine OSU starters hit above a .300 clip.Game 1OSU set off on a destructive path on Friday, taking the 17-8 win after a tight game through the first four innings. The Buckeyes had their third eight-run inning of the year in the fifth inning, where five players brought in runs. Five players — Bayne, senior catcher Cammi Prantl, redshirt senior first baseman Erika Leonard, sophomore outfielder Taylor White and Clark — sent balls over the fence, thus sustaining the team’s now 13-game home run streak.Freshman Katya Duvall made only her fourth appearance of the season but earned her third win on the mound, combining with junior Shelby Hursh for eight strikeouts. Duvall, one of seven California natives on the team, held the Scarlet Knights to one earned run in the final three innings of the chilly evening matchup.OSU coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly utilized 16 members of her 22-player roster in Friday’s game, including redshirt freshman Alex Vargas, who collected her first hit and RBI of her career with the Buckeyes.Like 19 other games this season, OSU scored first on Leonard’s sixth home run the year, but Rutgers responded with senior Melanie Slowinski’s homer of her own to take the lead. Sophomore catcher Sierra Maddox later stole home to give the Scarlet Knights another run.Rutgers held the narrow lead until the top of the fourth, but solo shots by Clark and Prantl tied the game. The Scarlet Knights’ top hitter, senior Stephanie Huang, sent a long ball over the left-field fence to restore her team’s lead.If the Buckeyes’ bats had been warm in the first four innings, they caught fire in the top of the fifth, starting with redshirt junior Jess Machovina’s single to center field. Sophomore Ashley Goodwin brought in the first run of the inning after junior Anna Kirk stole second to situate herself in scoring position.Clark scored on a passed ball, and Bayne and Prantl advanced runners with singles to the outfield. White’s home run brought OSU’s lead to six, and Kirk’s deep double marked the team’s sixth hit of the inning.The Scarlet Knights timidly responded with two unearned runs in the bottom of the inning, one scored on a fielding error by McIntyre and one on a walk. The Buckeyes then lengthened their lead to 14-7 on Bayne’s 15th homer and Machovina’s 12th RBI of the year.Still, OSU was not content, adding three runs on Leonard’s and Vargas’ hits. Rutgers’ last chance in the bottom of the seventh inning produced one run on a late home run from freshman Allie Yoffee, but the Scarlet Knights fell for the 21st time this season.Game 2Inclement weather cut Saturday’s game short, forcing OSU and Rutgers to pick up play on Sunday morning, when the Buckeyes sealed an 11-9 win. On what was her 16th home run of the year, however, Bayne battled the cold and rain in the top of the third to send the Buckeyes’ lead to 4-1.In the previous inning, Clark’s blast over the fence brought the game to 2-1, after the Scarlet Knights scored first on a sacrifice bunt.Rutgers left three on in the bottom of the second inning to make way for redshirt senior shortstop Maddy McIntyre’s leadoff single and Bayne’s homer. Machovina continued her three-game hit streak with a single to bring pinch runner Cassidy Clough home.The bottom of the third, just as the Scarlet Knights were heating up, was stalled by the weather. Rutgers brought the game to 5-3 on senior Elizabeth Adams deep double before the umpires suspended the game.When the matchup resumed Sunday, Goodwin’s quick single tacked on another run to OSU’s lead, but Rutgers third baseman Jordan Whitley notched a two-run home run to make the game a tight 6-5.OSU reliever Morgan Ray, who took over for sophomore right-hander Shelby McCombs, allowed a bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the sixth, but the freshman nabbed the last out with a groundout.Clark sent her second home run of the game to center field in the top of the final inning to bring in White, who recorded an RBI with a single in the previous at-bat. Sophomore Becca Gavin followed suit with a two-run shot of her own, giving the Buckeyes an 11-5 lead.For the first time this season, Gavin saw action behind the plate, allowing Prantl to take to left field, where she spent a handful of games in her previous three seasons.The Scarlet Knights attempted to shorten their deficit in the bottom of the inning, scoring four runs in a late rally. Three of the runs were scored on passed balls, and the fourth was on one of Ray’s four walks of the day. Ray recorded three of her four strikeouts in the seventh inning, sending the Buckeyes to the final game of the series with the series win in hand.Game 3OSU took advantage of its 2-0 weekend lead and sunnier weather to bounce out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning of the final matchup. That score stood until the top of the fifth inning, when Machovina recorded her second home run of the year to take OSU’s lead to three.The Scarlet Knights went down in order in the second, third, fifth and seventh innings at the hands of junior Lena Springer and the OSU defense. Springer, a transfer from Central Florida, struck out seven in her ninth start of the year.While Springer pitched a complete game, Rutgers used three pitchers in the circle and went for six combined strikeouts.The game was a clash of defenses, as both teams struggled to move runners around the bases. The Buckeyes opened up in the sixth inning with Machovina’s home run and doubles by Kirk and Clark, expanding their lead to five.As if 16 home runs were not enough for Bayne, she drove another long ball over the left field fence in the top of the seventh inning. Prantl, Leonard, White and Clark followed with singles to give OSU two more runs. With the bases loaded, junior Aubrie Levine hit McIntyre with a pitch, bringing in White. Bayne, in her second at-bat of the inning, then snapped a quick single to the pitcher and beat out the throw to send Clark home.OSU’s offense solidified its fifth shutout of the year in the bottom of the final inning, where Rutgers put three infield groundouts into play. The Scarlet Knights suffered their second Big Ten sweep of 2016 and their seventh shutout.Up nextOSU is set to return to Buckeye Field on Wednesday in a game against Dayton, before heading to No. 1 Michigan for a major Big Ten weekend series. The matchup against the Flyers is slated to begin at 6 p.m. read more

Sep
28

Ohio State wrestling stumbles against Penn State

In a battle of top-five ranked wrestling teams, No. 5 Ohio State fell, 34-9, against No. 2 Penn State in front of a sold-out crowd in University Park Pa., Sunday afternoon. “It was a complete mental, physical letdown,” said OSU wrestling coach Tom Ryan. “Overall, it wasn’t a lot of positive to draw from it.” OSU was only able to win two matches behind the effort of brothers redshirt freshman Logan Stieber and freshman Hunter Stieber. The two have been the last two weeks’ Big Ten Wrestler and Co-Wrestler of the Week. At 133-pounds, Logan Stieber pinned Frank Martellotti and, shortly after, at 141-pounds, Hunter Stieber secured an 8-5 decision against Bryan Pearsall. From 149-pounds on, though, Penn State piled 31 straight points over the course of seven straight wins in a blowout victory for the defending national champions. While Ryan said Penn State provided some match-up problems, he was still upset that his team didn’t wrestle up to level of competition that they did against Iowa, which the Buckeyes won, 20-9. “This isn’t about winning and losing. It’s about effort,” Ryan said. OSU was without 149-pound freshman Cam Tessari and 184-pound redshirt junior C.J. Magrum. Both sat due to lingering injuries. Between OSU and Penn State, 17 wrestlers, as of the day of the dual, were ranked in the top 25 in their respective weight class. Penn State, who last beat Iowa 22-12, improved to 9-1 and 5-1 in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes, on the other hand, slipped to 9-3 on the year and 3-3 in the conference. The loss comes nine days after OSU secured what some call its biggest dual win in history against the Iowa Hawkeyes. This week, however, the Buckeyes were less fortunate on the road, like they have been much of this season with all three losses coming away from home. OSU will look to rebound at home against Michigan at 6 p.m. Friday night. “I do think we we’ll respond,” Ryan said. “We saw what we’re capable of against Iowa.” read more

Sep
28

Noholdsbarred riots precede Final Four

NEW ORLEANS – Paying $25 for a student ticket to the Final Four probably seemed like a deal to students whose schools advanced to the last weekend of competition in men’s college basketball. But the riots that ensued when they arrived at the venue left some students shocked and others trampled. Students from each of the four institutions competing in the 2012 Final Four arrived throughout the early morning Saturday to obtain their tickets for the Kentucky-Louisville and Ohio State-Kansas National Semifinal Games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Erik Christianson, director of public and media relations for the NCAA, said students entered the garage area for the Superdome about 16 hours before any game was scheduled to start. “In an effort to secure floor seats from a general admission pool of student tickets, a crowd of approximately 500 students crossed barricades and entered a garage area at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome without proper authorization at approximately 12:30 a.m. on Saturday,” Christianson said in an email. Although instructed to begin forming lines at about 10 a.m., students attempted to line up early to secure highly coveted floor seats. “The students were instructed by their respective schools and the NCAA to arrive at the garage at 10 a.m.,” Christianson said in an email. “While they were being removed in an orderly manner, some students rushed back into the garage and remained there against the orders of security staff.” Several students said the day-of-game ticketing process was a “riot” that morning, adding that people were trampled and pushed over while grappling for position in line. Jon Hicks, a second-year in human development and family services at OSU, attempted to position himself for a lower level ticket and arrived in line at about 7:30 a.m. Hicks was one of 710 OSU students to buy a $25 ticket and was trying to sit on the floor rather than in the upper bowl of the stadium, where half his peers would be located. He said a riot broke out shortly after his arrival when security guards told OSU, Kansas, Louisville and Kentucky students to leave the arena. “Some cop came in and said, ‘You all have to leave,’” Hicks said. “We all went outside. We were there for five minutes. They said, ‘Go back in,’ and we went right back inside. A couple Kentucky girls got knocked over. It was bad. It was pretty intense.” Ricky Voigt, a second-year in human resources at OSU, said hundreds of people began running around in the Superdome parking garage where the four groups of students waited for tickets. Voigt said it was the closest he’s ever been to being in a riot situation, and likened the scene to that of a rock concert. “People were jumping over barriers, climbing up the parking garage. Just running and screaming,” Voigt said. “There was really no security or personnel from the Superdome facilitating anything. It was sort of self-governed by the students.” Voigt said he did not see any students injured. However Nick Nachbar, a first-year in microbiology at Kansas said he saw several female students trampled. Nachbar, who described a process of waiting for hours for multiple wristbands in order to obtain access to Superdome floor seats, said people were pushed down and trampled in the rush to reposition after being told to leave the arena and then invited back inside. Christianson said adjustments were being made to ensure a similar incident does not happen when Kentucky plays Kansas Monday evening. “When the NCAA and facility staff arrived at 7 a.m., they adjusted the ticket distribution process to accommodate the students,” Christianson said. “The NCAA and facility staff has reviewed the incident and are taking measures with increased security for Monday’s game to ensure the safety of the students.” Nachbar said he had never seen anything like the scene he saw Saturday morning. “For the people in the middle trying to get up front, it was no-holds-bar,” Nachbar said. “Anything they had to do to get to the front of the line, they would do. It’s crazy.” read more