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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cole turns in a gem as USA Baseball reaches championship game

Posted By on Sat, Jul 25, 2009 at 1:16 AM

Gerrit Cole (pictured) delivered the goods just when USA Baseball's National Team needed it. The big right-hander out of UCLA fired a two-hitter late Friday night, leading his team to a 1-0 victory over Canada and a berth in Sunday's championship game of the World Baseball Challenge in Prince George, B.C. The USA, which finished with only three hits of its own, got its run in the bottom of the second. Miami's Yasmani Grandal hit a two-out single, and then scored on a triple from Arkansas' Andy Wilkins. Cole struck out seven, walking one batter and hitting two and never...

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Francisco, Frazier blasts lead Mudcats to another road win

Posted By on Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 11:59 PM

The Carolina Mudcats' hot streak continues. Juan Francisco (pictured) had a four-hit night, with a pair of homers and three RBI, leading the Mudcats to a 7-5 win over the host Huntsville Stars at Joe Davis Stadium. Todd Frazier had a two-run shot in the first inning for Carolina (12-17) which won for the third time in four tries in the current series. Carolina has now pulled into a tie with the Stars for fourth place in the Southern League's North Division, four games behind the first place West Tenn Diamond Jaxx. Scott Carroll, making his Double-A debut, lasted just...

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Durham Bulls lose at Indianapolis: sliding into home

Posted By on Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 3:30 PM

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="The Bulls finally come home tonight"][/caption]A laggard post about the Bulls' trip-ending, 10-inning, 4-3 loss last night at Indianapolis. The delay owes at least a little to the fatigue that comes from trying to cover a team that hasn't played a home game in two weeks: you just lose focus a bit. It would be easy to pin last night's loss on a key player move: closer Dale Thayer was promoted to Tampa (more on that below), for whom he promptly pitched a fine inning of scoreless relief. Too bad nobody gave a rat's a**. Without...

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Devils' Rucker out with bum foot

Posted By on Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 3:23 PM

Duke defensive tackle Kinney Rucker (pictured) will be out indefinitely after having surgery last month to repair a torn plantar plate in his right foot. "At this point, we don't have a timetable set for Kinney's return," Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. "We'll continue to monitor his progress and evaluate the options as his health improves." The Jordan High alum, a redshirt senior, has played in every game the past two seasons and started four times. Over the two years Rucker, who did not play in 2005 or '06, has a combined 49 tackles including 7 ½ for losses with four sacks. He...

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JR does it again: Aaron Ward is back in Raleigh

Posted By on Fri, Jul 24, 2009 at 1:04 PM

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 --> I woke up (at noonish…it’s the summer, don’t judge) and found a news release on my Blackberry. At first I thought it was a practical joke. Some moron had hacked in, copied the format of a news release and sent out nonsense about Boston’s Aaron Ward coming back to Carolina. It wouldn't have been the first time Ward was involved in such shenanigans. But there was just no way. Not possible. Right? But upon further inspection, it doesn’t look to be an elaborate forgery. In a move so predictable it’s almost...

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mudcats' bats too hot to handle in easy win over Huntsville

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 11:40 PM

The Carolina Mudcats' bats were on fire tonight. Stephen Chapman (pictured) hit a three-run homer in the third inning, the biggest blow in a 15-hit attack as the Mudcats topped the host Huntsville Stars 8-4 at Joe Davis Stadium. Tom Cochran (3-3) won his second straight start, allowing five hits and three runs in five-plus innings and also collecting his first hit as a pro. Logan Parker added three hits for Carolina while Chapman, Jose Castro, Todd Frazier and Korey Feiner each had two. The win moved the Mudcats to within five games of first-place West Tenn in the Southern...

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USA Baseball wins third straight to gain top seed

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 10:41 PM

Now they're on a roll again. USA Baseball's National Team won its third straight game, walloping British Columbia 12-2 in a contest stopped by the mercy rule after eight innings, to earn the top seed for the medal round of the World Baseball Challenge in Prince George, B.C. Rice's Rick Hague, Middle Tennessee's Bryce Brentz (pictured) and Texas-Arlington's Michael Choice each homered during the big fifth-inning rally for the Red, White and Blue. B.C. took a 2-0 lead off Cody Wheeler of Coastal Carolina as Devon Franklin hit a solo shot in the first and Mike Collins added another in...

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Triangle football coaches Cut up for mixed audience at preview event

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 5:58 PM

SHERATON IMPERIAL CENTER/DURHAM Rarely can such a thing be said when a group of folks who ostensibly hate each other's football teams get together. But with the coaches from the Triangle's four Division I football teams sharing the bill as the headliners at the annual Triangle Pigskin Preview, a good time was indeed had by all. The event - co-sponsored by the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Raleigh Sports Council to benefit the Triangle Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame - brought together N.C. State coach Tom O'Brien and UNC's Butch...

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It's a good thing the Durham Bulls read this blog, Vol. 3: they beat Indianapolis Indians, snap losing streak

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 5:00 AM

They didn't exactly round up the Indians, but the Bulls hitters went 3-8 with runners in scoring position and made the most of the opportunities they had in beating Indianapolis on Wednesday afternoon, 3-1. If you want to be a buzzkill, you could argue that Chris Richard went 2-3 with RISP and the rest of the team was an unimpressive 1-5; but that's acting like Richard isn't really part of the team. In terms of productivity if not batting average, Richard is probably the second-best Bull with men on base. He knocked in the go-ahead run yesterday in the top...

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USA Baseball tied for first place after rout

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2009 at 1:49 AM

Rice's Rick Hague (pictured) went 3-for-4 with a homer Wednesday night, leading USA Baseball's National Team to a 10-2 romp over the host Prince George Axemen at the World Baseball Challenge in British Columbia. Team USA improved to 3-1 in round-robin play and into a three-way tie for first place, while the Axemen fell to 2-2. The Axemen took the lead in the first inning on Darrin Doucette's double, but the Americans responded with four runs in the fourth. The big blows in that inning were a solo homer from Texas-Arlington's Michael Choice and a two-run shot from veteran Christian...

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

ECU alum Narron shows no love for Mudcats

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 11:48 PM

Sam Narron didn't pout after being sent down from Triple-A. The lefty out of East Carolina took his frustrations out on the Carolina Mudcats. Narron (pictured) won his first decision since being demoted from Nashville, taking a shutout into the eighth inning as the Huntsville Stars topped the visiting Mudcats 6-1 at Joe Davis Stadium. Drew Anderson had a homer and three singles to lead the Stars' offense. Matt Klinker (3-2) took his second straight loss for Carolina, which is in last place in the Southern League's North Division and six games out of first. Lorenzo Cain had an inside-the-park...

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Duke running back kicked off team

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 6:11 PM

Reserve running back Tony Jackson was dismissed from the Duke football team, according to ESPN and the News & Observer. Jackson was booted from the squad for "failing to uphold the standard of conduct expected of a Blue Devil football student-athlete," head coach David Cutcliffe said in a press release. The junior, who switched from defensive back to running back, is from Rochester, N.Y.,  and played in 11 games in 2008, accumulating 259 yards rushing and 106 yards receiving while backing up Jay Hollingsworth and Clifford Harris.  His best performance of 2008 came against Miami; he rushed for 69 yards on 11...

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RailHawks central station: Budnyy, Patterson outbound, Shields inbound

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 1:29 PM

Some personnel news out of Cary this morning, courtesy of RailHawks journalist Tim Candon: Striker Andriy Budnyy and goalkeeper Caleb Patterson have been sent to Wilmington for an overnight loan. The USL-2 Hammerheads are trying to protect their spot in first place from the visiting Richmond Kickers. The Hammerheads, who performed heroically in June and early July, making it to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup after beating the RailHawks in the second round, are now groaning with injuries. Budnyy and Patterson will help plug gaps left by an ankle injury to striker Jamie Watson and a possibly season-ending...

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Durham Bulls lose again at Indianapolis: more of the same

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 5:00 AM

I didn't have a chance to listen to the Bulls' 2-1 loss at Indianapolis last night, so I can only go by the game logs and Neil Solondz's report; but it seems to me that the Bulls showed some widening of the holes in the fabric of their season to date. It's hard to know whether these can be stitched up adequately enough to set this team up for the playoffs. Certainly the talent and the drive are there, but over and over again the Bulls lose for the same handful of reasons: 1) Not Enough Hits and Too Many...

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Frazier's late blast gives Mudcats a wet victory

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 1:39 AM

The Carolina Mudcats had to wait out a rain delay of over an hour to start the opener of their five-game road series with the Huntsville Stars on Tuesday night. Turns out it was worth it. Todd Frazier (pictured) hit a solo homer in the eighth to break a tie, giving the Mudcats a 4-3 win at Joe Davis Stadium. It was the third straight victory for the Mudcats, who got the decision for reliever Sean Watson (3-4) before Logan Ondrusek came on for his sixth save. Carolina scored a run in the first on a Juan Francisco single. After...

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USA Baseball bounces back against pesky Bahamians

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 1:16 AM

Team USA bounced back Tuesday night. The Citadel's Asher Wojciechowski struck out nine in seven innings and Arizona State's Matt Newman (pictured) stole home as USA Baseball's National Team walloped the Bahamas 8-1 in the World Baseball Challenge in Prince George, British Columbia. The win, which improved the Americans to 2-1 in the event, came one day after they had dropped a 6-3 loss to Germany. Desmond Russell pitched a complete game for the Bahamians, giving up rallies to the USA both early and late. Hawaii's Kolten Wong hit an RBI double in the first and then Newman (Arizona State)...

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wanted: Latino RailHawks fans; plus, Richardson honored, Norman active again

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2009 at 7:38 PM

Ever since Saturday's night's friendly versus Estudiantes Tecos of the Mexican state of Jalisco, a 2-1 victory for the RailHawks, I've been thinking about how much I enjoyed watching the game with approximately 5,000 Latinos. Simply put, there's a different energy in the park. It's so obvious as to be scarcely worth stating, but when fans are constantly chanting, cheering and jeering, you realize that the other half of the equation of a quality soccer match has been provided. It was a little humbling to see how nuts the Latino fans went for players that even conscientious American soccer fans...

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Coach K to return as USA Basketball coach

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2009 at 6:23 PM

Coach K will suit up again as the Olympic team head coach, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo confirmed in a press conference Tuesday. Led by LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, Team USA won all eight games in Beijing and snagged the gold medal after falling out of grace in 2004 when they took home the bronze. "The experience of being the head coach of the USA National Team for three summers was the best experience I've ever had in coaching,” Coach K said via a live feed from NBA.com.  "It was a huge honor to be selected as the USA National...

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Henkenjohann, Germans bomb USA Baseball at World Challenge

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2009 at 9:34 AM

The Germans are apparently a lot better at baseball than most Americans might think. Former Minnesota Twins farmhand Tim Henkenjohann (pictured) fired a solid 8 2/3 innings while teammates blasted three home runs, leading Germany to a 6-3 win over USA Baseball's National Team in the World Baseball Challenge late Monday night in Prince George, British Columbia. The USA is 1-1 so far in the six-team event, which includes three Canadian squads, while the Germans are 2-1. The tournament consists of a round-robin, moving on to the elimination round on Friday with the title game on Sunday at 7 (EDT)....

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Durham Bulls Lose to Indianapolis Indians: Depleted

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Durham Bulls' broadcaster Neil Solondz must have used the word "depleted" at least eight times last night to describe the current state of the Durham bullpen. After the team played 29 innings of baseball over the last two nights, there were only three marginally rested relievers available to manager Charlie Montoyo in the first game of the Bulls' lone visit to the Indianapolis Indians this season. Unfortunately, the Bulls' starter came into the game already depleted. The Tampa Bay Rays' front office has decided that the left arm of Carlos Hernandez, who is just a couple of years off of...

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Grandal leads the way as USA gets back into the win column

Posted By on Mon, Jul 20, 2009 at 9:41 AM

Yasmani Grandal (pictured) blasted a two-run homer in the sixth, giving USA Baseball's National Team the lead for good in a 5-2 win over host Canada in the World Baseball Challenge in Prince George, British Columbia. The win in the opener of the event broke the Americans' two-game losing streak. Christian Colon of Cal State-Fullerton gave the USA a lead in the first with his solo homer. The Canadians took the lead by scratching out two in the bottom of the frame off Ole Miss' Drew Pomeranz. Kevin Atkinson scored the first run on a sacrifice fly, while Nic Lendovy...

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Durham Bulls lose at Louisville: kno exkuses, 'k?

Posted By on Mon, Jul 20, 2009 at 4:00 AM

If you were feeling uncharitable, you could pin the Bulls' 7-6, 13-inning loss at Louisville last night on catcher John Jaso: he struck out four times (the Bulls K'd 17 times overall), the last in the 12th inning against Bats' infielder Michael Griffin, who had been sent to the mound to pitch in emergency relief. Worse, Jaso struck out looking against the non-pitcher, with the go-ahead run on second base; he didn't even go down swinging. An inning later, Jaso allowed the winning run to score when former Bull Wes Bankston bulled into him on a play at the plate,...

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Wood keeps club-record streak alive as Mudcats win series finale

Posted By on Sun, Jul 19, 2009 at 10:59 PM

The Travis Wood Express continues for the Carolina Mudcats. The Mudcats' homestand ended on a high note behind the left arm of Wood (pictured), as Carolina whipped the Chattanooga Lookouts 6-1 at Five County Stadium for its second straight win. Wood (9-3) has now won a club-record nine straight decisions. In today's game, he fired seven shutout innings, striking out eight without a walk. He also helped his own cause with an RBI single in the second inning. Carolina had a balanced offense, led by Carson Kainer who went 3-for-3 with a pair of RBI singles, while Korey Feiner...

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Durham Bulls edge Louisville Bats in 16 innings: favorite mistake

Posted By on Sun, Jul 19, 2009 at 5:16 AM

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The Eedge delivered for Durham"][/caption]"This type of game is all about the late mistakes," Bulls' broadcaster Neil Solondz noted in the 14th inning of last night's 3-2 Bulls win at Louisville. Solondz made that comment moments after Ray Sadler was picked off of first base: an S.B.G. of potentially dreadful consequence from which Sadler was held harmless when Elliot Johnson struck out to end the inning. But given Johnson's night overall---more on that below---it's easy to suppose that he'd have found a way to plate Sadler had Sadler managed to stay attached to his base. The...

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Chapman's homer gives Mudcats a split

Posted By on Sun, Jul 19, 2009 at 2:07 AM

It might have taken two tries, but the Carolina Mudcats were able to stop their losing streak late Saturday night. Pinch-hitter Steven Chapman (pictured) ripped a two-run homer in the fifth inning, giving the Mudcats a 2-1 victory over the Chattanooga Lookouts to end a four-game slide. Chattanooga won the first game at Five County Stadium 11-2. In the nightcap, southpaw Tom Cochran (2-3) went five innings and struck out six while allowing one unearned run.  Logan Ondrusek picked up his fifth save of the season. In the opener, Ramon Nivar doubled and singled for three RBI to lead five...

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