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Monday, August 31, 2009

Wood named SL's top pitcher; Francisco, Frazier and Jennings honored

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 8:47 PM

Former Carolina Mudcats southpaw Travis Wood has been named the Southern League's pitcher of the year in a vote by the league's field managers, radio broadcasters and print media. Wood is joined on the SL's post-season All-Star team by former Mudcats teammates Juan Francisco at third base and Todd Frazier as the top utility man. All three of the former Mudcats are now playing for the Louisville Bats, who are poised to win the International League's West Division. Montgomery Biscuits center fielder Desmond Jennings, who now plays for the Durham Bulls, was named the circuit's most valuable player while Ever...

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Yow, Robertson, Newell selected for FIBA Hall of Fame

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 6:25 PM

The late N.C. State women's basketball coach Kay Yow, the late men's coach Pete Newell and legendary guard Oscar Robertson are the three Americans among the inductees to this year's class of the FIBA Hall of Fame. Yow led the Red, White and Blue to gold medals in the 1986 Goodwill Games, the 1986 World Championship and the 1988 Olympics. Newell coached Roberston and the 1960 U.S. Olympic Team - generally regarded as one of the top amateur men's teams ever assembled - to an 8-0 record and the gold medal. Enshrinement ceremonies will be held Sept. 20 in Katowice,...

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UNC releases depth chart, Davis' Monday tidbits

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 6:03 PM

UNC released its depth chart Monday for the opening game against The Citadel with absolutely zero surprises minus a bit of shuffling behind the entrenched starters. Two things to note: The depleted offensive line still retains the same five starters as before preseason practice began. Da'Norris Searcy secured a starting role at strong safety -- and also grabbed the punt returner spot ahead of fellow junior defensive back Kendric Burney.  Searcy replaces big holes left by Trimane Goddard at safety and Brandon Tate in the punt return game. The depth chart can be viewed at www.Tarheelblue.com. UNC coach Butch Davis, meanwhile,...

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RailHawks and seven other teams and prospective franchises threaten to bolt USL after sale to NuRock

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 5:46 PM

UPDATE 6:39 p.m.: Moments ago, the USL announced an executive restructuring. The gist: "NuRock's Rob Hoskins will serve as Chairman with Alec Papadakis being named CEO. USL's Tim Holt has been named President of the organization with founder Francisco Marcos transitioning to the position of President Emeritus and Senior Director of International Development." Last Thursday, Nike sold the USL to NuRock Soccer Holdings, an Atlanta-based concern. As the days passed, it became increasingly clear that Nike's failure to sell the league to a group of USL club owners caught everyone by surprise. This afternoon, the Carolina RailHawks released a statement...

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Jeremy Hellickson, Durham Bulls blank Gwinnett Braves, extend division lead

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 5:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM---Yesterday I threatened to need an infinite number of words to describe Durham's surreal, 10-9, 14-inning win over Gwinnett. Today, I could do it in two: Jeremy Hellickson. The 22-year-old Iowan, who has been excellent since his callup from Double-A Montgomery in July, had his best start of the season and led the Bulls to a 4-0 win over the Braves, extending the Bulls' division lead to two games. In eight sterling innings, Hellickson (pictured) allowed just one hit---a sixth-inning single by Brian Barton---walked Gregor Blanco twice, and struck out 12. On a night when the entire Durham bullpen...

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mudcats postponed, play two at Montgomery tonight

Posted By on Sun, Aug 30, 2009 at 9:10 PM

The Carolina Mudcats' scheduled game against the Montgomery Biscuits, the third of a five-game set, has been postponed and will be made up as part of a doubleheader Monday night at 7:05 (EDT). The Mudcats had two transactions on Sunday, both involving right-handed pitchers. Greg Atencio had been promoted to Louisville, while Durham native Chris Kelly is back from Sarasota. Carolina's final homestand of the season, another five-game set, begins on Thursday with the Mississippi Braves providing the opposition....

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Durham Bulls rally for amazing, 14-inning win over Gwinnett Braves: infinite monkeys, infinite improbability

Posted By on Sun, Aug 30, 2009 at 6:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM---You've probably heard of the Infinite Monkey Theorem, which "states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare." If you apply the Infinite Monkey Theorem to baseball, you'll get something like the Durham Bulls' 10-9, 14-inning win over Gwinnett last night. It's unlikely that a monkey will type Hamlet, but it's also inevitable, in infinite time. And it's also unlikely that last night's game should ever happen, but last night's game did happen. You could...

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Perry, Montgomery keep Mudcats in doldrums

Posted By on Sat, Aug 29, 2009 at 11:53 PM

The Carolina Mudcats' road doldrums continued at Montgomery, as the Biscuits rolled to an 8-1 win in Game 2 of their five-game set. Jason Perry (pictured) hit a three-run homer while Matt Spring added a three-run double for the winners. Ryan Morse (4-6) was the winning pitcher while Jerry Gil (2-4) took the loss as the Mudcats dropped their third straight. Carolina got its only run on a bases-loaded walk to Zack Cozart in the third inning. Jose Castro singled twice in the Mudcats' five-hit attack. The series continues Sunday at 3:05 p.m., with Camilo Vazquez (5-4, 5.29) going for...

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Durham Bulls extend affiliation with Tampa Bay Rays, release 2010 schedule (with goodies!)

Posted By on Sat, Aug 29, 2009 at 3:46 PM

DBAP/ DURHAM---Old-school friends of mine will sometimes show their age by betraying surprise at discovering that the Durham Bulls are no longer an affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. I can sort of forgive them that outdated conception; after all, the Bulls-Braves partnership lasted 18 years. But this afternoon at the DBAP, right under the "Hit Bull Win Steak/Hit Grass Win Salad" Bull, a beaming General Manager Mike Birling announced that the Bulls and the Tampa Bay Rays have extended their working agreement, which was set to expire after 2010. The four-year extension will take them through 2014, for a 17-year...

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Eagles high on defense, QB and freshman kicker

Posted By on Sat, Aug 29, 2009 at 1:00 PM

N.C. Central football coach Mose Rison came up with a bit of a surprise when he spoke with the media on "Meet the Eagles" day. "I'm really happy with our special teams," said Rison, whose team opens its season on Sept. 5 on the road against MEAC power Hampton. "The good news is that most of the kids are back. My biggest concern was replacing Brandon Gilbert (the best placekicker in school history who at points in his career also handled punting duties." Rison said he has found Gilbert's replacement in true freshman Frankie Cardelle out of Salisbury High, who...

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Durham Bulls mop, sweep Norfolk Tides; also, Rays cede Kazmir to Pakistanaheim

Posted By on Sat, Aug 29, 2009 at 5:00 AM

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="250" caption="Maybe we misspelled his name when we Googled him"][/caption]There's often not too much to say about 11-2 routs like last night's. The Bulls took an early lead and then systematically enlarged it, unimpeded by a 54-minute rain delay that ended starter Wade Davis's night early. One night after tying the Bulls' Triple-A franchise record for career homers, Chris Richard broke it. Matt Joyce and Elliot Johnson added round-trippers of their own (the Tides have been out-homered 39-6 in their last 30 games!), the Bulls racked up 16 hits off of five Norfolk pitchers, the last of...

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Late bobbles cost Mudcats a road win at Montgomery

Posted By on Sat, Aug 29, 2009 at 1:04 AM

Luis Montano had his best Double-A start Friday night, but a couple of unearned runs unraveled it in the seventh inning. And the Montgomery Biscuits scored all three of their runs in the seventh to claim a 3-1 victory over Carolina. Montano (0-6) was pitching a two-hitter through six innings before the Biscuits put together their good-luck rally. Carolina got a go-ahead run on base in the ninth before Matt Gorgen closed out the save. Aneury Rodriguez (9-10) won his fifth straight decision for Montgomery. Shaun Cumberland (pictured) scored Carolina's only run on a Logan Parker grounder in the second....

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Friday, August 28, 2009

ACC releases women's basketball slate with big starts and finishes

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2009 at 4:40 PM

The Atlantic Coast Conference has announced its 2009-10 women's basketball schedule, and as usual it has plenty of highlights. The schedule will include 40 televised games including key in-conference matchups as well as some contests which will certainly match Top 10 teams. The three Triangle teams all open their schedules on Nov. 13. That night N.C. State will host Florida International - there doesn't seem to be any controversy with that FIU game - at Reynolds Coliseum in the first regular-season game for new coach Kellie Harper. That will be the nightcap of the first round of the Wolfpack's season...

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Durham Bulls rally late, beat Norfolk Tides again: on the hump and over (ALSO: two Bulls get a big honor)

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Five times this season, first on June 2 and most recently on Wednesday, the Bulls have gone 16 games over .500. Each time, they lost the next the game, and never reached the 17-games-over mark. There's nothing particularly special about 17; it's just a number; but for whatever reason, it came to represent the ceiling of the Bulls' success in 2009. Try as they might, they just couldn't get there. They seemed doomed to be a 16-games-over team. Given that it's mathematically impossible to finish a 144-game season 17 games over .500---and kids, don't look now but the season is,...

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NCCU to hold "Meet the Eagles" game on Saturday, but no scrimmage

Posted By on Fri, Aug 28, 2009 at 12:12 AM

N.C. Central has canceled its Saturday football scrimmage which was to be part of "Meet the Eagles" day. With construction still in progress on the new artificial turf for O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium, the event will be held on the practice field in the NCCU track and field facility adjoining the football stadium. Admission is free to the 11 a.m. event, which will include a meet-and-greet session with the football players, coaches and cheerleaders. The Eagles have already had two season-ending injuries in preseason. Junior wideout Corey Harris dislocated his left clavicle while senior offensive lineman Eric Stanley suffered a torn meniscus...

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

RailHawks news: United Soccer Leagues sold to Atlanta group

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 6:15 PM

UPDATE: News outlets are reporting that the RailHawks organization were part of an ownership group that includes Traffic Sports, the Brazilian company that owns Miami FC, that tried and failed to purchase the USL. We hope to have more soon. After last night's game between the RailHawks and FC Miami, we spoke to Carolina RailHawks president Brian Wellman about the progress of Nike's long-rumored sale of the entire United Soccer League pyramid. Wellman acknowledged that the league, 98 percent of which is owned by Umbro, was for sale. "There's a lot of silence right now from the league, which means...

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RailHawks' appetite for destruction leaves Miami carcass picked clean, 9-0

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 9:01 AM

WAKEMED SOCCER PARK/ CARY—The 1,597 fans who showed up on the relatively mild evening saw an extraordinary sight: a soccer game with the preposterous score of 9-0. That's right. 9-0. The RailHawks' match against playoff contender Miami FC Blues wasn't a baseball game, but a soccer game. But the lopsided result has us reaching for non-soccer comparisons: Perhaps the time the Chicago Bears won the NFL Championship (in pre-Super Bowl days) with a 73-0 win. Or perhaps if one were to go fishing and have fish hit your lure on every single cast. But if we stick to soccer analogies, the RailHawks'...

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Durham Bulls sink Norfolk Tides for third straight win

Posted By on Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Jeff Bennett's arrival in Durham a couple of weeks ago has drawn relatively little attention. Akinori Iwamura and Fernando Perez are getting most of the attention on their rehab assignments, and Tampa had already recently demoted another struggling major-league reliever, Joe Nelson. Bennett doesn't even appear on the Bulls' roster list on the team's web site. But a Bull he is, and although Bennett (pictured), who is primarily a reliever, has been far from perfect in two starts---he has walked five in 9 1/3 innings, a habit that suits him well to the Bulls' walk-happy staff---he has also done a...

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Smit's hot start for naught as Tennessee comeback foils Mudcats

Posted By on Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 11:20 PM

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON It's the finale of the Carolina Mudcats' five-game homestand against the Tennessee Smokies and there's no reason for the Mudcats not to relax. Earlier today a West Tenn Diamond Jaxx victory made the inevitable official. The Mudcats, who came within one game of the first-half North Division title, are not going to be in the Southern League playoffs. For Tennessee it's a very big game, as there is still a three-way race among the Volunteer State teams for the division title. Carolina continues to feed its best players to Triple-A Louisville, with veteran southpaw Tom Cochran the...

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Rison names Johnson Eagles' starting QB, announces captains

Posted By on Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 7:58 PM

N.C. Central football coach Mose Rison has given Michael Johnson the Eagles' starting quarterback job on the same day he announced the team's captains. Senior fullback Saeed Abdul-Azeez, a graduate of Southern Durham, will be NCCU's offensive captain. Junior linebacker Donald Laster is the defensive captain, while junior linebacker and East Chapel Hill alum Anthony Sharp is the special teams captain. The captains were selected in a vote of their teammates. Johnson, a transfer from Tulsa who is now a redshirt sophomore, completed 32 of 62 passes for 517 yards and six touchdowns last season. Sophomore Keon Williams, who like...

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Durham Bulls melt down, reform, beat Syracuse Chiefs: don't panic!

Posted By on Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 5:00 AM

I had plans last night and stopped listening to the Durham Bulls' radio broadcast with the Bulls leading Syracuse, 5-0, in the seventh inning. Matt Joyce hit a grand slam in the first inning and Bulls' starter Jeremy Hellickson was cruising, having allowed just a single baserunner. The Bulls seemed well on their way to an easy win on getaway day. I should have known better. Hellickson allowed a two-out, three-run homer to Seth Bynum in the bottom of the seventh---long balls are his one obvious weakness so far---and gave the Chiefs life. The Bulls added a run to their...

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Negron, Vazquez help keep Mudcats mathematical

Posted By on Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 11:56 PM

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The "death march" is on for the Carolina Mudcats. They go into tonight's game with the Tennessee Smokies, who are tied for first place in the Southern League's North Division, with a "tragic number" of two for elimination from the playoff race. Barring about the biggest miracle in the history of sports that's inevitable before the end of the season, but it's a fact that no matter what happens today the Mudcats will go into every game the rest of the year knowing tomorrow's game could be just for pride. The Mudcats have yet another transaction as...

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Durham Bulls turn tables, rally for 3-2 win over Syracuse Chiefs

Posted By on Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Syracuse Chiefs took a 2-0 lead over the Durham Bulls early in last night's game, and Bulls broadcaster Neil Solondz noted that the Bulls had done the same in Sunday's game before the Chiefs rallied to win, 3-2. You got the sense that he was hoping the Bulls might reverse the stream and visit the same comeback on Syracuse. Sure enough, the Bulls tied the game with two runs in the sixth, then won it in the eighth, by that same 3-2 score, on Michel Hernandez's second sacrifice fly of the night. This was a big win for the...

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Things don't get better for Mudcats, who face elimination tonight

Posted By on Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 12:04 AM

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON It's Game 3 of the Carolina Mudcats' five-game homestand against a hot Tennessee Smokies club, and if for nothing more than to lift the mood in the clubhouse the home team needs a victory. Tennessee has been holding up its end of the deal recently in its three-way battle with in-state rivals West Tenn and Chattanooga, while the Mudcats - who come into the game with a "tragic number" of four with nearly two weeks left in the season - are going to have to get it going to finish fourth in the Southern League's North Division....

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Syracuse Chiefs rally to edge Durham Bulls in 9th

Posted By on Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The Bulls' Joe Bateman hit consecutive batters in the ninth inning last night in Syracuse, but it was the Bulls who felt the pain. The Chiefs' Norris Hopper hit a two-out, game- winning single to score one of the plunkees, handing the Bulls a 3-2 loss. So it wasn't walks that did the Bulls in, but a sort of fast-track walk, the hit batter. And where the Bulls' clutch hitting tends to abet control problems in losses, last night the lineup didn't even mount enough threats to set up clutch situations. The Bulls scored twice in the second inning (with...

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