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Sunday, August 23, 2009

First John Wall, now Harrison Barnes

Posted By on Sun, Aug 23, 2009 at 7:32 PM

... for Duke and UNC to fight over while obsessed fans -- and mostly bored media -- salivate at every word, action and subtle hint over the workings of a high schooler's mind. Although Harrison Barnes -- No. 1 recruit for 2010 according to Scout.com -- has not cooperated with the salivating journalists and issued contradictory hints that send fan bases swirling; on the contrary, he has played his hand much closer to the vest than John Wall, an enrolling freshman at Kentucky whose recruitment turned into a circus following John Calipari's jump to Kentucky, UNC's late entrance into the...

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Papelbon smokes Mudcats, and his bullpen holds on

Posted By on Sun, Aug 23, 2009 at 6:40 PM

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON It's Game 2 of the Carolina Mudcats' five-game homestand against the Tennessee Smokies, and it's about getting to the point where the home team is playing for pride - and for job assignments heading into next season. The Mudcats, who lost their chance for the Southern League's first-half North Division title when they lost on the road to the Smokies on the final day of the half, are guaranteed a losing record in the second half and likely just a few days away from elimination from the race. They do have that spoiler thing going, and probably...

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Portland pulls ahead as RailHawks offense remains silent for third straight draw

Posted By on Sun, Aug 23, 2009 at 5:20 PM

USLLIVE.com-After an anemic 0-0 draw before a crowd of 7,758 in Rochester's Marina Auto Stadium, the RailHawks are now six points behind Portland, with six games to play for each team. The 'Hawks aren't going to catch the Timbers: Four of Portland's last five games are at home, and four of Portland's last five games are against Cleveland and Austin, the twin doormats of the USL-1. The RailHawks have already earned 16 of the 18 possible points from the City Stars and the Aztex; Portland's pace at the top of the table is all the more remarkable given that they've...

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Durham Bulls whip Syracuse Chiefs, increase wild-card lead

Posted By on Sun, Aug 23, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Nice to see the Bulls get off to a resoundingly positive start on a crucial seven-game road trip to Syracuse and Norfolk, the two teams trailing them in the International League wild-card race. That isn't to say that the South Division title is out of reach---the Bulls trail Gwinnett by three games with 16 left to play---but if they concentrate on putting some distance between themselves and their pursuers, they'll have plenty of momentum coming into their four-game showdown with the Braves at the DBAP when they return (buy your tickets now!). Desmond Jennings (pictured) was one hit short of...

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Smokies deal reeling Mudcats a close loss in series opener

Posted By on Sat, Aug 22, 2009 at 11:37 PM

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The Carolina Mudcats return home for the opener of a five-game series against the Tennessee Smokies that will comprise the entire homestand. It's bordering on time for the end-of-season "death watch" for the Mudcats, as their tragic number for elimination from playoff contention is down to seven with 15 games left in the season. Carolina would just about have to run the table and get help from at least three teams. The Cincinnati Reds' organization is acutely aware of the situation, so any Mudcat who deserves promotion to Triple-A is headed for Louisville to help the Bats...

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Blue Devils' passers continue to shine in scrimmages

Posted By on Sat, Aug 22, 2009 at 11:32 PM

Duke's passing game continues to pile up big numbers against the Blue Devils' defense in its preseason scrimmages. Thaddeus Lewis, Sean Renfree and Sean Schroeder combined to complete 25 of 39 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown, highlighting Duke's 65-snap scrimmage on "Meet the Blue Devils" day at Wallace Wade Stadium. "There were some nice plays made offensively and there were some big hits and some nice plays made defensively," Duke coach David Cutcliffe said.  "It is going to be a great tape for us to study. ...  I was pleased with Thad (Lewis).  He's been hurt but looked somewhat...

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Sturdivant and Carter on Butkus watch list

Posted By on Sat, Aug 22, 2009 at 3:04 PM

Two of UNC's dynamic linebackers -- juniors Quan Sturdivant and Bruce Carter -- made the cut for the preseason Butkus Award watch list, UNC spokesman Kevin Best said in a release Saturday. The award is annually presented to the nation's top linebacker -- which just so happens to be UNC's most talented position. Carter, a New Bern, N.C., native, recorded 68 tackles, five sacks and an interception in 2008.  He also led the nation with five blocked kicks, including three in a row against UConn. Sturdivant ranked No. 1 in the nation with 87 solo tackles in 2008.  The Oakboro, N.C.,...

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After RailHawks tread water in Whitecaps, can they outrun the Rhinos?

Posted By on Sat, Aug 22, 2009 at 2:58 PM

The RailHawks and the Vancouver Whitecaps traveled an aggregate total of 10,000 miles in four days to emerge with two points apiece. Following Saturday's 0-0 stalemate in Vancouver's Swangard Stadium, the two squads battled fatigue and humidity Tuesday night in Cary for a 1-1 draw. After falling behind on a 66th-minute Vancouver goal, late sub Andriy Budnyy settled a ball from John Cunliffe and scored to salvage the draw in the 87th minute. Here are video highlights, and here's the stat box. The thing of it is, it was a decent result for both sides. Vancouver got two points...

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Durham Bulls give one away to Charlotte Knights: the Aristotelian

Posted By on Sat, Aug 22, 2009 at 5:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM---A long time ago, I studied playwriting. I had a brilliant professor who used to say that the first 20 minutes of a play were "free": the audience would allow almost anything in those first 20 minutes, as long as whatever you gave them in that extended introduction wound up getting "paid back" to them later on; you were sowing seeds that would ripen as the play progressed. Starcrossed lovers, you say? Better do 'em in by the end of the play. In other words, those 20 minutes weren't really free. You were essentially laying the groundwork for whatever...

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Petersen, Suns send Mudcats on a long bus ride

Posted By on Sat, Aug 22, 2009 at 12:10 AM

The Carolina Mudcats might be returning home tonight, but they won't be bringing any momentum with them. A three-run homer from former Mudcat Bryan Petersen (pictured) in the fourth inning provided all the scoring the Jacksonville Suns needed to beat the visiting Mudcats 5-1 in the finale of their five-game series. The loss, Carolina's fourth in five games in the series, cut the Mudcats' "tragic number" to seven for elimination from the playoff race in the Southern League's North Division. Jarrett Santos (4-2) was the winner while Alexander Smit (3-3) took the loss. Carolina's only run came in the third,...

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Blue Devils hold fan fest, public scrimmage on Saturday

Posted By on Fri, Aug 21, 2009 at 2:25 PM

Duke will showcase its football team on Saturday when David Cutcliffe's club holds "Meet the Blue Devils Day" at Wallace Wade Stadium. The program will begin at 3 p.m. with inflatable games and live music on the stadium concourse. The Blue Devils will conduct a scrimmage at 4 p.m., with Cutcliffe (pictured) speaking to the crowd immediately following. Fans also will have the opportunity to enter raffle drawings. Duke, which went 4-8 in Cutcliffe's first season at the helm in 2008, will open its season at home against Richmond, the defending NCAA Division I (FCS) champion, on Sept. 5 at...

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Durham Bulls thrash Charlotte Knights: there, that's better

Posted By on Fri, Aug 21, 2009 at 5:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM---Out here in (oh, just go ahead and call it the) blogosphere, we were getting a little restless after the Bulls got crushed by the Charlotte Knights on Wednesday, 8-1. The team seemed flat and dull, listless and [adjective of your choice]. And when Charlotte scored a run in the top of the first inning last night with a bloop single that was so shallow it was actually fielded by Bulls' third baseman Ray Olmedo, you couldn't help but think, and now here comes the bad luck, too. The Bulls took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the...

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Vazquez's hot arm helps Mudcats end three-game slide

Posted By on Thu, Aug 20, 2009 at 11:59 PM

Camilo Vazquez slowed the bleeding for the Carolina Mudcats. Vaszquez (pictured) went a season-best seven innings, striking out eight to spark the Mudcats to a 5-1 road victory over the Jacksonville Suns that snapped a three-game losing streak. He also singled and scored a run in the third inning. Todd Frazier homered and doubled to drive in three runs for the Mudcats, while Sean Henry also homered along with two singles. Frazier has 56 extra-base hits to lead the Southern League. Carolina's "tragic number" for elimination from the playoff race remained at nine. The Mudcats conclude their five-game road trip...

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Rodriguez will be skipper for USA Baseball World Cup Team

Posted By on Thu, Aug 20, 2009 at 11:58 PM

Eddie Rodriguez will have the reins for USA Baseball's World Cup Team in September. Rodriguez and his staff will lead a team made up of players not currently on 25-man big league rosters in the International Baseball Federation's (IBAF) world championships. Team USA is the defending champion in the event. The U.S. team will play its pool games in Regensburg, Germany, against Venezuela, China and the Germans, with the remainder of the tournament in The Netherlands and Italy. Rodriguez's staff will include pitching coach Kirk Champion, hitting coach Ernie Young, third base/bench coach Jamie Quirk and bullpen coach Rolando "Roly"...

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Duke and UNC each boast two preseason Wooden candidates

Posted By on Thu, Aug 20, 2009 at 6:00 AM

Four Triangle players -- Duke's Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler and North Carolina's Deon Thompson and Ed Davis -- are among the 50 preseason candidates for the Wooden Award All-American Team and National Player of the Year trophy, the Wooden Award chairman announced Wednesday. Duke and North Carolina are in in elite company, joining Kansas, Michigan State, Michigan, Purdue, UConn, Villanova and West Virginia as the only nine schools with two candidates on the preseason list. Of the four, Singler (pictured) has the best shot at the National Player of the Year trophy, barring an explosion in offense development from...

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Charlotte Knights trounce Durham Bulls: no pitching, no offense

Posted By on Thu, Aug 20, 2009 at 2:42 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM---"We had no pitching and no offense. It's that easy." Those were the first words out of the mouth of Durham Bulls' manager Charlie Montoyo after last night's 8-1 drubbing at the hands of the last-place Charlotte Knights, before we'd even asked him a question. No argument from me. Andy Sonnanstine had his second straight poor outing; the Bulls left five men in scoring position in the first five innings and then put only one more runner on base for the rest of the game against four different Charlotte relievers; Joe Nelson came on in the seventh and served...

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Suns setting on Mudcats as Ungs mows them down again

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 11:13 PM

Nic Ungs hasn't been hospitable to his old team this season, and that continued the bad news for the Carolina Mudcats. The former Mudcat fired seven shutout innings, beating Carolina for the fourth time this season as the homestanding Jacksonville Suns won 4-2. The Mudcats' "tragic number" for elimination from the playoff race fell to nine. Ungs (9-2), who played for Carolina from 2003-05, lowered his ERA to 1.00 with a three-hit outing. He has pitched 27 innings against the Mudcats this season and allowed three runs. Jerry Gill (2-2) took the loss in his first Double-A start. Mike Stanton...

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Interview with UNC lineman Alan Pelc

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 10:39 PM

UNC's official athletic website, Tarheelblue.com, released this audio interview with junior guard Alan Pelc via their website Wednesday. Pelc, who is slated to start at right guard for the Heels, discusses the offensive line's depth and progression as well as shooting for a 1,000-yard rusher this season. ...

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Four local ACC players on Nagurski Trophy watch list

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 4:18 PM

Four ACC players from the Triangle - Duke lineman Vince Oghobaase (pictured), UNC safety Deunta Williams and linebacker Quan Sturdivant,  and N.C. State lineman Willie Young - are on the 62-man watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy. Wake Forest's Boo Robinson is the other ACC defensive lineman on the list for the award, given annually to the nation's best defensive player by the Charlotte Touchdown Club and the Football Writers Association of America. The Football Writers Association will choose a national defensive player of the week each week during the season, and if the player is not on the...

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‘Canes not done yet, pick up Yelle

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 12:13 PM

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 --> Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 It looked as though the ‘Canes might be finished, but JR and company plucked veteran center Stephane Yelle out of free agency this morning. From a Boston perspective, it probably appears as though Carolina is picking up the Bruins’ veteran leftovers. The Bruins have some budgetary concerns and were forced to let go of some guys they probably would have preferred to hold on this offseason, and Carolina has added another castoff into the fold. However, Yelle is much better than his salary suggests. He...

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Durham Bulls and Wade Davis dump rehabbing Jake Peavy and Charlotte Knights: the circus comes back to town

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 5:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM---I missed more than two innings of last night's 5-2 Bulls win over Charlotte. I spent half an inning in the visitor's clubhouse as part of the crowded media contingent interviewing the Knights' Jake Peavy (pictured) following his four-inning, 67-pitch outing against the Bulls, his second rehab start for the Chicago White Sox, and another two innings waiting for that interview. It was much like the game that rehabbing Tampa lefty Scott Kazmir started for the Bulls a couple of months ago, when we were whisked down into the bowels of the DBAP for a mid-game interview with a...

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tar Heel injuries piling up: Merletti finished for the season

Posted By on Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 10:54 PM

The Tar Heels lost another player -- junior defensive back Matt Merletti -- to a torn ACL Tuesday, team spokesman Kevin Best said in a statement. The Cleveland, Ohio, native joins Carl Gaskins, a sophomore offensive tackle who was injured Aug. 12, as players who will miss the entire 2009-10 campaign due to a torn ligament. Da'Norris Searcy and Merletti (pictured) were competing to replace Trimane Goddard at safety this season, though Searcy headed into preseason practice slated in the starter position. A co-captain on Carolina's special teams in 2008, Merletti recorded 11 tackles and scored a touchdown on a...

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Red-hot Suns deal Mudcats yet another blow

Posted By on Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 10:38 PM

Things are really starting to get desperate for the Carolina Mudcats. Bryan Peterson's two-run triple in the sixth was the biggest blow for the Jacksonville Suns, as they topped the visiting Mudcats 6-3 to cut Carolina's "tragic number" to 11 for elimination from the pennant race in the Southern League's North Division. Jacksonville, which is a very solid 70-52 since the season began, is one of just two SL teams with a winning record. Zach Ward (0-4) took the loss in relief, giving up a pair of doubles in the sixth before Peterson's big hit off Joseph Krebs. Tom Cochran...

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It ends how it began: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees pound Durham Bulls (also: Fernando's back!)

Posted By on Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 5:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM---A few days ago, Bulls right fielder Matt Joyce lost a fly ball in the lights, but finally spotted it just in time to make the catch. After the game, he talked about the helpless feeling that overcomes an outfielder when that happens, and he recalled a similar play in the majors last year, when he lost a ball hit by the Twins' Joe Mauer in the notorious Bermuda Triangle of the Minneapolis Metrodome's lights and ceiling. He happened to spot it at the very last moment and leaped to spear it for an out. Fortunately, it seems like...

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Jacksonville takes opener as Mudcats' chances get worse

Posted By on Mon, Aug 17, 2009 at 11:35 PM

The Carolina Mudcats' chances to make a long-shot comeback for a playoff berth got even longer. Brad Davis' two-run homer in the sixth inning was the killer blow as the Jacksonville Suns topped the visiting Mudcats 5-2 in the opener of their five-game series. Carolina's "tragic number" is down to 12. The homer came off losing pitcher Luis Montano (0-4), who has dropped all four of his Double-A starts. Jacksonville led 2-0 through three innings before one blast scored Carolina's runs. Former Mudcats pitcher Anibal Sanchez, possibly making the final start of his current Major League rehab, had retired the...

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