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Monday, August 17, 2009

Paulus to start for Syracuse

Posted By on Mon, Aug 17, 2009 at 10:51 PM

After only a summer of getting back into the groove of football, former Duke point guard Greg Paulus will start for the Orange, head coach Doug Marrone announced Monday. Paulus (pictured) played four years under Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski before announcing in May that he would enroll in a graduate program at Syracuse. Paulus, a former high school quarterback standout who led his team to a 42-3 record while setting several state passing records, won the position over sophomore Ryan Nassib and senior Cam Dantley. It was not a foregone conclusion that Paulus would earn the starting job if he...

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Local ACC quarterbacks dominate Manning watch list

Posted By on Mon, Aug 17, 2009 at 3:47 PM

Talk about the "Year of the Quarterback" around here. All four starters in the ACC's "Big Four" - Duke's Thaddeus Lewis (pictured), UNC's T.J. Yates, N.C. State's Russell Wilson and Wake Forest's Riley Skinner - are on the 38-player "watch list" for the Manning Award as the nation's top quarterback. Every quarterback in the nation is eligible for the honor, and more players may be added to the watch list after the season starts. Ten finalists will be announced on Nov. 30, with the award presented on Jan. 14....

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You can't spell 'bullpen' without B-U-L-L: Durham Bulls' relief staff throttles Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees

Posted By on Mon, Aug 17, 2009 at 5:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM---Bulls' manager Charlie Montoyo occasionally bemoans how much he's forced to use his bullpen. It comes with the territory of managing a minor-league team, of course. Every parent club tends to be very, well, parental about its starting pitchers: limiting pitch counts, controlling innings pitched every year, giving extra rest to youngsters, etc. There is already chatter about how many more starts David Price will be permitted to make for Tampa before his workload is reduced; and in New York, Joba Chamberlain is getting extra days off between outings. Starting pitchers are the child prodigies of baseball: rare and...

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Smit gets a journalistic visitor and impresses fans on two continents

Posted By on Sun, Aug 16, 2009 at 6:29 PM

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON It's the finale of the Carolina Mudcats' homestand and the last time they'll play the Birmingham Barons this season unless a 100-year miracle gets the home team a playoff berth. It's a hot, cloudy afternoon, but at least the Mudcats have room for some optimism since they were finally able to beat the league's best team last night. And they need wins badly, as they enter today's action with a "tragic number" of 13 for elimination from the Southern League's North Division race. There's not going to be much of a crowd, though there's an interesting addition...

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Durham Bulls hang on against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre: loose ends

Posted By on Sun, Aug 16, 2009 at 5:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM---This was one of those games that seemed like it was over early. In the third inning, down 1-0 on Juan Miranda's second homer in as many nights (and hit to nearly the same place), five consecutive Bulls reached base against Scranton's Kei Igawa before Igawa recorded an out. All five scored. No one scored again until the eighth, and in the mean time, the Bulls' 5-1 lead seemed like 15-1. That was because of Jeremy Hellickson (pictured). The young right-hander, who had beaten the Yankees at Scranton just over two weeks ago with six three-hit, shutout innings, was...

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Kahaulelio, Mudcats finally get to pound on Birmingham

Posted By on Sat, Aug 15, 2009 at 10:59 PM

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The Carolina Mudcats host Game 4 of their five-game series with the Birmingham Barons, and with a four-game losing streak they're pretty much playing for pride in the series. If they don't start a winning tear pretty soon, they could be playing for pride in the Southern League's North Division standings as well. Carolina's "tragic number" is 14 for elimination from the playoff race. Birmingham, of course, is running away with the best record in the league. There are ominously dark clouds in the sky before game time, but it becomes obvious that there isn't going to...

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Lewis leads hot passers in Blue Devils' scrimmage

Posted By on Sat, Aug 15, 2009 at 6:55 PM

Quarterbacks ruled the day in Duke's 60-play scrimmage this morning. Thaddeus Lewis (pictured), Sean Renfree and Sean Schroeder combined to complete 23 of 39 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown and put a smile on the face of coach David Cutcliffe. "We did a lot of good things out there today," Cutcliffe said.  "Of course I am anxious to see the tape, but I thought we had some guys make plays on both sides of the ball.  We were able to get the young players a lot of work as we continue to evaluate their status." Three-year starter Lewis...

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Bulls on the Move: Brignac to Tampa, Hughes to... Baltimore?

Posted By on Sat, Aug 15, 2009 at 5:33 PM

The callup of Reid Brignac to Tampa was expected. Rays' designated hitter Pat Burrell hurt his neck again, which means more time at DH for Jason Bartlett and Ben Zobrist, both of whom play a lot of middle infield. Chances are good that Brignac won't be back this year, as he was likely to be promoted anyway when rosters expand on September 1. And as I wrote yesterday, the Bulls were about to have too many infielders with the arrival of Joe Dillon, who was outrighted to Durham and should be in uniform (and perhaps on the field) tonight. Much...

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The DAP reopens, and its glory days are no longer a distant memory

Posted By on Sat, Aug 15, 2009 at 4:07 PM

DURHAM ATHLETIC PARK/DURHAM The old yard may not be back to absolute mint condition, but it sure looks better than it likely has at any point in my lifetime. Durham Athletic Park, where the Bulls played their home games for - in a "conservative" assessment - well over five decades and the site of the iconic sports movie "Bull Durham," is open for business and looking awfully good. The park, constructed in 1939 for about $30,000 with heavy funding from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration after the original 1926 wooden grandstand burned to the ground, had its grand...

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Sure, the RailHawks are good, but let's talk about Portland

Posted By on Sat, Aug 15, 2009 at 3:43 PM

The USL-1 Carolina RailHawks are flying high on a league run of six victories in their last seven outings. The news only gets better as we see signs that midfielder Matt Watson—who hasn't really gotten uncorked this season—may be ready to return to the field. They have a tough eight-day stretch ahead, with a Tuesday home game against Vancouver sandwiched between away matches in Vancouver tonight and Rochester next weekend. Still, they're keeping up with the blistering pace at the top of the table, matching Portland victory for victory. (In a subject for another day, it's worth noting that...

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Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees pound Durham Bulls: The heavies

Posted By on Sat, Aug 15, 2009 at 5:00 AM

DBAP/ DURHAM---The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees have some big dudes on their team. Shelley Duncan: 6-foot-5, 225 pounds. Chris Stewart: 6-foot-4, 210 (that's really tall for a catcher). Their starter last night, Ivan Nova: 6-foot-4, 210. They have another starting pitcher who is 6-foot-8, 250, and two relievers who between them are nearly 13 feet tall and weigh 520 pounds. And these are all official, listed weights. You probably know what that means. The Bulls, by contrast, got littler. Rehabbing second baseman Akinori Iwamura, who made his first appearance last night, is 5-foot-9, although he is deceptively stout at 200 pounds. Iwamura's...

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Same old, same old: Birmingham deals Mudcats another loss

Posted By on Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 11:59 PM

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON  Time for Game 3 of the Carolina Mudcats' five-game home series against the Birmingham Barons, and the hole seems to be getting deeper all the time for the home team. The Barons are the Southern League's best team with over twice as many wins as losses, while Carolina is in last place in the North Division, nine games behind the first-place Chattanooga Lookouts with a "tragic number" of 15 for elimination from the playoff race. This is a crazy stat. Two teams out of the 10-team Southern League have records over .500, and the season may well...

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Four Triangle players on Bednarik Award watch list

Posted By on Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 7:20 PM

All three ACC teams in the Triangle have players on the 55-man watch list for the Bednarik Award as the top defensive player in college football. Duke defensive tackle Vince Oghobaase (pictured), N.C. State defensive end Willie Young and two UNC players - tackle Marvin Austin and linebacker Quan Sturdivant - are on the board. The quartet is most of a group of seven ACC players on the list, which also includes Georgia Tech safety Morgan Burnett, Virginia Tech defensive end Jason Worilds and Maryland linebacker Alex Wujciak. The three finalists will be announced on Nov. 23, with the winner...

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Durham Bulls beat Gwinnett Braves, salvage last game of series

Posted By on Fri, Aug 14, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Leave it to the Bulls to get their only win of this grim series against the Braves by overcoming a two-time major-league All-Star. Rehabbing Atlanta pitcher Tim Hudson wasn't anything like the victim in last night's 9-5 Durham win, but he didn't shut the Bulls down either, permitting five hits and two runs in four innings before departing after reaching what I assume was a predetermined pitch-count limit. The Bulls then sloshed around for a while before finally deciding to unload on Gwinnett closer Luis Valdez, whom they bombarded for six runs in the ninth inning and handed his eighth...

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mudcats' woes continue as Barons get the timely hits

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 11:27 PM

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON Back for Game 2 of the Carolina Mudcats' only home series with a loaded Birmingham Barons club, and the Mudcats' hole has gotten just a little deeper. The Mudcats are currently in last place in the Southern League's North Division, with a "tragic number" of 16 for elimination from the playoff race heading into the game. Things don't turn out well tonight either, as the Mudcats outhit the Barons 9-7 but make two costly errors in the seventh and lose 5-3. Now, as I told you a day ago, Birmingham hitting coach Andy Tomberlin played for the...

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RailHawks keeper Reed on Tolleson: He hurts us "very rarely"

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 8:40 PM

RailHawks keeper Eric Reed surely didn't intend for his endorsement of rock-solid—and taciturn—defender Jeremy Tolleson in team blogger Tim Candon's profile, posted today, to sound backhanded: "He's so dependable," said goalkeeper Eric Reed, who played with Tolleson last year in Cleveland, too. "A lot of teams, because he's not a physical presence back there like Schulte or Brad , you don't think a lot of him. Teams will put forwards directly on him, and Jeremy will handle them no problem. You can count on him 99.999 percent of the time. Very rarely will he ever do something that will hurt you."...

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It's official: Irving out for season and Dawkins to enroll early

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 7:42 PM

While Durham received the good news that Andre Dawkins will in fact suit up a year early, Wolfpack fans are left wondering who else can get injured under head coach Tom O'Brien. In Durham, Dawkins will slide straight into the hole left by Elliot Williams and will even sport his number, No. 20, Duke's student paper, The Chronicle, reported Thursday. Dawkins finished his final course needed to graduate and awaits his diploma.  Scout.com ranked Dawkins the No. 3 shooting guard in the class of 2010. Meanwhile, N.C. State star linebacker Nate Irving (pictured) said he'll miss the entire season due...

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Duke's Maggio on the ballot for nation's top kicker

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 5:11 PM

Duke has another candidate on the college football awards watches, as junior kicker Nick Maggio is on the 30-man list for the Lou Groza Collegiate Placekicking Award. Maggio hit 11 of 14 field-goal attempts and was 28-for-28 on PATs, becoming just the third Blue Devil to hit at least 25 without a miss in a single season. He is 13-for-19 in career field-goal attempts with a long of 46 yards, and has not missed in 41 extra-point placements. N.C. State's Josh Czajkowski and Miami's Matt Bosher are the other ACC kickers on the list. The award will be presented on...

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Time to hit the panic button; another UNC lineman bites the dust

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 11:02 AM

Only one day after the news that Kevin Bryant won't be returning to the team, UNC spokesman Kevin Best said Thursday that backup offensive tackle Carl Gaskins will miss the entire 2009-10 season with a torn ACL, leaving UNC down three lineman since the end of last season. Gaskins, a sophomore from Melbourne, Fla., tore the ligament in his left knee Wednesday, Best said. Now with only a few returning backups to the offensive line, head coach Butch Davis will call upon freshman recruits to add depth.  Four offensive lineman signed letters of intent to play for UNC this fall:...

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Durham Bulls lose third straight to Gwinnett Braves: Please Mr. Postman

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 5:00 AM

That ringing in your ears is the postman at the door, and the Bulls keep neglecting to answer. Actually, check that: the Bulls keep leaving the door open for the Gwinnett Braves, who respond each time by charging through it. For the second straight night, Durham took a one-run lead into the ninth inning; for the second straight night, their closer---Winston Abreu on Tuesday, Dale Thayer on Wednesday---let two runs score. Last night's version was a 2-1 loss. Thayer had Gwinnett down to its final strike before giving up a game-winning, two-run single to Brandon Jones, who had the game-winning...

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mudcats' hole gets deeper as sizzling Barons roll on

Posted By on Wed, Aug 12, 2009 at 11:42 PM

FIVE COUNTY STADIUM/ZEBULON The Carolina Mudcats are back for a short five-game homestand, and they have a very tough row to hoe. Not only are they eight games behind the first-place Chattanooga Lookouts with a "tragic number" of 18 for elimination, but they're taking on the best team in the league in the Birmingham Barons. Rain has been falling for much of the afternoon, but an hour before game time it's pretty obvious the field is ready to go. And for me that's great news, since I got back home to Brier Creek at, yes, 3:20 a.m. the last time...

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Tate and Bryant done as Heels

Posted By on Wed, Aug 12, 2009 at 5:25 PM

Well, that was anticlimactic. Donavan Tate, the No. 3 pick in the MLB draft and one of UNC's prized incoming recruits, has left training camp to possibly accept an offer from the San Diego Padres, a UNC spokesman said Wednesday. Tate, a talented athlete from Cartersville, Ga., had until Aug. 17 to reach a deal or else could return to play backup quarterback for the Tar Heels. Also released, Kevin Bryant, a redshirt sophomore offensive lineman from Lauderdale Lake, Fla., has decided to leave the team for unspecified reasons. Bryant was set to backup Alan Pelc at right guard and...

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Blue Devils host East Regional NIT Tip-Off

Posted By on Wed, Aug 12, 2009 at 4:21 PM

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils will be the top seed in the NIT Tip-Off set to begin Nov. 16, the NIT selection committee chair announced Wednesday. Duke, who has participated in the tournament five previous times, winning three tournaments in 1985, 2000 and 2005, will open against Coastal Carolina before playing the winner of Charlotte and Elon in the second round. A copy of the bracket can be viewed here. UConn, LSU and Arizona State will each host one of the remaining regions in the NIT, which celebrates the 25th anniversary of the event this November....

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Duke's Oghobaase makes cut list for Outland Trophy

Posted By on Wed, Aug 12, 2009 at 3:00 PM

Duke defensive tackle Vince Oghobaase is on the list for the Outland Trophy as the nation's best collegiate interior lineman. Forty players are on the watch list, including fellow ACC players nose guard Boo Robinson from Wake Forest, Virginia Tech guard Sergio Render and Boston College center Matt Tennant. Oghobaase, who has started in 36 straight games and is a preseason All-ACC pick, has 128 career tackles including 29 for losses and 11½ sacks. The recipient of the award will be announced on the ESPNU College Football Awards Show, on Dec. 10 from Lake Buena Vista, Fla....

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The DAP is back! Celebration time Saturday afternoon

Posted By on Wed, Aug 12, 2009 at 11:36 AM

Durham's own "field of dreams" is back. Renovations are complete at Durham Athletic Park, where the Bulls played for most of the 20th Century ending in 1994 and which was made world famous in the iconic film "Bull Durham" starring Kevin Costner (pictured) and Susan Sarandon. And a grand re-opening is on Saturday. The event, which will run from noon to 5 p.m., will feature a softball game with former pro players, local coaches and politicians; several well-known mascots from around the area; the Durham Divas cheerleaders; a children's play area; and free food and soft drinks. Minor League Baseball...

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