Sports briefs: Feb. 24

February 24, 2013 

Track and field

Kentucky's Macumber wins 3,000 meters at SEC Indoors

Kentucky senior Cally Macumber won the 3,000-meter run by one one-hundredth of a second at the Southeastern Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships at Fayetteville, Ark., on Saturday.

Macumber's winning time of 9 minutes, 15.66 seconds narrowly edged Florida junior Cory McGee's 9:15.67.

Kentucky junior Chelsea Oswald joined Macumber in the top five, taking fifth place in 9:20.80.

Macumber continued her recent run of major titles, which began last fall when she took first place in the SEC Cross Country Championships and the NCAA Southeast Region meet.

The meet concludes Sunday, when Macumber will try for another victory when she goes in the mile run. She qualified third in Saturday's preliminaries with a time of 4:47.37.

Kentucky sophomore Keffri Neal qualified second for Sunday's men's 800-meter finals in 1:50.81, and junior Matt Hillenbrand qualified third in the mile in 4:08.78.

■ Eastern Kentucky's Ann Eason, a Sayre graduate, won the women's 1-mile run (4:52.39) and the women's 3,000-meter run (9:53.83) at the Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Championships. Soufiane Bouchikhi won the same events for EKU's men with times of 4:06.66 in the mile and 8:18.40 at 3,000 meters.

UK Sports

Bat Cats game postponed to Sunday

The No. 8 Kentucky baseball team's game against Coastal Carolina was postponed until 1 p.m. Sunday because of heavy rains in the Myrtle Beach, S.C., area on Saturday. The Cats (4-1) will start junior southpaw Corey Littrell (0-0).

■ Kentucky's rifle team was in second place after the first day of team competition at the Great America Rifle Conference Championships at Oxford, Miss., after shooting a 2,329 in smallbore. West Virginia led with a 2,335.

■ The Kentucky gymnastics team turned in its best performance of the season in the final Southeastern Conference regular-season meet on Friday night against Florida at Gainesville. The top-ranked Gators defeated the Cats 196.975-196.075, but No. 23 Kentucky's score was the sixth best in program history. Audrey Harrison won her sixth all-around title of the season and fourth in a row, scoring a 39.225.

Golf

Poulter, Mahan advance at Match Play

The stars are gone from the Match Play Championship. Still alive are Ian Poulter and Hunter Mahan, the best in match play over the last few years.

Poulter added to his reputation as one tough customer Saturday when he beat Steve Stricker with one big putt after another, raising his record in this fickle format to 19-3-2 over the last four years.

Mahan outlasted U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson in 18 holes, leaving him two wins away from joining Tiger Woods as the only repeat winners of this World Golf Championship. Mahan hasn't lost a match in two years, and even more impressive than his 11 straight wins is that he has gone 151 holes at Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz., without trailing.

Poulter and Mahan meet Sunday morning in the semifinals.

Matt Kuchar had no trouble against Robert Garrigus, building a 4-up lead through 10 holes and hanging on for a 3-and-2 win to reach the quarterfinals for the third straight year. He faces Jason Day of Australia, who won a tight match against Graeme McDowell in 18 holes.

Along with a perfect singles record in the Ryder Cup, Poulter has won the WGC version of the Match Play Championship and the World Match Play Championship in Spain in 2011. He wasn't aware of his record since 2010, nor did he sound terribly surprised.

"I'm pretty proud of it," he said. "Does it surprise me? I love match play."

■ Teenager Ariya Jutanugarn shot a 2-under 70 to lead by three strokes after the third round of the LPGA Thailand despite finishing with two bogeys. Last year's top-ranked amateur, Ariya had seven birdies — including five straight from No. 10. The 17-year-old Thai needed a sponsor's invitation to get into the tournament.

Major League Baseball

Braun hits home run in 1st spring at-bat

Ryan Braun quickly got into the swing of spring. The Milwaukee slugger homered in his first at-bat of the exhibition season and the Brewers beat the Oakland Athletics 2-1 Saturday.

"There was nothing I didn't like about it," Braun said. "It was a home run. Homers are cool. I love home runs. I think I'm definitely ahead of where I usually am this time of year."

Braun hit only two home runs during spring training last year. He played just in home games for the first week to ease his exposure after he became the only major-leaguer to have a 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs reversed.

Milwaukee starter Mike Fiers, who played in college at the University of the Cumberlands, allowed a hit and two walks in two scoreless innings and struck out two.

Stephen Strasburg had a rocky return to the mound in his first outing since the Washington Nationals shut him down last September to protect his arm. Strasburg gave up a single and a full-count homer to the first two batters he faced Saturday, and the New York Mets beat Washington 5-3 in a spring training opener.

The right-hander rebounded with a 1-2-3 second inning.

With the score tied at 3, former University of Kentucky and Henry Clay High School standout Collin Cowgill hit an RBI double in the sixth inning to drive in the go-ahead run for the Mets.

The last word

Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax is wearing a major-league uniform for the first time in more than two decades as a special adviser to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The descriptions of a taciturn, reclusive talent forced out of the game too soon by arthritis in his left elbow just don't match the charming fellow high-fiving Andre Ethier's two young sons before giving a rare interview. Koufax said with a grin:

"I'm trying to figure out who says I'm private. I'm at the Final Four. I go to golf tournaments. I go to the movies. I go to dinner. I live my life. Somebody wrote that 50 years ago, and they're still writing that. ... I don't care what anybody says. I'm past caring."

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