Sports briefs: March 4

March 4, 2013 

UK Sports

Gymnastics sets school record in victory against Ball State

The Kentucky gymnastics team broke the school record with a 196.5 team score in a victory over Ball State on Sunday in Muncie, Ind. It was the second straight meet that Kentucky (6-4-1) has posted a score of at least 196.

Audrey Harrison won her fifth-consecutive individual all-around title with a career-high score of 39.425. The Knoxville native now has a Southeastern Conference-leading seven all-around titles this season. Harrison, a junior, tied for the vault title with a career-high 9.9.

Holly Cunningham had career-highs of 9.9 and 9.875 on vault and balance beam, respectively, to tie for the win in both events.

"To break the record total team score and set our regional qualifying score record in the same meet is exciting," Coach Tim Garrison said. "We had a good day. As I have said all year, this team still has more to offer. Stay tuned."

Kentucky entered the final rotation with three event scores of more than 49 for the first time this season. Going into the final event the program-record was within reach with UK needing a 48.975 on beam to tie the mark of 196.375, set in 2002.

UK had a team score of 186.625 after the first four beam scores had been compiled, which meant one of the final two Wildcats to compete would need a 9.75 to tie the target score.

The team's fate came down to Cunningham. The junior from Colorado Springs, Colo., stuck her dismount to earn a 9.85.

Softball rallies for 16th win of season

For the third time in as many games, the 17th-ranked Kentucky softball team needed a rally and it got one in an 8-4 victory against Western Michigan in the Under Armour Invitational at Tampa, Fla.

Kentucky (16-3) finished the tournament with a 5-0 record and are on an eight-game winning streak.

Junior infielder Krystal Smith and freshman utility player Maisie Steed hit solo homers in the top of the fifth inning to tie the game 4-4 after UK trailed 4-2. UK took the lead a few at-bats later when senior Alice O'Brien grounded into a fielder's choice.

Freshman pitcher Kelsey Nunley earned the win for Kentucky, moving to 10-0 on the season and 3-0 for the weekend. She pitched the final 62⁄3 innings, allowing four hits, two runs — one earned — with eight strikeouts. Overall this season, Nunley has a 2.16 ERA, throwing a team-high 68 innings.

Tennis teams both earn victories The sixth-ranked Kentucky men's tennis team defeated Louisiana State 4-0 for their fourth consecutive victory. The Cats are 14-2.

No. 18 Tom Jomby moved to 10-1 in singles as he won in straight-sets 6-2, 6-4 over LSU's Tam Trinh. Jomby had 12 aces.

No. 21 Anthony Rossi won defeated LSU's Chris Simpson 6-3, 6-1. The win was Rossi's ninth-straight straight-set victory, and the senior captain has won 18 of the last 19 sets he has played.

■ Kentucky women's tennis team defeated host LSU 4-3. It was the Cats' first Southeastern Conference victory this season.

"I am so grateful for this win," UK Coach Carlos Drada said. "This is the first time this year that our team has been able to come from behind and get a win against a very good team."

UK's Nadia Ravita, ranked 51st nationally, defeated Kaitlin Burns 6-3, 6-1.


Baseball

Bailey solid in Reds' exhibition loss

Alex Gordon homered, Mike Moustakas got two doubles to raise his average to .579 and the Kansas City Royals beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-1 Sunday to remain undefeated in 10 spring training games. Gordon is hitting .500, but the home run to right-center off Tony Cingrani was his first extra-base hit.

"I was taking a lot of pitches early on," Gordon said. "I just decided if I get a first pitch fastball I was going to go after it, and I put a pretty good swing on it. It feels good to get a good swing.

"I really haven't been swinging it too well even though my numbers might show it, but I really haven't felt that good," Gordon added. "That definitely felt better to have a result like that."

Gordon, who has won back-to-back Gold Gloves, led the majors with 51 doubles last season.

The Royals improved to 9-0-1, the only undefeated team in the majors this spring.

Reds starter right-hander Homer Bailey allowed one single in two scoreless innings, logging five of his six outs by strikeout.

"It could be six out of six." Bailey said and laughed. "Strikeouts kind of come and go. I don't worry about those too much. I like outs. I still try to strike everybody out. If they happen to put it in play in the first couple of pitches, I don't quite get there.

"I'd like to have a few first pitch strikes, a couple of them missed by a little bit," Bailey said. "But I guess overall, pretty good. Other than that once we got into the at-bat, it came back. I pitched well."


Golf Lewis holds on for her 6th LPGA victory

American Stacy Lewis won the HSBC Women's Champions on Sunday in Singapore for her sixth career LPGA title, overcoming two bogeys and some shaky putting on the back nine to hold off Na Yeon Choi. Lewis, the 2012 LPGA Player of the Year, shot a 1-under 71 in the final round at Sentosa Golf Club to finish at 15-under 273, one stroke ahead of Choi.

"The last four or five holes, I was pretty nervous, I'm not going to lie," Lewis said. "I just played hard and put my head down and tried to make as many putts as I could and fortunately I came away with the win."

Dawie Van Der Walt became the fifth South African winner in 10 European Tour events this season with his two-shot victory at the Tshwane Open in South Africa. Van Der Walt posted a final round 5-under 67 to finish at 21-under overall for his first win on the European Tour. The Texas-based golfer is ranked 436th in the world.

2010 U.S. Amateur Champion Peter Uihlein is still seeking his first pro win. He was fourth with a 69 that included an eighth hole-eagle for a 17-under total.


NBA

Wall's clutch play gives Wizards a win

John Wall has longed for the opportunity he received Sunday night, though likely not in way he got it. Wall scored the game's final six points after teammate Bradley Beal left the court with sprained ankle, leading the Washington Wizards to a 90-87 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

"I've proven myself in college," the former Kentucky star said. "I just have to keep proving myself. I like the ball at the end of games. On those types of plays, you want to be the hero, you want to have the pressure. Sometimes, you're going to succeed. Sometimes, you're going to fail. As long as you have confidence and believe in your ability, you're going to be all right."

Wall finished with 16 points and six assists.

"I'm sure there probably was a burst of thought of, 'Somebody's got to step up now,'" Wittman said of Wall. "He wants to win as bad as anybody. When he's not playing the way he's capable of, he gets frustrated a little bit. But I thought the last couple games, he's calmed down and fought through."

LeBron James had 29 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, and the Miami Heat tied a franchise record with their 14th straight victory, rallying to beat the New York Knicks 99-93. Dwyane Wade added 20 points for the Heat, who had to overcome a 16-point deficit to beat the Knicks for the first time in three tries this season.


The last word

For the second straight year Tiger Woods closed Honda Classic at PGA National with an eagle. The difference was this year he shot 74 and finished 37th; last year, he shot 62 and tied for second. He said:

"I think I passed 62 somewhere around 12."

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