Sports briefs: March 11

March 11, 2013 

Baseball

Choo gets 4 hits in Reds' win

Shin-Soo Choo is using this spring to adjust to a new team and a new position. On Sunday, he made his best showing yet. The Cincinnati leadoff man got four hits, stole two bases and scored twice in a 7-3 victory over a split squad of Chicago White Sox in exhibition play at Glendale, Ariz.

"He hasn't done anything that surprises me because we already knew he could do it all," Reds Manager Dusty Baker said. "He's a gamer and a hard worker, which is why we traded for him."

Reds starter Johnny Cueto was erratic in his second spring start. He walked three and hit another, but completed four innings and gave up just two runs.

"He was just off with his command, which was odd because he's pretty sharp," Baker said. "When Johnny senses something wrong, he can correct it. That didn't happen today, but he knows how to pitch his way out of trouble."

■ Former Lexington Christian standout Robbie Ross, one of seven pitchers competing for a place in the Texas Rangers' rotation, allowed two runs in 22⁄3 innings Sunday in a 7-6 win against the Cleveland Indians. He walked three batters. "Ross walked too many people," Manager Ron Washington said. "He wasn't happy. He wasn't able to back door his cutter like he usually does."

David Ortiz will be shut down for several days of spring training because of sore left heel, and the Boston Red Sox are hoping the break from baseball activities won't prevent the slugging designated hitter from being ready for opening day.


College basketball

Dieng, Smith on All-Big East first team

Georgetown sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr. was the lone unanimous selection to the All-Big East first team. Louisville juniors Russ Smith and Gorgui Dieng also made the team, which was chosen by the conference's coaches. Connecticut junior Shabazz Napier, Providence junior Bryce Cotton and Notre Dame senior Jack Cooley rounded out the six-man first team.

The league's player of the year, which will be announced Tuesday, will come from the first team.

The Cardinals' Peyton Siva made the third team.

Cody Zeller made a go-ahead layup with 13 seconds left and altered Trey Burke's shot at the other end, lifting No. 2 Indiana to a 72-71 victory over No. 7 Michigan on Sunday at Ann Arbor, Mich. The win gave the Hoosiers their first outright Big Ten title in two decades. "We've been working on that all year — closing out games," said Zeller, who had 25 points and 10 rebounds.

Keith Appling scored 16 points and Gary Harris added 12 to lift No. 10 Michigan State to a 71-61 win over Northwestern at East Lansing, Mich. The Spartans struggled to put away the undermanned Wildcats. Northwestern rallied from a 13-point first-half deficit, tying the game at 51 before the Spartans recovered.

Jahenns Manigat scored a season-best 16 points and hit a layup with 11.5 seconds to go that gave top-seeded Creighton just enough to beat Wichita State 68-65 at St. Louis for its second straight Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title. Reserve Ethan Wragge hit five three-pointers for 15 points to help the Bluejays overcome an off day from star Doug McDermott, who missed six of his first seven shots and was held to 14 points.

John Caleb Sanders had 27 points, Davon Marshall added 20 off six three-pointers and Liberty defeated Charleston Southern 87-76 to win the Big South Conference Tournament at Conway, S.C., and reach the NCAA Tournament with a 15-20 record. The Flames opened the season 0-8.

■ Bellarmine's men's team earned an at-large bid in the NCAA Division II Tournament. The Knights are a No. 3 seed and will play Indianapolis in the first round Saturday at Springfield, Mo.


Louisville women advance in tourney

Sara Hammond (Rockcastle County) had 22 points and 11 rebounds to help No. 13 Louisville beat St. John's 62-55 on Sunday in the Big East women's tournament quarterfinals at Hartford, Conn. The Cardinals will face No. 2 Notre Dame in the semifinals Monday night. The Irish beat South Florida 75-66.

Brittney Griner had 30 points and 10 rebounds, and top-ranked Baylor held off a furious late charge by Oklahoma State for a 77-69 victory in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals at Dallas.

■ Kentucky Wesleyan's women (20-8) earned an at-large bid in the NCAA Division II Tournament. They'll play Michigan Tech (20-8) in the first round at Ashland, Ohio.


UK sports

Softball wins first SEC series of season

Freshman second baseman Christian Stokes knocked in two runs and junior Lauren Cumbess and freshman Kelsey Nunley combined to hold Mississippi to four hits as the 15th-ranked Kentucky softball team (18-4, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) defeated the Rebels 5-2 Sunday at the UK Softball Complex. UK won the series 2-1.

■ Freshman Nadia Ravita defeated sixth-ranked Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar, but Kentucky's women's tennis team lost 5-2 to No. 4 Texas A&M in the Cats' first outdoor home match of the year. Ravita is 51st in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's latest rankings.

■ The fifth-ranked Kentucky men's tennis team lost 4-0 at No. 14 Texas A&M. The Cats dropped the doubles point for the second straight match, then singles matches on courts two, four and five. UK's Tom Jomby, ranked 18th nationally in singles, lost 6-3, 6-3 to Jeremy Efferding.


Horse racing

Injured Dominguez visits Aqueduct

Ramon Dominguez was at Aqueduct on Sunday in New York, his first appearance at the track where he suffered a fractured skull in a spill. Dominguez, sidelined since Jan. 18, spent time in the jockeys' room, chatting with racing officials and riders.

"I've been thinking about coming by to say 'Hello' but I just haven't been able to find the time," Dominguez said.

The winner of the past three Eclipse Awards as the nation's leading rider, Dominguez said he will have a better timeline for a return after meeting with a doctor later this month.

"I'm pretty optimistic he will find we're good enough to come back," Dominguez said. "From that point on, if he OKs me, it will be just a matter of getting fit again. That shouldn't take too long."


NBA

Heat roll over Pacers for 18th straight win

Mario Chalmers scored 26 points, Chris Bosh added 24 and the Miami Heat won their 18th straight game, easily topping the visiting Indiana Pacers 105-91. The 18-game streak ties the seventh longest in NBA history, and is the league's best since the Boston Celtics won 19 straight during the 2008-09 season. Dwyane Wade scored 23 points for the Heat, who controlled the game despite a season-low 13 points from LeBron James.

Ryan Anderson capped a 20-point performance with a layup as he was fouled with 1.8 seconds left, and the New Orleans Hornets snapped a three-game skid with a 98-96 victory over the visiting Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night. Anthony Davis had 18 points and 10 rebounds for New Orleans, and fellow former Kentucky standout Darius Miller had career highs for points (eight) and assists (five), plus three rebounds in 23 minutes.


The last word

Albert Pujols homered for the second straight game, one of four shots by the Los Angeles Angels in a 17-11 exhibition loss to the Kansas City Royals. The star slugger, who had knee surgery in the off-season, also singled and walked. The Angels received permission from the Royals to use Matt Young as a courtesy runner. Kansas City's Jeff Francoeur joked:

"It's one thing Pujols got a pinch runner, but it's another thing he gets the fastest guy maybe on the team besides (Mike) Trout to run for him. I wondered after he homered if he was going to get stopped and have him to come out there."

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