Sports briefs: April 30

April 30, 2014 

College tennis UK men hosting 1st 2 rounds

The University of Kentucky men's tennis team was named an NCAA Tournament host for the sixth season in a row on Tuesday.

The Wildcats, who received the No. 15 overall seed in the 64-team event, will host first- and second-round matches at the Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center on May 9-10.

Kentucky (21-9) will face Denver (12-10) on Friday, May 9, after a noon match between Clemson (20-8) and Purdue (15-7).

The winners will meet Saturday, May 10, at 3 p.m. for a berth in the NCAA Sweet 16 in Athens, Ga.

The Wildcats' tournament résumé included wins over No. 1 Ohio State, No. 8 Texas A&M, No. 11 Duke, No. 17 Mississippi State, No. 20 Tennessee and No. 21 Vanderbilt. Kentucky's highest ranking this season was No. 8.

UK has advanced to the Sweet 16 each of the past four seasons.

Kentucky's first-round opponent, Denver, earned its bid by winning the Summit League Tournament.

Tickets for the Lexington Regional go on sale Monday at the UK Ticket Office at the Joe Craft Center or by calling 1-800-928-CATS. Tournament passes are $10 for adults and $6 for children and seniors. Single-day passes are $6 and $4.

Kentucky is one of 10 Southeastern Conference teams in the field, joining Auburn, No. 14 seed Florida, No. 10 seed Georgia, Mississippi, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Tennessee, No. 8 seed Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.

Southern California is the tournament's No. 1 overall seed.

Louisville is the only other team from Kentucky in the tournament. The Cardinals (21-6) meet Wake Forest (14-13) on May 9 at Columbus, Ohio.

■ For the first time in four years, Kentucky women's tennis team received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and will face Columbia in the first round on Friday, May 9. The winner of that match will face host Virginia or Youngstown State.

WKU halting men's tennis program

Western Kentucky University is discontinuing its men's tennis program, Athletics Director Todd Stewart announced Tuesday.

"This is certainly a disappointment," Stewart said in a news release. "Unfortunately, the cumulative effect of three consecutive years of cuts to the overall athletics budget forces us to make difficult decisions."

Current WKU players will be allowed to transfer without having to sit out for a year as a transfer normally would. Those who remain at WKU will have their scholarships honored.

Minor-league baseball Meyer strikes out 11 for 2nd straight time

Former University of Kentucky standout Alex Meyer, the Minnesota Twins' No. 3 prospect, tied a career high with 11 strikeouts for the second straight start for Triple-A Rochester on Monday night. In the process, he picked up his first victory in five attempts, a 1-0 shutout of Charlotte.

Meyer allowed two hits and walked three over six innings, reported. He lowered his ERA to 2.70 less than a week after striking out 11 at Pawtucket while breaking in a new changeup. Meyer used the changeup again Monday, though with a little less success.

"I still used the change, but not as much," Meyer told the website. "They weren't swinging at it as much as they did last week. I went with the curve a lot tonight. I was throwing it off the fastball, and it was good."

Monday's win came with Minnesota assistant general manager Rob Antony in attendance. Meyer told that he knew Antony was there, but tried not to let his presence affect his performance.

"I saw him yesterday and was able to say hello," Meyer said. "When you're out there, you try not to think of it. ... You just try not to change anything. It is always good to throw well in front of them. I was lucky tonight to have a good one."

■ The Lexington Legends will have Eastern Kentucky University's men's basketball team on hand for a special appearance and ceremonial first pitch before Thursday night's game at Whitaker Bank Ballpark. The Legends will take on the Lakewood BlueClaws at 7:05 p.m. Pregame ceremonies will begin at approximately 6:40 p.m., with a ceremonial first pitch at about 6:50 p.m.

The Colonels won their sixth Ohio Valley Conference Tournament championship and made the program's eighth NCAA Tournament appearance. EKU finished with a 24-10 record. Glenn Cosey, who broke the EKU record for three-pointers in a season with 115 and in a single game with 10, is expected to take the mound for a ceremonial first pitch.

Lakewood defeated Lexington 9-4 on Tuesday night in a rain-shortened game that ended in the middle of the seventh inning.

Auto racing NASCAR penalizes Ambrose and Mears

NASCAR punished Marcos Ambrose and Casey Mears on Tuesday for their post-race altercation in the garage at Richmond International Raceway that led to Ambrose punching Mears in the face. Ambrose was fined $25,000 and placed on probation through May 28. Mears was fined $15,000 and received the same probation.

The two had been racing for a top-20 finish Saturday night when something occurred on the track to anger Mears. He confronted Ambrose in the garage area after the race, and shoved the Australian as Ambrose seemed to be walking away.

Ambrose responded with a right hook to Mears' eye that drew blood. He has not commented on the incident, but Richard Petty Motorsports issued a statement saying Ambrose would not appeal the penalty.

Kurt Busch is starting to feel comfortable in his new IndyCar. Busch had a solid showing in testing at the Brickyard's historic 2.5-mile oval on Tuesday in Indianapolis. The 2004 Sprint Cup champion is attempting to become the fourth driver to complete the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. Both races are scheduled for May 25.

There's a lot more work to go between now and then.

"Michael (Andretti) said last year the pole speed was 227 or 228 and he expects it to go up a couple of miles per hour this year, so he's saying it's going to be about 230," Busch said one day after unveiling his No. 26 Honda at the Andretti team's Indianapolis shop. "Right now, we're keeping it at a nice, gradual pace of comfort. ... It was a good day just to settle in with the team."

Etc. Flyers force a Game 7 against the Rangers

Wayne Simmonds scored three goals and Steve Mason stopped 34 shots to lead the host Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-2 win over the New York Rangers on Tuesday night, forcing a decisive Game 7 of their Eastern Conference playoff series.

There's little time for rest, too. The Flyers and Rangers play again Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

■ In an unusually blunt public warning, a vice president of the International Olympic Committee called the delayed preparations for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro "the worst I have experienced."

John Coates, who has made six trips to Brazil as part of the IOC's coordination commission for Rio, said the Brazilians are behind "in many, many ways" and are in worse shape than Greek organizers were in preparing for the 2004 Olympics.

Despite the critical delays, the Australian said there is no backup plan and the games will take place in Rio.

The last word

Former University of Kentucky golf Russ Cochran, 55, told The Des Moines Register:

"When I turned 50, I was five percent maintenance and 95 percent golf. Now I'm 95 percent maintenance and five percent golf."

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