Softball team defeats Tide, set to host SEC tournament
Freshman infielder Nikki Sagermann went 3-for-5, including a game-winning, three-run home run in the eighth inning to lead the 19th-ranked Kentucky softball team to a 9-5 extra-inning victory at No. 7 Alabama. Sagermann tied a school record with six RBI in the game and the Cats won a series against the Tide, 2-1, for the first time in program history. Kentucky had two wins all-time against Alabama before this weekend.
Sophomore catcher Griffin Joiner added four hits and freshman Maisie Steed hit a home run and robbed a grand slam in the eighth inning to save the game.
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Sagermann had an RBI double in the fifth and a two-run single in the sixth in addition to the home run.
The victory Sunday earned Kentucky a No. 7 seed in the SEC Tournament, which the Cats will host at John Cropp Stadium. UK plays host to No. 10-seeded South Carolina at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
Rookie Ernst wins Wells Fargo in playoff
One phone call changed his plans. One shot changed a whole lot more for Derek Ernst. Six days after Ernst received a call that he was in the Wells Fargo Championship as the fourth alternate, the 22-year-old rookie found himself one shot out of the lead and 192 yards away from the flag on the 18th hole, the toughest at Quail Hollow in the cold, wind and rain of a grueling final round. Ernst choked up on a 6-iron and hit a draw that landed 4 feet from the hole for one of only four birdies on the closing hole Sunday at Charlotte, N.C.
"I was trying to hit it as close as I possibly could," he said.
The birdie gave him a 2-under 70 and tied him with David Lynn, who also had a 70. And it turned out to be no fluke. Returning to the 18th in the playoff, as the rain started coming out harder, Ernst hit a 3-iron to about 15 feet left of the flag that set up his stunning victory.
Phil Mickelson didn't get a chance to join them. He had a one-shot lead with three holes to play until making back-to-back bogeys, missing putts of 6 feet and 10 feet. His 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th narrowly missed, and Mickelson closed with a 73.
"I felt like I was in control, and I let it slip away there the last few holes, so it was disappointing," Mickelson said.
"I'm pretty bummed out," he added. "I thought that this was one I had in control. If I could have gotten that bunker shot up-and-down on 15, I would have had a two-shot lead heading into those last three holes, which I know are difficult holes, so it would have been nice to have that. ... There is just no excuse. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't anything out of the ordinary or difficult. I should have made par."
Ernst was playing only his ninth PGA Tour event. He was No. 1,207 in the world ranking. He was in a car headed to Athens, Ga., to play a Web.com Tour event when he got the phone call that there was a tee time for him at Quail Hollow.
"This feeling is unbelievable right now," Ernst said.
The victory at Quail Hollow gets him into The Players Championship next week. He qualifies for two World Golf Championships, the PGA Championship, the Tournament of Champions next year at Kapalua and the Masters next April.
"It's a little sunk in," Ernst said. "But I'm sure in a couple days, it will be even more unbelievable than it is right now."
■ Esteban Toledo celebrated Cinco de Mayo by becoming the first Mexican winner in Champions Tour history, beating Mike Goodes with a par on the third hole of a playoff in the Insperity Championship at The Woodlands, Texas.
"It's a special day for me," Toledo said. "It's a holiday and it's just winning on that day is the most incredible thing I've ever done, because winning on the Champions Tour, it's hard. I have dreams and goals in my life that I was going to win on the Champions Tour, and I think I'm going to keep winning. I believe in myself that I can go up there and win again and again and again."
■ Cristie Kerr made a short par putt on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff with Suzann Pettersen to win the Kingsmill Championship at Williamsburg, Va., for the third time.
Frazier leads Transy to conference title
Transylvania's Hunter Frazier (Lexington Christian) shot a 1-over par 289 to win the individual title and lead the Pioneers to their seventh straight team title at the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Men's Golf Conference Championships at Aston Oaks Golf Club in North Bend, Ohio and Rea Park Golf Course in Terre Haute, Ind. Frazier finished with a 68 on Sunday.
Transylvania won the team championship with a score of 1,178. Hanover, led by St. Xavier graduate Robert Bader's second-place finish (295), was the runner-up at 1,214.
The Pioneers had three other top-eight finishers. Stephen Montgomery (John Hardin) was third at 295, Clay Hinton (Elizabethtown) finished sixth (301), and Jantzen Latham (Muhlenberg County) was seventh (302).
Frazier was named the league's most valuable player and the Pioneers' Brian Lane was named its top coach.
Legends extend their win streak to five
The Lexington Legends rallied from behind by scoring four runs in the eighth inning to defeat the Lakewood BlueClaws 7-5 and improve their winning streak to five games on Sunday in New Jersey.
The Legends trailed 5-3 in the eighth before Humberto Arteaga reached second on a throwing error by Lakewood shortstop Roman Quinn. Arteaga moved to third as Fred Ford grounded out and came home when Nic Cuckovich's grounder got by third baseman Mitch Walding for an error. Cuckovich moved to second on a single by Ethan Chapman, and both runners advanced when Terrence Gore was hit by a pitch.
Cuckovich scored the tying run when Raul Mondesi Jr. grounded into a force out at second. After Bubba Starling was hit by a pitch to load the bases again, Michael Antonio singled to score Chapman and Mondesi.
Rain postpones All 'A' tournament
The Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic baseball tournament semifinals and finals were rained out at Whitaker Bank Ballpark on Sunday. A make-up date will be determined.
The semifinals will match Newport Central Catholic against Hazard, and Bethlehem against Danville.
Penguins defeat Islanders 5-4 in OT
Chris Kunitz scored his second power-play goal of the game 8:34 into overtime, off a pass from Sidney Crosby, and the Pittsburgh Penguins shook off an early deficit and a late blown lead to beat the New York Islanders 5-4 in Game 3 of the first-round series.
■ Jason Zucker scored at 2:15 of overtime to give host Minnesota a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks, pulling the Wild within 2-1 in the Western Conference quarterfinal series.
The last word
Golfer Cristie Kerr, who has 16 career victories on the LPGA Tour, won for the first time with her dad in attendance Sunday, but their celebration was slightly delayed. Michael Kerr, a Vietnam veteran and career school teacher who has had both knees replaced, had stayed with her throughout her round but watched the playoff from the clubhouse bar when he figured he couldn't maneuver his motorized cart well enough to keep up in the big crowd.
Michael Kerr said: "For the last 17 years, I've been dreaming of watching her win a professional tournament. It was a dream come true. If I never see anything else in my life, this was it and this was the best thing that's ever happened to me."
Cristie Kerr said: "I wasn't going to lose, not today, not with my dad here."