Transy men carry No. 1 ranking into new Division III season
The Transylvania University men's golf team, coming off back-to-back runner-up finishes in the NCAA Division III Championships, is poised to make 2013-14 the season it breaks through.
The Pioneers were ranked No. 1 in the nation in Golf World's Division III pre-season coaches' poll announced Wednesday
"It's a testament to not only the guys we have returning, our All-Americans, but also what we've done the past two years to elevate our program," said Coach Brian Lane, who is also head men's basketball coach at Transy. "I'm excited for our golfers and Transylvania University."
The No. 1 ranking is a first for the Pioneers.
Defending NCAA champion Texas-Tyler is ranked No. 8 to start the season but matched Transylvania with two first-place votes.
Four of Transylvania's top five golfers return this season, including three 2012 PING All-Americans in junior Ben Fister from Lexington Catholic, senior Clay Hinton from Elizabethtown, and senior Jantzen Latham of Muhlenberg County.
"There's a lot of hard work ahead to reach our goals," said Lane, who was Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference coach of the year last season. The Pioneers' fall season tees off Sept. 7 with the Transylvania Invitational at the University Club of Kentucky.
Venus ousted in U.S. Open 2nd round
Venus Williams dug herself out of deficits over and over again, until she simply ran out of solutions, exiting the U.S. Open before the third round for the third year in a row.
At 33, two-time champion Williams was the oldest woman in the second round at Flushing Meadows, and while she made things interesting after a poor start to the match, she couldn't sustain her solid play all the way through and lost to 56th-ranked Zheng Jie of China 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 (5) on a wet Wednesday.
The match lasted 3 hours, 2 minutes, closing when Williams missed a volley, then a return, on the last two points. She wound up with 44 unforced errors in all, half on forehands.
During her on-court interview, Zheng, a former top-15 player who twice reached Grand Slam semifinals, addressed the partisan New York crowd that was pulling for Williams, saying: "First, I want to say, 'Sorry, guys.'"
Rain began falling in the early afternoon, jumbling the schedule, and eight women's singles matches were postponed, including Williams' younger sister, defending champion Serena, against Galina Voskoboeva. In all, there were more than four hours of delays during the day, and 2012 men's winner Andy Murray had yet to play a point as the time approached 9 p.m. Wednesday.
In the handful of matches that were completed by early evening — men in the first round, women in the second — 2011 French Open champion Li Na, and 2012 Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska won in straight sets, and 109th-ranked American wild-card entry Tim Smyczek were among the men's winners.
In a later match, Juan Martin del Potro pulled out a grueling four-set win. The 2009 champion was frustrated by 74th-ranked Guillermo Garcia-Lopez's repeated calls for a trainer to work on his left leg. Del Potro, seeded sixth, rallied from a break down in the last set to win 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (7) in 4 hours, 13 minutes.
Augusta rips Legends, clinches division
The Augusta GreenJackets clinched the South Atlantic League Southern Division second-half title with a 13-4 win over the visiting Lexington Legends Wednesday night.
The Legends struck first with two runs in the first before Augusta matched them with two in its half of the inning. It got steadily worse for Lexington as the Jackets piled up two more in the second, three in the third and left no doubt with a five-run sixth. Augusta clinched its fifth playoff appearance in the last nine seasons.
Lexington starter Christian Binford (8-7) gave up six hits and seven runs — six earned — in three innings.
■ Pitcher Jordan Lyles will become the newest member of the Lexington Legends Hall of Fame. Lyles, a right-hander who set the Legends' single-season strikeout record with 167 in 2009, reached the major leagues with Houston in 2011, and is now a member of the Astros' starting rotation. A native of Hartsville, S.C., Lyles was a first-round choice by Houston in the 2008 draft.
The induction ceremony will be Friday at Whitaker Bank Ballpark before the Legends play the West Virginia Power. Lyles was 7-11 with a 3.24 earned run average. In addition to the strikeout mark, he led the team in starts with 26 and innings pitched with 1442⁄3.
Labonte breaks ribs, to miss race
Bobby Labonte broke three ribs in a bike riding accident Wednesday near his North Carolina home and will miss this weekend's NASCAR race in Atlanta.
Labonte was scheduled to drive the No. 51 Chevrolet for Phoenix Racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He'll be replaced in the car by Mike Bliss. Labonte's consecutive starts streak came to an end earlier this season at 704 races when JTG Daugherty Racing used AJ Allmendinger at Kentucky in June instead of Labonte.
The 2000 NASCAR champ had not missed a start since he began full-time in the Cup Series in 1993. He's won 21 races Cup races.
Donovan, Galaxy agree on contract
Landon Donovan has reached agreement on a new, multiyear deal to remain with the Los Angeles Galaxy. Donovan had been entertaining offers from several European clubs as he was in the final year of his MLS contract.
With four more goals, Donovan, 31, will become the all-time leading scorer in MLS history.
■ The NCAA has denied forward Rakeem Buckles' waiver request to play right away under Richard Pitino at Minnesota following his transfer from FIU. The school is appealing the decision.
The 6-foot-7 Buckles spent three seasons playing for Rick Pitino at Louisville. Buckles tore the ACL in each knee while he was with the Cardinals, then transferred to FIU when Richard Pitino was hired there.
■ The Houston Rockets have signed free agent swingman Ronnie Brewer.
Brewer spent last season with the Knicks and Thunder, averaging 3.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in just over 14 minutes a game. The 6-foot-7 Brewer, who played at Arkansas, has carved a reputation as a hard-working defender in his seven seasons in the NBA.
■ Stacy Lewis is back. Inbee Park is out.
The second-ranked Lewis is set to return to play golf Thursday in the Safeway Classic in Portland, Ore., after withdrawing from the Canadian Women's Open last week, while the top-ranked Park has pulled out of the event because of flu-like symptoms.
"I've never withdrawn before. It was physically hard for me to call the official and withdraw. ... Mentally, I was fried," said Lewis, who withdrew after the first round in Edmonton, Alberta.
The last word
Chicago Cubs Manager Dale Sveum was ejected in the first inning Wednesday in Los Angeles for arguing a checked-swing call during Dodgers leadoff batter Yasiel Puig's at-bat. Said Sveum:
"It wasn't a good call. You don't want to get thrown out for something like that in the first inning, but we said our piece and then (first-base umpire Lance Barksdale) had his head in our dugout for 30 seconds. I just don't think that's right. We were done and he kept his head in our dugout, waiting for somebody to say something else. Unfortunately, I did."