Sagermann gives softballwalk-off win in SEC Tournament
University of Kentucky sophomores Nikki Sagermann, Christian Stokes and Sylver Samuel each posted multi-hit games, including a walk-off single in the ninth inning by Sagermann that followed a clutch double by Stokes, pacing the Kentucky softball team to a 4-3 nine-inning win over Mississippi State on Wednesday in the opening round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament at Carolina Softball Stadium.
Kentucky, the tournament's seventh seed, entered the bottom of the ninth with the game tied 3-3 and got a leadoff walk to sophomore Ansley Smith before Stokes' double put runners at second and third with no outs. After a foul-out by Samuel, Sagermann lined a single up the middle to score Smith and get the win for UK.
Kentucky (42-14) advances to the quarterfinals of the tournament, where it will meet second-seeded Tennessee on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. The game will air on ESPNU. Live stats and free live radio of the event will be available online at UKathletics.com.
minor league baseball
Ex-Cat Rusin throws no-hitter for Triple-A Iowa
Chris Rusin struck out three, walked two and tossed 118 pitches (72 strikes) in the Triple-A Iowa Cubs' 3-0 win over the New Orleans Zephyrs to complete the Pacific Coast League's first no-hitter in five years. It was the first no-hitter for an Iowa pitcher since Reggie Patterson completed the feat on Aug. 21, 1984.
Speaking almost two hours after the game had completed, the former UK standout still couldn't fathom the historic event.
"It was unbelievable," Rusin said. "It went by so quick. It still hasn't really hit me yet, to be honest with you. It was one of the better moments of my career, maybe second-best behind getting called up the first time (in 2012). It still hasn't hit me."
Entering the ninth with 94 pitches under his belt, Rusin's final frame got off to a rough start when Kyle Skipworth reached on catcher interference. The left-hander retired Zack Cox and Matt Angle on three combined pitches and got Josh Rodriguez to a full count when the New Orleans second baseman smacked a ball to center. Cubs center fielder Matt Szczur dived, stretched and snagged the ball for the game's 27th out.
■ Michael Antonio and Humberto Arteaga each doubled and had an RBI in the Lexington Legends' 4-2 win over the Asheville Tourists Wednesday night.
Sam selected for Arthur Ashe Courage award
Michael Sam has been selected the winner of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
The Missouri defensive end, who might be drafted by an NFL team this weekend, will receive the award given to individuals who transcend sports at The 2014 ESPYs on July 16.
Sam, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, has announced that he is gay, making him set to become the first openly gay player in the NFL. ESPN is honoring Sam for "his courage and honesty that resonates beyond sports."
"I'm very honored to be presented with the Arthur Ashe award," he said. "It is about courage.
"You know, I don't think there is anything courageous I did. I look forward to when we can live life in a world when gays don't have to come out in public."
■ The NFL Players Association confirmed Wednesday that it filed a grievance on behalf of Jimmy Graham concerning the Saints tight end's franchise tag designation.
At issue is whether the NFL was correct to apply the tight end tag to Graham or whether Graham should have received the more lucrative wide receiver tag, a difference of $5 million.
The NFL's current collective bargaining agreement states that a player should be tagged according to the position at which he lined up most often. Graham and his agent, Jimmy Sexton, are contending that the frequency with which Graham lined up split out from the line merits the $12.3 million receiver's franchise tag, not the $7 million tight end tag.
No date for a grievance hearing has been set, but the filing alone could provide Graham with a measure of additional leverage as he seeks to have his franchise tag designation removed in favor of a long-term extension.
July 15 is the final day a team can sign 2014 franchise players to long-term extensions.
Attorneys: Paternos trying to rewrite history
Joe Paterno's relatives are attempting to rewrite history and ignore reality as they seek to overturn a $60 million fine and other NCAA sanctions against Penn State because of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal, NCAA attorneys said in asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the late Penn State football coach's family.
The NCAA's 64-page response was filed Tuesday in Centre County. It argues the university willingly agreed to sanctions including a temporary postseason ban and scholarship reductions after Sandusky, Paterno's former defensive coordinator, was convicted of abusing boys, including some incidents at campus football facilities.
Paterno's family has sued to overturn the sanctions, arguing that Penn State was wrongly forced by the NCAA to accept the penalties that harmed the school, defamed Paterno's memory and affected the ability of his son and assistant coach, Jay Paterno, and others to find jobs. The NCAA also voided 112 wins from Paterno's tenure that coincided with Sandusky's years-long abuse of the boys, meaning Paterno is no longer recognized as the NCAA's winningest Division I coach.
The NCAA contends the lawsuit should be thrown out because the sanctions have nothing to do with the Paterno family and have helped the university regain its reputation.
"Plaintiffs do not like this success story because it relies on the history that actually happened, as opposed to the history that they wish happened," the attorneys wrote.
■ NBC Universal agreed to pay $7.75 billion Wednesday for the exclusive broadcast rights to the six Olympic Games from 2022 to 2032.
The last word
After feasting on the Houston Rockets' porous perimeter defense in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, the Portland Trail Blazers appeared to be caught off guard when they faced San Antonio in Game 1 of the semifinals on Tuesday. The Spurs led by 26 points at halftime and cruised to a 116-92 win. Said Portland point guard Damian Lillard of the Spurs:
"That is a championship team."