Other Sports

Sports briefs: April 4

Golf

Stupples atop star-studded LPGA leader board

Karen Stupples shot a 4-under 68 on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship, with six other majors winners within seven shots.

Stupples, the 2004 Women's British Open winner, had a 10-under 206 total at Rancho Mirage, Calif., in the season's first major.

Yani Tseng and Suzann Pettersen, who seemingly played herself out of contention with a 73 on Friday, shot 67s to reach 9 under.

Top-ranked Lorena Ochoa rebounded from a slow start with birdies on three of her last seven holes for a 71 to join second-round leader Song Hee-Kim (72) at 7 under. Karrie Webb, Kristie Kerr and Grace Park also were in the top nine.

Stupples said she was nervous before teeing off, and that her caddie, Jerry Woodard, got in her face and gave her a pep talk.

"I needed that routine," she said.

Asked if she'll have a case of the nerves before the final round, she said: "Honestly, I don't think they can be any worse than they can be this morning. In a way, all it will do is make me get out there and enjoy it. Look who I've got chasing me. How could I not enjoy that? That's called life. That's fantastic. That's more exciting than I can even tell."

Kim, Molder share Houston Open lead

Anthony Kim and Bryce Molder are tied for the lead heading into the final round of the Houston Open, the final event before the Masters. Kim struggled off the tee on Saturday, but relied on good putting to shoot a 3-under 69 that left him at 10 under for the tournament. Molder, the second-round leader, made four bogeys and five birdies for a 71.

Vaughn Taylor (70) and Joe Ogilvie (71) were two back at 8 under after both bogeyed the difficult 18th hole. Houston resident Jeff Maggert (70), Graham DeLaet (71) and Lee Westwood (72) were three strokes behind the leaders.

Lexington native Josh Teater shot a 69 and is five shots back.

Colleges

U of L baseball finishes off Villanova

Louisville's baseball team, ranked ninth by Baseball America, completed a sweep of Villanova with a 10-6 home win Saturday at Jim Patterson Stadium. With the victory, Louisville improved to 24-3 overall and 5-1 in the Big East.

Stewart Ijames, an Owensboro Catholic graduate, J.J. Ethel and Phil Wunderlich had three hits apiece for the Cardinals. Ijames was 3-for-4 with two RBI. Neil Holland, who also starred at Owensboro Catholic, got the final five outs to earn his seventh save of the season.Holland, who is 4-0 with a 0.34 ERA in 262⁄3 innings, has allowed one earned run and five hits to go with 30 strikeouts.

Kaili Smith's walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning accounted for the only run of the Kentucky softball team's 1-0 loss to Mississippi State at Starkville. Kentucky dropped to 22-15 overall and 7-9 in Southeastern Conference play.

High schools

Notre Dame football recruit dies after fall

A Notre Dame football recruit was killed in a fall from a fifth-floor hotel balcony during his senior-year spring break in Florida, authorities said Saturday. Matt James died Friday around 6:30 p.m. at the Days Inn Motel in Panama City Beach. Police said he was dead when officers arrived.

"It appears to be a tragic accident," Panama City Beach police Maj. David Humphreys said.

James, an all-state offensive lineman at Cincinnati's St. Xavier High School, had been the first top signing for new Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly.

James was part of a group of about 40 St. Xavier students and a half-dozen parents on the trip.

"Witnesses and friends indicate he had become drunk and belligerent," Humphreys said. "He had leaned over the balcony rail, was shaking his finger at the people in the next room over. He fell over."

Humphreys said the railing at the hotel met the standards for proper height. He said police would be interested in pursuing charges if they learn who provided the underage teen with alcohol.

NASCAR

Harvick wins Nationwide race at Nashville

Kevin Harvick took advantage of a late caution to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday, the Sprint Cup driver's second victory in four series starts this season. Harvick and crew chief Ernie Cope gambled by taking two tires under caution and seized the lead from Brad Keselowski, who was forced to pit under green a few laps earlier. Keselowski's brother, Brian, touched off the race-changing caution by spinning at the entrance to pit road.

Harvick's Chevrolet was strong on long runs all afternoon and was not seriously threatened as the race was contested under green the rest of the way. Harvick beat Reed Sorenson by 0.2 seconds at the finish. Kyle Busch, who beat Harvick in the trucks race Friday night, was third. Justin Allgaier, coming off a victory May 20 at Bristol Motor Speedway, was fourth, and Brad Keselowski rallied to finish fifth.

Tennis

Clijsters defeats Venus in finals

Kim Clijsters claimed another trophy in her career comeback Saturday, winning 17 consecutive points in the second set and beating Venus Williams 6-2, 6-1 in the finals of the Sony Ericsson Open at Key Biscayne, Fla. Williams struggled to keep the ball in play, and Clijsters completed the shockingly lopsided victory in 58 minutes. When Williams hit one final errant forehand on match point, Clijsters raised her arms in triumph.

"I felt like from the beginning I was ready to go and really seeing the ball well," Clijsters said.

After retiring in 2007, Clijsters married and became a mother before returning to the tour last August. The title is her third since her comeback.

Williams repeatedly was bested from the baseline, where she won nine points to 37 for Clijsters.

"It wasn't my best day," Williams said. "She played extremely solid, but it's not like I was blown off the court. Unfortunately I was my own worst enemy."

Boxing

Haye stops Ruiz to retain WBA title

David Haye made a successful first defense of his WBA heavyweight title, knocking down John Ruiz four times Saturday before the American challenger's corner stopped the fight in the ninth round at Manchester, England. The 29-year-old Haye sent Ruiz to the canvas twice in the first round, but Ruiz survived until his trainer waved the white towel 2 minutes and 1 second into the ninth round.

"I am really happy," Haye said. "I felt I was really sharp. There were a load of fans here. The crowd has been absolutely electric for me. There was a 20,000 capacity here with everyone screaming the 'Hayemaker.' With performances like that I'll keep the fans behind me."

For the 38-year-old Ruiz, who held and lost the WBA title twice, it was the ninth defeat of a 55-fight career.

Haye's mission now is to unite the heavyweight belts by fighting either of the Klitschko brothers — Vitali or Wladimir — who between them hold the WBC, IBF and minor WBO titles.

The last word

Former major-leaguer Curt Schilling on the Philadelphia Phillies trading Cliff Lee after adding Roy Halladay during the off-season:

"Trading Cliff Lee was the stupidest thing they've ever done, and they didn't have to. ... It was a stupid, stupid move. They could've had a World Series berth locked up right now with those two guys at the top of their rotation."

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