Wildcats senior Orta named SEC Men's Runner of the Year
Kentucky senior distance runner Luis Orta was honored as the Southeastern Conference's Men's Runner of the Year. It was the first time since the SEC began giving out the award in 2004 that a Wildcat has earned the honor.
"I know how competitive and prestigious this conference is," Orta said. "This is the product of a lot of hard work, but most importantly, the help of teammates, coaches, friends and family. If it wasn't for them I wouldn't even be here right now. I love my team and all the people that always believed in me. This gives me motivation to want more and work even harder to achieve my goals."
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Orta won the 3,000- and 5,000-meter runs at the SEC Indoor Track and Field Championships on Feb. 24-26.
"It was a tremendous accomplishment for Luis to do the double and win the men's 3K and 5K, and obviously it's fantastic that he has won this award," UK Coach Don Weber said.
■ Junior Kara Dill went 3-for-3 to extend her hitting streak to 12 games and Kentucky's softball team defeated Stephen F. Austin 8-1 in its second game at the Ragin' Cajun Invitational on Friday in Lafayette, La. Senior Brittany Cervantes was 3-for-4 with four RBI.
The Cats (8-7) lost the earlier game 3-2 to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, which got a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the seventh.
■ The UK baseball team's series opener against Illinois-Chicago on Friday was postponed. The teams will play a doubleheader Saturday, starting at noon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
■ The UK women's tennis team's SEC opener Friday against LSU was postponed to 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
Wilkerson named to college Hall of Fame
Brad Wilkerson, who was Kentucky's Mr. Baseball at Apollo in 1995 and played eight years in the majors, was one of seven players and coaches elected to the College Baseball Hall of Fame. Wilkerson, who starred at the University of Florida, was joined by former All-Stars Lou Brock and Nomar Garciaparra, former Wisconsin- Oshkosh shortstop Tim Jorgensen and a trio of coaches: Lewis-Clark State's Ed Cheff, Arizona's Frank Sancet and current Rice skipper Wayne Graham.
■ Newly acquired Pittsburgh pitcher A.J. Burnett is expected to miss two to three months while recovering from surgery for a facial fracture, forcing the Pirates to rearrange their plans for opening day. The Pirates had hoped Burnett would be able to start April 5 in the opener at home against Philadelphia. Burnett was injured when he fouled a ball off his face Wednesday during a bunting drill.
■ Former New York Yankees pitching prospect Brien Taylor, the overall No. 1 selection in the 1991 draft, is facing multiple drug charges after his arrest in North Carolina. The Carteret County Sheriff's Office said the 40-year-old Taylor of Beaufort was arrested Thursday. A statement said undercover narcotics agents bought a large quantity of cocaine and crack cocaine from Taylor over several months.
Rose, Gillis tied for PGA lead in Florida
Justin Rose kept preaching par is a good score at PGA National. Thanks to a string of birdies Friday in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., he carved out another 66 to share the lead with Tom Gillis in the Honda Classic.
"You can't play 36 holes around here and expect to come away without any bruises at all," Rose said.
Three birdies over the last five holes also kept Rory McIlroy in the chase for No. 1 in the world.
"Still a lot of golf left — 36 holes," McIlroy said after a 67 in the breezy, balmy afternoon. "I just need to keep doing the same things, try to drive the ball in the fairway and give myself loads of opportunities, and try and take a few. Because you don't need to make tons of birdies out here."
Brian Harman shattered the course record by three shots and even flirted with golf's magic number before he had to settle for par on the 543-yard closing hole for a 61. He's two shots behind.
"Just one of those crazy days where everything comes together," Harman said. "Got off to a really hot start and just kept the pedal down all day. It was awesome."
Tiger Woods shot a 68 that put him seven shots out of the lead. Kentuckians J.B. Holmes (E) and Kenny Perry (+1) both made the cut.
■ Glasgow's Kent Bulle shot a 2-over 70 and was two shots behind the leader, Matthew Harmon of Grand Rapids, Mich., in the NGA Tour's season-opening Killearn Country Club Classic in Tallahassee, Fla. Harmon moved to 11-under par with a 5-under 67 on Saturday. Former University of Kentucky golfer Jordan Blann, who led by one heading into Friday's second round, shot a 1-over 73 and fell four shots behind. Fifteen golfers failed to finish their round, but Shelbyville's Brandon Brown (-5), Morehead's Lee Chaney (-4) and Louisville's Ryan Britt (-2) were in position to make the cut.
Celtics top Nets to move above .500
Paul Pierce had 27 points and eight assists, and the Boston Celtics got back above .500 with their third straight win, beating the visiting New Jersey Nets 107-94 on Friday night. Kevin Garnett added 20 points and 10 rebounds for his second straight double-double and third in four games. Rajon Rondo joined him with a double-double, finishing with 14 points and 13 assists for Boston (18-17). Brook Lopez had 28 points for the Nets.
■ Lou Williams scored 25 points, and Elton Brand had 14 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 105-83 victory over the Golden State Warriors in the 50th anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game. The host Sixers topped 100 points for the first time in 20 games on the night they paid tribute to the record Chamberlain set for the Philadelphia Warriors against the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962, at the Hershey Sports Arena.
■ Luol Deng scored a season-high 24 points and Derrick Rose added 19 as the Chicago Bulls won their fifth straight, 112-91 on Friday night over the host Cleveland Cavaliers, who were without rookie guard Kyrie Irving (flu). Up by 12 at halftime, Chicago built a 24-point lead in the third quarter and coasted to its 12th win in 14 games to stay on Miami's heels for the best record in the Eastern Conference.
■ Former Morehead State star Kenneth Faried had 16 points and 11 rebounds in the Denver Nuggets' 117-115 victory at Houston. The Rockets got six points, 10 rebounds and four blocks from former Kentucky standout Patrick Patterson.
Murray hands Djokovic 1st loss of year
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic lost for the first time this season, beaten by Andy Murray 6-2, 7-5 Friday in the semifinals of the Dubai Championships. Djokovic had been on a 10-match winning streak that included the Australian Open title. In the finals, Murray will play Roger Federer, who edged Juan Martin del Potro 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6).
■ Kicker Mike Nugent has been designated the Cincinnati Bengals' franchise player. Nugent can negotiate with another team, but if Nugent agree to terms with someone else, the Bengals could retain him by matching the offer. If the Bengals decline to match the offer, the team signing Nugent would have to give the Bengals two first-round draft choices.
The last word
NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya didn't have much time to think while his car was spinning out of control into the jet dryer under caution at Daytona. But, after a truck arm (rear suspension part) broke on the backstretch, the No. 42 Chevrolet turned sideways with the driver's side of the car sliding toward the jet dryer.
"I'm going, 'Uh-oh, driver's side — that's going to suck. That's the only thing. You don't think, 'Oh, God, I'm going to kill myself.' You go, 'Oh, that's going to hurt,' (but) it wasn't too bad ... As long as you get out, it's all good, no?"