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Sports briefs: March 11

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Bat Cats win 15th straight; Cousino's hit streak at 14

Kentucky is the last undefeated team left standing in college baseball after a 7-5 win over Canisius on Saturday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Freshman Austin Cousino had three hits to extend his streak to 14 games, and junior Jerad Grundy threw 71⁄3 scoreless innings. Freshman designated hitter A.J. Reed led the Cats with three RBI.

UK (15-0), ranked No. 23 by Collegiate Baseball, almost let a 7-0 lead get away in the ninth, thanks to two fielding errors that led to four of the Golden Griffins' five runs. But the Cats' early offense held up. They finished with 12 hits, bringing their total over two games against Canisius (7-7) to 34.

Cousino, a 5-foot-10 178-pounder from Dublin, Ohio, has had multiple hits in 11 of the 14 games in which he's played this season. The leadoff hitter is batting .446 with 13 RBI. Seven of his 29 hits have been doubles. He had three singles Saturday and scored his 16th run of the season.

Grundy (3-0) allowed three hits and two walks while striking out seven in his second straight dominating win and final tuneup before he'll face Southeastern Conference competition next weekend. He struck out nine in his last start, an 8-2 victory over Illinois-Chicago.

The Cats are off to their third-best start in program history and are four games away from tying the record of 19-0, set in 2007. After finishing up the series against Canisius at 1 p.m. Sunday, they'll host Wright State on Tuesday and Murray State on Wednesday before South Carolina comes to Lexington on Friday for the start of SEC play.

Rifle finishes 2nd at NCAA championship

The Kentucky rifle team fell short of a second straight overall national championship Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. The Cats won the smallbore competition on Friday for a three-point lead heading into Saturday's air-rifle competition. But Texas Christian overtook the Cats, who finished in second place with a combined 4,661, 15 off the leaders. The Cats were runners-up for the fifth time in program history after taking their first overall title with a record 4,700 points last season. They lost just once this past season, to the champion Horned Frogs on Jan. 21.

■ Top-ranked Alabama scored eight runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-1 five-inning victory over Kentucky at the UK Softball Complex Saturday. The Tide (20-0) clinched the series and dropped the Cats (10-10) to 0-2 in the SEC. Kentucky faces Alabama again on Sunday at 1 p.m.


Rubio out for season with torn ACL

Ricky Rubio's sensational rookie season has come to a devastatingly abrupt end. The Timberwolves point guard will miss the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, the team announced on Saturday. Now the upstart Wolves will have to keep chasing a playoff berth without one of the players who was most responsible for the franchise's resurgence. It also means that Rubio will miss the upcoming Olympics, where he was expected to be a vital part of Spain's bid for the gold medal. Rubio went down in the closing seconds of a loss to the Lakers on Friday night, when his knee buckled as he tried to help out on defense against Kobe Bryant.

Aldridge scores 30 to lead Blazers

LaMarcus Aldridge had 30 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Trail Blazers to a 110-99 win at Washington on Saturday night. Aldridge, the former Louisiana State star, was 12-for-15 from the floor and 6-for-6 from the free-throw line. He has scored more than 20 points in three straight games, and the Trail Blazers snapped a four-game road losing streak. Former Kentucky star John Wall had 25 points and eight assists for the Wizards. He has scored at least 20 in three of his last four games.

Rodney Stuckey had 20 points and eight assists, and former Kentucky point guard Brandon Knight scored 19 first-half points as the Pistons routed the Raptors 105-86 Saturday night. The Pistons, who are now 11-6 since a 4-20 start, had six players in double figures and shot over 50 percent for the second straight night.

■ The Nets and Rockets were without their starting point guards for their matchup Saturday night. New Jersey's Deron Williams was sidelined for the second time this season after straining his right calf in Friday night's win at Charlotte. Coach Avery Johnson said Williams is listed as day-to-day and will be re-evaluated on Monday. The Rockets' Kyle Lowry checked himself into a New York-area hospital with a high fever and was expected to miss the remainder of Houston's road trip, which concludes Oklahoma City on Tuesday.


Bubba takes 3-shot lead at Doral

Bubba Watson hit one shot over the green and off the tower. Another shot hit a fan in the gallery. As wild as it looked at the time, he never lost control of his game, and he never lost the lead Saturday in the Cadillac Championship in Doral, Fla. Watson raced off to an eagle-birdie start, then survived a few errant shots coming home on the Blue Monster for a 5-under 67, giving him a three-shot lead and putting him on the verge of his first World Golf Championship.

"All in all, it was a great day," he said.

The "Blue Monster" was more of a pushover in moderate wind, with Rory McIlroy thinking about a 59 with six holes to play, Tiger Woods making an early charge up the leader board and a dozen players signing for a 67 or better. Watson was at 17-under 199.

He will play in the final group Sunday with PGA champion Keegan Bradley, who had a bogey-free 66 and was at 14-under 202. Justin Rose was tied for the lead through 11 holes until Watson found his groove and Rose made too many mistakes. Rose three-putted from long range on the 18th for a 69, leaving him tied with Bradley but no longer in the final group. McIlroy played the last six holes in 2 over and still shot 65, while Woods failed to do much after his birdie-birdie-birdie start. He twice made bogey on the par 5s and shot 68. They were eight shots behind.


Cespedes homers against Reds in debut

Athletics Manager Bob Melvin joked before the game that he'd love to see Yoenis Cespedes hit three homers, steal three bases and rob a hitter of a home run in center field in his first major-league game Saturday. He gladly settled for what the Cuban defector delivered — a solo homer and an RBI single — in Oakland's 6-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds. What impressed Melvin more than those two big hits, however, was Cespedes' patience in his first big-league at-bat, when the swift center fielder didn't take a single swing while drawing a walk off right-hander Johnny Cueto.

"This is the day we were waiting for," Melvin said. "There was a pretty bright spotlight on him today, so for him to be able to go up there and take a walk his first at-bat, I think impressed me as much as the other at-bats."

Cueto (1-1), the Reds opening-day starter, allowed three runs and five hits — two earned — in two innings.

"Today was one of those days I was feeling too strong. I was trying to throw the same speed, but my arm felt so good I was overthrowing," Cueto said. "I didn't think about any names. I just wanted to get this guy out."

Cincinnati Manager Dusty Baker said he was curious about Cespedes, too.

"I talked to a couple Cuban friends in Miami; they said he was a pretty good ballplayer," Baker said. "I'm surprised the A's signed him. I thought they didn't have any money."

Cespedes has signed a $36 million, four-year contract, the highest ever for a Cuban defector.

The last word

Donald Trump on spending $200 million improving Doral's TPC Blue Monster golf course:

"I have friends that are very successful people, and they love to garden. And I like to garden too, I guess, in a much bigger way."