Bat Cats lose 11-1 at No. 2 LSU
LSU's Aaron Nola pitched seven innings, giving up one run on four hits, to improve to 5-0 on the season in the No. 2 Tigers' 11-1 victory against No. 9 Kentucky at Baton Rouge, La., on Friday night.
The Cats' only run came on Austin Cousino's RBI single in the fifth inning that scored Matt Reida. JaCoby Jones had a team-high three hits and two RBI for LSU.
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■ Christian Stokes and Alice O'Brien both hit home runs in the first inning, and Nikki Sagermann added another in the fourth in the 20th-ranked Kentucky softball team's 3-1 victory at South Carolina.
■ Kentucky's gymnastics team will try to earn a berth in the NCAA Championships when it competes in the Morgantown (W.Va.) Regional at West Virginia on Saturday. The Cats are seeded No. 4 in the six-team regional behind No. 1 Michigan, No. 2 Nebraska and No. 3 Illinois. West Virginia and North Carolina are seeded fifth and sixth, respectively. The top two finishers from each of the six regional sites around the country will advance to the NCAA Championships at Los Angeles on April 19-21.
■ Kentucky distance runner Chelsea Oswald was named the women's winner of the 2012-13 Southeastern Conference H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year award. Alabama football player Barrett Jones was the men's recipient.
■ Kentucky's women's tennis lost 5-2 to Vanderbilt on Friday at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex. Kentucky's Nadia Ravita, ranked 24th nationally in singles, def. No, 61 Lauren Mira 7-5, 6-3.
■ The UK volleyball team has scheduled a practice open to fans on April 19 in Memorial Coliseum. The practice will be followed by a reception during which fans can interact with UK players and coaches. UK finished 22-11 last season and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four years.
Lions agree to deal with Akers
The Detroit Lions didn't have to look long for a new kicker. Detroit added four-time All-Pro David Akers, one day after Jason Hanson retired. Akers' agent, Jerrold Colton, confirmed Friday that he and the Lions agreed to terms. Colton declined to give details when asked if Akers got a one-year contract.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to play for the Lions' organization," said Akers, who played at Tates Creek and the University of Louisville. "I'm not trying nor would I be able to fill the likes of Jason's shoes. He is and will always be a legend as far as I'm concerned. That being said, it will be an honor to attempt to follow in his footsteps. It will be great to be near my extended family as we strive for a championship."
Akers' wife's family is originally from the Detroit area.
Johnson wins pole at Martinsville
Jimmie Johnson knew he had a fast car the minute he pulled it onto the track at Martinsville Speedway. The seven-time winner on NASCAR's shortest, trickiest track backed it up in qualifying with a track record. Johnson made his fastest lap around the 0.526-mile oval at 98.400 mph Friday, leading a parade of six drivers who broke Tony Stewart's track record speed of 98.083 mph. It is Johnson's 30th career pole, and third in 23 starts at Martinsville.
"That's the icing on the cake," Johnson said when told of the record. "That makes the day even better yet. Track records are hard to come by, so I'm very proud of that and happy to have that."
Once he figured out how fast his car was, Johnson said, "I just needed to do my job and not mess up."
MKG grabs career-high 14 rebounds
Mike Miller scored a season-high 26 points on seven three-pointers, and the injury-depleted Miami Heat beat the Charlotte Bobcats 89-79 on Friday night. The Heat won despite playing without stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen, who were held out while recovering from injuries.
Rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 18 points and a career-high 14 rebounds for the Bobcats, who lost for only the second time in their last seven home games.
McIlroy three shots back at Texas Open
Rory McIlroy found the groove he was looking for when he made the last-minute decision to sign up for the Texas Open. McIlroy matched the low round of the day with a 5-under par 67 on Friday and moved within three shots of the lead at San Antonio, continuing his last-minute preparations for next week's Masters.
The world's No. 2 golfer, who decided to play in the tournament late last week, had seven birdies — including his final three holes — and overcame a bogey on No. 9 after driving into the rough and catching his left shin on a nearby cactus.
The misstep dropped McIlroy to 1 under, but he rebounded with key putts on the final three holes for birdies and pulled well within reach of the leaders entering the weekend.
The 23-year-old two-time major winner is three shots back of leader Billy Horschel, who birdied his last two holes to post his second straight 4-under 68.
■ Inbee Park took the second-round lead in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, making three birdies in a row early on the back nine and rebounding from a wind-blown bogey with four straight pars at Racho Mirage, Calif.
Howard remains top U.S. goalkeeper
Tim Howard is still the No. 1 American goalkeeper despite two strong games by Brad Guzan in World Cup qualifiers last month.
Howard, the starter since 2007, missed the snowy 1-0 win over Costa Rica and the 0-0 tie at Mexico after breaking two bones in his back while playing for Everton on Feb. 26. The 34-year-old returned to the English club's lineup last Saturday.
"Tim is No. 1 undoubtedly," U.S. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann said.
■ Abby Wambach scored her 155th international goal, moving within three of tying Mia Hamm's record, but the U.S. wasted a late two-goal lead and tied Germany 3-3 in an exhibition Friday night in Offenbach, Germany.
Djokovic defeats Isner in Davis Cup
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic defeated American John Isner 7-6 (5), 6-2, 7-5 to give Serbia a 1-0 lead in a Davis Cup quarterfinal Friday at Boise, Idaho. Although the 6-foot-9 Isner posted 17 aces, his serve let him down. The 23rd-ranked Isner put only 54 percent of his first serves into play in contrast to Djokovic, who capably put 77 percent in play. The Americans' Sam Querrey evened the matchup with a 7-6 (1), 3-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over Viktor Troicki.
The last word
Jeff Burton said fellow NASCAR driver Joey Logano, who has already scuffled with Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart this season, doesn't work well with others. When confronted with an issue from something on the track, Burton said of Logano:
"I don't think he handles it very well. He doesn't just step back and say, 'You know what, OK, let me listen to what you're saying. I may disagree with you but let me listen.' He tends to resist, as if, 'I'm right, I'm right, I'm right.' I know I had an issue with him a few years ago and I encouraged him to go look at the tape. I had already looked at it, so I knew what it showed. I didn't tell him that. The next week I asked him if he had looked at it and he said, 'No, I don't need to.' That kind of attitude is not welcomed."