Afternoon State Sports Briefs: UWM has three wins over Big Ten teams
MINNEAPOLIS - The UW-Milwaukee baseball team is 3-0 against teams from the Big Ten. That's after the Panthers won at Minnesota yesterday, 2-1.
Ryan Solberg scored the winning run on a throwing error by the Gophers. Senior Jonathan Capasso recorded his 200th career hit, and five UWM pitchers combined for a three-hitter. The Panthers are now 23-19 overall. Minnesota, which leads the Big Ten, is now 28-16. Today, UWM said it would not play a scheduled game at Chicago State on Monday. They were expecting to play in a new stadium on the campus - but officials said the field is not ready yet. The contest will not be made up.
Milwaukee Brewers' manager Ron Roenicke says he has no intention of benching second baseman Rickie Weeks, despite his .188 batting average. Weeks was dropped last night from the Number-five spot in the batting order to the seventh spot - where he went 0-for-3 and ended a potential seventh inning rally by grounding out. That made Weeks the latest victim of the Miller Park boo-birds, who also got on John Axford during a 3-and-6 home-stand that ended with a three-run loss to Texas. Weeks leads the Brewers with 38 strikeouts. He also leads the team with 18 walks, which have propped up his on-base percentage at .308. This is the second straight year that Weeks got off to a bad start at the plate. He recovered around mid-season last year, and Roenicke expects Weeks to again snap out of his doldrums soon - and the best way is to have him play every day. The Brewers are off today, and will open a series at Cincinnati tomorrow night.
Pitching continues to be a downfall for the Milwaukee Brewers - but they continue to have one of the Majors' best combinations of power-and-speed. The Brewers are one of just five big league teams to hit 35-or-more homers with 25-or-more stolen bases. They're tied for fourth in the National League with 38 homers. And the Crew leads the Majors with 27 stolen bases and 43 infield hits in 31 games. Ron Roenicke is just the latest Milwaukee manager to highlight the long ball - but unlike the others, he has also put a premium on "small ball" in which players leg out the runs. Roenicke calls it an additional way to generate offense, and he says it works well with the personnel his team has. Jean Segura and Norichika Aoki lead the big leagues with 10 infield hits each - and slugger Ryan Braun is tied for sixth in that category with seven.
In the Midwest League, the Beloit Snappers will host a double-header against Peoria this evening, weather permitting. Possible showers and thunderstorms are in the forecast for the Badger State. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will face the same issue at Appleton, where they're scheduled to play Clinton tonight. The Rattlers split a twin bill last night, winning the opener 5-0 and losing the nightcap 4-2. Beloit is coming off a 6-1 victory over Peoria. Also in the Midwest League tonight, Cedar Rapids plays at Quad Cities. Burlington hosts Kane County. Fort Wayne is at home against Great Lakes. Lansing is at Dayton. South Bend plays at Lake County. And Bowling Green entertains West Michigan.
UW-Whitewater opened the NCAA Division III softball tournament today, with a 6-1 home victory over Finlandia. The Warhawks have the top seed in their eight-team double-elimination regional. They scored all their runs in the third-through-fifth innings. Samie Seamon went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer, as Whitewater improved to 32-5. Finlandia moved into the loser's bracket after falling to 25-7.
Wisconsin Lutheran lost to top-seeded Concordia-Chicago 6-3 today, in the opening game of the Northern Athletics Conference baseball tournament in Mequon. Concordia never trailed, scoring three times in the fourth inning, once in the fifth, and twice in the sixth. Aaron Roeseler hit a two-run triple for Wisconsin Lutheran, which fell to 17-and-16 on the year. Concordia-Chicago improved to 33-and-5 as it moves on in the winner's bracket of the double-elimination tournament. Number-three Aurora is playing Rockford this afternoon. Concordia-Mequon takes on Number-two Benedictine in a late afternoon contest. Tonight, the losers of the first two games will play an elimination contest. It's a double-elimination tournament which wraps up on Saturday.
Four Wisconsin players have been named to the All-Northern Athletics Conference baseball first team. Wisconsin Lutheran has two players on the top squad - junior second baseman Garrick Day, and sophomore shortstop Aaron Roeseler. First baseman Chad Langley of Marian was also named to the first team, along with Pleasant Prairie native Shawn Miller of Concordia-Chicago. The All-NAC second team includes Sam Forkert of Marian, Andrew Mueller of Concordia-Mequon, Tim Kuchenbecker of Lakeland, Alex Jaskulski of Edgewood, and Pleasant Prairie native Derek Binninger of Concordia-Chicago. Trevor Koehn of Edgewood, Daniel Mueller of Concordia-Mequon, and Brandon Winfield of Marian were listed as honorable mentions. Earl Vorpagel and Cole Miklavcic of Marian both made the all-Freshman team along with Andrew Lauritzen of Edgewood and Josh Ruppel of Wisconsin Lutheran. Benedictine swept the top player honors. Tim Hendricks was named the NAC's position player-of-the-year, and Chris Jordan was honored as the top pitcher.
CBSSports.com says Milwaukee Bucks teammates Monta Ellis and Larry Sanders almost came to blows after their Game-Three home playoff loss to Miami two weeks ago. The Bucks led by 10 points in that contest before falling to the Heat by 13. The CBS report said Sanders aired his frustration, and Ellis took issue with it - and a teammate stepped in to avoid a physical confrontation. Sanders had 16 points and 11 rebounds in that game, while Ellis was held to just seven points. The Bucks ended up getting swept by the Heat in four first-round games - and Milwaukee's late season collapse was said to be the main reason that coach Jim Boylan lost his job.
The MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas has hosted major boxing matches and concerts. Now, there are reports that the Marquette University men's basketball team could play a game there next season. There are apparently talks on having the Golden Eagles play New Mexico at the MGM arena on December 21st. It would reportedly be a night game, so it does not conflict with TV coverage of the New Mexico Bowl that afternoon. Colorado and Oklahoma State are also said to be arranging a game at the MGM on December 20th, the night before the proposed Marquette contest.
The winningest football coach in the NCAA's Division III is stepping down. Larry Kehres turned Mount Union of Ohio into a national powerhouse, winning 11 Division III titles in 27 seasons. He'll stay on as the school's athletic director, and he's turning over the coaching reins to his 37-year-old son Vince. UW-Whitewater and its fans know Kehres and the Mount Union football program all too well. The two schools played each other in the national title game seven years in a row from 2005-through-2011. Whitewater won four of those matchups, including the final three. Kehres was in the title game in 16-of-his-27 campaigns. His overall record was 332-24-2. His winning percentage of .924 is the best ever at the college level. Kehres leaves on top, after his Purple Raiders beat Saint Thomas of Saint Paul last December to win the 2012 national championship.
Deanna Latham of the University of Wisconsin has received the Big Ten's final weekly award of the spring in women's track. She shared the honor with Jillian Smith of Michigan. Latham, a junior, won the 100-meter hurdles at Wisconsin Open last weekend with the second-best time in Badgers' history, :13.49 seconds.