WISCONSIN SPORTS BRIEFS: Brewers avoid winless homestand
MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee Brewers avoided going winless in a six-game home-stand, by beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-3 last night at Miller Park.
Khris Davis belted a two-run homer, as the Crew churned out 13 hits to Pittsburgh's 12. Norichika Aoki had three of Milwaukee's hits, all singles. The Brewers broke a 2-2 tie in the third inning by batting around and scoring five times to pull away. Jonathan Lucroy had the game-winning hit with an RBI-ground-rule double. In the fifth, Andrew McCutcheon had just homered for the Pirates when Brewers' starter Wily Peralta hit Justin Morneau in the shoulder with a pitch. Morneau, who's had a history of concussions, took issue and both benches emptied. No punches were thrown, and nobody got tossed out. Peralta avoided becoming the second pitcher to lose a Major League-high 15 games for the year. The win puts him at 9-14. Peralta gave up three runs and nine hits in six innings, with six strikeouts and a walk. Francisco Liriano took the loss for Pittsburgh, giving up seven runs in three frames as he fell to 15-and-7. The Pirates blew a chance to sweep three games in Milwaukee for the first time since 2004. They still lead the National League Central by a game over Saint Louis. The Brewers remain a game out of last, as the fifth-place Cubs also won last night. Milwaukee will open a weekend series at Wrigley Field tomorrow, after a day off today.
Former UW-Stevens Point right-hander Jordan Zimmermann picked up his National League-leading 16th win for the Washington Nationals last night. He struck out five in seven innings, as the Nats topped the Phillies, 3-2 in Philadelphia. Zimmermann, who's from Auburndale in central Wisconsin, gave up two runs on seven hits. He's now 16-8. Zimmermann is 3-2 in his last five starts, and he's gone at least seven innings in four-of-those-five outings.
The Beloit Snappers can clinch their first-round Midwest League playoff series tonight with a home win over Clinton. The Snappers won the opener of their best-of-three Western Division semi-finals last night, 9-6 at Clinton in 10 innings. Chris Bostick hit a solo homer in the top of the 10th, and then Nick Rickles belted a two-run shot. Former Brewers' first-round draft choice Dylan Covey will start for Beloit in tonight's Game-Two. If Clinton wins, the third-and-deciding game would be played at Beloit tomorrow night. In the other Western Division series, Quad Cities can advance tonight after being Cedar Rapids in their best-of-three opener, 2-1.
San Francisco 49'ers coach Jim Harbaugh has asked the NFL for a clarification on when quarterback Colin Kaepernick loses his protection in the pocket during his read-option plays. The Green Bay Packers open their regular season against the Niners on Sunday in northern California. Packers' middle linebacker Clay Matthews promised a more aggressive defensive stand against Kaepernick, who ran for 181 yards in the Niners' playoff win over Green Bay in January. The Packers believe that Kaepernick can be legally hit not only if he carries the ball and doesn't slide -- but also when he pulls off a run-fake after a handoff, whether he's in the pocket or not. Matthews told reporters yesterday that when a quarterback carries out a play-fake, he loses his protections as a passer in the pocket. He says the Packers' believe their defensive game plan is within the rules. Matthews said a lot would be determined by the calls in Week-One. Niners' coach Harbaugh said he does not expect an answer from the league office this week on a clarification of the rules. He says he'll talk about it with the officials just before Sunday afternoon's contest.
Packers' corner Casey Hayward will not play in Sunday's regular season opener at San Francisco. He's still getting over a hamstring injury suffered early in Training Camp. Rookie Micah Hyde from Iowa will take Hayward's place as Green Bay's Number-three corner behind starters Tramon Williams and Sam Shields. Hyde says he's excited about the opportunity, and he admits having some jitters. Hyde has already getting extra study time on his possible opponents -- and his overall preparations for the game won't change.
Linebacker Conor O'Neill will start for Wisconsin on Saturday, when the 21st-ranked Badgers host FCS school Tennessee Tech. O'Neill will start in place of Derek Landisch, who will miss the game with an injured ankle. Both teams won their season openers a week ago. Landisch hopes to be ready for the Badgers' third contest a week from Saturday night at Arizona State. Meanwhile, current starting center Dallas Lewallen is still working out ball exchange issues in his snaps to quarterback Joel Stave. Lewallen is replacing injured center Dan Voltz at the moment. Lewallen was slated to be either the left guard during the Badgers' pre-season camp. Offensive line coach T.J. Woods now says he wishes he would have given Lewallen more snaps at the backup center spot. Saturday's game kicks off at 11 a.m. and will be brodacast on the Big Ten Network.
Mark Bemowski of Mukwonago won his fourth straight Wisconsin State Senior Open golf title yesterday. He defeated Jim Ignatowski of Franklin on the first playoff hole in Oconomowoc, after the two amateurs were tied at the end of the 36-hole regulation at two-over-par 142. Ramiro Romo of Burlington, who won the State Senior Amateur tournament a week ago, finished 16th at the Senior Open.
Four University of Wisconsin swimmers have been named to the U.S. national team for the coming year. Three are juniors at the UW -- Nick Caldwell, Ivy Martin, and Drew teDuits. They're joined by Michael Weiss, who graduated from Madison last spring. Martin won the 50-meter freestyle at last month's U.S. Open, after winning a Big Ten title in the event last spring. Weiss took home a gold medal in the 400-individual medley at this year's World University Games. Caldwell and teDuits expect to be among the top swimmers on the Badger men's team this season. teDuits won the 200-backstroke at last spring's NCAA championships. Caldwell is a transfer from Florida who's been on the U.S. junior national team.