WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Brewers' first Cactus League game today
PHOENIX - Right-hander Marco Estrada will start this afternoon, as the Milwaukee Brewers play Oakland at the Athletics' spring training complex in Phoenix.
Oakland won its exhibition opener yesterday, beating San Francisco 10-5. The Brewers will play a 31-game exhibition schedule over the next month -- including two contests at Miller Park against Kansas City right before Opening Day. Estrada says he looks forward to re-introducing a cut-fastball to his arsenal of pitches. He stopped using it after the 2011 season, and he's not sure why. Fellow Brewers' starter Wily Peralta is also scheduled to get some work in today -- along with relievers Zach Duke, Will Smith, Rob Wooten, and Donovan Hand. The Brewers obtained the 24-year-old Smith from the Royals in a trade that sent outfielder Norichika Aoki to Kansas City.
Caron Butler's short tenure with the Milwaukee Bucks could end as early as today. Media reports said progress was made yesterday in negotiations to have the Bucks buy out a contract that's due to expire this summer, so he could go off to playoff contender. Miami is reportedly interested in the 33-year-old Butler, as the Heat go for a third straight title. If he clears waivers today, he would have time to join a new team before Saturday's NBA waiver deadline for playoff rosters. Butler has a championship ring with Dallas from 2011 -- but an injury kept him out of the Mavericks' post-season. Butler, a Racine native, was traded to the Bucks from Phoenix last summer. He has averaged 11 points and almost five rebounds in 34 games. Butler missed 20 contests due to injuries this season. He sat out Milwaukee's last two contests against Indiana and Philadelphia due to ankle problems. The struggling Bucks will play at Indiana tonight.
The Marquette University women's basketball team rallied in the second half last night to win at Saint John's, 74-61 in Queens, New York. The Golden Eagles did not score a field goal for eight minutes in the first half. They went down by as many as 23 before coming back to trail by seven at the intermission. Marquette took over in the second half with a 39-point outburst. The Eagles out-rebounded the Red Storm 45-to-33 for the game, with a slight 38-to-35-percent shooting edge. Katie Young had 26 points and 12 rebounds for Marquette, which improved to 10-6 in the Big East and 19-8 overall. Aliyyah Handford scored 21 for Saint John's, which dropped to 12-4 in the conference and 19-8 overall. Marquette will play its regular season home finale on Saturday against Creighton. Tonight, the Marquette men entertain Georgetown. The UW-Milwaukee men are at Detroit. UW-Green Bay has a men's game at Oakland and a women's contest at Wright State. The UW-Parkside women-and-men both play at Lewis tonight.
There were no surprises last night as the WIAC men's basketball tournament got underway. Third-seeded UW-La Crosse eliminated No. 6 Oshkosh 76-61 in the opening round. Calahan Skogman scored 23 points and Lucas Collom had 19 rebounds for the host La Crosse. Number-four Platteville scored a 70-53 home victory over fifth-seeded Stout. Chas Cross had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Pioneers. The semifinals will be played tomorrow night. Platteville travels to top-seeded Stevens Point. La Crosse will play at No. 2 Whitewater. Meanwhile, the WIAC women's tournament resumes tonight with the semi-finals. Top-seeded Whitewater hosts Superior, and No. 2 Oshkosh is at home against Stevens Point.
Edgewood College has pulled off a second straight upset in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference men's basketball tournament. Edgewood -- the No. 7 seed-- won at No. 3 Lakeland 77-76 in last night's semi-finals. Joe Klocek hit the game-winning three-pointer in the final 30 seconds as a defender knocked him to the floor. Edgewood will play at top-seeded Marian of Fond du Lac on Saturday for the conference tournament crown. Marian eliminated Number-four Aurora in last night's semis, 71-51. Five Marian players scored in double figures, led by Josh Creed with 14 points off the bench. In the NACC women's tourney, top-seeded Wisconsin Lutheran will host Alverno on Saturday. Both won their semi-finals games on Tuesday night.
Safety Chris Banjo will stay with the Green Bay Packers. He signed a one-year exclusive rights' tender offer yesterday reportedly worth 570-thousand-dollars. Banjo tweeted that it was his birthday, and there was no better way to spend it than to sign with the Pack. NFL players can only sign with their current teams for at least their first three years. If their deals expire then, they can become restricted free agents. Banjo was among three undrafted rookies to make the Green Bay roster a year ago. He was second on the Packers with 10 special teams' tackles. On defense, Banjo had 15 tackles and a pass breakup in his first year. Also yesterday, the Packers confirmed the signing of running back Michael Hill. It was first reported in the media nine days ago.
The Milwaukee Admirals lost at home to division-leading Grand Rapids last night 5-1. Kevin Henderson scored the only goal for Milwaukee with 8:29 to play. It prevented the Admirals from being shut out in back-to-back games for the first time in nine years. As it was, Milwaukee went over 127 minutes without scoring, while extending a season-long winless streak to five games. The Admirals only have one victory in their last nine outings. They're fourth in the American Hockey League's Midwest Division, 13 points behind first-place Grand Rapids. Teemu Pulkkinen scored twice for the Griffins in a span of only nine seconds early in the third period.
Two-time defending champion UW-Milwaukee is the leader after the opening day of the Horizon League women's swimming-and-diving meet in Cleveland. The Panthers have 112 points, three more than second-place Oakland. UW-Green Bay is fourth with 78. Milwaukee's Natalie Johnson won the women's one-thousand-yard freestyle race. UWM also won gold in the 200-freestyle and 200-medley relays. The medley team set a league-meet record time of 1:40-point-28. On the men's side, Oakland is the Day-One leader with 136 points. UW-Milwaukee is second with 128, and UW-Green Bay is fifth with 85. K.J. Heger of Milwaukee won the three-meter diving event. Green Bay took first in the 200-medley relay. The Horizon meet continues through Saturday.
The University of Wisconsin is in fifth place after the first night of the Big Ten Conference men's swimming meet in Ann Arbor Michigan. The Badgers have 58 points after two events. The host Michigan is the leader with 80. The Wisconsin 800-yard freestyle relay placed second. UW's Matt Hutchins, Nick Caldwell, Cannon Clifton, and Tyler Hines set a new record time in the event of 6:19.22 seconds.
In women's college basketball...
Marquette 74, Saint John's 61
In the WIAC men's basketball tournament...
UW-La Crosse 76, UW-Oshkosh 61
UW-Platteville 70, UW-Stout 53
In the NACC men's basketball tourney...
Edgewood 77, Lakeland 76
Marian 71, Aurora 51
In Wisconsin girls' high school basketball...
Cudahy 44, Shorewood 41
Gibraltar 57, Green Bay NEW Lutheran 34
Greenfield 59, Greendale 52
Milwaukee Marshall 46, Milwaukee Reagan 25
Milwaukee Bay View/Lifelong Learning 42, Milwaukee South 39
Milwaukee North 34, Milwaukee Hamilton 26
Milwaukee Riverside 66, Milwaukee Rufus King 60
Milwaukee School of Languages 71, Milwaukee Bradley Tech 25
Milwaukee Vincent 46, Milwaukee Washington/Metro 40
Milwaukee Pius XI 54, South Milwaukee 7
New Berlin Eisenhower 49, Wauwatosa West 22
New Berlin West 57, Saint Francis 5
Whitnall 47, Brown Deer 39
In the American Hockey League...
Grand Rapids 5, Milwaukee 1