WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: New pitchers keeping Brewers atop NL Central
MILWAUKEE - Mike Fiers and Jimmy Nelson are doing more than their part to keep the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central Division race.
The two right-handers were called up from the minors in recent weeks to replace the injured Matt Garza, as well as Marco Estrada -- who pitched his way out of the rotation with too many gopher balls. Fiers will start tonight, when the Brewers open a two-game Interleague home series against Toronto. In his most recent call-up, the 29-year-old Fiers gave up one run in eight innings in a home win over the Dodgers -- and he struck out 14 Chicago Cubs in six shutout innings last week. That made Fiers only the eighth pitcher since 1900 to fan 14 batters in six innings or less. It's heady company, considering that Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson are part of that group. Fiers is not sure how many more starts he'll get -- but it appears that Garza's injury won't cost Milwaukee the division crown if they don't clinch it. Nelson has not had the same impact -- but he has pitched well, with a 2-3 record and a 3.86 ERA in seven starts. The Crew has a two-and-a-half game division lead going into tonight's action. Left-hander J.A. Happ goes for Toronto tonight.
In the Midwest League, the Beloit Snappers will try to win their second straight at Peoria tonight. The Snappers are coming off a 6-4 victory last evening. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers play at Clinton again, on the heels of a 10-5 Rattlers loss.
The Saint Norbert College women's soccer team is picked to finish second in the Midwest Conference this season. A new coaches' poll has Lake Forest edging out the Green Knights by just one vote, 94-93. Saint Norbert won the regular season and conference tournament titles a year ago. Monmouth is projected to place third, and Carroll fourth.
An assistant coach for 12 years with the Marian University softball team is finally taking over the top spot. Tony Draves has been named to replace Ashley Steltenpohl, who recently became the new head coach at UW-Stevens Point. Draves has also spent the last 19 years teaching math, including the past seven years in high school at Fond du Lac -- where Marian is located. He's also been an assistant with the Marian men's basketball team for 13 years. Draves will join the university full-time.