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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: Another Brewer bullpen collapse hands Pittsburgh its 81st win

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The Milwaukee Brewers’ bullpen imploded in the final two innings last night, as the Crew handed Pittsburgh a 4-3 victory at Miller Park. The Brewers also helped the Pirates secure their first non-losing season since 1992. Twelve of Pittsburgh’s 81 victories came against Milwaukee. Marlon Byrd broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning with a run-scoring double off Brewers’ reliever Brandon Kintzler. The Brewers came back in the eighth with an R-B-I single from Jean Segura. Then in the ninth, closer Jim Henderson hung a slider to pinch-hitter Travis Snyder – who belted it over the right-center field wall to give the Pirates their victory. Henderson’s loss dropped him to 3-and-5. Jonathan Lucroy provided Milwaukee’s only other offense with a two-run single. Snyder’s blast was the only Pittsburgh hit that didn’t come from the 3-4-and-5 combo of Andrew McCutcheon, Justin Morneau, and Byrd. They went 7-for-10, while the rest of the Pirates batted 1-for-24. McCutcheon belted his 100th career homer, and became only the sixth player in Pirates’ history to hit 100 homers and steal 100 bases with the team. Vin Mazzaro got the win in relief for Pittsburgh. He’s 7-and-2. Mark Melancon earned his 11th save, as the Pirates have now won four straight on Wisconsin soil for the first time since 2002. The Brewers have lost five straight overall, and six-of-their-last-seven. They’ll play the Pirates again tonight. Right-hander Wily Peralta faces Pittsburgh southpaw Francisco Liriano. 

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After a day off, the Green Bay Packers return to the practice field today to get ready for their season opener on Sunday at San Francisco. About one of every five Packers are from California – and they’ll return to their home state to seek revenge against a 49’ers team that eliminated the Pack from last season’s playoffs. Green Bay’s two biggest stars are from California – Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews. The Packers’ first-round pick this year, defensive lineman Datone Jones, is from Compton – and he played his college ball at U-C-L-A. He guesses that there are 15 men he played with in high school who are now in the N-F-L. California had almost 105-thousand football players in high school last year, more than any other sport. Together, they’re almost the total population of the city of Green Bay. Receiver James Jones is also from California – along with fellow Packers Jarrett Bush, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Seneca Wallace, Davon House, and Jeremy Ross. Packer rookies Johnathan Franklin and David Bakhtiari are also from the Golden State. 

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The 21st-ranked Wisconsin football team will play a squad in the N-C-A-A’s next-lowest division on Saturday, when it hosts Tennessee Tech. The Badgers are paying the Golden Eagles a half-million dollars – and Tech coach Watson Brown has been playing as many of those “money games” as possible to help build his program. Since arriving at Tennessee Tech in 2007, Brown’s teams have played Oregon, Georgia, Auburn, and others on the road. He said the big paydays have not helped his record – but they’ve been huge for his school. The Big Ten is phasing out such opponents out in the near future, and Brown says he hopes other big conferences like the Big-12 and S-E-C don’t follow suit. Tennessee Tech is 0-and-28 against Bowl Subdivision schools. Brown’s teams are 0-and-8 in that department, with an average losing score of 47-to-6. Last weekend, it was Tech’s turn to pounce on a smaller school. They crushed N-A-I-A Cumberland 63-to-7, while completing only 12 passes. Tech rushed for 323 yards in that contest, as four running backs carried the ball at least a half-dozen times each. The Badgers are also 1-and-0, after crushing U-Mass 45-nothing last Saturday. 

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The U-W Green Bay men’s basketball team will host both Wisconsin and Virginia later this year. The Phoenix announced its schedule yesterday. It includes 14 home contests – including the Badgers’ fourth-ever trip to Titletown in Green Bay’s home opener on November 16th. Virginia – coached by former Green Bay star Tony Bennett – will come into the Resch Center on December seventh. The Phoenix will compete in two tournaments in November. They’ll play Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Texas Southern in the H-B-C-A Tip-Off Challenge November 8th-through-10th. Over Thanksgiving, they’ll be in the Great Alaska Shootout for the first time in 18 years. They’ll play Pepperdine on November 28th. Nine of Green Bay’s 14 home contests will be against teams that made the last post-season back in March. 

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A high school freshman in central Wisconsin has given his verbal commitment to play his college basketball at Marquette. 15-year-old Phillip Flory, who’s just starting his prep career at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln, is the youngest player to be offered a scholarship by Marquette coach Buzz Williams. Williams liked what he saw in July, when the 6-2 Flory scored in double figures in all four games he played at the Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook Summer Tournament in Plymouth. 

Soccer players from Wisconsin won three-of-the-four weekly awards in the Horizon League. Forward Sabastian Xiong (zhong) of U-W Green Bay has been named the men’s player-of-the-week on offense. U-W Milwaukee goal-keeper Liam Anderson is the league’s top defensive player. And Green Bay’s Hekla Palmadottir was named the women’s offensive player-of-the-week. Detroit goal-tender Martha Dunbar won the women’s defensive honors. Xiong, a senior, scored twice against 12th-ranked Marquette in a 3-3 draw last weekend. Anderson, a freshman, had six saves in his collegiate debut against the Golden Eagles. Palmadottir, a senior, was named the offensive M-V-P at the Green Bay tournament last weekend. She had a goal and two assists in a pair of contests against Western Illinois and Eastern Illinois. 

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