WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: Braun hits three home runs as Brewers crush Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA -- Ryan Braun hit three homers and drove in a career-high seven runs, as the Milwaukee Brewers ruined Philadelphia's home opener yesterday with a 10-to-4 victory. The R-B-I's tied a team record. The homers were Braun's first in 98 plate appearances dating back to last May, two months before a lingering thumb injury and a drug suspension ended his season. Mark Reynolds and Scooter Gennett each had two hits and an R-B-I for the Brewers, who have won four straight road games. Kyle Lohse got the win, giving up three runs on seven hits in five innings, with five walks and four strikeouts. He's now 1-and-1. Phillies' starter Kyle Kendrick also went five frames and gave up six runs -- four earned. He's now 0-and-1. The Brewers and Phillies will play again tonight at Citizens Bank Park. Right-hander Matt Garza will face Phillies' right-hander Roberto Hernandez.
Brewers' slugger Ryan Braun is still making adjustments for last year's right thumb injury which has cropped up again. He thought he had it resolved before Spring Training, but Braun said last weekend he was feeling numbness. Yesterday, he displayed a new batting stance which eliminated the kick in his front leg, with a shorter stride. Braun said he was trying to move his bat faster through the hitting zone. Also, he put additional padding on the inside of his batting glove instead of the outside to protect the thumb. He said it felt more normal. All this happened while the Philadelphia fans loudly booed Braun when he was introduced before yesterday's game, at all of his plate appearances, and when he made a diving highlight-reel catch in right field in the second inning. Braun said the fired-up environment was motivating for him -- and he said he was serious about enjoying it.
Mequon native Jordan Niebrugge will be among the first dozen players to tee off, when The Masters golf tournament begins tomorrow at Augusta National. He'll be in a three-some with veteran Mark O'Meara and Steven Bowditch of Australia, who recently won the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio. They'll begin their opening rounds of the year's first major at 7:18 tomorrow morning. The 20-year-old Niebrugge is now a sophomore at Oklahoma State. He earned his spot in the Masters by winning the U-S Amateur Public Links Championship last summer. Niebrugge will try to become just the 11th of 41 amateurs to do well enough in the first two rounds to make the weekend cut at Augusta. Only two amateurs have finished in the Top-20 at the Masters since 1985. Steve Stricker of Madison is the only other Wisconsinite in the field. He'll tee off just before 9 a-m tomorrow in a three-some with Zach Johnson and K-J Choi.
Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave is out for the rest of the spring, after he felt more discomfort in the right shoulder he injured in January's Capital One Bowl. Coach Gary Andersen said he got concerned after seeing his starter trying to loosen the shoulder throughout a scrimmage last Saturday. Stave injured the A-C joint in the Badgers' loss to South Carolina. He said there's some swelling, and there's no need to push it right now. Stave will miss a workout tomorrow and the Badgers' Spring Game on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium. Tanner McEvoy will finish the spring with the Number-One offense. He's getting a second chance to try out for the quarterback post, after he was moved to a safety spot last season.
Seymour High School forward Sandy Cohen now says he'll honor his commitment to the Marquette men's basketball team for this fall. Cohen tweeted that he was released from his scholarship after coach Buzz Williams bolted for Virginia Tech last month. He later apologized for jumping the gun, after Marquette officials said he couldn't leave without talking with new coach Steve Wojciechowski first. Meanwhile, Chicago high school forward Malek Harris says he'll re-open his recruiting process as a result of the Marquette coaching change. He said he'll still consider the Golden Eagles -- but he'll also visit Williams at Virginia Tech along with Florida, Gonzaga, and Kansas State. Harris is allowed to explore his options because he had not signed a letter-of-intent with Marquette, as Cohen did.
In hockey, the Milwaukee Admirals scored a 3-to-1 home victory over Rockford last night. Bryan Rodney scored the eventual game-winning goal in the second period. Colton Sissons scored Milwaukee's final goal in his first game back after a stint with the N-H-L's Nashville Predators. Actor Corbin Bernsen fell and hit his head on the ice during an appearance as part of the 25th anniversary of the movie "Major League" which was filmed in Milwaukee. Late in the game, Bernsen showed off a bandage which was covering a couple stitches. Milwaukee won its fourth straight game against Rockford. The Admirals can clinch their 12th straight American Hockey League playoff bid on Friday night at Rockford.
Zach Demmon of U-W Platteville and Luke Watson of Stevens Point are the W-I-A-C baseball players of the week. Demmon, a senior first baseman, batted .480 last week with four homers and four doubles. He had 13 of Platteville's 30 R-B-I's. Watson, a sophomore right-hander, pitched seven scoreless innings of relief to help the Pointers start their conference season at 4-and-0. He struck out five batters in six innings. In softball, Deanna Gilane of Eau Claire and Tori Workman of Stout received the league's weekly honors. Gilane, a junior first baseman, hit .588 last week with four doubles and a two-run homer. Workman, a sophomore right-hander, threw a two-hit shutout against Stevens Point and a five-hitter against Whitewater. Opponents hit .149 against her. The W-I-A-C also recognized David Stilin of La Crosse and Lexie Sondgeroth of Whitewater in outdoor track -- and Grant Havard of La Crosse and Breanna Strupp of Oshkosh in field events.