WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUNDUP: Lohse sharp as Brewers win 6-1
ATLANTA -- Kyle Lohse struck out eight in eight innings last night, as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Braves in Atlanta, 6-to-1. The veteran right-hander remains unbeaten in his last nine starts, and has still not lost since April first. Lohse gave up a run on four hits with no walks -- including an R-B-I double by Justin Upton for Atlanta's only tally. Upton had three of the Braves' five hits on the night. Mark Reynolds gave Milwaukee all the offense it needed with a grand slam in the top of the first inning. It was the first time since May 6th the Brewers scored at least four runs in a single frame. Carlos Gomez went 3-for-5 with a two-run blast for Milwaukee, which ended a season-high four-game overall losing streak as well as four straight losses to the Braves. Lohse retired 11 straight batters at one point, as he improved to 6-and-1. Ervin Santana lost his second start in a row, as he dropped to 4-and-2. He gave up all six Milwaukee runs on nine hits and four walks, as he lost his first career decision at Turner Field after three wins. Atlanta's Evan Gattis sat out with viral symptoms. The Brewers skipped batting practice to see if they could break out of their recent doldrums on offense. Manager Ron Roenicke says there won't be any B-P tonight, either, when the Crew goes for a split of its four-game set with the Braves. Right-hander Matt Garza will start for the Crew against right-hander Aaron Harang.
Brewers' starter Yovani Gallardo was still pretty sore last night, after he sprained his left ankle on a defensive play Tuesday night against Atlanta. His next scheduled start is on Sunday at Miami -- and it's looking more like he won't be ready. Normally, Gallardo would have a bullpen session today -- but that's probably not in the cards, as he gets daily treatments on the ankle. Gallardo says all he can do is wait and hope for the best. It puts manager Ron Roenicke and G-M Doug Melvin in a quandry over what to do about the Brewers' pitching staff. They could start right-hander Tyler Thornburg in Gallardo's place -- but he couldn't pitch out of the bullpen for several days, putting a new strain on an already-busy relief corps. The Brewers have a couple of starters performing well at Triple-"A" Nashville, where Mike Fiers and Jimmy Nelson are a combined 11-and-2. But whoever they replace on the Milwaukee roster could not return for ten days, unless the Crew suffers another injury. Roenicke says he'll see what happens with Gallardo, and go from there.
Former Brewers' outfielder Norichika Aoki scored the winning run for Kansas City last night in a 3-to-1 home victory over the Chicago White Sox. Aoki reached base on a two-strike bunt with one out in the bottom of the eighth. Ex-Brewer Alcides Escobar moved Aoki to third with a sharp double. He then scored on a tie-breaking sacrifice fly from Billy Butler. Aoki also had an R-B-I in the third inning with a single. He went 2-for-4 on the night. The former three-time Japanese batting champion spent two seasons in Milwaukee, as his hustle and unique batting style made him a fan favorite. He was dealt to the Royals last winter for reliever Will Smith. The 32-year-old Aoki is batting .271 for K-C this year with six doubles and nine R-B-I's. He has also walked 15 times.
U-W Whitewater hopes to become the first N-C-A-A school to win national championships in football, men's basketball, and baseball in the same academic year. And they could add softball to that list, as the Warhawk women start competing today in their Division-Three national finals in Tyler Texas. Whitewater opens the eight-team double-elimination tournament at 11 this morning against Rochester of New York. The Warhawks are 37-and-11. Rochester is 32-and-12. In the meantime, Whitewater's baseball team is gearing up for its sixth Division-Three baseball World Series. The Warhawk men will open against Southern Maine tomorrow night in their eight-team finals near Appleton. Last December, Whitewater won its fifth N-C-A-A Division-Three football title -- followed in March by its second national men's basketball crown in three years. Only two schools have won football and men's basketball championships in the same year -- Whitewater in 2011-12, and Florida in 2006-07. No school has swept the three major sports -- baseball included -- in the same annum.
General manager John Hammond says he cannot see the Milwaukee Bucks trading away the Number-two draft pick to get an established player. There's at least some talk that Cleveland -- which won its second straight N-B-A Draft Lottery on Tuesday night -- will trade away its Number-One pick to get an established free agent like Minnesota's Kevin Love, or perhaps to bring LeBron James back to his home-state Cavs. Hammond does not see the Bucks doing that. He says new owners Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry buy into the concept of building a fresh team through the draft. They look to add a solid young player with the second pick who could be a force with Milwaukee for years to come. Some of the biggest players in the June 26th draft skipped last week's N-B-A Combine. Andrew Wiggins of Kansas is expected to be part of a separate workout in Los Angeles tomorrow, put on by the same company as his agent. Hammond and his scouting team plan to be there. It's not known yet when -- or if -- the top candidates will make a private pre-draft audition in Milwaukee. Hammond says he's encouraged that none of the leading draft candidates have said they're not interested in joining the Bucks.
Mequon Homestead defensive lineman David Pfaff will play his college football at Wisconsin in just over a year from now. The senior-to-be has given his verbal commitment to join Gary Andersen's Badger squad in 2015. The 6-3, 260-pound Pfaff played at both defensive end and tackle for Homestead last year, and was a coaches' all-state first team selection. Pfaff also had scholarship offers from Syracuse, Wake Forest, Iowa State, and Northern Illinois. He's the sixth known commitment for Wisconsin's 2015 recruiting class.
Three Wisconsin players are among 153 trying out today for the U-S Under-17 women's basketball team that will play in this year's world championships. The list includes Arike Ogunbowale, the two-time A-P state girls' high school player-of-the-year from Milwaukee Divine Savior. Amani Wilborn of Milwaukee Riverside and Allazia Blockton from Whitefish Bay Dominican are also vying for spots on the 12-person roster. All three players are juniors. They'll find out Monday whether they'll make the final cut. The tryouts run through the weekend in Colorado Springs. Ogunbowale made the national Under-16 squad a year ago.
Wisconsin's top men's college golfer has accepted a sponsor's exemption to play in the P-G-A's John Deere Classic near the Quad Cities in early July. Jordan Niebrugge (of Mequon will compete in his first P-G-A Tour event, after he played in the first two rounds of the Masters last month. The 20-year-old Niebrugge is a sophomore at Oklahoma State, where his team is gearing up for the N-C-A-A Division-One tournament which begins tomorrow in Hutchinson Kansas. He tied for second place in his regional last weekend, to help the Cowboys advance to the national finals. Niebrugge says he'll continue to play as an amateur -- and he has no plans to turn pro right now. He won the U-S Amateur Public Links Championship last summer, which gave him his invitation to the Masters where he shot an 81 and a 74 at Augusta National. Niebrugge says the John Deere Classic is the closest P-G-A Tour event to Wisconsin, now that Milwaukee no longer has the U-S Bank Championship -- and it will give a lot of his relatives and friends a chance to see him play.