Monday State Sports Briefs: Badger men's track wins Big Ten titleWisconsin Sports
-- The University of Wisconsin men’s track team put on a late rally yesterday, and won the Big Ten Conference meet at the Dan McClimon Memorial Track/Soccer Complex.
MADISON - The University of Wisconsin men’s track team put on a late rally yesterday, and won the Big Ten Conference meet at the Dan McClimon Memorial Track/Soccer Complex.
The Badgers scored 25 points in the final two events to surpass Nebraska. Wisconsin took first, fifth, and sixth in the five-thousand meters to score 17 points – and then the Badgers placed second in the 16-hundred relay to get the final eight points they needed to win. Wisconsin finished with 121 to 115-and-a-half for Nebraska. Indiana was third. Mohammed Ahmed set a new league meet record in the five-thousand with a time of 13 minutes, :41.06 seconds. It was the Badgers’ first league outdoor track title since 2007, and the 25th combined championship for Wisconsin coach Ed Nuttycombe. The Badger women finished fifth in their Big Ten meet with 78 points. Ohio State won it with 117.
The Milwaukee Brewers’ pitching has been a story of contrasts lately. In their last five games, the starters have had a combined ERA of just one-point-three-six – while the bullpen has had a bloated ERA of seven-point-eight-eight. Yesterday, Milwaukee relievers gave up six runs in the final three innings as the Chicago Cubs blasted the Brew Crew 8-2. Tonight, Milwaukee opens a short two-game series against the Mets in New York. Right-hander Yovani Gallardo will face Mets’ righty Miguel Batista. Gallardo is 2-3 with a 5.35 ERA. He’s coming off his first victory in almost a month against Cincinnati last Tuesday, which he struck out eight in six innings while giving up two runs. The veteran Batista is 0-1 with a five-point-eight-nine ERA. He’s making his third start of the season, after giving up four runs in five-and-a-third innings in a no-decision at Philadelphia last Tuesday. Ryan Braun is 0-and-4 lifetime against Batista, and Brewers’ clean-up man Aramis Ramirez is just 2-for-14 against him. The Mets have had trouble keeping leads, and there’s talk about a possible new closer. Frank Francisco gave up three runs without recording an out in an 8-4 loss at Miami yesterday. He was ejected over his frustration.
Thee Milwaukee Brewers have won six straight games in New York. But the Mets are on a hot streak at home, as they and the Brewers get ready for a two-game series which begins tonight at Citi Field. Milwaukee has out-scored the Mets 43-22 in their last two visits to the Big Apple. But the Brew Crew has been struggling, after winning only one series in their last five. The Mets dropped 2-of-3 at Miami this past weekend, but they’ve won five-of-their-last-six at Citi Field. The Brewers took 2-of-3 over the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park, but the Crew is coming off an 8-to-2 pounding by the Cubs yesterday. New York is four games above .500 at 19-and-15. Milwaukee is 15-and-19 after a 3-and-3 home-stand. Right-hander Yovani Gallardo starts for the Brewers tonight against Mets’ veteran right-hander Miguel Batista.
Quarterback Matt Blanchard – who helped UW-Whitewater win three national championships – has signed a free agent contract with the Chicago Bears. Blanchard was raised in the northwest Chicago suburb of Lake Zurich. And he’s among seven rookie free agents the Bears have signed. Blanchard went 25-and-0 as a starter at Whitewater. In his senior year, he helped the Warhawks win their third straight Division-Three title. Blanchard threw for 2,852 yards, 23 touchdowns, and four interceptions.
It’s down to a best-of-three series for the Green Bay Gamblers, in their quest to win the U.S. junior hockey league championship. The Gamblers tied their best-of-five Clark Cup Finals yesterday, with a 2-nothing win over Waterloo. Alex Broadhurst scored the game-winning goal with about 13 minutes left, and Ryan McKay had 22 saves for Green Bay. He’s now 7-2 in the post-season. Games Three-and-Four will be played on Friday and Saturday in Waterloo, Iowa.
The racing team for Wisconsin NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth has pulled off an amazing marketing coup. Last Wednesday, Roush Fenway Racing announced a news conference for today, in which Kenseth would unveil new numbers for his car. That led many to speculate that Kenseth might dump his traditional No.17 on his vehicle. But as it turns out, “17” is staying – and Fifth Third Bank will be added to his car as a sponsor for four races this year. Fifth Third has banking locations throughout the eastern half of the U.S., but none are directly in Wisconsin. The bank is based in Cincinnati, and it will sponsor Kenseth’s car this Saturday night in NASCAR’s annual “All Star Race” in Charlotte – plus the Brickyard-400 in Indianapolis, and races in Kentucky and Michigan. Kenseth is a two-time winner of the Daytona-500, and was the champion of NASCAR’s top circuit in 2003. He ranks second in this year’s Sprint Cup point standings.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers open the new week with a one-game lead over second-place Beloit in the Western Division of the Midwest League. The Rattlers have also opened up a four-game advantage over Quad Cities and Kane County, which are tied for third. Kane County edged Wisconsin 5-4 yesterday, and that series continues this afternoon in suburban Chicago. Beloit hosts Clinton again tonight, after a 3-to-1 Snappers’ victory on Sunday. Meanwhile, Lansing has stretched its lead in the Eastern Division. The Lugnuts are now five games up on South Bend, and five-and-a-half up on Great Lakes. Lansing plays at Dayton tonight. Quad Cities is at home against Cedar Rapids. Burlington is at Peoria. Lake County entertains Great Lakes. West Michigan plays at Fort Wayne. And South Bend has a double-header at Bowling Green.
The Green Bay Packers have 86 players on their off-season roster. The new limit is 90. And that means that Packers could sign up to four of the players they tried out this past weekend. Twenty-nine invited players joined Green Bay’s draft choices and other undrafted free agents for the Packers’ annual rookie camp over the past three days. And coach Mike McCarthy said he and general manager Ted Thompson talked a lot about some of the players they brought in for try-outs. McCarthy said he’ll again meet Thompson to decide which, if any, try-out players will get free-agent deals.
Steve Stricker of Madison dropped two places to No. 8 in the new World Golf Rankings released this morning. Stricker missed a rare cut during the weekend at The Players’ Championship in Florida. Tournament winner Matt Kuchar jumped 11 places to fifth, and Stricker fell below Tiger Woods which remained at Number-Seven. Pewaukee native Mark Wilson and Jerry Kelly of Madison also missed the cut at The Players’ Championship. Wilson dropped three spots to 33rd in the new World Rankings. Kelly dropped one place to Number-147. Rory McIlroy is still at Number-One. In the Fed-Ex Cup point standings, Wilson dropped out of the Top-10. He fell from a tie for ninth to Number-13. Stricker slipped four places to 20th. Kelly dropped one spot to 118th. Hunter Mahan is still Number-One. Kuchar jumped 22 spots in the Fed-Ex totals to No. 6.
The University of Wisconsin men’s rowing team took third place during the weekend at its conference championships in Worcester, Massachusetts. The Badgers’ second-varsity-eight and second-freshman boat won their events at the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges’ regatta. The No. 6 ranked varsity-eight unit placed third. No. 3 Harvard was the champion, and No. 2 Brown was second. Also, the Badgers’ light-weight women won their sixth Eastern Sprints’ league crown on the Cooper River in Camden New Jersey. The Wisconsin varsity-eight boat won its seventh league title in eight years. And the freshman-eight won its league title with the largest victory margin among all the light-weight crews. And the Wisconsin women’s openweight rowing team placed third at the Big Ten regatta in Indianapolis. All six Badgers boats finished in the Top-three, and the second-novice-eight won the league crown.
The UW-Milwaukee baseball team overcame a 5-0 deficit yesterday, and crushed Butler 13-5 in Indianapolis. The Panthers scored six runs in the seventh inning to take the lead for good. Milwaukee pounded out 21 hits, led by Paul Hoenecke who went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and two RBI’s. He also scored three times. UWM swept its weekend series at Butler and improved to 15-11 in the Horizon League and 23-24 overall.
UW-Whitewater will host one of eight regionals in the NCAA Division III baseball tournament. The pairings were announced overnight for the national Field-of-56. Whitewater has the Number-four seed, and will host Number-five Concordia-Chicago in their opening game on Wednesday. Two other teams also made the tournament, both in the Whitewater regional. UW-La Crosse has the Number-two seed after winning the WIAC tournament during the weekend. The Eagles will open against Aurora. Saint Norbert has the Number-eight seed, and will face top-seeded Saint Thomas of Saint Paul. Saint Norbert won the Midwest Conference tournament during the weekend. The D-Three double-elimination regional will continue through Saturday. Winners of all eight regionals will compete in the national finals at Fox Cities Stadium near Appleton on May 25th-through-29th.
The UW-Whitewater women’s tennis team lost its Sweet-16 match at the NCAA Division III tournament, falling to the host University of Chicago 5-0 yesterday. Chicago swept all six singles matches and all three doubles matches, as Whitewater ended its season at 23-5. The Maroons advance to a national quarter-final against Johns Hopkins a week from today in Cary, North Carolina.
In the Midwest League…
Beloit 3, Clinton 1
Kane County 5, Wisconsin 4
Cedar Rapids 2, Quad Cities 1
Peoria 5, Burlington 3
Lansing 6, Dayton 3
Lake County 5, Great Lakes 4
West Michigan 5, Fort Wayne 3
South Bend at Bowling Green, rained out