Afternoon State News Briefs: Brewers look to extend winning streak against PiratesWisconsin Sports
-- The Milwaukee Brewers will go for their first five-game winning streak since last August, when they open a home series tonight against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
MILWAUKEE - The Milwaukee Brewers will go for their first five-game winning streak since last August, when they open a home series tonight against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
It’s the first time this season the two teams will get together. And the Brewers were 12-3 against the Pirates a year ago, and 8-1 at Miller Park. The Brewers have only lost six of their last 49 home games against Pittsburgh, and Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle says it will be a great challenge going to a place where they’ve not done historically well. But Milwaukee is struggling at home this year, after dominating at Miller Park a season ago when it won the National League Central.
The Pirates are among the Major League leaders in pitching, with a team ERA of three-point-three. Pittsburgh starters failed to give up a run in four-of-their-last-six contests. But the Pirates are struggling at the plate with a .218 batting average and a team on-base percentage of .272. Both are the lowest in the National League. Left-hander Randy Wolf will start for Milwaukee tonight. He’s 2-4 with a five-point-seven-three ERA, and he’s 0-2 in his last five starts. Wolf has not recorded a win since April 30th. The Pirates will put up right-hander Kevin Correia. He’s 1-5 with an ERA of four-point-three-oh. And he’s winless in his last seven outings.
This year, Pirates have the upper hand on Milwaukee in the standings. Pittsburgh is in third place in the Central at 25-25, two-and-a-half games ahead of fourth-place Milwaukee. But if the Brewers can manage a sweep this weekend, they’ll move into third. And they could gain some more ground on first-place Cincinnati. The Brewers’ four-game sweep in Los Angeles this week moved them to within five-and-a-half games of the Reds. Tonight also marks the return of Casey McGehee to Milwaukee. The Brewers traded the third baseman last winter, after he struggled throughout the 2011 season with a .223 batting average. This year, McGehee’s only hitting .190 in 41 games with no homers and six RBI’s. He’ll face left-hander Randy Wolf tonight, while the Pirates send right-hander Kevin Correia to the mound.
In the Midwest League, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will play at Cedar Rapids again tonight. The Rattlers will try to recover, after being shut out 4-0 last night. It reduced Wisconsin’s lead to two games over the second-place Beloit Snappers in the Western Division. The Snappers gained a game after crushing Quad Cities 8-1 last evening. Those two teams will play again tonight in Davenport Iowa. Third-place Kane County plays at Clinton this evening. Peoria is at Burlington. Lansing plays at Bowling Green. Dayton hosts South Bend. Lake County entertains West Michigan. And Fort Wayne hosts Great Lakes. Lansing has all but clinched the Eastern Division title for the first half, with a 10-and-a-half game lead over both Bowling Green and Great Lakes.
Teams in the Northwoods League will enter their first weekend of play tonight. The Madison Mallards and the expansion Lakeshore Chinooks of Mequon are both 2-0, after sweeping their opening series. Lakeshore now travels to the league’s defending champion, Battle Creek, which lost a pair to the Mallards in Madison the last two nights. Green Bay is 0-2 after falling to the Chinooks twice. Tonight, Green Bay will play in Wausau against a Woodchucks’ team that went 1-1 against Eau Claire this week. Eau Claire is at home against Wisconsin Rapids, which split a two-game set against La Crosse. Madison opens a home series against La Crosse this evening. Also, Duluth plays at Alexandria. Willmar is at Waterloo. Rochester entertains Thunder Bay. And Saint Cloud travels to Mankato.
The Marquette University men’s basketball team will play at Florida this fall as part of the Big East-SEC Challenge. ESPN announced 12 matchups today for the second annual challenge. The Big East went 8-4 in last year’s inaugural Challenge against the ACC. The Marquette-Florida matchup is one of four games to be played on Thursday, November 29th. The eight others will be on November 30th and December first.
UW-Madison has lost its fourth athletic department official in the last 14 months. Senior assistant athletic director Tim Wise has left to take a similar job at University of Miami-Florida, where he’ll have a very familiar boss. Shawn Eichorst, a former deputy AD with the Badgers, is now Miami’s athletic director. And former Wisconsin associate AD Steve Waterfield is now the top assistant to Eichorst. Wise’s main job at the UW was to manage capital projects – something John Chadima had done before he resigned in January amid allegations that he committed sexual misconduct. Athletic director Barry Alvarez has hired former Athletic Board chair Walter Dickey to fill one of the vacancies. Alvarez said Wise’s post will get somebody who’s experienced in dealing with major construction projects. That new person could be hired by next week, and Alvarez says he hopes to fill all of his administrative openings by July first.
The University of Wisconsin women’s lightweight rowing team will have two boats in tomorrow’s Grand Final of the IRA national championships on the Cooper River in New Jersey. The Badger varsity-eight and varsity-four teams both won their heats today. Coach Erik Miller said the crews did a good job of handling rough conditions, which included a slight cross-wind and choppy waters. The varsity-eight team finished almost six seconds ahead of second-place Harvard-Radcliffe in today’s heat. The varsity-four team finished well ahead of second-place Buffalo. The UW men's team will have two boats, the JV varsity eight and varsity four, in the grand finals as well. But national championship determining varsity eight squad missed the cut in this morning's semifinals by finishing fourth and will row in the petite finals tomorrow