Afternoon State Sports Briefs: Wie charges to top of U.S. Women's OpenWisconsin Sports
-- Michelle Wie joined two others in a tie for the lead early this afternoon at the U.S. Women’s Open in Kohler.
KOHLER - Michelle Wie joined two others in a tie for the lead early this afternoon at the U.S. Women’s Open in Kohler.
Wie, who was tied for 38th after Round-One, was at six-under-par going into the final hole of her second round at Blackwolf Run. That put her at four-under for the tournament in her quest for her first victory in a major. Vicki Hurst was also at minus-four going into her final hole of the day. Cristie Kerr – one of three first-round leaders – was at four-under after 16, and Suzann Pettersen also shared the lead at minus-four after 15 holes. Sandra Gal and Inbee Park were both one stroke back at three-under for the tourney. Lexi Thompson and Lizette Salas, another of yesterday’s leaders, were among five players at minus-two in a tie for seventh. Fifteen golfers were under par as of early afternoon, and 23 players were within five strokes of the lead. Brittany Lincicome, the third of the opening round leaders, went eight-over today. Her 80 dropped her to a tie for 81st. But that was right at the projected cut line for the weekend.
Milwaukee Brewers’ outfielder Ryan Braun says his team has taken “two steps forward and three steps back” all season. But they hope to end the year’s first half on a positive note during a three-game series at Houston which begins tonight. It’s the final series before the All-Star break. And Braun, who will start for the National League in Tuesday night’s Mid-Summer Classic, said the Brewers have not played well enough to win consistently – but they’ll keep battling every day. Milwaukee is six games below .500, six-and-a-half games out of a Wild Card spot and eight behind first-place Pittsburgh in the NL Central. But the Astros are well below the Brew Crew in terms of performance. A Houston loss tonight would give them nine straight defeats for the first time since September of 2009. And the Astros have the Majors’ worst record since May 26th at 10-and-28. Houston is 19 games below .500 for the season. They’re coming off a 2-nothing loss to Pittsburgh yesterday, while the Brewers have dropped two straight against Miami. Milwaukee first baseman Corey Hart has a 13-game hitting streak against Houston, and Braun is 7-for-21 against the Astros this year with two homers and four RBI’s. Right-hander Yovani Gallardo will go for his eighth straight win over Houston against left-hander J.A. Happ.
Yovani Gallardo has won seven starts in a row over the Houston Astros. And he hopes to make it eight tonight, as the Brewers head to South Texas to begin their final series before the All-Star break. The right-handed Gallardo hopes to go above .500. He’s 6-6 with a three-point-eight-seven ERA. Gallardo is 10-2 lifetime against Houston – and the Astros will send left-hander J-A Happ to the mound tonight. Happ is 6-and-8 with a 4.81 ERA. And he’s coming off five straight losses to National League opponents. The most recent was last Saturday, when Happ gave three runs on five hits and four walks in six innings of a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs. But Happ won his last start against Milwaukee, giving up seven hits in six innings in a 4-nothing Houston victory on May 17th. The Astros have the Majors’ worst record since May 26th at 10-28, and they’ll try to avoid losing nine straight overall for the first time since September of 2009. The Brewers are struggling as well, but not as badly. They’ve dropped two in a row to Miami, to fall six games below .500 and eight games out of first place in the National League Central.
The Beloit Snappers will play at Clinton again tonight in the Class-“A” Midwest League. Beloit is coming off a 5-3 loss to the Lumberkings last evening. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are at Cedar Rapids once more, after the Rattlers also lost 5-3 on Thursday. In other games, Burlington plays at Peoria tonight. Kane County hosts Quad Cities. Fort Wayne entertains Bowling Green. South Bend plays at Dayton. Lansing hosts Great Lakes. And Lake County plays at West Michigan. Kane County and Quad Cities enter the weekend tied for first place in the Western Division at 9-5 for the second half. Wisconsin is 7-7 and Beloit is 6-8, but both those teams have already earned playoff berths in September. Fort Wayne leads the Eastern Division at 10-4.
Teams in the Northwoods League are entering their first weekend of the season’s second half. First-half South Division champion La Crosse won its opening second half contest last night, 7-nothing in Mequon against the Lakeshore Chinooks. Green Bay is 1-0 after crushing Wisconsin Rapids at home, 10-2. The Wisconsin Woodchucks pounced on Battle Creek 9-1 in Wausau. And Eau Claire is 0-1 for the new stanza after a 9-4 loss at Madison. All four of those series continue tonight. In the North Division, Mankato, Willmar, Rochester, and Saint Cloud are all 1-0. Mankato hosts Thunder Bay tonight. Duluth is at home against Rochester. Willmar plays at Waterloo. And Alexandria is at Saint Cloud.
One of the largest international bicycle racing series outside the Tour de France begins tonight in Chicago. The International Cycling Classic features 17 days of racing in communities throughout southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. The first six events of what’s known as “Super-Week Pro Tour” will be held in the Chicago area, starting tonight with the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic. Beloit is hosting its first Super-Week event – the Downtown Beloit Criterium next Thursday. The Milwaukee area, Racine, Kenosha, and Oshkosh will also host International races before the series ends on July 22nd. Feng Chun-Kai of Taiwan won the overall championship a year ago in the top men’s division. Cole House of Oneida was Wisconsin’s top finisher in 13th place. Nikki Wangsgard of Utah has won the women’s title for the past two years.
One of Wisconsin’s best-known radio broadcasters told his fans today why he sidelined earlier this year. Dennis Krause posted on a blog that he suffered a small stroke, and it kept him off the air from February 20th through March 27th. Krause is an analyst on Milwaukee Bucks’ home radio broadcasts. He hosts a pre-game radio show on the Green Bay Packers’ network. And Krause does a variety of broadcasts for Time Warner Cable Sports based in Milwaukee. When Krause returned to work in late March, he said his absence was health-related but he gave no other details. He said he announced his stroke so he could thank his family, friends, employers, and others for their support.