Wednesday State Sports Briefs: Brewers try to stay hotWisconsin Sports
-- The red-hot Milwaukee Brewers will go for their 13th win in 16 tries tonight, when they face the Marlins in Miami. The Crew has split the first two games of its four-game set at the new Marlins Park.
MIAMI - The red-hot Milwaukee Brewers will go for their 13th win in 16 tries tonight, when they face the Marlins in Miami. The Crew has split the first two games of its four-game set at the new Marlins Park.
The Brewers lead the Majors with by having at least one extra-base hit in 74 straight games. Right-hander Wily Peralta, who was called up yesterday, will start his first big league game for the Brewers against right-hander Nathan Eovaldi. Peralta has an ERA of nine as the result of a shoddy relief appearance against Colorado in late April. He went 7-11 at Triple-“A” Nashville this season with 143 strikeouts and 78 walks in 146-and-two-thirds innings. Eovaldi is 4-10 with a four-point-four-eight ERA. He gave up three runs in seven innings of a loss to the New York Mets last Friday night. Florida has lost five-of-its-last-six. The Brewers are trying to get to .500 for the first time since April 24th. Milwaukee is three games below the break-even point at the moment.
Manager Ron Roenicke says the Milwaukee Brewers will keep trying to win as many games as possible, while they get a closer look at their young starters of the future. Tonight, right-hander Wily Peralta will start his first Major League game when the Brewers play at Miami. He was called up from the minors yesterday along with right-handed starter Tyler Thornburg and a couple of other players. Roenicke is trying to determine what his starting rotation will look like for next season with Zack Greinke and Randy Wolf already gone, and Shaun Marcum likely to be departed as well. But the Brewers have won 12-of-15 in recent weeks and gained five games in the Wild Card standings to be seven-and-a-half out. Roenicke says it would be a daunting task to make the playoffs – but if they’re still on a roll next week, he says the team’s brain-trust will revisit the situation. Milwaukee is halfway through its four-game series with the Marlins, with each team winning a game so far. The Crew topped Florida 8-to-4 last night. A closer goal for the Brewers is to finish above .500. They’re just three games below the break-even point, while Miami is 16 below .500. Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi will start for the Marlins tonight.
First baseman Hunter Morris was named today as the Brewers’ Minor League Player-of-the-Year. And right-hander Hiram Burgos was chosen as the Pitcher-of-the-Year. The 23-year-old Morris was named the MVP of the Double-“A” Southern League on Monday – the first Brewers-affiliated player to win the honor since Corey Hart in 2003. Morris batted .303 for the Huntsville Stars this year with 28 homers and 113 RBI’s in 136 games. He led the league in several offensive categories, including slugging percentage at .563. His 40 doubles tied a Huntsville single-season record. Morris was drafted in the fourth round in 2010. The 25-year-old Burgos went a combined 10-and-4 in 28 games for Huntsville, Single-“A” Brevard County, and Triple-“A” Nashville. His season ERA was one-point-nine-five, the best among Brewers’ minor league pitchers and the 10th best among everyone in the minors. Burgos was drafted in the sixth round in 2009.
The Class-“A” Midwest League took a breather yesterday, and will open its post-season tonight. Wisconsin’s two teams both made the playoffs, thanks to their solid performances in the first half. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers won the first half title in the Western Division, and will open a best-of-three series at second-half runner-up Burlington. The Beloit Snappers, who finished second in the opening half, will play at second-half champion Clinton tonight. In both series, Game-Two and a possible Game-Three will be played on the Wisconsin teams’ home diamonds. The winners of the two series will face each other in the Western Finals starting this weekend. In the Eastern Division, Lake County hosts Bowling Green tonight – and Lansing plays at Fort Wayne.
Before their roster cuts, the Green Bay Packers had up to 21 players out with injuries. But today, only one of the 53 survivors missed practice completely – rookie safety Sean Richardson. As of early this afternoon, the team has not said what the problem might be. Coach Mike McCarthy was expected to address it at a news conference. Nose tackle B.J. Raji was practicing today, after he apparently got over his sprained ankle from last Thursday’s exhibition win over Kansas City. Previously injured linebacker Robert Francois and defensive end Ryan Pickett were also practicing today. Linebacker Jamari Lattimore, who has a bad ankle, took part in the early drills but that was it. The same was true for corner Davon House, who’s getting over a shoulder injury. The Packers are gearing up for their regular season opener on Sunday against San Francisco at Lambeau Field.
The Green Bay Packers are starting their normal “game week” routine. The players took Tuesday off as usual, while their coaches fine-tuned the game plan for Sunday’s regular season opener against San Francisco at Lambeau Field. The Packers were starting to practice that game-plan today. Another full workout is planned tomorrow, with a lighter practice on Friday and a walk-through Saturday. Green Bay has one of the NFL’s most powerful offenses led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Pack scored 560 points last season – the second-most in league history while going 15-2. San Francisco went 14-4, with an aggressive defense that returns all 11 of its starters from a year ago when it made the NFC Championship Game. The Packers have had almost a week to rest their aches-and-pains. Defensive linemen B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett appear to be the biggest concerns for the Pack. Raji was the most recently injured. He sprained an ankle in last Thursday’s exhibition win over Kansas City.
There’s a report that University of Wisconsin freshman running back Vonte Jackson injured his right knee last week. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said Jackson may have torn his ACL ligament. And before that happened, the coaching staff had already decided to have Jackson sit out this season as a redshirt because the Badgers already have four running backs jockeying for playing time. Running backs coach Thomas Hammock refused comment when asked about Jackson’s status last night. The 6-foot Jackson tore an ACL in his other knee a year ago, during his senior year at Kenosha Bradford High School. He graduated early and joined the Badgers this spring after enrolling at the UW in January. Wisconsin’s other four running backs are senior Montee Ball, junior James White, sophomore Jeff Lewis, and freshman Melvin Gordon.
The Marquette University men’s basketball team will open its Big East Conference schedule on New Year’s Night at home against UConn. The league announced an 18-game Big East schedule for its teams today. Marquette will play three of its first four games at home, and will close its regular season league schedule with a pair of road contests at Rutgers on March fifth and Saint John’s on March 9. The Eagles will play nine Saturday games at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, including five conference match-ups.
Laurie Bell of UW-Milwaukee is the Horizon League men’s soccer player-of-the-week on offense. And suburban Milwaukee native Jacob Bye of Wright State won the honors on defense. Bell is a sophomore midfielder from Poynton England. He had a goal and an assist against Indiana-Purdue-Indianapolis, and he scored a goal in a shutout of Eastern Illinois. Bye, a junior goal-tender from Greenfield, had 10 saves against Coastal Carolina and eight saves against Davidson.
Noah Davis of Saint Norbert College was named the season’s first defensive performer-of-the-week in Midwest Conference men’s soccer. Davis, a senior goal-keeper, posted two shutouts in a pair of 1-0 wins over Lakeland and Edgewood. Joey Brown of Grinnell is the honored player on offense. In women’s soccer, Katie Vanden Avond of Saint Norbert is the offensive player-of-the-week. And Emily Schultz of Ripon was given the top defensive honors. Vanden Avond, a sophomore forward, had seven goals and two assists against Lakeland and Edgewood. Schultz, a junior defender, had one goal and two assists for Ripon in victories over Lakeland and Bethany Lutheran.
Ethan Lane of Maranatha Baptist and Josh Ruppel of Wisconsin Lutheran received the year’s first weekly football honors in the Northern Athletics Conference. Lane, a senior linebacker, was named the defensive player-of-the-week after he had three sacks and 19 tackles against Martin Luther. Ruppel, a freshman kicker, made all four of his extra-point attempts in a win over Ripon. He also booted a 29-yard field goal, and averaged almost 56 yards on each of his kickoffs. Quarterback Jake Koehler of Concordia-Chicago was named the league’s offensive player-of-the-week. The NAC also recognized Elaine Gerry of Madison Edgewood in women’s soccer – Jacob Mortell of Wisconsin Lutheran and Emillee Guderyon of Edgewood in golf – Kathryn Hendee of Lutheran in women’s tennis – and Chase Roles and Julie Favorite, both of Wisconsin Lutheran, in cross country.
An Olympic bronze medalist will become an assistant coach for the University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team. Coach Paula Wilkins said yesterday that she’s bringing in Carmelina Moscato – whose Canadian team took third in last month’s London Games. Wilkins said Moscato was her first recruit when she coached at Penn State, and she’ll have an immediate impact on the Badger program.