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Morning State Sports Briefs: Badger softball team has first-round bye in Big Ten tourney

MADISON - The University of Wisconsin softball team will play either Northwestern or Indiana on Friday in the Big Ten tournament at Nebraska.

The Badgers earned the fourth-and-final first-round bye yesterday, with a regular season mark of 16-7 in conference games and 39-11 overall. Both are new school records. Fifth-seeded Northwestern will play Number-12 Indiana on Thursday, for the right to host the Badgers the next day in the second round. It's a single-elimination tournament which will take place through the weekend. League regular-season champion Michigan has the top seed.


University of Wisconsin deputy athletic director Sean Frazier is one of three top candidates for the vacant athletic director's post at Rutgers. The others are Fresno State AD Thomas Boeh, and Louisville executive senior associate AD Julie Hermann. The Rutgers job became vacant when Tim Pernetti accepted a settlement to resign, in the wake of abuses by former men's basketball coach Mike Rice toward his players. Frazier has been on the Badger athletic staff since 2007, and his duties include an oversight of the football program. He's also a former athletic director at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, and he played football at Alabama from 1987-to-'91. The new Rutgers AD will help that school move to the Big Ten Conference in 2014, after one year in the American Athletic Conference starting this fall.


A second night game was announced yesterday for the University of Wisconsin football team. The Badgers' October 19th contest at Illinois will start at seven o'clock that night, and will be televised by the Big Ten Network. It was recently announced that Wisconsin's September 28th game at Ohio State would begin at 7 p.m., to be televised either by ABC or one of the ESPN networks.


The UW-Milwaukee baseball team crushed Division III Wisconsin Lutheran at home yesterday, 15-1. The Panthers batted around in the first inning, and scored seven times in the first two frames. Freshman Jake Tuttle got his first collegiate win, giving up one run in six innings on three hits and a walk. He struck out seven. Freshman Nick Unes went 3-for-5 with five RBI's, three of them on a bases-loaded double. UWM improved to 22-19, with an 8-0 home mark. Wisconsin Lutheran dropped to 17-15.


UW-Parkside is in 16th place among 20 teams after the first day of an NCAA Division II men's Super Regional tournament at the Kenosha Club at Strawberry Creek. Parkside shot a 10-over-par 298 yesterday, 15 strokes behind first-place Missouri-Saint Louis. The Rangers' top individual so far is Jake Wisniewski. He's tied for 22nd place at even-par 72. Robby Hughey of Central Missouri is the leader at seven-under-65.


Catherine Wagner of UW-Eau Claire will defend her NCAA Division III individual golf title. Wagner, a senior, is one of six individuals selected to this year's national tournament. It will be played Tuesday through Friday of next week in Destin, Florida. Twenty-one teams have been chosen to compete - including UW-Stout, Carroll of Waukesha, and Concordia-Mequon. Wagner was a coaches' All-American after winning her national crown last May. This will be her fourth straight NCAA finals.


UW-Whitewater will host a five-team regional in the NCAA Division III men's tennis tournament. It starts on Friday, when Concordia-Mequon plays Ohio Northern. That winner will play Trinity of Texas in the second round on Saturday. Whitewater and Gustavus Adolphus both earned first-round byes. Those two teams will play each other on Saturday. And both Saturday winners will face each other on Sunday for a spot in the national quarter-finals the following weekend in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Forty-four teams were named to the Division III men's tennis tourney.


Meanwhile, UW-Whitewater and Edgewood College are among 50 schools named to the Division III women's tennis tournament. Both Wisconsin teams are headed to a regional in Chicago. Edgewood will open against Ohio Northern on Friday. The winner will play the University of Chicago on Saturday, and that winner will go against Whitewater in the regional finals on Sunday. The Warhawks earned a double-bye in the women's tourney. The regional champion will advance to the Elite Eight round the following weekend in Kalamazoo.


Skip Turner of Concordia-Mequon is the season's final men's tennis player-of-the-week in the Northern Athletics Conference. Turner, a junior, partnered with Taylor Shaffer in winning the No. 1 doubles' crown at the league tournament last weekend. They shut out a team from the Milwaukee School of Engineering 8-0, as Concordia won its third straight league tourney.


The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers entered the seventh inning without a hit yesterday, but they rallied late to win a Midwest League contest at Great Lakes, 3-1. Loons' right-hander Angel Sanchez retired his first 10 batters before walking Michael Reed in the fourth. In the seventh, Reed ruined the no-hit bid with a lead-off double - and Sanchez left two batters later. The game was still scoreless in the eighth when Wisconsin scored all three of its runs off reliever Jonathan Martinez. The Rattlers took advantage of a walk, a wild pitch, an error, and three two-out singles as they completed a three-game sweep of Great Lakes, and sent the Loons to their fifth straight loss.


Former Marquette University forward Jimmy Butler came up big last night, as the Chicago Bulls did what the Milwaukee Bucks could not - beat the Miami Heat in a playoff game. Butler played all 48 minutes for the third straight game, as a short-handed Bulls' squad beat the Heat 93-86 in Miami, in Game-One of their Eastern Conference semi-final series. Butler had 21 points, 14 rebounds, and three assists, as Chicago ended a string of 12 straight Miami victories that included a four-game sweep of the Bucks in Round-One of the post-season. Chicago is without the injured Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, and Luol Deng - so Butler guarded LeBron James on the night that James was presented with his fourth league MVP award. Butler, a second-year pro, held James to a post-season-low two points in the first half. But LeBron heated up in the second half and ended up with 24 on 8-of-17 shooting. Former Marquette guard Dwayne Wade scored 14 for Miami in its loss, in which the Bulls scored the game's final 10 points. Game 2 is set for tomorrow night in South Florida.


It's been two years since the Green Bay Packers wore their throwback uniforms - but they'll roll them out on November 20th for a home game against the Cleveland Browns. In case you've forgotten, those uniforms are replicas from the Packers' first championship season in 1929. The jerseys are navy blue, with numbers in a gold circle on the front. The helmet is plain brown, and the pants are tan. The Packers are 2-0 in their throwbacks. They beat San Francisco 34-to-16 in 2010, and Saint Louis 24-3 the following year. The Packers did not wear the throwback uniforms at all last season.


If you just can't get enough of Aaron Rodgers, you can see him in a guest role on "The Office" Thursday night. The Green Bay quarterback will play a judge in a singing competition. "The Office" starts at eight o'clock on NBC.