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WISCONSIN SPORTS BRIEFS: Braun, Lucroy expected back for Padres' series

MILWAUKEE - Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy are both expected to return to the starting lineup tonight, as the Milwaukee Brewers open a four-game home series against San Diego.

Braun, Lucroy, and Carlos Gomez were all on the bench at the start of yesterday’s 1-0 win over Miami in 13 innings. Braun and Lucroy were both called on to pinch hit. Braun’s still getting over a right hand injury, while Lucroy stepped aside so starter Wily Peralta could have his personal catcher Martin Maldonado. Gomez’s status is uncertain after he nursed a sore elbow yesterday. Both Milwaukee and San Diego are last in their respective divisions. Milwaukee is in the National League Central cellar at 41-56 – but they’ve won four straight after sweeping the Marlins for three. The Padres are last in the West at 43-56. They’ve lost 16-of-their-last-19, after falling to Saint Louis 3-2 yesterday. Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny will start for the Crew this evening, against Padres’ right-hander Andrew Cashner.


The best players in the Northwoods League are heading to Eau Claire for their All-Star Game. The festivities kick off this evening with a banquet. Former Minnesota Twins’ manager Tom Kelly will speak to the 50-plus All-Stars, their coaches, and others. Tomorrow, an All-Star Fan-Fest begins at four p-m at Eau Claire’s Carson Park, where a Home Run Derby begins at six followed by the All-Star contest at 7:30. The seven Wisconsin teams in the Northwoods will have about two-dozen representatives. They played their final games before the break yesterday – and Eau Claire manager Dale Varsho tied a league-record with his 300th Northwoods victory. Teams are about halfway through the season’s second half. The Lakeshore Chinooks of Mequon lead the South by a game over first-half champion Madison. Waterloo has a three-and-a-half game lead in the North over both Saint Cloud and Mankato. League play resumes on Thursday night.  Four sluggers from Wisconsin will compete in the Northwoods League All-Star Home Run Derby tomorrow night in Eau Claire. Erik Payne of Wisconsin Rapids will lead a team of South Division hitters against four players from the North. Payne led the league with 11 homers going into the weekend – but he was not chosen to play in the actual All-Star Game to be played after tomorrow night’s Derby. Tripp Martin of Green Bay is also in the same boat – a Derby participant but not an All-Star. The South squad also includes Jackson Slaid of Wisconsin Rapids and Matt Tellor of the Wisconsin Woodchucks. The North Division will represented by Marc Flores and Michael Suchy of Willmar, Adam Martin of Saint Cloud, and Chase Simpson of Mankato. The Northwoods Home Run Derby is set up exactly like the Major League version. The top four sluggers advance to the second round, regardless of which division they come from. The two second-round winners will then slug it out for the championship. 


Milwaukee Bucks forward John Henson was named today to Sports All-NBA Summer League first team. Henson, the Bucks’ first round draft choice a year ago, averaged 15 points in three Summer League contests with 14 rebounds and three blocked shots. said the former North Carolina forward quote, “made an impact around the rim on both ends of the floor.” Also making the All-Summer League first team were guards Dennis Schroeder of Atlanta and Kent Bazemore of Golden State, center Jonas Valanciunas of Toronto, and brothers Markieff and Marcus Morris of Phoenix at the other forward spot. The Bucks went 2-3 in the Las Vegas Summer League. 


The University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team will play a dozen non-conference games this fall – including up to seven contests with opponents that made the post-season in March. The Badgers’ announced their non-Big Ten schedule today. Third-year coach Bobbie Kelsey calls it a challenging set of games. Wisconsin will face two NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago – Gonzaga on December 10th and UW-Green Bay on December 30th. They could also face Big Dance veteran Vanderbilt at its Thanksgiving tournament November 29th-or-30th. Wisconsin also has WNIT opponents Marquette and Washington on its schedule, as well as Elon and Mercer – who played in the Women’s Basketball Invitational. The Badgers struggled with injuries a year ago, while going 12-19 overall and 3-13 in the Big Ten. The conference schedule will be announced later.


The University of Wisconsin will not win its fourth straight Big Ten football championship this fall, if a pre-season media poll turns out to be correct. The Cleveland Plain Dealer commissions the poll, which came out this morning. It gives Ohio State the nod in the conference title game over Nebraska, Michigan, or Michigan State. The Big Ten coaches used to have a pre-season poll, but they don’t anymore. The media poll surveys reporters who cover all 12 Big Ten schools. Ohio State was projected to win the Leaders’ Division with 26 first-place votes. Wisconsin was picked to take second, and had one first-place vote. Penn State was third. Michigan had a slight edge over Nebraska in the Legends’ Division, with Michigan State placing third. Reporters were asked to name their “surprise” and “disappointing” teams for this fall. Indiana was projected as the surprise team, while Michigan State was picked to disappoint.


Three Wisconsin teams made pre-season Top-25 national poll. UW-Whitewater is ranked at No. 9 in the new survey. Platteville is 11th, and Oshkosh 12th. Whitewater made the pre-season Top-10 even though it failed to make the NCAA Division III playoffs last year, following three straight national championships. Whitewater had three losses in 2012 – tied with North Central and Bethel for the most defeats of any Top-10 school. Platteville went 8-2 a year ago. Oshkosh went 13-1, with its only loss coming in the Division III playoffs behind quarterback Nate Wara – who graduated this year. 


In the Midwest League, the Beloit Snappers were to finish a suspended game at Bowling Green late this morning, before the two teams play a full nine-inning contest. They played 10 frames yesterday and were tied at one before they got washed out. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are at Dayton again tonight, where the Rattlers fell 7-6 last evening. Three other day-time games were scheduled in the Midwest League – Great Lakes at Clinton, West Michigan at Peoria, and Quad Cities at Lake County. Tonight, Lansing is at Kane County. Cedar Rapids plays at Fort Wayne. And South Bend is at Burlington. Cedar Rapids opens the new week with a two-and-a-half-game lead over second-place Beloit in the Western Division. Beloit is already in the playoffs after taking the first-half crown. Bowling Green still leads the East by a game-and-a-half over Great Lakes. 


Former UW-Stevens Point star Jordan Zimmermann had the shortest start in his big league pitching career yesterday. The right-hander from Auburndale went just two innings, as he took the loss in a 9-2 win by the Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington. Zimmermann gave up seven runs on eight hits, and he lost at Nationals Park for the first time in 22 starts -- a span that dated back to May 17th of last year. Zimmermann went 14-0 at home during that stretch. He’s now 12-5 on the year. Zimmermann sat out last week's All-Star Game, after an MRI 10 days ago showed that he had a neck injury. 


The 112th Wisconsin State Amateur men’s golf tournament begins today at The Bog in Saukville. There are four previous winners among the field of 168 – Mark Bemowski, Bob Gregorski, Mike McDonald, and Pat Boyle. Last year’s champion, Brady Strangstalien of Madison, later turned pro – so he’s not eligible to defend his crown. The State Amateur has four rounds that are scheduled to run through Thursday. The field will be cut to 70 players plus ties after 36 holes. 


Fox Point native Skip Kendall tied for 54th place at the PGA's Sanderson Farms Championship in Madison, Mississippi. Kendall shot a one-under-par 71 in his final round yesterday to finish at eight-under-280. That was 12 strokes behind Woody Austin, Daniel Summerhays and Cameron Beckman -- who all finished regulation 12 stroke ahead of Kendall at 20-under. Austin won a playoff for his first tour victory since 2007. 



In Major League Baseball… 

Milwaukee 1, Miami 0 in 13 innings

Colorado 4, Chicago Cubs 3

Cleveland 7, Minnesota 1

Chicago White Sox 3, Atlanta 1

Detroit 4, Kansas City 1

In the Midwest League…

Beloit 1, Bowling Green 1, suspended by rain after 10 innings

Dayton 7, Wisconsin 6

Kane County 6, Lansing 5 in 10 innings

Clinton 7, Great Lakes 1

South Bend 4, Burlington 1 in 8 innings

Cedar Rapids 2, Fort Wayne 1

West Michigan 2, Peoria 0

Lake County 7, Quad Cities 3

In the Northwoods League…

Madison 7, Wisconsin 1

La Crosse 7, Green Bay 4 in 10 innings

Eau Claire 6, Battle Creek 1

Wisconsin Rapids at Lakeshore, rained out

Duluth 16, Thunder Bay 7

Saint Cloud 9, Alexandria 2

Waterloo 8, Rochester 6

Mankato 18, Willmar 14 in 17 innings