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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Mequon's Niebrugge struggles in forst round of Masters

AUGUSTA, Ga. - Wisconsin amateur Jordan Niebrugge shot a nine-over-par 81 today in his opening round at The Masters golf tournament.  

The 20-year-old from Mequon was tied for 94th among 97 players at mid-afternoon.  Steve Stricker of Madison shot an even-par 72 in his opening round, and he was tied for 22nd.  Stricker birdied four holes and bogeyed four others.  Niebrugge said he hit the ball pretty well, but he had a couple bad breaks and putts that went to the wrong side of the hole.  The par-three 12th at Amen Corner was especially troubling for Niebrugge, as he had a triple-bogey six.  He also had bogeys on a half-dozen other holes. Niebrugge earned his Masters bid by winning last summer's U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship.


Marco Estrada will try to win his first decision of the year tonight, when the Milwaukee Brewers close out their three-game series at Philadelphia.  The right-handed Estrada had a no-decision in his season debut last Friday night.  He gave up two runs on four hits in five-and-a-third innings at Boston.  Estrada is 3-0 since early last August, while limiting his opponents to a .169 batting average in ten starts during that stretch.  Left-hander Cliff Lee goes for Philadelphia. He's 2-0 with an ERA of six.  He gave up eight runs in his first start at Texas, and he had a scoreless outing last Saturday against the Chicago Cubs while giving up ten hits.  Lee will try to help Philly end five straight losses to Milwaukee.  The Brewers are going for a six-game winning streak, and their second consecutive sweep.  


The Milwaukee Brewers' offense has come alive during the team's current five-game winning streak.  The Crew has batted .321 in three victories at Boston and two at Philadelphia.  That's after Milwaukee hit a dismal .178 in three home games against Atlanta to start the season.  Only time will tell whether the Brewers will have a feast-or-famine offense like they did a year ago, when Milwaukee only had 74 victories -- its fewest since 2006.  For now, the Brewers are savoring their high-powered offense which has allowed them to go 5-0 on the road for the first time since 1987.  Brewers' first baseman Mark Reynolds says it's fun to be quote, "getting hit after hit."  Reynolds scored the game-winning run in last night's 9-4 win at Philadelphia -- and he belted a two-run homer in the ninth to cap off the victory.  


The new men's basketball coach at Marquette has hired his second assistant.  Former Drake head coach Mark Phelps joins Chris Carrawell on the staff of new Eagles' coach Steve Wojciechowski.  The 48-year-old Phelps spent last season as an assistant at Missouri.  Drake let him go in 2012, after he led that team to a 77-86 record.  Wojciechowski said one of his goals was to have an assistant with head coaching experience who has a strong passion for the game -- and Phelps fills the bill.


Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said his team consulted with the NBA before deciding to rest all of its starters in Milwaukee last night.  He said the league did not have a problem with it.  Vogel said the Pacers have not played well lately, at a time when they should be peaking as they go for the top playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.  The Indiana reserves beat the hapless Bucks by four points, and they moved into first-place in the conference by a half-game over Miami.  You might remember that in late 2012, the San Antonio Spurs were fined a quarter-million dollars for hiding the fact that four starters didn't even show up for a game in Miami so they could get some rest.  But unlike what the Spurs did, Vogel announced Indiana's intentions in advance.  He also denied choosing the Bucks' game to rest his starters because Milwaukee's dismal 14-64 record would still give the Pacers a chance to win.  Vogel noted that the Bucks lost by only four points to Toronto last Saturday and quote, "Toronto is playing as well as anybody." Bucks' center Jeff Adrien still called it quote, "smack in our face."  Bucks' coach Larry Drew said he's seen this before -- and he was part of such a move as a player one time.  The Bucks will host Cleveland tomorrow night.


In the Midwest League, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will try to win their first road series of the year today at West Michigan.  The Timber Rattlers lost the series opener at Fifth Third Ballpark on Tuesday night, before they came back to win 6-1 last evening.  The first pitch was scheduled for 10 this morning.  Meanwhile, the Beloit Snappers will try to win their third straight at South Bend tonight.  The Snappers are coming off a 3-2 victory last night.  


The UW-Milwaukee baseball team has won five straight, after a 3-2 victory at Northern Illinois.  The Panthers scored the winning run on a wild pitch, after Pat Wilson belted an RBI-double which broke a 1-1 tie.  NIU scored once in the ninth.  Sophomore Jake Tuttle got the win for Milwaukee.  He gave up one run on seven hits in five innings, with a walk and two strikeouts.  UWM is now 10-12 overall.


The University of Wisconsin softball team exploded for 28 runs in a double-header against North Dakota yesterday in Madison.  The Badgers crushed the Fighting Sioux 11-2 in the opener, and 17-1 in the nightcap.  Seniors Mary Massei, Stephanie Peace, and Michelle Mueller led the way.  They combined for 10 hits in the two games, including five homers.  They drove in 16 runs, as Wisconsin improved to 19-15.  North Dakota fell to 4-26. The Badgers host a weekend series against Illinois at Goodman Field in Madison starting Friday.