Digest for 03-12-14


LOCAL

Weevils, Panthers swap extra-inning wins

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The 17th-ranked Arkansas-Monticello baseball team split a non-conference road doubleheader on Tuesday against 15th-ranked Drury, winning the first game 4-3 in 10 innings and falling in nightcap 12-11 in nine innings.

Drury used home runs to extend each game into extra frames. With UAM up 3-2 in game one, Drury’s Colton Jones hit a solo homerun to force a 3-all tie. In the second game, the Boll Weevils (16-8) held an 11-8 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning of the scheduled seven inning game, but a three-run home run from Payton Reed sent the two squads into extra innings for the second time of the day.

The Weevils plated the game-winner in the first game on a sacrifice fly from sophomore Evan Comeau in the top of the 10th inning to score senior Tyler Caruthers, who doubled in the previous at bat and stole third.

Drury (6-3) rallied with two outs in the bottom of the ninth of game two to get the double-header split. Spencer Wilmes tripled to right center and scored on an RBI single by Tyler Arthur in the next at bat.

UAM reached double-digits in the hit category in both games, racking up 12 hits in the first game and 13 in the second game. Senior Alex Lang paced the UAM offense in game one by going 3-for-5 at the plate. Junior Bronson Gillam went 2-for-4.

In the second game, senior Ray Johnson led the UAM offense with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate, including two home runs — a solo shot in the third and a two-run blast in the sixth. Junior Austin Braddock and Gillam also homered in game two.

STATE

Neighbour, Van Slyke named second-team All-SBC

NEW ORLEANS — Arkansas-Little Rock senior forward Will Neighbour and Arkansas State senior forward have been named second team All-Sun Belt Conference, the league office announced on Tuesday.

Neighbour, who has missed the last three games with a shoulder injury, ranks in the top 10 of Sun Belt in scoring, rebounding, steals, blocks and three-point field goal percentage. A native of Grayshott, England, Neighbour is averaging 16.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks per game on the season.

Van Slyke ranks in the league’s top 15 in scoring, rebounding, blocked shots, field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and three-point field goal percentage. Van Slyke is presently averaging a team second-best 14.9 points per game and a squad second-most 5.8 rebounds per contest as a starter in all 30 games this season.

Van Slyke’s teammate Melvin Johnson III, a senior guard, earned third-team honors.

Among the conference leaders, Johnson III is listed in the top 15 for scoring, three-point field goals made, three-point field goal percentage, field goal percentage, and free throw percentage. He leads A-State in scoring average (15.2 ppg.), points (456) and three-point field goals made (83).

A-State’s Gamble named Sun Belt POY

NEW ORLEANS — Arkansas State sophomore guard Aundrea Gamble earned Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year honors and Red Wolves head coach Brian Boyer was named the league’s Coach of the Year, the league announced Tuesday afternoon.

Gamble became just the third player in school history to be named the conference’s Player of the Year, joining Shyla Tucker (1993-94) and Sonja Tate (1992-93). Boyer became the fourth coach in Sun Belt history to win the Coach of the Year award at least three times, joining former Louisiana Tech coach Leon Barrmore, former Western Kentucky coach Mary Taylor-Cowles and Middle Tennessee coach Rick Insell.

Gamble finished the regular season ranked second in the conference in point per game (18.7) and assists per game (4.2) and No. 3 in steals per game (2.2).

Joining Gamble on the All-Sun Belt first team is Arkansas-Little Rock junior guard Taylor Gault.

Gault’s 15.1 points per game this year is fourth in the conference while her free-throw percentage of .833 is sixth in the league.

Gamble’s teammate Jane Morrill (senior forward) earned second team honors, while Gault’s teammate Taylor Ford (senior guard) was named to the third team.

Morrill is just the third player in A-State history to be named to three straight All-SBC teams after finishing second on the team with 12.9 points per contest. Ford’s 3.9 assists per game this year ranks third in the conference while her 1.2 assist-to-turnover ratio is fifth in the league.

REGIONAL

Stars’ Peverley ‘resting comfortably’

DALLAS — Dallas Stars forward Rich Peverley remained hospitalized Tuesday and is “resting comfortably” after collapsing from a cardiac event he suffered during the first period of Monday’s game against Columbus.

The Stars issued an update on Peverley’s condition Tuesday and said he is undergoing more tests in an attempt to discover what triggered Monday’s episode.

“The focus of all the testing and monitoring is being dedicated to finding the cause of the event and a long-term solution to rectify the problem,” Stars general manager Jim Nill said in a statement.

“Rich has been communicating with his teammates and friends. He is extremely grateful for all of the prayers and support that he’s received from fans and friends alike.”

The Stars said a press conference in conjunction with doctors from UT Southwestern will be held Wednesday.

NATIONAL

Report: Knicks and Phil Jackson closing in on deal

The New York Knicks are reportedly close to a deal that could make Phil Jackson the head of the team’s basketball operations.

Speculation surrounding the Knicks and Jackson has been rampant for a few days, but ESPN has cited a source as saying only a few details need to be ironed out. The report also said an official announcement might not come until next week.

Jackson retired from coaching in May 2011 after leading the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers to a combined 11 NBA titles. He guided the Bulls to six championships and the Lakers to five, the last coming in 2010 with Los Angeles.

With the Knicks, the 68-year-old Hall of Famer would take over for Steve Mills, who was given the position of president and general manager just this past September. Mills, according to the ESPN report, would remain with the club.

Braves’ Medlen diagnosed with ligament injury in pitching elbow

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Atlanta Braves right-hander Kris Medlen has been diagnosed with an injured ligament in his pitching elbow.

Medlen underwent an MRI after leaving Sunday’s spring training outing and the diagnosis for a return is uncertain at this point. The 28-year-old had Tommy John surgery on the same elbow in August 2010 and missed most of the following season recovering from the procedure.

With two outs in the bottom of the fourth in Sunday’s spring training game against the New York Mets, Medlen threw his first pitch to Matt Clark and could be seen reaching for his right forearm/elbow.

After throwing his next pitch, Medlen hopped off the mound and headed straight for the dugout.

Medlen bounced back after his surgery to go 10-1 with a minuscule 1.57 earned run average before going 15-12 with a 3.11 ERA over 31 starts for the Braves last season.