Digest for 03-25-14


CORRECTION

Monticello baseball player Peyton Merrell’s name was spelled incorrectly in a brief on the Billies’ game against Marked Tree in Sunday’s issue.

LOCAL

West Alabama-UAPB baseball finale cancelled

The third and final game of UAPB’s home baseball series against West Alabama, scheduled for Sunday, was cancelled because of poor field conditions after rain hit the area. The game will not be rescheduled.

West Alabama won the first two games, 13-0 and 3-0.

UAPB will play at Texas Tech at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

STATE

Arkansas to host NCAA gymnastics regional

FAYETTEVILLE — The 17th-ranked Arkansas women’s gymnastics team will host an NCAA Regional meet starting April 5 at Barnhill Arena.

Arkansas has been selected as the third seed for the Regional. Utah and UCLA earned the top two seeds, with Arizona State, Utah State and Cal-Davis rounding out the field.

Individual competitors from Missouri, Texas Women’s, Illinois State, Northern Illinois, Southeast Missouri State and Illinois-Chicago will compete as well.

The top two teams and top finishers on all events that are not on the top two teams will advance to the NCAA National Championships on April 18.

REGIONAL

Rangers’ Soto to miss at least 2 months

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Texas Rangers catcher Geovany Soto will be sidelined at least for the first two months of the upcoming season after tearing the lateral meniscus in his right knee on Sunday.

Soto sustained the injury during the second inning of Sunday’s Cactus League game against San Diego. The Rangers confirmed the 31-year-old will require surgery and have announced a 10-to-12 week timetable for recovery.

The news comes one day after Texas revealed that prized youngster Jurickson Profar, the team’s projected everyday second baseman, tore a muscle in his right shoulder and is expected to miss around the same amount of time.

Tigers acquire Gonzalez

LAKELAND, Fla. — The Detroit Tigers made another move in an attempt to fill a sudden need at shortstop, acquiring veteran Alex Gonzalez from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for infielder Steve Lombardozzi.

The Tigers could be without shortstop Jose Iglesias for the entire season because of stress fractures in his legs.

Gonzalez had signed a minor league deal with Baltimore this offseason after playing utility roles with Milwaukee the past two years. He played just three games at shortstop last year and also saw time at first base and third base, appearing in a total of 41 games in 2013.

Now 37 years old, Gonzalez has spent the majority of his career at shortstop and has a .972 fielding percentage in 1,539 games at the position. He was an All-Star with the Marlins in 1999 and helped the club to the 2003 World Series championship.

Wichita’s Marshall named Coach of the Year

St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall was named the winner of the Henry Iba Award, given annually to the top men’s college basketball coach as selected by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.

The announcement comes a day after the Shockers suffered their only loss of the season and were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament in a 78-76 decision against Kentucky.

Wichita State finished 35-1 and won at least 25 games for the fifth straight season. The Shockers, coming off a surprising Final Four appearance last year, became the first team in NCAA history to win its first 35 games.

Dayton extends Miller’s deal to 2018-19

DAYTON, Ohio — Dayton men’s basketball coach Archie Miller has the Flyers in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 30 years and has now received a contract extension.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the new pact will take Miller through the 2018-19 season.

The deal, according to the school’s release, was actually agreed upon in February. Miller had asked the university to keep it quiet to avoid any distractions during the regular season.

Dickey steps down as Houston coach

HOUSTON — University of Houston men’s basketball coach James Dickey has resigned after four seasons.

The school said Monday that Dickey was stepping down “due to private family matters.”

Dickey, hired in April of 2010, led Houston to a 64-62 record — including a 17-16 mark this season after the Cougars transferred from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference.

Dickey, a Valley Springs High School and Central Arkansas alumnus, was an assistant under Eddie Sutton at Arkansas from 1981-85. He also was head coach at Texas Tech from 1991-2001.

Every rallies for first win at Bay Hill

ORLANDO — Matt Every rallied with a 2-under 70 on Sunday to come from behind and win the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Every, who was nine strokes off the pace after 36 holes, finished at 13-under-par 275 for his first PGA Tour title. The 30-year-old held on despite two bogeys in the last three holes at Bay Hill.

Keegan Bradley narrowly missed a birdie putt on the final green that would have forced a playoff. He birdied 16 and 17 to post even-par 72 and ended one back at minus-12.

Adam Scott, who led since early on Thursday when he opened with a 62, struggled to a 4-over 76 that left him in third place at 11-under 277.

Busch repeats at Fontana

FONTANA, Calif. — Jimmie Johnson’s blown tire in the closing laps opened the door for Kyle Busch to win Sunday’s Auto Club 400 in a chaotic finish at Auto Club Speedway.

Johnson ran in front for a race-high 104 laps and held comfortable lead when he blew his left-front tire on lap 194, allowing second-place runner and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon to take the lead. Several more drivers experienced tire issues in the following laps, including Clint Bowyer, who spun around and forced a caution to set up a green-white-checkered finish.

During the last caution, the field pitted for new tires except Landon Cassill, who took over the lead for the final restart. Kurt Busch quickly passed Cassill for the top spot while Tony Stewart moved into second after the restart, making it a battle between Stewart-Haas Racing teammates for the win.

— Staff and wire reports