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Ohio State blasts Northwestern 11-1, to open Big Ten schedule

Courtesy of Ohio State Athletics

Alex Wimmers is 6-0 (OSU)

Zach Hurley started game with a HR (OSU)

The Baseball Buckeyes put 17 hits in beating Northwestern 11-1 in the Big Ten opener on Friday afternoon in the Windy City suburb of Evanston, Illinois.

Alex Wimmers picked up the win and is now 6-0; the first Ohio State starting pitcher to start the season at 6-0 since Cory Luebke began 7-0 in 2007.

Wimmers, a junior right-hander pitched seven innings, allowing six hits and one earned run while striking out five.

There were several stars of the game to support Wimmers. Cory Rupert had a four-hit day while Dan Burkhart and Ryan Dew each had three for the Buckeyes. Dew finished with three runs batted in and three runs scored and Brian DeLucia scored three runs.

The Ohio State offense gave their ace pitcher a nice lead in the top of the first inning, scoring four runs. Zach Hurley led the game off with a home run to left and Ryan Dew had a key two-run triple to center that drove in Burkhart and Michael Stephens as the Buckeyes batted around with six hits.

The Northwestern number 1, 2 and 3 batters were a combined 1-for-12.

The 15-7 Buckeyes  and Northwestern will play game 2 of the three-game series on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Matt Garza sharp in final spring tuneup; Rays clinch best spring record

compiled from staff and wire reports

The Tampa Bay Rays clinched the best spring training record in major league baseball Friday, with a 4-2 win over the New York Mets at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Righthander Matt Garza had another strong performance pitching 5 scoreless innings, allowing one hit, walking two and six strikeouts. 13,133 fans were in attendance.

Garza has lowered his spring ERA to 2.28 and will pitch against the Baltimore Orioles in the Rays second game of the year on Wednesday.

Matt Garza Tampa Bay (Fresno State photo)

The Rays have a spring record of 20-8-2 this spring. They also had the number 1 spring training record in major league baseball two years ago, when they went on to become American League champions and appeared in the World Series.

Before Friday’s game, Tampa Bay announced that two-time All-Star Hank Blalock will not open the season on their roster and he will try to sign with another team.

If the 29-year-old infielder can’t sign a contract with another team, he’ll report to the Durham Bulls, the Rays Triple-A affiliate.

Blalock agreed to a minor league contract last month. The Rays feel he showed enough in camp that he will eventually be able to help the major league team if he stays and not sign with another team.

Hank Blalock batted .234 with 25 homers and 66 RBI’s in 123 games for the Texas Rangers in 2009. The .269 career hitter missed most of 2008 and 2009 with injuries that hurt his production at the plate.

Kicker Jason Elam get his wish, retires as a Denver Bronco

compiled from staff, wire and Denver Broncos

Jason Elam had a chance to do something that most NFL players don’t have the opportunity to do, return to the team that originally drafted him and retire.

Elam signed a on-day contract earlier this week with the Denver Broncos before announcing his retirement, thus ending a 17-year NFL career.  The Pro Bowl kicker spent his first 15 years with the Broncos and 2008 and 2009 with the Atlanta Falcons who released him almost four months ago.

The Broncos drafted him in the third round in 1993. He never expected to be drafted by Denver because nobody from the organization brought him in for a workout.

Kicker Jason Elam (creative commons/wfe photo)

The 40-year-old Elam, was a member of the Broncos two Super Bowl championship teams.

The three-time Pro Bowler finished his career ranked fifth in NFL history with 1,983 points and 436 field goals. He is the all-time leader with 16 seasons of 100 or more points.

Jason shares the NFL record with Tom Dempsey of New Orleans for the longest field goal of 63 years.

Elam says there are three most memorable kicks of his career:

* number 1 was a 51-yard field goal in the Broncos win over Green Bay, “we were the underdogs and it meant so much to the organization, the teams and the city,” he said.

* number 2 was most dramatic.  A 42-yard field goal as time ran out in a 15-14 win at Buffalo, “we didn’t have any timeouts left and I had missed a couple earlier,” he said.

* number 3 was the 63-yarder.

Elam said the rough times in Atlanta in 2010 told him it was time to retire.

No effects of hip injury, Suzann Pettersen leads Kraft Nabisco tourney

compiled by staff and wire reports

Suzann Petterson LPGA Tour (creative commons/wfe photo)

Suzann Pettersen is the first round leader in the LPGA Tour’s first major of the season.

The Norwegian star golfer, trying to make a comeback from a hip injury, shot a bogey-free 5-under 67 in the Kraft Nabisco Championship on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead over former champion Lorena Ochoa, who missed birdie putts on her final two holes.

Pettersen did take a cortisone shot for her hip, but there didn’t seem to be any lingering effects showing in her game. Suzann hit 12 fairways and 13 greens in regulation at Mission Hills golf course in Rancho Mirage, California.

Pettersen has garnered two top-10 finishes in three tournaments in 2010. The hip injury kept her from swinging a club for three weeks.

There were three majors champions in a group at 69, Karen Stupples, Yani Tseng and Karrie Webb.

Defending champion Brittany Lincicome put in a birdie putt on the 12th hole to drop to 4 under par before bogeying numbers 13 and 15 to finish with a 70.

Red Wings win seventh in a row beating Columbus, 3-2

compiled by staff

Tomas Holmstom, Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi scored goals for Detroit, who held off  Columbus, 3-2 in the Motor City on Thursday night for their season-high seventh victory.

Goalie Jimmy Howard made 20 saves for Detroit, who is 14-2-1 in its last 17 games.

Andrew Murray and R.J. Umberger lit the lamp for Columbus and Steve Mason stopped 29 shots.

Bertuzzi made the score 3-1, 1:13 into the third period.  Henrik Zetterberg”s pass went in off the right skate of Bertuzzi, who was skating through the crease and the replays showed he appeared to make a kicking motion with heel to direct the puck into the net.  It was originally waved off. But it went to video replay and the call was reversed for Bertuzzi’s  18th goal.

Tomas Holmstom Detroit (NHL)

Pavel Datsyuk Detroit (NHL)


*Jimmy Howard was the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for March.  It was also his 24th consecutive start, the most successive starts by a Detroit rookie goalie since Glenn Hall started all 70 games in 155-56. The stretch also is the most consecutive games started by any Detroit goalie since Tim Cheveldae’s 29 in 1991-92.

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