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Kevin Harvick finally gets back to the winners circle a 115 race drought

compiled from staff and wire reports

Kevin Harvick was very relieved to finally be in Victory Lane.

Harvick used a last-second pass of Jamie McMurray to snap a 115-race winless streak Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, where he closed out a dramatic week for his race team. Shell Oil Company told Richard Childress Racing during the week that it was removing its sponsorship at the end of the season,  hurrying the company into a search to find funding to offer Harvick a contract extension.

Kevin Harvick (nascar)

Harvick, who won the 2007 season-opening Daytona 500 in his first race with Shell, couldn’t help but be full of delight at the timing. He knows if he starts to win again, the sponsors will gladly line up to offer money.

Harvick said his crew chief Gil Martin told him how to go about getting into the lead if he was bunched in heavy traffic.

Harvick lurked around in traffic, looking for a way to move up to second place as the race was winding to a close. The plan was to make on last attempt at the lead. He made up his mind to go for it. He made his decision to take the lead 500 yards from the finish line by sliding inside of Jamie Mc Murray then drag-race him to the finish.

The win came in the longest Talladega race in Sprint Cup history. Because NASCAR’s new overtime rule allows for three attempts at its version of overtime, the race went 12 laps past the scheduled distance of 188 trips around the 2.66-mile speedway.

It covered a record 88 lead changes among a record 29 drivers.

Jamie McMurray, the 2010 Daytona 500 winner after winning the October race at  Talladega, was seeking his third straight restrictor- plate win, he stretched his fuel tank to the bitter end while racing wide-open to the finish.

Harvick’s Cup win was the first victory at Talledega for team owner Richard Childress since October 2000 in what came to be the final win for the late Dale Earnhardt’s career.

The rest of the field finished this way: Juan Pablo Montoya, third; Denny Hamlin was fourth, and was followed in order by Mark Martin, David Ragan and Clint Bowyer. Kurt Busch was eighth, while Kyle Busch and Mike Bliss round out the top 10.

Reds rally behind Hernandez clutch hitting; end Padres win streak

compiled from staff and wire reports

Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez hit a tie-breaking RBI single in the eighth inning and Cincinnati rallied to end the San Diego Padres’ eight-game winning streak with a 5-4 victory on Sunday in Cincinnati.

None of the Reds wins this year have been easy. The Padres put runners on first and third with two out in the ninth inning but Francisco Cordero got former Red Jerry Hairston, Jr. to fly out to center to end the game.

Ramon Hernandez (mlb)

Jay Bruce had three hits and Scott Rolen hit his fifth homer for Cincinnati, which managed only four runs in the first two games of the series. Seven of the Reds’ eight wins have come in their last at-bat.

Reds manager Dusty Baker ripped into his players for their sloppy play after Saturday’s 5-0 loss to the Padres. Cincinnati committed two more baserunning blunders in the series finale on Sunday but Baker was pleased that the team responded.

Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer off Homer Bailey in the fourth to give the Padres a 2-0 lead. Gonzalez, who drove 1-1 pitch into the right-field seat, has connected in each of San Diego’s last four games. He has 6 homers in his last seven games at Great American Ball Park, dating to the 2009 season.

Dusty Baker (mlb)

It was Gonzalez’s 136th homer with the Padres, snapping a tie with Hall of Fame outfielder Tony Gwynn for fourth place on the franchise’s career list. Hall of Famer Dave Winfield is third with 154.

Oakland led by Chavez, routs the Indians, 11-0

compiled from staff and wire reports

Eric Chavez (mlb)

Eric Chavez is slowly but surely getting acclimated to the designated hitter role that was bestowed upon him when the Oakland A’s demoted his close friend Jack Cust to the minors right before Opening Day. Chavez was used to playing 3b on a regular basis until injuries started to pileup. To help him play longer in the majors, team management thought would be a benefit to let him just be the designated hitter.

Chavez hit a two-run double and also singled in a run to help Gio Gonzalez win for the first time in three starts, and the Athletics pounded the Cleveland Indians 11-0 on Sunday in Oakland to take the series.

Former Indians farmhand Kevin Kouzmanoff returned to the A’s lineup and added a three-run double. He sat out Saturday to give him time to heal after fouling a pitch off his foot. Kouzmanoff’s fifth-inning hit chased Justin Masterson (0-3).

Eric Patterson homered and hit a two-run triple, matching his career high with three RBI’s.

Cavaliers rebound against the Bulls in Game 4, win 121-98

compiled from staff and wire reports

LeBron James had 37 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, Antawn Jamison added 24 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Chicago Bulls 121-98 Sunday afternoon to go up 3-1 in their first round  series.

The Cavs led by 10 at halftime after scoring 38 in the second quarter and broke it open with a 37-point third quarter when the score was 99-76, putting then in position to close it out at home on Tuesday.

LeBron James Cleveland (file)

James followed up his previous games of 40 and 39. He was 6 of 9 on 3-pointers.

Chicago got 21 points apiece from Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah who also pulled down 20 rebounds.

Ohio State gets their man; Osiecki hired as new men’s hockey coach

Courtesy of Ohio State Athletics

Mark Osiecki Ohio State Hockey (UW)

Mark Osiecki has been selected as the head coach for the Ohio State men’s hockey program.

Osiecki was the top assistant at Wisconsin the last six years  and prior to joining the Badgers was the head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Gamblers in the United States Hockey League for seven years. Nate Guenin, a former Ohio State captain (2006) and current member of the St. Louis Blues’ organization, played for Osiecki with the Green Bay Gamblers. A winner at every level, Osiecki has been a part of NCAA (both as a player and coach), junior hockey, international and professional championship teams.

Osiecki brings success and experience at a variety of levels to the Ohio State program.

At Wisconsin, Osiecki was the recruiting coordinator and defensive coach under Mike Eaves. The Badgers advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four championship game this past season and won the national title in 2006. The squad made four NCAA tournament appearances and five appearances in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Final Five during his tenure. In 2007 four incoming Badgers were first-round picks in the NHL Entry Draft, and five were selected among the Top 50 in the 2008 league draft to set an NCAA record.

Osiecki started his collegiate coaching career as an assistant coach and strength and conditioning coordinator at North Dakota under Dean Blais. During the 1996-97 season with North Dakota, he helped direct the Fighting Sioux to the NCAA  title and WCHA regular-season playoff titles.

A three-year letterwinner on defense for Wisconsin from 1987-90, Osiecki served as an assistant captain for the 1990 NCAA Championship team. During the national championship season, he collected career highs with 38 assists and 43 points and earned a spot on the Frozen Four all-tournament team. The squad won conference regular-season and  tournament titles during his career and he was the recipient of the Seventh Man Award.

Osiecki was selected in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft by the Calgary Flames. He enjoyed a six-year career, including stints with the Flames, Ottawa Senators, Winnepeg Jets and Minnesota North Stars, before a wrist injury cut his career short. He also was a champion on the professional level winning the IHL title with both the Salt Lake City Golden Eagles in his first year as a pro in 1991 and the Kalamazoo Wings in 1994. Osiecki  represented his country as a player, competing for the United States at  the 1992 World Championship in Prague, Czech Republic.

A 1994 graduate of Wisconsin with a bachelor of arts degree in history, Osiecki and his wife, Robin, also a Wisconsin graduate, have a daughter, Emily, and a son, Jake.

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