WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC
LOS ANGELES (AP) Marcus Stroman took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, Ian Kinsler slugged a two-run homer and the United States routed Puerto Rico 8-0 to win its first World Baseball Classic in four tries.
Stroman dominated the tournament’s highest-scoring team. Puerto Rico lost for the first time in eight games after outscoring the opposition 55-26. The U.S. territory finished runner-up for the second time, having lost to the Dominican Republic in the 2013 final.
Stroman, who was named the tournament’s MVP, avenged his shakiness in the Americans’ 6-5 loss to Puerto Rico during pool play. The right-hander from the Toronto Blue Jays retired the side on three grounders to open the game. In all, he gave up one hit, struck out three and walked one on 73 pitches.
He allowed just three balls past the infield until Angel Pagan’s double in the left-field corner leading off the seventh, when Stroman departed to a standing ovation, having staked the Americans to a 7-0 lead.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Defending champion Jason Day tearfully withdrew from the Dell Technologies Match Play after six holes so he could be with his mother when she has surgery for lung cancer.
Day said his mother, Dening, was diagnosed in Australia at the start of the year and told she had 12 months to live. He brought her to Ohio in the last month for more tests, hopeful that surgery would lead to a chance for a recovery.
Day spoke to the media before leaving to avoid any speculation about his own health. A year ago at the Match Play, he tweaked his back in the opening round and wasn’t sure he would be able to continue. Instead, he won his next six matches to capture this World Golf Championships event for the second time.
He said the mass in her mother’s lung was 3 to 4 centimeters. The surgery is scheduled for Friday.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Men’s and women’s basketball teams in this year’s Sweet 16 are graduating more players and experiencing all-time high academic success.
The programs still alive in the NCAA Tournament are enjoying the best academic success since The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport on the University of Central Florida campus has been tracking the numbers, according to a study it released. This year, 15 of the 16 men’s teams, and all of the women’s teams, that made it to the Sweet 16 have an Academic Progress Rate (APR) of 960 or better.
These programs are also graduating their players at a higher rate, with 81 percent of the men and 100 percent of the women holding a Graduation Success Rate (GRS) of at least 60 percent. These numbers either equal or surpass all-time highs for this particular TIDES study, which has been in existence since 2003.
In this year’s study taken from spring of 2016 numbers, eight of the women’s teams and seven of the men’s programs graduated above 90 percent of their student-athletes, and two men’s teams and six on the women’s side hit 100 percent. Butler and Kansas were the two men’s programs with 100 percent graduation rates.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Mike Rhoades received what felt like a hero’s welcome when he returned to Virginia to be introduced as VCU’s next men’s basketball coach.
The popular former assistant was re-introduced to Rams fans Wednesday at the Siegel Center, where his work over five years with Shaka Smart endeared him to the VCU faithful. A crowd of several hundred people, many on their lunch break, welcomed him with a standing ovation and raucous cheers.
”This is a dream come true to me and my family to be the head coach at VCU, to be standing here representing the Rams. I’m truly humbled and very appreciative,” Rhoades told the crowd.
He had them screaming even louder when he assured them that unlike his predecessor Will Wade, who left after only two years for LSU, he is home. Rhoades’ return was announced less than 24 hours after Wade resigned. Rhoades has spent the last three seasons turning around the program at Rice. The Owls won 23 games this season, one short of their winningest season ever, and played in the CBI Tournament. The year before Rhoades’ arrival, Rice finished just 7-23.
At Rice, Rhoades compiled a 47-52 record.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) – Kentucky has signed John Calipari and Mark Stoops to two-year contract extensions, keeping Calipari as its men’s basketball coach through 2024 and Stoops with the football program through 2022.
Calipari’s base salary increases $500,000 to $7.75 million next season and rises to $8 million annually for each year after under the amended deal. The extension includes a compensation review in June 2022 to compare it to other coaches’ contracts and allows for a new amendment to be negotiated. Calipari would also be paid $5 million for each year if Kentucky terminates the contract.
Stoops, who guided the Wildcats to a 7-6 finish and their first bowl since 2010 last season, will earn $3.5 million this year with $250,000 annual increases.
NEW YORK (AP) – For all those NFL fans longing for more action, fewer interruptions and a better flow to games, Commissioner Roger Goodell is with you.
The NFL is making plans to speed up the pace of games, including changing how video replays are handled and using a time clock for extra points. The league also is discussing with the TV networks how to make commercial breaks less intrusive.
For officiating replays, the referee no longer would go under a hood to watch a play. Instead, a tablet would be brought to him on the field and he would consult with league headquarters in New York. The final call would be made in New York.
Support by 75 percent of the 32 team owners would be needed at next week’s annual meetings for passage of the proposals.
In addition to a time clock for PATs when there is no TV break, the league is considering instituting a play clock after a touchdown.
CINCINNATI (AP) – Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam ”Pacman” Jones faces three misdemeanor charges, including assault, but no longer is being charged with a felony for a January confrontation with hotel security guards, police and a nurse.
A felony charge of harassment with a bodily substance, for allegedly spitting at a nurse, was dismissed at the prosecuting attorney’s request, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said in a statement. The felony charge carries a potential sentence of six to 12 months in jail upon conviction.
Deters said the misdemeanors also include disorderly conduct and obstructing official business. Those charges will be referred to Hamilton County Municipal Court in Cincinnati for prosecution by a city prosecutor, according to Deters.
The 33-year-old veteran football player, whose career has been marked by off-the-field legal issues, was jailed early Jan. 3. Authorities said Jones tangled with hotel security late at night.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Dallas Green, the tough-talking manager who guided the Philadelphia Phillies to their first World Series championship, has died. He was 82.
The Phillies say Green died Wednesday at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia. He had been in poor health for several years.
Green spent 62 years in baseball as a player, manager, general manager, team president and other roles.
As a big league pitcher, he went just 20-22 in the 1960s. It was in the dugout where the 6-foot-5 man with a commanding presence really found his voice – and a booming one, it was.
Green guided the Phillies to the World Series championship in 1980, ending a drought that stretched back nearly a century. He later managed the New York Yankees and Mets, and was GM and president of the Cubs.
USA Hockey has postponed the start of the women’s national team’s world championship training camp amid an ongoing wage dispute.
USA Hockey said the camp originally scheduled to begin Wednesday in Traverse City, Michigan, won’t happen.
The organization ”anticipates” a training camp in Plymouth, Michigan, site of the upcoming International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship.
Players announced last week that they’d boycott the tournament unless they made significant progress with USA Hockey in negotiations on a labor deal. The sides met for 10-plus hours Monday, and John Langel, a lawyer for the players, tells The Associated Press that the next meeting will be by phone but hasn’t been scheduled yet.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – NASCAR suspended the crew chiefs for Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick for violations at Phoenix Raceway.
Keselowski’s car failed post-race inspection on Sunday and NASCAR suspended crew chief Paul Wolfe three races. Wolfe was also fined $65,000 and Team Penske was docked 35 driver and owner points.
Team Penske said it will not immediately appeal and Brian Wilson will fill in for Wolfe this weekend at California.
”The race cars returned to the race shop (Wednesday) and we are in the process of evaluating the area in question,” the team said.
Keselowski finished fifth at Phoenix. He already has a victory this season, so the points penalty does little to alter his playoff position.