Sports News-April 4, 2013

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The current Big East will be called the American Athletic Conference starting next season.  The conference announced the decision yesterday after university presidents approved the new moniker earlier in the day.  The Big East football schools were in need of a new name after they agreed to let seven basketball schools break away from the conference to start a new league this summer to be called the Big East.  The American Athletic Conference will have ten members in its first season: Rutgers, Louisville, Connecticut, South Florida, Cincinnati, Central Florida, Memphis, Houston, SMU and Temple.  Rutgers and Louisville are likely leaving after 2013 and are set to be replaced by Tulane, East Carolina and Tulsa in 2014.  Navy is schedule to join in 2015.

Rutgers has fired basketball coach Mike Rice after a videotape aired showing him shoving, grabbing and throwing balls at players in practice and using gay slurs during practice.  The videotape has prompted scores of outraged social media comments as well as sharp criticism from Gov. Chris Christie.  The head of the New Jersey Assembly called for Rice to be fired.  Rice was relieved of his duties after three largely unsuccessful seasons at the Big East school.  There will be a national search to replace him.  Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti was given a copy of the video in November.  After hiring independent investigators to analyze the tape, he suspended Rice for three games and fined him $50,000.

Minnesota has picked 30-year-old up-and-comer Richard Pitino to take over for Tubby Smith.  The university announced last night that it has reached an agreement to bring Pitino to the Golden Gophers after one season at Florida International.  Athletic director Norwood Teague says full terms of the contract will be finished later in the week.  In his lone season at Florida International, Pitino led the Panthers to an 18-14 record, the school's first winning season in 13 years.  Pitino's father, Rick, is head coach at Louisville.

The Omaha Storm Chasers baseball team gets their season underway tonight when they take on the Round Rock Express in Texas at 7:05.  Omaha has 27 players on the roster as they will host games in their second year at Werner Park in Papillion.  Anchoring the starting rotation for the Storm Chasers will be 2012 All-Pacific Coast League pitcher Ryan Verdugo, who led his team with twelve wins.  Headlining the 13 position players will be Omaha's 2011 player of the year, Johnny Giavotella.  The Storm Chasers lost to Reno in the Pacific Coast League Championship last year.

Wayne State remained unbeaten in Northern Sun Conference baseball play yesterday with a 5-0 and 8-4 sweep over Bemidji State at the Pete Chapman Baseball Complex in Wayne.  The Wildcats have now won six straight and ten of their last eleven games to improve to 16-6 overall and 6-0 in league play while Bemidji State is now 11-11 on the season and 2-4 in the NSIC.

The Wayne State softball team pounded out 26 hits yesterday while recording a 13-5 and 7-3 Northern Sun Conference sweep over Upper Iowa in the home opener for the Wildcats played at the WSC Softball Complex.  WSC improves to 16-6 overall and 7-1 in the NSIC with the sweep while the visiting Peacocks drop to 14-10 and 1-3 in league play.

The Norfolk Panther track & field team participated in yesterday’s Grand Island Invitational.  In the boys standings, the host team was the champion with a score of 143.  They won by 29 points.  Norfolk finished fourth with 88.25 points.  Champions for the Panthers included Jake Rowlett (Discus); and the 4X100.25 Meter Relay team of Jared McGinn, Christian Hernandez, Charles Goodman, & Rowlett.  In the girls standings, Lincoln Southeast won the crown with a score of 159 while Norfolk was second with 125.5 points.  Champions for the Lady Panthers included Claire Sintek (HJ); Erica Dover (Discus); Taleah Williams (LJ); the 4X400 Meter Relay team of Katherine Dover, Chelsea Johnson, Jaycee Bradley, & Williams.

The Omaha World Herald & Lincoln Journal Star updated their high school soccer rankings.  In the boys rankings in the Omaha World Herald, Omaha Creighton Prep remains first in the “Nebraska Top 10” & Class “A”.  In Class “B”, Omaha Skutt is once again first, Schuyler jumps from fourth to third, Columbus slips from seventh to eighth, and Columbus Scotus enters the rankings at number ten.  In the Lincoln Journal Star boys rankings, Omaha Creighton Prep stays at number one in Class “A”.  In Class “B”, Omaha Skutt is once again first, Schuyler slips from second to fourth, Columbus enters the rankings at number seven, and Columbus Scotus falls out of the rankings.  In the Omaha World Herald girls rankings, Omaha Marian stays at number one in the “Nebraska Top 10” & Class “A”.  In Class “B”, Omaha Skutt remains first, Columbus Scotus is once again fourth, and Columbus drops from seventh to ninth.  In the Lincoln Journal Star girls rankings, Omaha Marian remains first in Class “A”.  In Class “B”, Omaha Skutt stays at number one, Columbus Scotus is once again fifth, and Columbus enters the rankings at number ten.

Local Schedule:  Nfk High Vs. Columbus at Kearney (GNAC B Socc. Tourn.-5:30); Nfk High Vs. Gering at Kearney (GNAC G Socc. Tourn.-3:30); Nfk Cath/LHNE at Columbus Scotus (B Socc.-5:00); LHNE/Nfk Cath at Columbus Scotus (G Socc.-5:00); Nfk High Vs. Thurston/Cuming County at Pender (Bsbl-6:00); Nfk High at Hastings (G Tenn. Dual-4:00); Hartington CC, Stanton, & Creighton at Nfk Cath Quad at Nfk CC (B Golf-4:00); NECC at Southeast CC Inv. At Beatrice (M Golf-1:00); Omaha Storm Chasers at Round Rock, TX (Bsbl-7:05).

Local Scores:  Kansas St. 3 Nebraska-Omaha 2 (Bsbl); Nebraska 4 Creighton 3 (SB); WSC 5-8 Bemidji St. 0-4 (Bsbl DH); WSC 13-7 Upper Iowa 5-3 (SB DH).

     INTERLEAGUE
    
      Final            Cincinnati            5    L.A.  Angels        4
    
    
          AMERICAN  LEAGUE
    
      Final            Chi  White  Sox      5    Kansas  City        2
      Final            Texas                      4    Houston                0
      Final            Minnesota              3    Detroit                2
      Final            Boston                    7    N-Y  Yankees        4
      Final            Cleveland              3    Toronto                2,  11  Innings
      Final            Tampa  Bay              8    Baltimore            7
      Final            Oakland                  6    Seattle                2
    
    
          NATIONAL  LEAGUE
    
      Final            Pittsburgh            3    Chi  Cubs              0
      Final            Washington            3    Miami                    0
      Final            Atlanta                  9    Philadelphia      2
      Final            N-Y  Mets                8    San  Diego            4
      Final            Colorado                7    Milwaukee            3
      Final            Arizona                10    St.  Louis            9,  16  Innings
      Final            San  Francisco      5    L.A.  Dodgers      3
    
    
          NATIONAL  BASKETBALL  ASSOCIATION
    
      Final    Brooklyn            113    Cleveland            95
      Final    New  York              95    Atlanta                82
      Final    Charlotte            88    Philadelphia      83
      Final    Toronto                88    Washington          78
      Final    Boston                  98    Detroit                93
      Final    Minnesota          107    Milwaukee            98
      Final    San  Antonio        98    Orlando                84
      Final    Denver                113    Utah                      96
      Final    Houston              112    Sacramento        102
      Final    Memphis                94    Portland              76
      Final    Golden  State      98    New  Orleans        88
      Final    L-A  Clippers    126    Phoenix              101
    
    
          NATIONAL  HOCKEY  LEAGUE
    
      Final    Philadelphia      5    Montreal          3
      Final    N-Y  Rangers        6    Pittsburgh      1
      Final    Anaheim                5    Dallas              2
      Final    Edmonton              8    Calgary            2
      Final    San  Jose              4    Minnesota        2

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