Sports Briefs

Qualifying begins for W.Va. Open

MOUNDSVILLE – Moundsville’s Kyle Hill and Pete Kurelac III and Wheeling’s Jess Allen were among five golfers to qualify for the 80th West Virginia Open at the first of five qualifying events, this at Moundsville Country Club.

Elkin’s Alasdair Forsythe and West Alexander, Pa.’s Jesse Vensel were the other two qualifiers.

Other qualifying sites are Pipestream State Park, Lakeview Resort and Edgewood Country Club.

The West Virginia Open will take place at Parkersburg Country Club.

4-team playoff is good ‘baby step’

IRVING, Texas – Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds believes the new College Football Playoff could use one more round.

Dodds says the four-team playoff system that will begin with the 2014 season is a good ‘baby step.” The longtime playoff proponent would like to see eight teams.

Speaking Thursday at the Big 12 meetings, Dodds said a four-team playoff still leaves a lot of conversation about the fifth team that doesn’t get in, maybe an 11-1 team because of a 12-0 team not quite as good. Dodds says there wouldn’t be as much debate about a ninth team.

West Virginia AD Oliver Luck says “let’s give four a shot” and see what happens.

Richardson out with shin injury

BEREA, Ohio – Browns running back Trent Richardson is not practicing again because of a shin injury that could keep him sidelined for an extended period.

Richardson worked on his conditioning Thursday while his teammates went through the final session of organized team activities under first-year coach Rob Chudzinski. Richardson also missed last week’s OTAs and Chudzinski said the second-year back could miss next month’s mini-camp.

The Browns said Richardson has a strained muscle in his shin. The injury doesn’t appear to be serious.

McLendon ready to fill big shoes

PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh Steelers nose tackle Steve McLendon is ready to make his mentors proud.

Following the retirement of Chris Hoke and the departure of five-time Pro Bowler Casey Hampton, McLendon now finds himself as the big man in the middle of Pittsburgh’s 3-4 defense.

McLendon understands he isn’t Hampton, but believes he can be effective. Al Woods and second-year man Alameda Ta’amu will compete for the backup spot.

Sports Briefs

Asking Legions for schedules

The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register are asking area American Legion baseball coaches to submit schedules for the upcoming season.

Schedules are needed for the following teams: Moundsville, Toronto and Richmond.

Schedules can be emailed to rthorp@theintelligencer.net or faxed to (304) 232-1399.

James, Bryant make first team

NEW YORK – LeBron James was a unanimous pick for the All-NBA team and Kobe Bryant earned his record-tying 11th first-team selection.

James received all 119 votes for the first team from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the U.S. and Canada. Joining the league’s MVP and Bryant on the first team Thursday were Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, San Antonio center Tim Duncan and Clippers guard Chris Paul.

Bryant tied Utah Hall of Famer Karl Malone with his 11th first-team nod.

Hamlin takes Coke 600 pole

CONCORD, N.C. – Denny Hamlin broke the track record Thursday with a lap of 195.624 mph to capture the pole for the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Hamlin, who has never won a Sprint Cup race at CMS, was one of eight drivers to top the previous record of 193.708 set last October by Greg Biffle.

It is Hamlin’s 14th career pole.

Four Toyotas will start in the top five. Hamlin will start alongside Kurt Busch on the front row, followed by Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin and Clint Bowyer.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start 11th and Danica Patrick starts 24th.

Velasquez looks for another K.O.

Although Cain Velasquez is a heavy favorite in his heavyweight title defense at UFC 160, the champion says there’s no chance he would ever take Antonio Silva lightly.

The last guy to do that was Alistair Overeem, and the man-mountain known as “Bigfoot” knocked him out and seized this title shot Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.

Yet Velasquez (11-1) realizes almost everybody expects him to wreck Silva (18-4) just as thoroughly as he did one year ago in a first-round knockout at UFC 146. Time will tell.

Sports Briefs

American Legion cards sought

The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register are asking area American Legion baseball coaches to submit schedules for the upcoming season if they haven’t done so.

Schedules can be emailed to rthorp@theintelligencer.net or faxed to (304) 232-1399.

World of Outlaws coming to TCS

MIDDLEBOURNE – Tyler County Speedway will play host to the 2nd annual World of Outlaws Late Model Series’ Jackpot 100 on Saturday and Sunday at Tyler County Speedway.

The event, presented by NAPA Auto Parts, headlines a four-day holiday weekend of entertainment at the speedway that also includes suport-division racing, music and camping.

For more information, call (304) 771-5661, (304) 771-4883.

Big 12 baseball tourney on top

IRVING, Texas – Regular season champion Kansas State enters the 2013 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship as the No. 1 seed. The event is set for Wednesday-Sunday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.

First-day matchups include:

Division One: No. 5 Baylor vs. No. 4 Oklahoma – 9 a.m. CT; No. 8 Texas Tech vs. No. 1 K-State – 12:30 p.m. CT

Division Two: No. 6 Kansas vs. No. 3 West Virginia – 4 p.m. CT; No. 7 TCU vs. No. 2 Oklahoma State – 7:30 p.m. CT

FOX Sports Media Group is televising the entire championship to a national audience for the first time. FOX Sports Networks (FSN) will televise the championship final. All games leading up to the final will air on FOX College Sports.

Wild Things fall in Illinois, 2-1

SCHAMBURG, Ill. – The Washington Wild Things fell to the Boomers 2-1 on Sunday afternoon. The game was similar to each of the games between the two clubs over the weekend, with a one-run difference.

Washington’s lone score cam when Mark Samuelson doubled to drive in Jovan Rosa.

Starting pitcher Shawn Blackwell took the loss for Washington despite his good performance. The right-hander allowed only two runs on three hits and struck out five in his six innings of work.

Schrader oldes ARCA winner

TOLEDO – Longtime NASCAR driver Ken Schrader became the oldest winner in ARCA Racing Series history Sunday, dominating the Menards 200 at Toledo Speedway.

The 57-year-old Schrader surpassed Iggy Katona as the oldest series winner. The Missouri driver won for the fifth time at Toledo and 16th time overall in the series.

“I love it,” Schrader said. “That’s five. We’ll take it.”

Schrader started second in his Chevrolet and led 163 laps

Mason Mingus was second.

Sports Briefs

OSU’s Big Ten schedule released

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State’s first two Big Ten games in the 2014 season will be against the conference’s newest members.

The Buckeyes travel to Maryland on Oct. 4 and, after a bye week, play host to Rutgers on Oct. 18.

The Big Ten released the conference schedule Thursday. With non-league games that had already been disclosed, the Ohio State schedule shapes up like this: Aug. 30 at Navy (in Baltimore); Bye; Sept. 13, Kent State; Sept. 20, Virginia Tech; Sept. 27, Cincinnati; Oct. 4 at Maryland; Bye; Oct. 18 Rutgers; Oct. 25, Penn State; Nov. 1, Illinois; Nov. 8 at Michigan State; Nov. 15, at Minnesota; Nov. 22, Indiana; Nov. 29, Michigan.

Beckham to retire after season ends

LONDON – David Beckham is retiring from soccer, ending a career in which he transcended the sport with forays into fashion and a marriage to a pop star that made him a global celebrity.

The 38-year-old former England captain, who recently won a league title in a fourth country with Paris Saint-Germain, said Thursday he will quit after the season.

“It’s a good way to go out,” Beckham said in Paris. “It’s every athlete’s dream, every footballer’s dream to go out on the top – on top form or winning a trophy … leaving as a champion.”

U.S. Open tennis leaving CBS

The U.S. Open tennis tournament will leave CBS after nearly a half-century and move all TV coverage to cable starting in 2015 under an 11-year contract with ESPN.

The new deal between the U.S. Tennis Association and ESPN, announced Thursday, also includes the series of North American summer hard-court tournaments leading up to the Open.

Since 2009, ESPN already has shown some matches from the season’s last Grand Slam championship, with CBS airing a half-dozen days of coverage, including the men’s and women’s singles finals.

CBS has broadcast the U.S. Open every year since 1968; its current deal expires after the 2014 tournament.

U.S. beats Russia at hockey worlds

HELSINKI – Paul Stastny had two goals and two assists and Craig Smith had five assists on Thursday to give the United States an 8-3 victory against Russia and a spot in the semifinals of the hockey world championships.

T.J. Oshie, Nate Thompson, Alex Galchenyuk, Ryan Carter, Jacob Trouba and David Moss also scored. Goaltender John Gibson had 31 saves.

The Americans will face either Switzerland or the Czech Republic.

Alexander Ovechkin scored one goal for the Russians, while Alexander Svitov and Alexander Perezhogin added the others.

Ex-NASCAR driver Trickle dead at 71

CONCORD, N.C. – Authorities in North Carolina say former NASCAR driver Dick Trickle has died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 71.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office says authorities received a call believed to be from Trickle on Thursday saying that “there would be a dead body and it would be his.” Authorities tried to call the number back, but no one answered.

The sheriff says Trickle’s body was found near his pickup truck at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Boger City, N.C., about 40 miles northwest of Charlotte. Sheriff’s Lieutenant Tim Johnson says foul play is not suspected.

Trickle was the Winston Cup series rookie of the year in 1989 but never won a Cup race.

Sports Briefs

Pirates strike

out ticket prices

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced tickets on sale now for the ”How Many Ks” promotion that took place the first three games of the Pirates series in New York. The Pirates pitching staff struck out a total of 23 batters from Thursday-Saturday and tickets will now be made available for as low as $5 at pirates.com/howmanyks.

For every strikeout during the last three games, fans receive $1 off the purchase price of Lower Outfield Box and Outfield Box seats for a game this week, Monday through Friday, as the Pirates play host the Milwaukee Brewers for a four-game series and the Houston Astros on Friday. The regular advance purchase price for Lower Outfield Box seats is $32, while Outfield Box seats are $28. Thanks to the promotion, tickets in the Lower Outfield Box area are available now for as low as $9 and Outfield Box seats are now available for as little as $5.

Fourteen ticket limit per customer, based on availability. Offer limited to Lower Outfield Box and Outfield Box Seats only.

Steelers Hall of Famer Butler dies

PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame defensive back Jack Butler died Saturday morning following a lengthy battle with a staph infection. He was 85.

Butler’s son John said his father’s heart stopped suddenly. Butler had been hospitalized for several months while dealing with a staph infection that had plagued him off and on since he retired in 1959.

A Pittsburgh native, Butler made the Steelers as an undrafted rookie free agent out of St. Bonaventure in 1951. He developed into one of the top defensive backs of his era. He played nine seasons with the Steelers, collecting 52 interceptions. He made the Pro Bowl four times and was named to the All-NFL first team three times.

Butler was elected to the Hall of Fame by the senior committee in 2012.

Mountaineers split

twinbill with TCU

CHARLESTON – The West Virginia University baseball team allowed six runs in the first inning, falling 7-4 to TCU on Saturday evening at Appalachian Power Park in the second game of a doubleheader.

The series is now tied at 1-1 after WVU won 2-0 in the first game. The Mountaineers (30-21, 12-8 Big 12) had 10 hits with two errors and the Horned Frogs (24-25, 9-11 Big 12) finished with nine hits and no errors.

Ryan McBroom finished 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI for the Mountaineers, while Jacob Rice and sophomore second baseman Billy Fleming each had two hits.

In the first game, redshirt sophomore Harrison Musgrave continued his stellar season with a career high 14 strikeouts in a complete game shutout. Musgrave (8-1) tossed his third complete game shutout of the season, allowing no runs on three hits with 14 strikeouts and one walk.

WVU had six hits, led by two-hit performances by McBroom and redshirt junior designated hitter Matt Frazer. TCU finished with three hits.

The rubber match is set for this afternoon at 1 . The game will be video streamed on WVUsports.com, while the radio broadcast will be on select affiliates of the Mountaineer Sports Network, with Morgantown affiliate WAJR 1440 AM serving as the flagship station.

Sports Briefs

NBA semifinals knotted up

These NBA conference semifinals are fit to be tied.

Four series, all knotted at one game apiece, the first time that’s ever happened in the second round of the NBA playoffs under the current league format, according to STATS LLC. For favorites like Miami, New York, San Antonio and Oklahoma City, home-court advantage has disappeared, and now underdogs can control their own fates simply by taking care of business on their home floors.

The Heat, Knicks, Spurs and Thunder are four of the league’s top five winningest road teams this season – which probably isn’t great news for Chicago, Indiana, Golden State and Memphis, the lower-seeded clubs who will all be hosting pivotal Game 3s.

Castro makes debut, leads all

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy had their best start ever in The Players Championship.

It still wasn’t enough to catch a guy who had never played the TPC Sawgrass.

Roberto Castro hit shots to tap-in range on the famed 17th and 18th holes on his way to a 9-under 63. That tied the course record held by Greg Norman and Fred Couples, and gave him a three-shot lead over McIlroy.

Woods had a chance for his first bogey-free round until missing the 18th green and flubbing a chip. He still had a 67, the first time he has broken 70 in this event.

Federer defeated by Nishikori

MADRID – Second-ranked Roger Federer lost to Kei Nishikori 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 in the third round of the Madrid Open on Thursday.

After recovering from Nishikori’s strong start, it looked as if Federer found his stride after roaring back in the second set. But Nishikori reasserted his ground game in the decider after breaking the defending champion for a 3-1 advantage and held on for the surprising victory to reach the quarterfinals.

Federer’s early exit leaves Rafael Nadal as the favorite after world No. 1 Novak Djokovic lost on Tuesday. Nadal beat Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-3 earlier.

Sports Briefs

WVU baseball tied for first

CHARLESTON – The WVU baseball team won its third-consecutive Big 12 series with a 9-6 victory against No. 10 Oklahoma on Sunday afternoon at in front of 1,843 fans at Appalachian Power Park.

WVU, which won two of three games in the eries, improved to 29-20 overall and 11-7 in Big 12 play. Oklahoma fell to 34-14 overall, 11-7 in the league. The win gives WVU a tie for first place in the conference standings.

Oklahoma held the hitting advantage at 16-11, but committed four costly errors to WVU’s one. Senior right fielder Brady Wilson, junior left fielder Jacob Rice, junior third baseman Ryan Tuntland and junior first baseman Ryan McBroom each had two hits for the Mountaineers. McBroom also finished with five RBI and one run.

Junior right-hander Corey Walter, a Wheeling Park graduate, picked up his first save of the season with a perfect 1.1 innings to finish the game.

Soccer ref dies after punch

MURRAY, Utah – Ricardo Portillo’s daughters had begged him to stop refereeing in a Hispanic soccer league because of the growing risk of violence from angry players.

Now they’re faced with planning his funeral after he succumbed to injuries late Saturday that had put him in a coma for a week since a 17-year-old goalie punched him in the head.

Authorities say the teen punched Portillo after the youth was called for a foul and issued a yellow card.

“The suspect was close to Portillo and punched him once in the face as a result of the call,” Unified police spokesman Justin Hoyal in a press release.

Portillo suffered swelling in his brain and had been listed in critical condition, Dr. Shawn Smith said Thursday at the Intermountain Medical Center in the Salt Lake City suburb of Murray.

Rookie Ernst wins in playoff

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A week like no other at Quail Hollow held one final surprise Sunday when 22-year-old rookie Derek Ernst birdied the 18th hole to force a playoff, and then won the Wells Fargo Championship on the first extra hole against David Lynn of England.

Ernst was playing only his ninth PGA Tour event. He was the fourth alternate at the start of the week. He was No. 1,207 in the world ranking. None of that mattered when he choked up on a 6-iron from 192 yards and drilled his shot into 4 feet.

He made one of only four birdies on the 18th in the final round, and this was the most important. It gave him a 2-under 70 and put him in a playoff with Lynn, who also shot 70.

Phil Mickelson, who had a one-shot lead with three holes to play, made bogeys on the 16th and 17th holes, and he narrowly missed a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th that would have allowed him to join the playoff. He had a 73 and finished third.