Sports Digest: David Ragan steals last-lap victory at Talladega

2013-05-05T21:15:00Z 2013-09-16T19:40:39Z Sports Digest: David Ragan steals last-lap victory at Talladega nwitimes.com
May 05, 2013 9:15 pm

NASCAR

DAVID RAGAN STEALS LAST-LAP VICTORY AT TALLADEGA: A pair of Davids slayed the Goliaths at Talladega Superspeedway.

David Ragan hooked up with teammate David Gilliland in a two-lap overtime sprint, and together they picked off some of the top drivers in NASCAR to drive to the front and push Ragan into Victory Lane.

It was the second career victory for Ragan — he also won at Daytona in July 2011 — and Gilliland finished second for a 1-2 finish for Front Row Motorsports.

"I had a great teammate. David Gilliland gave us a great push. I owe him a lot," Ragan said. "I'll definitely buy him lunch this week or something."

The victory came a day after Regan Smith won the Nationwide Series race and Ragan was flooded with misfired congratulatory messages on Twitter.

"All fans- please send all congrats to (at)ReganSmith. Not this Ragan..... He is the Winner today!! Haha," he tweeted Saturday night.

Now Ragan has his own win — just in time to qualify for the Sprint All-Star race in two weeks.

Gilliland wanted the win but was content settling for second on a day his team earned its first career victory.

 

Pro basketball

DURANT, THUNDER EDGE GRIZZLIES IN GAME 1: Derek Fisher turned a tough situation for the Oklahoma City Thunder into the worst-case scenario for the Grizzlies.

With the Thunder down by one in the final minute, Fisher poked the ball away from Memphis' Mike Conley, springing three-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant into the open court with a chance to put Oklahoma City on top.

Durant pulled up and connected on a jumper with 11.1 seconds left for the last of his 35 points, lifting the Thunder to a 93-91 victory over the Grizzlies on Sunday in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.

 

Pro golf

ROOKIE DEREK ERNST WINS WELLS FARGO IN A PLAYOFF: One phone call changed his plans. One shot changed a whole lot more for Derek Ernst.

Six days after Ernst received a call that he was in the Wells Fargo Championship as the fourth alternate, the 22-year-old rookie found himself one shot out of the lead and 192 yards away from the flag on the 18th hole, the toughest at Quail Hollow in the cold, wind and rain of a grueling final round.

Ernst choked up on a 6-iron and hit a draw that landed 4 feet from the hole for one of only four birdies on the closing hole Sunday.

"I was trying to hit it as close as I possibly could," he said.

The birdie gave him a 2-under 70 and tied him with David Lynn of England, who also had a 70. And it turned out to be no fluke. Returning to the 18th in the playoff, as the rain started coming out harder, Ernst hit a 3-iron to about 15 feet left of the flag that set up his stunning victory.

Phil Mickelson didn't get a chance to join them. He had a one-shot lead with three holes to play until making back-to-back bogeys, missing putts of 6 feet and 10 feet. His 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th narrowly missed, and Mickelson closed with a 73.

 

College track

FREY WINS DISCUS TITLE: Sophomore Jacob Frey finished first in the discus throw to lead the Valparaiso men’s track and field team at the final day of Horizon League Outdoor Championships on Sunday in Ypsilanti, Mich.

Frey posted a season-best mark of 154’ 11” on his first throw of the meet, and that stood up as the best mark of the competition.

The Crusaders placed sixth at the meet, and Milwaukee claimed the team title.

Sophomore Kevin Adamik, freshmen Antwon Hatchett and Chad Brooks (Hobart) and junior Joe Holy combined to finish sixth in the 1600-meter relay with a time of 3:27.39.

VU WOMEN FINISH SIXTH AT LEAGUE MEET: Freshman Megan Howdeshell and sophomore Jessica Richardson paced the Crusader women’s track and field team on Sunday at the final day of the Horizon League Outdoor Championships in Ypsilanti, Mich.

Howdeshell posted Valparaiso’s best finish of the day by taking fourth in the discus throw with a distance of 131’ 2”.

Richardson followed up a third-place finish in the 10,000-meter run on Friday with a sixth-place finish in the 5000-meter run, crossing the line in a time of 18:02.42.

“She runs hard every time she goes out there,” Valparaiso head coach Ryan Moore said. “She’s a gamer.”

The Crusaders placed sixth at the meet. Loyola (Ill.) won the team title.

 

Around the horn

Valparaiso baseball defeated Milwaukee 7-6 on Sunday. ... VU's softball team lost to Youngstown State 3-2 in 11 innings Sunday.

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