Sports Digest: Illiana season opener Saturday

2013-04-24T21:15:00Z 2013-05-06T21:43:05Z Sports Digest: Illiana season opener Saturday
April 24, 2013 9:15 pm

Local auto racing

ILLIANA SEASON OPENER SATURDAY: Illiana Motor Speedway will begin its 66th season Saturday. Gates will open for the five-division program at 4 p.m.; time trials will be at 5:30, and the first green flag will be at 7.

Tickets are $12 for adults, $5 for children aged 8 to 12 and those 7 and under are admitted free. For details, call (219) 322-5311, or go to


College softball

VALPO FALLS LATE TO PURDUE: Purdue scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to rally for a 4-2 win over Valparaiso on Wednesday.

Kaitlyn Ranieri (Lake Central) and Amanda Wisniewski each doubled for the Crusaders (23-21), who scored twice in the sixth to take a 2-1 lead. Valpo totaled 11 hits, but left the bases loaded in the seventh.

Andie Varsho hit a solo home run for the Boilermakers (22-25).

PUMAS SPLIT DOUBLEHEADER, END INDY'S WINNING STREAK: After being routed 12-1 in a five-inning game against Indianapolis, the Pumas rebounded to record a 5-3 win in the second game of a doubleheader and end the Greyhounds' 38-game winning streak.

Kristin Paris drove in three runs for the Pumas in the win.


College baseball

GASKIN LEADS PNC TO SWEEP: Ched Gaskin had three home runs and seven RBIs as Purdue North Central swept a Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader from Illinois Institute of Technology 10-9 and 14-2 on Wednesday.

Gaskin hit two home runs and drove in four runs in the opener for the Panthers (22-15, 17-10). He had a homer and three RBIs in the nightcap. Teammate Justin Hunt had a home run and five RBIs in the nightcap.


Men's basketball

CREEK LEAVING HOOSIERS: Guard Maurice Creek is leaving Indiana and hopes to play his final season at another school.

Coach Tom Crean said Wednesday that Creek will graduate next week and will look to play next season as a graduate student. NCAA rules allow graduate students to play without having to sit out for a season.

Crean says Creek is looking for a "role that would provide him the minutes he desires and is accustomed to."

Indiana is already losing 7-foot sophomore center Cody Zeller and 6-foot-5 junior Victor Oladipo, who have both declared for the NBA draft.

Seniors Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls will also be gone next year.


Pro hockey

BLACKHAWKS CLINCH PRESIDENTS' TROPHY WITH WIN: Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists, and the  Blackhawks secured the Presidents' Trophy for the first time in 22 years with a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday night.

The Blackhawks (35-6-5) held off the Eastern Conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins for the top regular-season record in the NHL.

Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Johnny Oduya also scored for the Blackhawks, who have gone 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and clinched the league's best record for the first time since 1991.

Nail Yakupov scored for the Oilers (17-22-7), who lost for the ninth time in 10 games and are headed toward another high draft pick.


Pro basketball

PACERS TAKE 2-0 LEAD ON HAWKS: Paul George followed his triple-double by scoring a playoff career-high 27 points to lead the Pacers past Atlanta 113-98 on Wednesday night.

The Pacers lead the best-of-seven first-round series 2-0 and have won four consecutive home games over the Hawks. It's the first time Indiana has held a 2-0 series lead since the 2004 Eastern Conference semifinals.

George, playing in his first game since being named the league's Most Improved Player, had eight rebounds, three assists and four steals. George Hill had 22 points.


Auto racing

NASCAR PENALIZES KENSETH AFTER ENGINE FAILS: Matt Kenseth was essentially stripped of his win at Kansas on Wednesday, because his race-winning car failed inspection.

NASCAR found one of the eight connecting rods in the engine of the No. 20 Toyota used Sunday did not meet the minimum weight requirement once it was inspected at its Research & Development Center.

As punishment, Kenseth was stripped of 50 driver points in standings, as well as the three bonus points he earned for the win that would have been applied in seeding for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. His pole also was stripped.

Crew chief Jason Ratcliff was fined $200,000 and suspended six races.

Car owner Joe Gibbs also was suspended six races and will not earn any owner points during his suspension.


College football

COWBOYS STADIUM GETS 1ST PLAYOFFS TITLE GAME: The first championship game in the College Football Playoff will be held at Cowboys Stadium.

The BCS conference commissioners announced Wednesday that Arlington, Texas, edged Tampa, Fla., in the bidding to be the site of the first title game in the new playoff system.

The game will be held Jan. 12, 2015.

The final three sites for the semifinal rotation also were announced and Cowboys Stadium came up a winner again. The Cotton Bowl, which is played at the $1.2 billion home of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, will be part of the six-bowl rotation, along with the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta and the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.


Around the horn

Grizzlies center Marc Gasol earned his first NBA Defensive Player of the Year award. Gasol received 212 points and 30 first-place votes to edge Miami's LeBron James, who had 149 points and 18 first-place votes. ... The University of Oklahoma says its Sept. 28  football game at Notre Dame will be a 2:30 p.m. start.

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