Sports Digest: Irish eyes on better days before ASU

2013-10-04T21:15:00Z 2013-12-12T22:26:13Z Sports Digest: Irish eyes on better days before ASU nwitimes.com
October 04, 2013 9:15 pm

Pro baseball

PIRATES RIDE 'COLE TRAIN,' EVEN SERIES: Rookie Gerrit Cole gave up two hits in six dominant innings and drove in a run; Pedro Alvarez had a two-run homer, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the St. Louis Cardinals 7-1 Friday to even their division series at a game apiece.

MINOR HELPS BRAVES TIE SERIES: Mike Minor pitched six strong innings; Jason Heyward had a two-run single, and the Atlanta Braves held on for a 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers, evening the NL division series at one game apiece.

RED SOX JUMP ON RAYS MISCUES, WIN ALDS OPENER: Jon Lester allowed three hits in 7 2/3 innings and the Boston Red Sox took advantage of poor Tampa Bay defense in a five-run fourth to beat the Rays 12-2 in Game 1 of the AL division series.

 

Auto racing

HARVICK QUALIFIES ON POLE FOR CUP RACE AT KANSAS: Kevin Harvick turned the fastest lap in qualifying for Sunday's race at Kansas Speedway, and will sit on the pole for the first time since the 2006 season.

Harvick, who is tied for fourth in points, negotiated brutal crosswinds entering Turn 3 that ruined several good qualifying runs to post a lap of 187.526 mph on Friday. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was second-fastest at 187.480 mph, followed by Jimmie Johnson with a lap of 187.162 mph.

Points leader Matt Kenseth qualified seventh.

 

College football

IRISH EYES ON BETTER DAYS BEFORE ASU: Brian Kelly decided to show his Notre Dame players video clips of last year's run to the BCS championship game.

The coach wants the Irish to remember the winning ways of the better days now that they have two losses and at least temporarily will have to settle for more modest goals.

Kelly is also not worried about his players living in the past heading into tonight's game against No. 22 Arizona State (3-1) in the Shamrock Series at the $1.2 billion home of the Dallas Cowboys. Kelly says his players "don't have a 12-0 ring" and are just trying to win games.

The Sun Devils have a chance to be the first team to beat Southern California and Notre Dame (3-2) in back-to-back weeks.

HOOSIERS LOOK TO TURN TABLES ON PENN ST.: Indiana heard about The Streak all week.

Yes, the Hoosiers have lost all 16 games against Penn State, and yes, this might be their best chance to end it. They're just not paying attention to it.

Instead, Indiana (2-2) is focused on what's stake today when it closes a five-game opening home stand in both teams' Big Ten opener. It was supposed to set up the Hoosiers for a bowl trip, but things haven't worked out as expected. The early losses mean Indiana needs to win four conference games for the first time since 2001 just to become bowl eligible.

Penn State (3-1) rebounded from its first loss by shutting out Kent State, then got a boost during last week's bye when the NCAA reduced the scholarship penalties. 

 

Men's basketball

IU HOLDS ANNUAL HOOSIER HYSTERIA: Indiana marked the unofficial beginning of a new basketball season by cheering a highlight video of its outright Big Ten title last season.

At the latest installment of Hoosier Hysteria, Indiana's version of midnight madness, fans packed Assembly Hall's lower levels Friday soon after the school opened the doors at 5 p.m.

After losing four starters, this season has a totally new feel for the Hoosiers, who bring in eight freshmen and one transfer. Point guard Yogi Ferrell returns, but the team lost two NBA players in Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller and key senior contributors in Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford.

 

Around the horn

The Reds fired Dusty Baker on Friday, ousting the manager who led them to their best stretch of success since the Big Red Machine but couldn't get them past the first round of the postseason.  ... Alex Rodriguez sued Major League Baseball and Commissioner Bud Selig, accusing them of pursuing "vigilante justice" as part of a "witch hunt" designed to smear the character of the Yankees star and cost him tens of millions of dollars.

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