Sports Digest: RailCats pick up first win of the season

2014-05-18T21:30:00Z 2014-05-19T19:56:11Z Sports Digest: RailCats pick up first win of the season nwitimes.com
May 18, 2014 9:30 pm

Pro baseball

RAILCATS PICK UP FIRST WIN OF SEASON: Wally Backman Jr.'s two-run single highlighted an eight-run eighth inning Sunday as the visiting RailCats picked up their first win of the season, 14-5 over the St. Paul Saints.

Ryan Babineau hit the team's first home run of the season, a solo shot in the third. Danny Pulfer, Zac Mitchell and Jeremy Hamilton had two RBIs for the RailCats (1-3). Stephen Bougher (1-0) allowed a run on three hits over six innings.

Horse racing

NASAL STRIP COULD THREATEN CHROME'S TRIPLE BID: Trainer Art Sherman says California Chrome might not pursue a Triple Crown bid in the Belmont Stakes if New York officials won't allow the colt to wear a nasal strip.

The Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner has worn one during his current six-race winning streak after co-owner Perry Martin suggested it. Sherman said Sunday he will talk to New York racing officials and the horse's owners.

Some horses, like humans, wear nasal strips to assist breathing.

Two years ago, I'll Have Another won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness while wearing nasal strips. New York officials told his team the colt couldn't wear one in the Belmont. The issue became moot when I'll Have Another was scratched the day before the race because of a leg injury.

Men's basketball

DON MEYER, AMONG COACHES WITH MOST WINS, DIES: Don Meyer, one of the winningest coaches in college basketball who came back from a near-fatal car accident and liver cancer before closing out his career, died Sunday in South Dakota. He was 69.

Meyer led his teams into the playoffs 19 times and compiled a 923-324 during his 38-year career, most of which he spent at Lipscomb in Tennessee and Northern State in South Dakota.

The former Northern State coach died Sunday morning of cancer at his home in Aberdeen, where he had recently gone into hospice care, family spokeswoman Brenda Dreyer said.

Four months after a near-fatal car accident and a cancer diagnosis, Meyer passed Bob Knight as the NCAA's winningest coach in men's basketball history in 2009. The native of Wayne, Nebraska, retired following the 2010 season at Northern State and a 13-14 record — only his fourth losing season.

Some of the greatest names in college basketball were his biggest fans, including Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, who surpassed Meyer's record in 2012 and once said Meyer did "a wonderful job of giving back to our great game." Former Tennessee women's coach Pat Summitt, who holds the all-time win record for college basketball, has called Meyer "truly one of the best teachers in the history of the game."

Pro golf

PERRY EDGES CALCAVECCHIA FOR REGIONS TRADITION: Kenny Perry won his third Champions Tour major in the past year with a one-stroke victory over Mark Calcavecchia in the Regions Tradition.

Perry closed with an even-par 72 at Shoal Creek to finish with a 7-under 281, while other contenders had up-and-down days and John Cook lost the lead with a double hit.

Perry became the second player to win in three consecutive Champions Tour major starts, joining Gary Player, who did it in 1987-88.

Calcavecchia finished with a 70. Two-time winner Tom Lehman closed with a 67 to tie Jay Haas at 5 under.

TODD TAKES BYRON NELSON FOR FIRST PGA TOUR TITLE: Brendon Todd won the Byron Nelson Championship on Sunday for his first PGA Tour title, closing with a bogey-free 4-under 66 for a two-stroke victory over Mike Weir.

It was the 77th career PGA Tour event for Todd. He earned $1,242,000, a two-year PGA Tour exemption and a spot next year in the Masters. Todd finished at 14-under 266.

SALAS WINS BY FOUR AT KINGSMILL: Lizette Salas won the Kingsmill Championship for her first LPGA Tour title, finishing with even-par 71 for a four-stroke victory.

She finished at 13-under 271 and earned $195,000.

Pro tennis

DJOKOVIC, SERENA WILLIAMS TAKE ITALIAN OPEN TITLES: Novak Djokovic extended his recent dominance over Rafael Nadal by rallying for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory Sunday to win the Italian Open for the third time — then dedicated the title to his flood-hit native Serbia.

Having also been beaten in Monte Carlo and Barcelona recently, it marked the first time in a decade that the top-ranked Nadal has lost more than two matches on clay in the same year.

In the women's final, Serena Williams kept the crowd from being a factor in a 6-3, 6-0 victory over 10th-seeded home favorite Sara Errani to win her third Rome title.

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