UAPB softball drops a pair in UCA tourney

CONWAY — The Arkansas-Pine Bluff softball team dropped to 1-4 on the season after managing just five total hits in losing a pair of games Saturday in the UCA Sugar Bears Invitational Tournament.

UAPB lost to Western Illinois 6-4 before getting blown out by South Dakota State 10-1 in six innings.

In the first game, Western Illinois (7-3) scored single runs in the second and third innings before UAPB scored two in the bottom of the third to tie the game. Western Illinois responded with two runs in the fourth and a run apiece in the fifth and sixth before UAPB scored a pair of consolation runs in the seventh.

In the second game, SDSU (3-8) scored four runs in the first, three in the third and three in the sixth. The Lady Lions scored one run in the sixth but it wasn’t enough to push the game to seven innings.

Jasmine Hardwick had a hit in both games. She also scored two runs and had two RBIs (all in the Western Illinois game).

Lacie Sutterfield took both losses in the circle. In total, she gave up 11 runs (nine earned) on 12 hits with five walks and four strikeouts in six innings.

Blossoms split games, win first GAC series

WEATHERFORD, Okla. — The Arkansas-Monticello softball team split a doubleheader Saturday at Southwestern Oklahoma State to earn a Great American Conference-opening series win.

The Cotton Blossoms, who won the first two games of the series on Friday, won Saturday’s first game 11-6 before falling 4-1 in the second game.

In the first game, UAM (10-5, 3-1 GAC) took a 6-0 lead, but SWOSU (4-8, 1-3) plated five runs in the bottom of the fifth off four hits and a pair of UAM errors to pull within 6-5.

The Blossoms answered with a five-run outburst of their own in the top of the seventh, highlighted by a three-run homer from junior Sara Matthews and an RBI double from senior Channing Tharpe.

Senior Courtney Wilson (5-2) earned the win after allowing four runs off 10 hits in the first 4 2/3 innings. Mallory Davis (0-4) took the loss for SWOSU after giving up five runs off four hits in the first three innings.

In the second game, SWOSU scored three runs in the bottom of the third inning and added its final run in the fifth.

Both pitchers went the distance, junior Katie Slaughter (5-3) took the loss giving up four runs (one earned) off seven hits in six innings of work. Julianne Martinez (3-3) earned the win for SWOSU giving up only one run off four hits.


Duke tops Syracuse in controversial finish

DURHAM, N.C. — The anticipated rematch between the most exciting game of the 2013-14 college basketball season produced another thrilling finish, albeit one with considerably more controversy.

Jabari Parker scored 11 of his 19 points in the second half as fifth-ranked Duke got its revenge against suddenly struggling Syracuse with a 66-60 victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium, a win sealed by two technical fouls called on Orange head coach Jim Boeheim in the final seconds.

The Blue Devils were clinging to a 60-58 lead when Syracuse’s C.J. Fair drove the baseline and converted a layup while crashing into Duke’s Rodney Hood with 10.4 seconds remaining. Fair was called for charging to negate the basket, prompting an enraged Boeheim to storm the court and confront the officiating crew to draw the technicals and trigger an ejection from the contest.

Els, Day highlight semifinalists at Match Play

MARANA, Ariz — Ernie Els cruised to an easy win over Jordan Spieth, while Jason Day fended off Louis Oosthuizen on Saturday at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

Els, the eighth seed in the Gary Player bracket, rolled to a 4 & 2 win over third-seeded Jordan Spieth. Els is the only former WGC and major champion left in the semifinals.

Day, the second seed in the Bobby Jones bracket, held off eighth-seeded Louis Oosthuizen, 2 & 1, at The Golf Club at Dove Mountain.

Els will take on Victor Dubuisson in the semifinals. Dubuisson, the seventh seed in the Sam Snead bracket, held off fourth-seeded Graeme McDowell, 1-up.

Day will face Rickie Fowler in the other semifinal match. Fowler, the 14th seed in the Ben Hogan bracket, rallied to beat fifth-seeded Jim Furyk, 1-up.

The semifinals will be played Sunday morning, while the 18-hole final and consolation match are slated for Sunday afternoon.


Finland blanks U.S. to win bronze medal

SOCHI, Russia — Teemu Selanne and Jussi Jokinen tallied in an 11-second span early in the second period and Tuukka Rask stopped 27 shots, as Finland claimed yet another bronze medal thanks to a 5-0 decision over the United States on Saturday.

Selanne scored twice — presumably ending his Olympic career with 24 total markers — for the Finns, who claimed bronze for the fourth time since 1994.

Jussi Jokinen, Olli Maatta and Juuso Hietanen added a goal each, with Lauri Korpikoski and Mikael Granlund adding two assists apiece.

Rask’s shutout, his first of the tournament, was aided by stopping a pair of Patrick Kane penalty shots.

Jonathan Quick was left in for all five goals on 29 shots for the Americans, who saw the promise of another shot at a gold medal dissipate thanks to back-to-back scoreless outings.

Venus Williams wins third Dubai title

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Venus Williams defeated Alize Cornet 6-3, 6-0 in Saturday’s final at the $2 million Dubai Tennis Championships.

Cornet was bidding to become the eighth woman to sweep the Williams sisters at the same tournament after stunning Serena in the semifinals.

Things looked good early for the Frenchwoman as a break gave her a 2-1 lead, but Venus dropped only one more game on the hardcourts at Dubai Tennis Stadium.

The 33-year-old American has won 15 straight matches in Dubai and joined Justine Henin as the only players to win at least three Dubai titles, adding to her triumphs in 2009 and 2010. Henin won the crown four times in a five- year span (2003-04 and 2006-07).

Venus, who entered the tournament as a wild card, captured her 45th career title and her first since prevailing in a small event in Luxembourg in 2012.