College baseball: California coach David Esquer called on all hands to save his baseball program, and he’s doing the same to keep his team playing in the College World Series at Omaha, Neb.
Freshman utilityman Derek Campbell drove in two runs out of the No. 9 spot, closer Matt Flemer pitched three scoreless innings in his longest outing of the year and the Golden Bears kept up their improbable postseason run with a 7-3 victory over Texas A&M.
“I’m happy our guys kind of grinded it out, because that’s kind of how we do it. We don’t do it easy,” Esquer said.
The Bears (38-22) won their first CWS game in three appearances since 1980 and will play Virginia (55-11) on Thursday in another elimination game.
The Big 12 regular-season and postseason champion Aggies (47-22) went two games and out and are 2-10 in five all-time CWS appearances.
Elsewhere at the CWS, Colby Holmes, John Taylor and Matt Price combined on a five-hitter and defending national champion South Carolina (52-14) tied the record for consecutive NCAA tournament wins (13) with a 7-1 victory over Virginia.
The Gamecocks are off until Friday and would have to be beaten twice by Virginia or California to not return to the best-of-3 finals next week.
Florida’s Steven Rodriguez pitched no-hit relief for 4 1/3 innings and the Gators (52-17) finished a 3-1 victory over Vanderbilt in the completion of a game suspended because of inclement weather.
Rodriguez (4-2) retired three batters before high winds and heavy rain disrupted the game in the bottom of the sixth inning Monday night.
Florida needs a win over Vanderbilt or North Carolina on Friday to reach the best-of-3 finals. Vanderbilt and North Carolina meet today in an elimination game.
NBA, players argue about cap definition
Basketball: Saying it reflects a “desire to go as far as we can to avoid a lockout,” NBA Commissioner David Stern revealed that owners have moved off their insistence on a hard salary cap.
Players don’t see it that way.
So it appears the cap system remains as the biggest obstacle to a new collective bargaining agreement before the rapidly approaching June 30 deadline.
Stern said the league has proposed a “flex cap,” in which teams would target a uniform dollar amount to spend, but would still be permitted to exceed it up to an unspecified level. Players argue it’s still a hard cap, because the ceiling would eventually kick in.
So even though both sides felt there was progress in what Stern had said was an important day in these negotiations, a sizable gap remains.
• Raptors turn to Casey: Dwane Casey was hired as coach of the Toronto Raptors, nine days after the Dallas assistant helped the Mavericks win an NBA title.
He succeeds Jay Triano, a Canadian who became a consultant after the season. Casey joins a team that went 22-60 last season and has the fifth pick in Thursday’s NBA draft.
Casey was the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves from June 2005 to January 2007, compiling a 43-59 record.
• January scores 18 for Fever: Reserve guard Shavonte Zellous scored a season-high 21 points and the Indiana Fever held off the host Washington Mystics 89-80.
Jessica Davenport and Briann January (Lewis and Clark High) added 18 apiece to help the Fever’s cause.
NFL talks produce glimmer of hope
NFL: The next time NFL owners meet over labor, there is hope it will be to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement with the players.
Don’t get carried away thinking a deal is imminent. Optimism is in the air, for sure. That doesn’t mean the end of the lockout is at hand.
Owners were briefed in Rosemont, Ill., on discussions for a new CBA that would net the players just less than 50 percent of total revenues. Next up: more talks with the players in the Boston area.
Several people with knowledge of the negotiations said that Commissioner Roger Goodell and his labor committee will meet with players association chief DeMaurice Smith today and Thursday.
Ohio State finds no car-buying violations
College football: Ohio State University dropped its review of car purchases by football players and family members after two separate investigations found dealerships made money on almost all of the sales.
The university made its decision in light of a report by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles and a separate review by the Ohio Independent Automobile Dealers Association.
• NCAA outlines allegations to North Carolina: North Carolina received a notice of allegations from the NCAA outlining numerous “potential major violations” in the football program, including unethical conduct by a former assistant coach as well as failure to adequately monitor the conduct of a former and current players.
The notice accuses former associate head coach John Blake of providing “false and misleading information” to both NCAA investigators and the school regarding his relationship with late NFL agent Gary Wichard.
WHL commissioner chides Medicine Hat
Hockey: The commissioner of the Western Hockey League said the failure of the City of Medicine Hat (Alberta) to fund a new arena is surprising and disappointing.
Ron Robison said the Tigers are the only WHL franchise to have an arena that doesn’t meet league standards.
He said the construction of a new arena and event center is necessary for the Tigers’ future in Medicine Hat.
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