Friday, April 20, 2018
Sports

Sports in brief

colleges

usf softball makes first AAC title game

TULSA, Okla. — USF defeated Houston 4-1 Friday to advance to its first American Athletic Conference softball title game. The Bulls (44-13) rode the arm of Erica Nunn, who threw her 10th complete game of the season, giving up three hits and one unearned run, and striking out nine. Lee Ann Spivey and Lauren Evans hit solo home runs. For Spivey, it was her team-leading 15th homer of the season and 39th in the career of the school's all-time leader. USF faces Tulsa in today's championship game (noon, ESPN).

MORE SOFTBALL: No. 1 seed Florida (53-5) lost to No. 4 Auburn (48-9) 2-1 in the SEC tournament semifinals at Starkville, Miss. Auburn faces LSU in the final today (4, ESPN). … FSU scored four in the third en route to a 7-1 win over North Carolina to advance to the ACC title game in Raleigh, N.C. FSU (47-8) plays Notre Dame in today's final (2, ESPN).

TENNIS: Florida's women defeated visiting South Carolina State 4-0 in the NCAA first round. UF (18-0) hosts Syracuse today with a spot in next week's NCAA Championships on the line.

GOLF: USF's Aksel Olsen, individual medalist at last week's AAC tournament, was named the league's player of the year by coaches. USF's Steve Bradley was named coach of the year for the second year in a row. Bulls Rigel Fernandes, Claudio Correa and Chase Koepka made the 14-player all-AAC team.

tennis

Djokovic tops Rafa for 7th time in row

Novak Djokovic extended his recent mastery over Rafael Nadal with a 7-5, 7-6 (7-4) win in the Italian Open quarterfinals in Rome, coming from behind in both sets. Nadal lost five set points in the second set.

Djokovic has beaten Nadal in the past seven of their 49 matches and leads the series 26-23. "Winning against Nadal on clay doesn't happen often," he said. "So I'm going to take this as a boost of confidence."

This was their closest match since Nadal won the 2014 French Open final. "I was not disappointed. Overall, I am playing well, Nadal said."

Djokovic's semifinal opponent is Kei Nishikori, who took out Dominic Thiem 6-3, 7-5. Andy Murray beat David Goffin 6-1, 7-5 and meets qualifier Lucas Pouille, who advanced when Juan Monaco withdrew with what organizers said was a problem with his left side.

In the women's quarters, Serena Williams routed Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2, 6-0 and plays Irina-Camelia Begu, who beat Misaki Doi 6-2, 7-6 (7-3). Garbine Muguruza beat Timea Bacsinszky 7-5, 6-2 and meets American Madison Keys, who ousted Barbora Strycova 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.

ET CETERA

soccer: FIFA, the sport's governing body, appointed a Senegalese United Nations official as its first female and first non-European secretary general. Fatma Samoura, 54, has no experience working in sports, but FIFA president Gianni Infantino said he hopes that will help the scandal-plagued group regain trust and credibility.

boxing: Alexander Povetkin failed a drug test ahead of his May 21 WBC heavyweight title fight with reigning champion Deontay Wilder, Povetkin's promoter, Andrei Ryabinsky, said. Povetkin tested positive for meldonium, which was banned starting Jan. 1, Ryabinsky said. The WBC will decide whether the fight will go on, he said.

hockey: The Blue Jackets' Nick Foligno scored twice to lead the United States past Hungary 5-1 in the World Championship at St. Petersburg, Russia.

Times wires

Comments
Rays journal: Miller back from DL, KK surgery successful

Rays journal: Miller back from DL, KK surgery successful

ST. PETERSBURG — For a change, the physically snake-bitten Rays got some vigor, versatility and even a veteran presence back in their lineup  when INF Brad Miller was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list.To make room, they DFA'd INF/OF...
Updated: 11 minutes ago
Really, it’s time to look ahead

Really, it’s time to look ahead

BRANDON — Three things that popped into my head as the Lightning and Devils get ready to play Game 5 this afternoon at Amalie Arena.1. I’m going to do something that a hockey team in the playoffs would never do, not in a million years.I’m going to ta...
Updated: 1 hour ago
LeBron James, Cavs show unity with coordinated suits

LeBron James, Cavs show unity with coordinated suits

The Cavaliers, with an assist from a New York-based designer, made their first big play Friday night just by entering the arena. As they paraded into Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis before Game 3 of their playoff series with the Pacers, the C...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

Sami Vatanen a big loss for Devils if he doesn’t play in Game 5

BRANDON – Devils top defenseman Sami Vatanen had not traveled to Tampa as of Friday afternoon, according to coach John Hynes, and his availability for Game 5 Saturday against the Lightning is in doubt.Hynes, however, did not rule out Vatan...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

Plan to entice developers to help pay for Rays ballpark hits speed bump

TAMPA — Private developers would bear much of the cost of a new Rays stadium in Ybor City under a plan Hillsborough County officials are putting together.Developers would benefit by cashing in on commercial, retail and other construction around a ne...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Racing schedules for 2018-19 parimutuel seasons released

OLDSMAR — Eight is not enough at Tampa Bay Downs, at least when the thoroughbred racing facility on Race Track Road opens its 93rd season July 1.The final card of what will be the Downs' sixth annual two-day Summer Festival of Racing will featu...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rowdies prepared to press on without defender David Najem

Rowdies prepared to press on without defender David Najem

SAINT PETERSBURG — When describing the loss of defender David Najem, Rowdies head coach Stuart Campbell and the player who will replace Najem chose the same word.Gutted.That settled over the Rowdies last weekend, one that was bad enough based o...
Updated: 3 hours ago
NFL draft confessions: The Bucs set the trap, and I took the cheese on Johnny Manziel

NFL draft confessions: The Bucs set the trap, and I took the cheese on Johnny Manziel

TAMPA — The NFL draft is one big game of Liar's Poker. Deal me out.Even the guys with a seat at the table don't know when someone is bluffing.Bucs general manager Jason Licht knows that the team's No. 7 overall pick this year will be affected b...
Updated: 4 hours ago
For starters: Rays vs. Twins, 7:10 p.m.

For starters: Rays vs. Twins, 7:10 p.m.

Tonight's Rays lineup against the Twins. Brad Miller back in the lineup following his DL stint (left groin strain). First pitch at 7:10 p.m.LF Denard SpanDH C.J. CronRF Carlos Gomez1B Brad Miller3B Daniel Robertson2B Joey WendleC Wilson RamosCF Malle...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

BRANDON — Ryan McDonagh blocks shots. He competes for pucks in the corners and wins those battles. He moves the puck up ice well. He can join the rush. He can shoot from the blueline. He kills penalties."It was a great pickup by Steve (Yze...
Updated: 6 hours ago