Monday, December 11, 2017
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
How bad are Florida State’s football facilities?

How bad are Florida State’s football facilities?

As Jimbo Fisher was leaving Florida State for Texas A&M, an administrative commitment to facilities was one reason why.So how bad are the Seminoles' facilities, really?No. 12 in the country, according to 247Sports.That's better than Miami (...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 1

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 1

UPDATE, 10:30: In addition to the Cardinals, the Rockies and Mets are considered hot in pursuit of Rays closer Alex Colome. …. Keep hearing the Angels as a potential landing spot for 3B Evan Longoria if the Rays deal him. … Rays manager K...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays manager Kevin Cash on trade speculation, bullpen staffing, Yankees addition of Giancarlo Stanton

Rays manager Kevin Cash on trade speculation, bullpen staffing, Yankees addition of Giancarlo Stanton

Rays manager Kevin Cash was first up in the media room at the winter meetings today and here are a few up the more interesting things he said:* On trade speculation regarding their veterans such as Chris Archer and Evan Longoria: "I know there is a l...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Explosives? On 40-yard plays, Bucs among NFL’s worst

Explosives? On 40-yard plays, Bucs among NFL’s worst

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has key statistics that he puts great value in, finding a close correlation between success in those areas and success on the scoreboard. Winning the takeaway battle is always first among those priorities, but he and his staff...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rick and Tom podcast: Do Jameis Winston and Dirk Koetter get along?

Rick and Tom podcast: Do Jameis Winston and Dirk Koetter get along?

The Bucs guarantee another losing season after turning the ball over five times in a 24-21 loss to the Lions. In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones talk about how the Bucs stayed in the game until the end despite a non-existent pass rush...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Bay Rays cornerstone Evan Longoria “somewhere in limbo” due to trade speculation

Tampa Bay Rays cornerstone Evan Longoria “somewhere in limbo” due to trade speculation

Franchise cornerstone 3B Evan Longoria considers his future with the Rays "somewhere in limbo" based on speculation he could be traded as part of a cost-cutting and rebuilding movement."I don't know what to think, really,'' Longoria told the Tampa Ba...
Updated: 7 hours ago
The Jameis Winston-Dirk Koetter relationship: It’s complicated

The Jameis Winston-Dirk Koetter relationship: It’s complicated

  TAMPA — There are lies, damn lies and statistics, none of which are working in favor of Jameis Winston and Dirk Koetter avoiding a split in the near future. Even before the Bucs turned the football over five times and lost to the Detroit Li...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Report: Jameis Winston-Dirk Koetter relationship ‘is not in a good place’

Report: Jameis Winston-Dirk Koetter relationship ‘is not in a good place’

Jameis Winston is displeased with how coach Dirk Koetter has handled Winston's shoulder injury and the Bucs offense, according to an NFL Network report Sunday. “The relationship between quarterback Jameis Winston and Koetter is not in a good p...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Veteran 3B Evan Longoria as uncertain as anyone about Rays’ plans

Veteran 3B Evan Longoria as uncertain as anyone about Rays’ plans

LAKE BUENA VISTA — Uncertain with all the talk about potentially rebuilding if the Rays would go as far as trading franchise cornerstone 3B Evan Longoria?So is he."I don’t know what to think, really,’’ Longoria said via text message Sunday night as t...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Jones: Why Bucs coach Dirk Koetter won’t survive this

Jones: Why Bucs coach Dirk Koetter won’t survive this

  TAMPA — Dirk Koetter isn’t going to return as coach of the Bucs next season. That’s not official. No announcement has been made. No press conference is scheduled. It’s not an absolute fact. Not yet. And this isn’t a...
Updated: 5 hours ago