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Sports in brief


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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.


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.


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

Sports in brief 05/13/16 [Last modified: Friday, May 13, 2016 10:21pm]
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  1. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Thursday's Rays-Yankees game

    The Heater

    The 10 strikeouts look flashy, but RHP Chris Archer was not his sharpest Thursday. He allowed three runs on seven hits, including three straight in the two-run second and a Gary Sanchez homer in the third, and lasted only six innings, throwing 102 pitches.

  2. Rays fall to Yankees in 11 on Brett Gardner homer (w/ video)

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — The front office did its part Thursday, making two trades to bolster the roster in a push for the playoffs. But the Rays didn't follow up in a frustrating 6-5 11-inning loss to the Yankees.

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  3. Believe it! Rays are buyers, trade for reliever Dan Jennings and 1B/DH Lucas Duda

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — Dan Jennings' ability to render lefty hitters useless with a sinker that gets beaten into the ground and Lucas Duda's power to blast baseballs off and over outfield walls should make the Rays better.

    Lucas Duda
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    TAMPA — If you want to see a team give the Heisman Trophy stiff-arm to expectations, check out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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  5. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Friday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.