D2 SUNDAY, MAY 24, 1998 SPORTS THE SAUNA JOURNAL Blaze wallops Columbia By The Journal Staff T COLLEGE BASEBALL: MIDWEST REGIONAL The Salina Blaze picked up its second win to start the season, overpowering Columbia, Mo., 18-5 Saturday night at the annual Memorial Day Tournament at Evans Stadium. The Blaze bolted to a 4-0 lead in the second inning and never trailed, collecting 15 hits and playing solid defense to improve to 2-0. "We hit the ball real well and ran the bases aggressively," Blaze coach Warren Olson said. "Everybody up and down the lineup is hitting and we played good defense for the second time." Blaze starter Chad Holmes (1-0) went four innings, but after his team scored four times in the top of the fifth to take a 9-2 lead, Olson decided to get two of his other pitchers some work. "Holmes had a little trouble with his control early, but he settled down in the third and fourth innings," Olson said. "We had a good lead and wanted to get some guys in, so we threw David Gardner in the fifth and had a newcomer, Dustin Karst, pitch the last two innings." Salina center fielder Ryan Wasinger had another big night with four hits and five runs batted in, giving him nine RBI in two games. Mike Jackson and Jason Santangelo had two hits each. Salina will play at 7 p.m. today at Evans Stadium against the Wichita Jets (1-0). Olson will start Scott Talley, the team's top pitcher a year ago. BRIEFLY FHSU's Eck takes NCAA II high jump EDWARDSVILLE, 111. — Fort Hays State sophomore Janet Eck took first place in the women's high jump Friday at the NCAA Division II National Championships on the University of Southern Illinois campus. Eck became only the second FHSU athlete to win an NCAA II track and field title by leaping a season-best 5-8 3 A. She was one of three athletes to clear the winning height, but took first through the tiebreaker of fewest misses. Eck joins Lincoln native Mindy Lyne as the Tigers only NCAA II champions. Lyne won the women's javelin in 1996. Fort Hays State had two additional all-America performances to go with Eck's title. Senior Jeremy Hawks of Norton placed sixth in the men's hammer throw and broke his own school record in the process. Hawks threw 187-10, breaking his previous mark of 184-4. Hays junior Matt Kuhn was eighth in the men's discus with a throw of 159-6 to earn all-America status in that event. Hawks was 10th in the discus and was scheduled to throw the shot put during Saturday night's competition. Smoky Valley second in 4A state tennis meet HUTCHINSON — A strong showing in doubles play boosted Pratt to the Class 4A state tennis title Saturday, while defending champion Smoky Valley could not keep pace and placed second. The Greenbacks had three entries finish in the top three and finished with 43 team points, followed by Smoky Valley with 30. The two teams finished in the same order at the 1995 tournament, while the Vikings won a team trophy for the fourth consecutive year. Smoky Valley's top finish came from Chad Nelson and Lucas Palmquist, who reached the tournament semifinals before losing back-to-back matches and placed fourth. Nelson-Palmquist fell to Pratt's Luke George and Brian Harvey in the third-place match, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4). The Vikings also had fifth-place finishes from Mark Talbott in singles, and Jay Barclay and Jason Biegert in doubles. . Topeka Hayden's Jon Suddarth rallied from a set down to win the singles over Parsons' Steve Posch, 1-6, 6-4, 6-2. Losik to play football, baseball at Bethany LINDSBORG — Mike Losik, a former Sacred Heart football and baseball standout, has signed a letter of intent with Bethany College. Losik will play football and baseball for the Swedes. He was a wide receiver and defensive for the Sacred Heart football team and played catcher for the Knights' baseball team. He baseball at Cowley County Community College last spring. From Staff Reports The Associated Press Arizona State's Dan Meier is safe at first base as Wichita State first baseman Erich Bryan (38) drops the bail during the sixth inning Saturday in the Midwest Regional at Wichita. WSU / Shocker bats go silent in elimination game with ASU FROM PAGE D1 this tournament. Not in any of the three games. I don't know why and I don't have the answers." The Shockers simply had trouble at the plate with runners in scoring position. And when your No. 1 (Kevin Hooper) and No. 3 (Jeff Ryan) hitters are a combined 0 for 10, you're in trouble. But clutch hitting wasn't WSU's only problem. The Shockers committed four errors which led to four Arizona State runs. "We scored enough runs today to win," Stephenson said. "But we didn't play defense. We thought we started the best defense we could today, but it let us down." Arizona State, which defeated Oklahoma State 13-5 Saturday night, got a big game from leadoff hitter Willie Bloomquist, who had three hits and scored four runs. "Last night, I had a little talk with the baseball gods," Bloomquist said. "Seriously, my job as a leadoff hitter is to get on base anyway I can." Bloomquist did, and scored all but two of his team's runs. Bloomquist scored in the first Scoreboard NCAA MIDWEST REGIONAL AT WICHITA Thursday, May 21 Arizona State 8, Arkansas 4 Oklahoma State 13, Georgia Tech 4 Wichita State 7, SE Missouri State 4 Friday, May 22 Georgia Tech 14, SE Missouri State, 4 (Southeast eliminated). . Arkansas 3, Wichita State 2,11 innings. Oklahoma State 13, Arizona State 6. Saturday's Results AHzona State 6, Wichita State 4 (Wichita State eliminated). Georgia Tech'2,' Arkansas 0 (Arkansas eliminated). Arizona State 13, Oklahoma State 5 Today's Games 2 p.m. — Georgia Tech (40-21) vs. Oklahoma State (40-20). - 7 p.m. — Arizona State (37-22) vs. Oklahoma State-Georgia Tech winner, championship game. on a single by Andrew Beinbrink; in the sixth on a WSU error; in the seventh on a single by Rudy Arguelles and in the ninth on an error by WSU shortstop Zach Sorenson. Sorenson tied the game in the bottom of the first with a home run and Brian Preston's dramatic three-run homer that just cleared the right field wall, tied the game with two out in the sixth inning. Wichita State kept the pressure on after that, but failed to come up with the big hit in the final three innings. The Shockers got three hits from Sorenson and four from designated-hitter Pat Magness, but surrounding those two was a 1 for 15 combined effort from Hooper, Ryan and Casey Davis. Wichita State left 10 runners on base and 33 for the tournament. "To be under the type of pressure we were under today, and then come back and win, you've just got to be proud of your guys," Arizona State coach Pat Murphy said. "That shows you a lot about the character of your club." The Shockers, meanwhile, were stunned by Saturday's outcome. They fully expected to be playing next weekend at the College World Series. Instead, they were the second team eliminated in the regional tournament. "I've got some mixed feelings right now," said Magness, when asked to evaluate the season. "I don't know what to say. I'm still flabbergasted we lost this game." V PRO BASKETBALL: NBA PLAYOFFS Jordan, Pippen disappear early in fourth period Georgia Tech eliminates Arkansas By The Associated Press WICHITA — Chuck Crowder won a pitchers' duel with a six- hit, complete game shutout Saturday to help Georgia Tech beat Arkansas 2-0 and eliminate the Razorbacks from the NCAA Midwest Regional. Crowder (12-4) struck out six and walked two en route to the win. Rodney Nye (3-5) struck out nine in 7% innings but took the loss after leaving the game in the eighth inning in a jam. Georgia Tech (40-21) opened the scoring in the second inning after a leadoff single by Stephen Donaghey. Eric McQueen later doubled to score Donaghey. Both pitchers then cruised through to the eighth, when Georgia Tech's Jay Hood reached on a fielder's choice. He later scored on another fielder's choice with the bases loaded. Both teams committed two er- V SOFTBALL COLLEGE WORLD SERIES Oklahoma State, Nebraska stay alive Bulls' big two produce little early in quarter as Indiana took the lead By NANCY ARMOUR The Associated Press rors. The second-seeded Yellow- jackets advanced to play Oklahoma State today. Later Saturday, Oklahoma State, which is undefeated in the double-elimination tournament, was scheduled to play Arizona State, which eliminated top- seeded Wichita State 6-4 earlier Saturday. The shutout was the first suffered by Arkansas (38-21) in 190 games dating back to 1995. Eastern Conference INDIANAPOLIS — Even Michael Jordan loses focus sometimes. Jordan almost pulled off another heroic comeback in the playoffs Saturday, scoring six points in the last 64 seconds. But it was his and Scottie Pippen's vanishing act early in the fourth quarter that cost the Chicago Bulls. "We had a couple mental lapses out there, from Scottie to myself to everyone," Jordan said. "We certainly didn't have the same focus and we have to have that." While Indiana's bench was dominating the fourth quarter and bringing the Pacers back, Jordan, Pippen and Dennis Rodman were deafeningly silent. Jordan and Pippen combined for just five points early in the final quarter, and Rodman had one rebound before fouling out with 2:07 left to play. Jordan and Pippen did lead a push in the final seconds, hitting consecutive 3-pointers, but it wasn't enough as Indiana won 107-105. Chicago leads the Eastern Conference finals 2-1, with Game 4 on Monday at Market Square Arena. The Bulls have won 19 straight playoff series when they open with a 2-0 lead. "It is a blown opportunity. We had an opportunity to put this team away and we allowed them to get back into the game," Pippen said. "Their momentum flowed from there and we never got control of the game after that." Jordan led all scorers with 30 points and Pippen added 23, but their slump made those numbers meaningless. Pippen's jumper gave Chicago a 75-67 lead with 2:35 left in the third quarter, and with Jordan on the bench, the Bulls began to relax. Indiana's bench jumped on the opportunity with an 8-0 run, including two foul shots that Jordan said changed the game. With 58 seconds left in the quarter, Scott Burrell was called for a foul on Derrick McKey, who made both free throws to cut Chicago's margin to 77-72. "The game changed," Jordan said. "Up until that point, we controlled the game." Jalen Rose hit a 3-pointer, and then picked off a bad pass by Pippen and tossed it to Dale Davis, The Associated Press Indiana's Reggie Miller jumps into the arms of a teammate during a second-half Pacers run. who scored the tying points on an easy layup. Sixteen seconds into the fourth quarter, Jordan fouled Davis, who hit both free throws to give the Pacers a 79-77 lead. Indiana never trailed again. As the Pacers slowly pulled ahead, Jordan and Pippen couldn't get anything going. At one point, Jordan drove through heavy traffic and put up a layup only to watch it roll off the rim. He looked back at the referee for some help, but all he got was a slow shake of the head. "Sorry, Michael," the ref seemed to say, "today is just not your day." Jordan finally scored — his first field goal since six minutes left in the third quarter — to cut Indiana's lead to 88-84, and Pippen added a free throw to cut the margin to 88-87. Jordan had a chance to tie the game at 89 with 4:25 left, but he was called for an offensive foul. Then it was Reggie Miller's turn to be a playoff hero. Miller, who sprained his right ankle so badly he could barely run down the court, hit three 3-pointers in a 21/2-minute span to give the Pacers a 101-93 lead. Pippen and Jordan hit the 3s to bring Chicago within 103-102 with 24 seconds left. After Antonio Davis hit two free throws, Jordan tried to get in position to take another 3-pointer that could have tied the game with 12 seconds left. But Indiana had him covered, and he had to settle for a trip to the free throw line. He missed the first free throw, but made the second to cut the margin to 105-103. Pippen added a dunk at the buzzer for the final margin. , Up 3-0 on LA, Jazz say they can do better Utah players credit Sloan with pushing them to excellence By BOB BAUM The Associated Press Western By The Associated Press OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma State scored three unearned runs Saturday night to beat Michigan 31 and stay alive at the Women's College World Series. The victory sends Oklahoma State (42-18) into a rematch today- with defending champion Arizona, which beat the Cowgirls 1-0 in the first round. Oklahoma State used two errors to score twice in the first inning, then added an insurance run in the fourth after Michigan had scored in the top half of the inning. Kristi Bolle had two of Oklahoma State's four hits and scored twice. Traci Conrad had four hits for Michigan (56-7), which stranded 11 runners. Oklahoma State had opened play Saturday by hitting three home runs in a 6-0 victory over Massachusetts (45-14). Bolle, Liz Silva and Shannon Sullivan all homered off Danielle Henderson, who had given up just one home run in her previous 37 games. Leanne Tyler (13-6) allowed only one hit — a single in the first inning by Kim Gutridge. She struck out eight and walked four. Also Saturday, Nebraska eliminated Texas 2-1 despite getting just one hit. The Cornhuskers (48-11) scored both their runs in the fourth on an RBI double by Jamie Fuente and a sacrifice fly. A home run in the sixth by Nikki Cockrell gave Texas (49-16) its run. Nebraska returned Saturday night to play an elimination game against Washington. INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Despite their domination of the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals, there is no swagger in the Utah Jazz. "We've got a coach who won't let us be arrogant," Utah's Greg Foster said Saturday, the morning after the Jazz beat the Lakers 109-98. That victory put the Jazz on the brink of a return trip to the NBA Finals, one win away from the first sweep of a seven-game series in the history of their franchise. "He keeps us levelheaded. He really does," Foster said. "Last night he was screaming at us. If we win the championship this year, he'll be screaming at us." If any team is a reflection of its coach, it is Utah. Jerry Sloan and his team are nothing flashy. Both have a persistent, determined, intelligent, no-nonsense approach to the game. The closer his team has come to winning this series, the more faults Sloan seems to find with the Jazz. "What have we done? We've never won," Sloan said. "That's what a lot of people don't understand. You never win until you're the last winner at the end of the year. You're going to be classified as a loser until you're the last one to win." As the Lakers search for some way to counter Utah's unnerving patience and efficiency to avoid SLOAN elimination in today's Game 4, the Jazz insist they are far from the top of their game. "There were times last year when we played 10 times better than we've played this year," Bryon Russell said. "We're .playing well. We're playing good enough to win. If we can play a little better, who knows what can happen." What has aggravated the Lakers most is the way the Jazz have turned to different weapons in each game. In Game 2, old-timers John Stockton and Karl Malone made the difference. In Game 3, when the Lakers gave Stockton and Malone added attention, reserves Shandon Anderson and Chris Morris carried the Jazz to victory. When the Lakers finally disrupted Utah's trademark pick- and-roll play, the Jazz whipped the ball to the other side of the court for a wide-open shot or kicked it down low for an easy layup. "It's definitely not talent, because we have a lot more talent than they do," the Lakers' Nick Van Exel said. "It's just that they're playing better team ball than we are right now." In Game 3, Shaquille O'Neal had 39 points and 15 rebounds, but the rest of the Lakers provided little help. It's been a painful lesson in the value of team play for the young Los Angeles players. "Sloan has a great style where guys who go in and know what they're supposed to do to get it done — no exceptions," Van Exel said. "I would take teamwork everyday over a lot of talent."
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