On The Farm: Sauer, Williams pace Winston-Salem

On The Farm: Sauer, Williams pace Winston-Salem

Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010
10:00 PM
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com

WHITE SOX

Winston-Salem (A)
Stephen Sauer pitched his best game in nearly a month Wednesday night as Winston-Salem bested Wilmington, 4-2, at Frawley Stadium.

Sauer went seven innings, his longest outing since July 19, which also represents the last time he won a game. The right-hander had lost three consecutive starts heading into Wednesday, allowing 14 runs over 16 23 innings over that stretch. He allowed only two runs against Wilmington, however, equaling a season-high with seven strikeouts.

Jon Gilmore and Ozzie Lewis each had a pair of hits for the Dash while Kenny Williams went 1-for-3 with an RBI, extending his hitting streak to nine games. Hes batting .344 (11-for-32) during the streak. Greg Paiml went 0-for-2, stretching his hitless streak to 13 at-bats since his return from Birmingham and 15 overall including his time in the Southern League.

Birmingham (AA)
The Barons got a great effort from their bullpen Wednesday night, hanging on to defeat Mississippi, 3-2.

The Birmingham pen pitched 3 23 scoreless innings, allowing one hit and a walk over that stretch in relief of Johnnie Lowe (5-4), who allowed two runs in 5 13 innings. Henry Mabee, Kyle Bellamy and Anthony Carter did the rest.

Eduardo Escobars RBI single in the second inning proved to be the game-winner after the Barons had scored two first-inning runs. Henry Mabee, Kyle Bellamy and Anthony Carter did
In other action, Danville scored six times in the seventh inning and bested Bristol, 9-5. Marcus Spencer had a homer and three RBIs for the Sox. ... Durham defeated Charlotte, 10-9, in 11 innings at Durham Athletic Park. Jeremy Reed had a pair of hits and four RBIs, giving him six RBIs in the first two games of the series. Mark Teahen was 3-for-4 with an RBI and is hitting .400 in 10 games with the Knights. ... Michael Blanke, Andy Wilkins and Ross Wilson each had a pair of hits for Great Falls in a 6-5 victory over Billings. It was Blanke's RBI single in the ninth inning that provided the margin of victory.

CUBS

Tennessee (AA)
Chris Archer has been gaining a great deal of attention for his pitching exploits at Tennessee but Rafael Dolis has quietly put together an impressive run of his own since moving up from Daytona in June.

Dolis was sharp again Wednesday night as Tennessee edged Hunstville, 2-0, at Smokies Park. He tossed five shutout innings while fanning five to win his second consecutive start while improving to 3-0 in his last five starts. Hes got a 2.11 ERA in 21 13 innings over those five starts.

Blake Lalli scored on a throwing error in the second inning to give the Smokies all the advantage they would need. Brandon Guyer was 1-for-4, extending his hitting streak to 15 games. Hes batting .456 (26-for-57) during the streak.
Daytona (A)
The Cubs moved back into a tie for first place in the Florida State Leagues North Division on Wednesday after knocking off Tampa, 6-3, at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Daytona and the Yankees now share the Divisional lead.

D.J. LeMahieus two-run single in the third tied the score at two before Rebel Ridlings RBI single gave the Cubs a lead they would not relinquish. LeMahieu added another two-run single an inning later.

Alberto Cabrera earned the victory, his third in four outings, after striking out eight and giving up two runs in 5 23 innings.

In other action, Portland handed Iowa a 5-4 loss in a matinee at Principal Park. Jay Jackson (9-7) saw his six-game winning streak come to an end as he suffered his first loss since June 17. Jackson allowed three runs (two earned) in six innings. The I-Cubs scored twice in the eighth and twice in the ninth but couldnt complete the comeback despite having the bases loaded with one out. ... Beloit defeated Peoria, 7-4, in 11 innings. Matt Cerda was 2-for-4 with an RBI. ... Boise upended Tri-City, 4-3, as Juan Serrano improved to 5-1. ... The Brewers beat the AZL Cubs, 14-4.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Northwestern holds off Ohio State for fifth Big Ten win, first win in Columbus in 40 years

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USA TODAY

Northwestern holds off Ohio State for fifth Big Ten win, first win in Columbus in 40 years

It's not something that's been said often over the decades, but Northwestern is one of the best teams in the Big Ten.

That's the story the standings tell, and with another week of the 2016-17 season in the books, the Wildcats sit at 5-2 in conference play, good for the second-best mark in the league.

That fifth conference win came Sunday afternoon with a 74-72 defeat of Ohio State. It was the first time Northwestern won in Columbus since 1977.

This is the first 5-2 start to Big Ten play for the Cats since 1968. So is this the first time ever the Cats get an invite to the NCAA tournament?

Of course that remains to be seen, but Chris Collins' squad sure seems to be setting itself up for inclusion in the field of 68. Sunday's win was just the latest to come away from Evanston, and in seven conference games, four of the team's five wins have come in road games, including three straight at Nebraska, Rutgers and Ohio State.

Northwestern had to find a way to win Sunday. A couple surges in the first half took the Cats from modest deficits to a lead that grew as big as eight. The halftime advantage was five, but that slipped away quickly as Northwestern shot poorly after halftime. Ice cold is a better descriptor, the Cats struggling to get their field-goal percentage above 30 percent over the final 20 minutes. It got there eventually, the team finishing shooting 32.3 percent in the second half, but it was the work from the free-throw line that made the win possible. Over the final 20 minutes, Northwestern was 14-for-16 from the charity stripe, including going 11-for-12 over the final minute and a half.

The key stretch came when a Scottie Lindsey 3-ball broke a 56-all tie with four and a half minutes to play. Ohio State countered with a bucket, but freshman point guard Isiah Brown turned in back-to-back scores of his own, the second a breakaway layup off a steal. That made it a five-point lead, and though the gap shrunk over the game's final three minutes, Northwestern's free-throw shooting allowed the Cats to hold that lead the rest of the way.

Meanwhile, the Buckeyes shot themselves in the foot at the free-throw line. They were 12-for-23 on the game, and all but one of the attempts came in the second half, making for 10 missed free throws over the game's final 20 minutes. Northwestern committed a lot of fouls, but Ohio State couldn't capitalize, something that has to be quite painful for the Buckeyes, considering they had edges in other statistical categories. They shot 45.6 percent from the field compared to the Cats shooting 37.5 percent. Ohio State also had 16 second-chance points and 28 points in the paint. But Northwestern had 17 points off 13 Ohio State turnovers.

Lindsey finished with a game-high 21 points and has scored in double figures in every game this season. Bryant McIntosh had 17 points, and Vic Law had 10. Jae'Sean Tate scored 14 points for Ohio State, with JaQuan Lyle adding 13, Trevor Thompson scoring 11 and Cam Williams putting in 10.

The win was Northwestern's fourth straight and boosted its overall record to 16-4 to go along with the 5-2 mark in the conference. The Cats next play Nebraska on Thursday.

The loss snapped a modest two-game win streak for Ohio State and dropped the Buckeyes' record to 12-8 overall and 2-5 in the Big Ten. They next play Minnesota on Wednesday.

Marcus Kruger 'pretty close' to returning for Blackhawks

Marcus Kruger 'pretty close' to returning for Blackhawks

Marcus Kruger has been sidelined a little longer than the originally expected three weeks with his right hand injury. Not that any missed time is enjoyable.

"I wanted to get back there probably a few weeks ago but unfortunately I couldn't," said Kruger, who suffered his injury on Dec. 30 against the Carolina Hurricanes. "I tried to listen to the doctors and do everything I can instead to be ready when I get cleared. That's my mindset."

Kruger is close, but not quite there, as the Blackhawks prepared for Sunday night's game against the Vancouver Canucks. Kruger skated with his teammates for the first time since being injured but wasn't among the line rushes. The center took faceoffs on his own at the end of practice. Kruger pronounced himself, "pretty close," to returning. Coach Joel Quenneville said the Blackhawks will see how Kruger is over the next few days. The Blackhawks play again Tuesday and Thursday before heading into the All-Star break this weekend.

The Blackhawks have missed Kruger's versatility and especially his play on the penalty kill. The Blackhawks' kill has been fine through Kruger's absence but he nevertheless is a big part of it when he's healthy.

"We have a lot of options and when he's out everyone gets a more important role, whether starting or faceoffs. And we have a rotation of five guys who are in there most of the time. But he definitely absorbs the most responsibility when he's playing in that area," Quenneville said of Kruger. "So it's nice you get to try some other guys and you get deeper as you go along."

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

One of the players who's emerged in Kruger's absence is Tanner Kero, who filled his third-line center void. Kero and linemates Vinnie Hinostroza and Marian Hossa clicked on the dads trip, coming up with big plays and points in the Blackhawks' victories over Colorado and Boston. As of now, Kero appears to have the hold on third-line center.

"I don't see too many things that would change his positioning because he really helped himself," Quenneville said.

Kruger said he's fine if that means returning to fourth-line center duties. Regardless, he'll help bolster the Blackhawks' forward lines. The last step is likely contact, which Kruger got a little of – outside of faceoffs – in Sunday's skate. Kruger's had to wait a little longer than expected on his injury but he's getting there.