Jackson Stays Red Hot In Leading Tennessee To Twinbill Sweep

Jackson Stays Red Hot In Leading Tennessee To Twinbill Sweep

Saturday April 16, 2011
Posted: 9:40 p.m.
CUBS Tennessee AA
Brett Jackson continued his torrid start to the season Saturday in helping pace Tennessee to a doubleheader of sweep of Montgomery at Smokies Park. Jackson got hits in both ends of the twin bill as the Smokies ran their winning streak to four games with 11-7 and 3-1 victories, respectively.

Jackson went 2-for-5 with a double, three runs scored and a pair of walks, pushing his batting average to .467. While Jackson has been scintillating, he did have some help. Ryan Flaherty had two homers and five RBIs in the opener. Josh Vitters added a homer and three RBI.

It all made it easier for Alberto Cabrera, who picked up his first victory after allowing three runs in six innings.

The nightcap was a bit tighter with Ty Wright connecting for a solo homer. Josh Vitters also added a hit and is batting .367. Ryan Buchter earned the win, pitching a scoreless sixth inning before David Cales tossed a scoreless ninth for his fourth save.
Iowa AAA
The I-Cubs rallied for three seventh-inning runs Saturday night with what would prove to be the winning run scoring on a wild pitch in a 4-3 victory over Memphis at Principal Park.

Fernando Perez capped the rally by scoring when Victor Marte uncorked a wild pitch with the bases loaded. Bryan LaHair had three hits for the I-Cubs, pushing his average to .406.

The Iowa bullpen tossed three shutout innings with Justin Berg 2-0 earning the victory. J.R. Mathes started and went six innings, allowing three runs on five hits while striking out six.
Daytona A
The Cubs began the season with a six-game winning streak but on Saturday night they lost their fourth in a row, dropping a 9-6 decision to Lakeland at Joker Marchand Stadium.

Brent Ebinger 1-1 was tagged with the loss, allowing seven runs on eight hits in his three innings. He allowed five runs in the second inning and the Cubs could not recover. Matt Cerda had three hits for the Cubs, including a homer and two RBIs. Jae-Hoon Ha had two hits and an RBI. Both he and Cerda are hitting .400.
Peoria A
Peorias Saturday afternoon game against Wisconsin at Fox Cities Stadium was rained out and will be made up when the Timber Rattlers visit OBrien Field in either May 24-26 or June 14-16. The Chiefs and Wisconsin will play a doubleheader Sunday beginning at 1:05 to make up Fridays game, which was also rained out.
WHITE SOXBirmingham AA
The Barons split a doubleheader with visiting Chattanooga, taking the opener, 2-0, before dropping the nightcap, 3-2.

Charlie Leesman pitched six innings of one-hit ball in the opener, striking out six and walking two. He took a no-hitter into the fifth before allowing a leadoff single. Greg Infante pitched the seventh to pick up his second save. The Barons collected only three hits, one of which was a Justin Greene two-run homer in the fifth.

Brad Coons RBI double in the top of the seventh snapped a 2-2 tie in the nightcap. Shane Lindsay took the loss. Justin Edwards had started and allowed a run on two hits over five innings. Andrew Garcia had two hits, including a triple, and an RBI for the Barons.
Kannapolis A
Matthew Heidenreich got hit hard early Saturday night at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium and Kannapolis never recovered, dropping a 9-5 decision to Hickory.

Heidenreich 0-1 allowed six runs and never made it out of the first inning, giving up four hits and walking one. Paul Burnside then allowed three runs in 5 13 innings, giving Hickory a lead from which the Intimidators couldnt recover.

Kannapolis managed only five hits with Ryan Hamme collecting one of them. He had two RBIs. Ross Wilson drew three walks for the Intimidators.
Winston-Salem A
Justin Tooles two-run double highlighted a three-run 11th inning, lifting Kinston to a 5-2 victory over the Dash at BB&T Park Saturday night. It was just the second victory in 23 games at Winston-Salem for the Indians.

Orlando Santos surrendered all three runs and took the loss. Andy Wilkinshad a pair of hits for the Dash.

Charlotte AA
The Knights and Tides were rained out Saturday at Harbor Park. No makeup date has been scheduled.

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

Expansion of the College Football Playoff field continues to seem inevitable

james-franklin-1207.jpg
USA TODAY

Expansion of the College Football Playoff field continues to seem inevitable

There were six teams deserving of reaching the College Football Playoff this season. But there were only four spots.

But what if there were more spots?

An expansion of the Playoff field to eight teams has seemed inevitable from the day the four-team system was announced. Four more Playoff games means oodles more TV viewers, which means oodles more dollars.

And then we wouldn't be having all these arguments, either — but that's nonsense because of course we would, trying to figure out who got snubbed from the expanded bracket.

But this season's emphasis on the conference-champion debate might kick the efforts to expand the Playoff into high gear. Just take it from NCAA president Mark Emmert.

Now, technically speaking, there are 10 FBS conferences, each of which crowns a champion at the end of every football season. Emmert is obviously referring to the Power Five conferences: the Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, Pac-12 and SEC. He might want to pick his words a bit more carefully, considering he represents the other five conferences — the American, Conference USA, the MAC, the Mountain West and the Sun Belt — too, but his point remains understood.

This season has sparked a ton of controversy as the Playoff selection committee opted for the first time to include a team that did not win its conference, Ohio State, and it picked the Buckeyes over the Big Ten champs, Penn State. Plus, Big 12 champion Oklahoma was passed over in favor of non-champion Ohio State, too, actually falling behind another non-champion from the Big Ten, Michigan, in the final Playoff rankings.

With that decision brought the reasonable question of how much a conference championship should matter in getting a team into the final four and competing for a national championship.

The Playoff committee's mission is to pick the country's four best teams, and there aren't many people out there that will argue that Ohio State isn't one of the country's four best teams. But there's something to be said for winning a conference championship because if the Buckeyes can waltz into the Playoff without even playing in the Big Ten title game, why even have a conference championship game — besides, obviously, earning one more night of big-time TV money.

And so the call for an expanded Playoff bracket has reached perhaps its greatest volume in the short time the Playoff has existed. The obvious solution to Power Five conference champions continually being boxed out is to lock in five spots on the bracket for the five conference champions. Then, guarantee a spot for the highest-ranked team from the Group of Five conferences, and you're left with two "at-large" spots that this season would've gone to Ohio State and Michigan, two of the highest-profile programs in the country sure to drive TV viewership in battles against conference-champion Alabama, Clemson, Washington, Penn State and Oklahoma teams. And P.J. Fleck's undefeated Western Michigan squad takes the final slot.

That's quite the field. But if you think it would've solved all this year's problems, you're wrong. Still there would've been outcry that red-hot USC didn't make the field. The Trojans are playing so well that they could very well win the whole thing, despite their three early season losses. That debate over snubs will exist forever, no matter the size of the field, something we see play out each and every season in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Also, what a damper an expanded bracket would put on the final few weeks of the regular season. Ohio State's game against Michigan, the highest-rated game of the college football season with more than 16 million people watching, would've been effectively meaningless. No matter who won or lost, both teams would've made that eight-team field, right?

Additionally, another round of Playoff football would expand the season to 16 games for some teams. That means more physical demands on student-athletes and a season cutting deep into January, which would impact their educational and time demands.

But again, an expansion of the Playoff bracket has always seemed inevitable. There's too much money to be made, and at the same time fans seem to be all about that idea. People love the postseason for good reason, and the win-or-go-home nature of the NFL playoffs make those games the most-watched sporting events of the year.

Now the NCAA president is chiming in with hopes of an expanded field. So really isn't it just a matter of time?

Road Ahead: Blackhawks dealing with rash of injuries

Road Ahead: Blackhawks dealing with rash of injuries

CSN's Chris Boden and Tracey Myers have the latest on the Blackhawks in the Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland and NW Indiana Honda Dealers.

From an injury standpoint, it's been a tough few weeks for the Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks are down two key players in captain Jonathan Toews and goaltender Corey Crawford, and now may be without defenseman Brent Seabrook who sustained an upper-body injury in Tuesday's victory over the Arizona Coyotes.

[SHOP BLACKHAWKS: Get your Blackhawks gear right here]

While the Blackhawks haven't had much luck on the injury front, their upcoming two opponents are in the same boat.

"You look at the New York Rangers, a very talented team, but this is what every team goes through every season. Your depth gets tested," Myers said.

Check out what else Boden and Myers had to say about the team's upcoming matchups in this week's Honda Road Ahead