Alabama Baseball Led By Pitching and Holcombe

The Alabama baseball team improved to 5-2 on the season by taking two out of three games from Ball State over the weekend. The teams dodged bad weather to fit the three games in. The Tide won on Friday night 7-1 behind excellent pitching from Sam Finnerty and four runs driven in by Keith Holcombe. Saturday’s game made it to the bottom of the seventh before the rain hit and forced the game to be finished on Sunday morning. Ball State won that game 8-5, and then Bama bounced back to take the series with a 6-0 win on Sunday afternoon. Ball State fell 2-5 in the early stages of the season.

Game One: Won 7-1

In a game scheduled for 3 p.m., then moved to 1 p.m, first pitch eventually happened at 5 p.m. as the staff did their best to dodge the expected bad weather.

Sam Finnerty has established himself as a Friday night stalwart for the Tide over the last two seasons. The senior right hander pitched the best game of his Alabama career. Finnerty was in control from the beginning, retiring the Cardinals on four pitches in the top of the first. The Tide scored all the runs they would need in the bottom of the first. Jeaux Breaux led off by being hit by a pitch, followed by a single by Brett Auerebach. After two straight strikeouts, Keith Holcombe lined an RBI single to score Breaux. Freshman first baseman Drew Williamson then singled in two runs for an early 3-0 lead.

Finnerty gave up a seeing eye single in the second, but the runner was quickly erased on a slick double play started by shortstop Kolby Robinson. Finnerty allowed a bunt single in the third, but the runner couldn't advance. The Tide busted the game open in the fifth when Holcombe drilled a three run bomb into the visitors’ bullpen in right center field for his second long ball of the season.

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Where Le'Veon Bell fits: We put together potential contract offers

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Le'Veon Bell is expected to reset the market for running backs when he hits free agency next month. Which teams are interested, and what could his contract look like?

We asked NFL Nation reporters to make their best offer -- on behalf of the teams they cover -- to the former Pittsburgh Steelers back, who sat out the entire 2018 season because he wanted a long-term contract.

We came up with three teams likely to make offers for Bell, and each has the cap space -- and need -- to sign him. There are also five teams popularly linked with pursuing Bell who our reporters think will get running back help elsewhere.

The offers below are based on what each reporter believes their team's front office would offer Bell next month. We then had senior NFL writer Mike Sando take on the role of Bell's agent and pick the best offer for his client. Check out his decision here.

Jump to the offers and verdict:GB | HOU | NYJ | Verdict

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Sources: Dodgers re-enter Harper sweepstakes

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The Los Angeles Dodgers have re-entered the Bryce Harper sweepstakes and are interested in a short-term deal with the free-agent slugger, according to ESPN and multiple reports.

The Phillies absolutely want Harper. But does he want them? It's time for a final answer.

As Harper's new deal approaches the finish line, the intrigue only begins for the free agent and his primary suitor. Who else in baseball will be feeling the heat this season?

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Harper is seeking a long-term deal and, despite being unsigned just over a month before the start of the season, has given no indication that he is willing to change that demand, sources told ESPN's Jeff Passan.

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Alabama Softball Runs Their Record to 15-0

After a pair of road tournaments in Troy and Tuscon, the Crimson Tide finally returned home to Rhoads Stadium for the opening weekend in the Annual Easton Bama Bash - and what a bash it was.

SCORES

Alabama 11 Missouri State 1 (5 Inn.) - The Tide run-ruled the Bears behind the big bats of Bailey Hemphill, Caroline Hardy, and Merris Schroder each of whom went yard. KB Sides was 3-for-3 with a pair of RBI. Sarah Cornell got her fourth win.

Alabama 1 Minnesota 0 - The Gophers came into the weekend newly ranked at #24 and will most likely drop out of the rankings this week after the Tide took two from them. However, the Minnies did win their other three games in Tuscaloosa. This one was a tight game with two aces going toe-to-toe and no score going into the bottom of the seventh. Claire Jenkins singled, was sacrificed to second, and scored on a two-out single by the number nine hitter Elissa Brown for the walk-off victory. Montana Fouts (5-0) pitched a two-hit shutout and (gasp!) yielded her first two walks of the season.

Alabama 7 Missouri State 5 - This was a wild one. There were rain delays, a bunch of hits, and one big stolen hit. Skylar Wallace hit a rare inside the park home run. Elissa Brown came to play as she took a 2-run home run away from the Bears and also went 3-for-3. Krystal Goodman (3-0) struggled, giving up four earned runs over 5.2 innings but got the win. Sarah Cornell got the save with a scoreless 3-up/3-down seventh.

Alabama 7 Minnesota 2 (5 Inn., weather shortened) - In Saturday’s nightcap, Alabama scored seven runs in the fifth on a two-run single by KB Sides, a three run homer by Bailey Hemphill, and a two RBI dinger from Reagan Dykes. The beginning of the game was delayed an hour and a half, and then hammered the two teams after the fifth inning concluded. Nobody needed the presence of James Spann to realize it wasn’t stopping any time soon. Fouts rang up win number six on seven Ks and one base-on-balls.

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‘Sizzle’ versus ‘Stuff’ across college football

Pedal to the metal offensive attacks are the trend in college football and Alabama football has not been left behind in relying on explosive offense. In the national aversion to defense-first football, Alabama football has shed its reputation for old-school offense lacking in explosive play potential. Sometimes lost in admiring the trend is most high-powered attacks […] Alabama Football: ‘Sizzle’ versus ‘Stuff’ across college football - Bama Hammer - Bama Hammer - An Alabama Crimson Tide Community - News, Blogs, Opinion and more.Original link
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Alabama Basketball: Tide ends skid dropping Vandy in T-Town

Alabama basketball ended a skid and notched a win Saturday night beating the SEC win-less Vanderbilt Commodores in Tuscaloosa. One win does not cure all ills but Alabama basketball stopped a slide and edged forward Saturday with win No. 16 on the season. The Crimson Tide took down the weakest team in the SEC, the […] Alabama Basketball: Tide ends skid dropping Vandy in T-Town - Bama Hammer - Bama Hammer - An Alabama Crimson Tide Community - News, Blogs, Opinion and more.Original link
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Alabama S Deionte Thompson underwent surgery

One of the NFL Draft’s top defensive back prospects will be sidelined for a while. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports that Alabama safety Deionte Thompson had surgery on Friday to repair a torn ligament in his wrist.

Unsurprisingly, it’s unlikely that Thompson will be able to participate in the NFL Scouring Combine, which takes place next week. Fortunately, Rapoport says the safety isn’t facing any long-term issues stemming from the injury.

Along with Mississippi State’s Johnathan Abram and Delaware’s Nasir Adderley, Thompson was considered to be one of the top safety prospects in the upcoming draft. The 22-year-old had a hot start to the 2018 campaign, with some pundits giving the safety a first-round projection. However, a rough second half of the season hurt his draft stock, and this most recent surgery could bump him back even further. While Thompson has the ability to be a starting-caliber NFL player, he may not be selected until the third day of the draft.

During his first full season as a starter, the six-foot-two, 196-pound senior finished with 79 tackles, six passes defended, three forced fumbles and two interceptions. He had primarily served as a backup during his sophomore and junior seasons at Alabama.

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12 figures who will define the 2019 NFL offseason

The 2019 NFL offseason will be defined by some blockbuster trades, a few high-profile free agents changing teams and a draft that’s about as wide open as any we’ve seen in the past.

The backdrop here are those individuals who will define these events once the calendar turns to March.

Multiple general managers are in position to change the fortune of their teams. One specific owner has a ton of work to do in order to keep his proud franchise relevant. Meanwhile, multiple veterans could change the dynamic around the NFL for next season.

It’s in this that we look at 12 figures who will define the 2019 NFL offseason.

John Dorsey, general manager, Cleveland Browns

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Alabama's 2019 recruiting class is so good it will make you sick

Nick Saban is on another level, folks. Alabama’s 2019 recruiting class was ranked No. 1 by 247Sports, and it’s easy to see why.

In fact, the program’s latest list of signees is so impressive all you Crimson Tide haters might feel inclined to rush to your nearest waste basket or toilet to throw up.

The big picture: With an average rating of 0.9438, the Alabama 2019 recruiting class has only one 3-star player out of 15 enrollees.

Saban landed two 5-star players at premium positions — offensive tackle and defensive end.Of the remaining 13 signees, just one is a 3-star player.That one player is placekicker Will Reichard, who is No. 1 at his position nationally.

But there’s more: The Crimson Tide also have 12 other players who have signed letters of intent. All 12 are 4-star players.

The bottom line: If you were hoping to see Saban’s empire finally crumble after watching Clemson route the Crimson Tide in the title game, think again.

Tua Tagovailoa is back again for another season and should be better than ever.Last year’s recruiting class was ranked No. 5 nationally, and Alabama’s 2020 recruiting class is projected to be No. 1.Original link
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Report: Dolphins already targeting Tua Tagovailoa ... for 2020

The Miami Dolphins have a lot of work to do this offseason in order to become relevant following a disappointing 7-9 season in 2018.

While fans in South Beach are thinking short term, owner Stephen Ross apparently has his sights set on 2020.

According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Ross and Co. are already targeting Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa for the 2020 NFL Draft.

“We keep hearing that owner Stephen Ross really, really likes Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and that getting a high 2020 draft pick is the priority,” Jackson reported on Wednesday.

In order for this to come to fruition, the Dolphins are looking to potentially add another first-round pick for the 2020 NFL Draft. If that’s the case, moving down from the 13th spot in April’s draft could make a ton of sense.

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Alabama's Quinnen Williams to buy grandma a new car with first NFL paycheck

Alabama star defensive tackle Quinnen Williams is about to become a very rich young man as he prepares to enter the 2019 NFL Draft.

Projected to be a top-five pick, his first NFL contract is going to be flush with guaranteed cash.

The young man already knows what he wants to spend his first paycheck on, too, and what his mind is set on is incredibly sweet.

“I think I’m going to buy my grandma a car,” he said in an interview with TMZ Sports. Williams also said he wants to buy her some jewelry because she doesn’t really wear any.

The ‘Bama star lineman said his grandmother has been very tight with cash, but his impending NFL paychecks are going to change all that.

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Report: Jalen Hurts had visit with Miami coaches

Jalen Hurts is having himself quite a weekend.

The Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback is seeking a new college football program as a graduate transfer and has begun his process of evaluating teams. He visited with Maryland on Friday, Oklahoma on Saturday, and Sunday was his day in Miami.

According The Athletic’s Manny Navarro, Hurts met with Miami’s coaches and had dinner at Prime 112, a posh Miami steakhouse.

Navarro says Miami believes they have a 50-50 chance of landing Hurts.

Hurts spent three seasons at Alabama — starting two national championship games for the Tide. He has passed for 48 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his career.

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Steve Sarkisian reportedly will return to Alabama

Steve Sarkisian is headed back to a familiar place, according to a report.

Sarkisian was offered the Arizona Cardinals’ offensive coordinator position and reports on Friday indicated the sides were close to a hire. However, a day later reports said Sarkisian would not be Arizona’s offensive coordinator.

Instead, ESPN’s Dianna Russini says Sarkisian is headed back to Alabama to rejoin Nick Saban’s staff.

Sark was with Alabama as their offensive coordinator for the 2016 season before leaving to take the Falcons offensive coordinator job after Kyle Shanahan was hired by the 49ers. Sarkisian was fired after two seasons on the job and had another chance to continue as an NFL OC, but he apparently liked an offer from Saban more.

Saban needs to rebuild his offensive coaching staff after losing offensive coordinator Mike Locksley to Maryland, and the likely OC replacement, Dan Enos, to Miami.

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No. 9 Michigan rolls past Chattanooga 83-55

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Isaiah Livers is doing his best to shore up one of Michigan’s few areas of concern early this season.

Livers scored all 12 of his points in the first half, and the ninth-ranked Wolverines cruised to an easy 83-55 victory over Chattanooga on Friday. Livers made all four of his shots from the field in the first half and only missed one for the game.

Michigan came in shooting just 32 percent from 3-point range, but Livers went 2 for 3 and is now 11 for 20 on the season. He shot 36 percent from beyond the arc last season as a freshman.

“Last year, what was happening (was) he wasn’t consistent with his footwork, and the arc on his shot. Down the stretch last year, he couldn’t make many shots,” coach John Beilein said. “You see much more arch on his shot, and occasionally, frequently, I should say, you see really good rotation.”

Freshman Iggy Brazdeikis scored 20 points and Jordan Poole added 14 for the Wolverines. Michigan (6-0) avoided a letdown in its first game back in Ann Arbor after three impressive wins away from home.

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Gophers tally 7 goals in win over Michigan State

FOX Sports North

The Gophers men’s hockey team cruised past Michigan State 7-2 in their Big Ten home opener on Friday night.

More Gophers coverage

Tyler Sheehy and Brannon McManus each tallied a pair of goals while Rem Pitlick, Clayton Phillips and Sammy Walker also scored in the win.

Minnesota scored on its first two shots on goal of the game as Pitlick and Sheehy scored just 25 seconds apart. McManus added to the lead at 9:06 in the first period before Michigan State found the net seven seconds later.

The Gophers took a commanding 6-2 lead in the second with Sheehy’s second of the night at 0:54, Walker’s score at 7:12 and Phillips’ goal at 18:05.

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2018-19 NCAA basketball cheerleaders

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Playoffs, Finals: Noah Tango bullies Brea Olinda back ahead

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Slugfest: No. 6 Oklahoma outlasts No. 12 WVU 59-56

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Kyler Murray threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score and No. 6 Oklahoma scored two defensive TDs as the Sooners beat No. 12 West Virginia 59-56 Friday night to earn a spot in next week’s Big 12 championship game.

The Sooners (11-1, 8-1, No. 6 CFP) survived a wild and mostly defenseless affair that featured 1,372 yards of offense to earn a rematch Dec. 1 in Arlington, Texas, against No. 11 Texas, which beat Kansas earlier Friday.

Oklahoma also kept its College Football Playoff chances alive.

West Virginia (8-3, 6-3, No. 13 CFP) lost to Oklahoma for the seventh straight time since joining the league in 2012.

Murray finished 20 of 27 for 364 yards and converted a late fourth down to seal a matchup of Heisman Trophy hopefuls. West Virginia’s Will Grier threw for four touchdowns and a career-high 539 yards on 32 of 49 passing. But Grier lost two fumbles, both of which were returned for touchdowns.

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DII Northwest Nazarene takes down Idaho 77-73

AP

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Adonis Arms scored 21 points to lead Division II Northwest Nazarene to a 77-73 win over Idaho in the Vandal Holiday Hoops Showcase on Friday night.

Northwest Nazarene University is located in Nampa, Idaho, 20 miles from Boise. Adalberto Diaz’s jump shot with 9:43 left put the Crusaders ahead 54-52 and they never trailed again. Arms’ jumper with 2:44 remaining made it 72-62. The Crusaders finished shooting 17 for 28 (60.7 percent) in the second half despite missing 13 free throws in the contest.

Northwest Nazarene (5-0) took a 5-0 lead just a couple of minutes in. Olamilekan Adetunji made a 3-pointer and the Crusaders led 14-8 with 11:23 before halftime. Trevon Allen hit a jumper and a layup to break a 25-all tie for Idaho (1-3). Jared Rodriguez’s jump shot made it 31-25 and the Vandals led 33-27 at the break.

Obi Megwa scored 16 points for the Crusaders and Diaz scored 10.

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Kamar Baldwin carries Bulldogs past Gators in 61-54 victory

AP

Kamar Baldwin (left) drives the lane to score. The Bulldogs guard scored 19 points in the win.

Kevin Jairaj

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – Kamar Baldwin scored 19 points while Butler hit several key free throws late to hold off Florida 61-54 in Friday’s fifth-place game at the Battle 4 Atlantis.

Paul Jorgensen added 16 points and three 3-pointers for the Bulldogs (5-1), who shot 50 percent after halftime and went ahead for good midway through the second half.

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