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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

7:18 AM ETEmailprint

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

10:56 AM ETEmailprint

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?

1 Related

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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Why we needed the Kick Six

This is probably not going to be a popular opinion, but when Alabama football went down to Jordan-Hare and was shocked by a near-improbable play that immediately went down in the annals of sports history, a chain of events was set in motion that led us to this moment. It was a blessing, you know. […] Alabama Football: Why we needed the Kick Six - Bama Hammer - Bama Hammer - An Alabama Crimson Tide Community - News, Blogs, Opinion and more.Original link
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Most compelling matchups in college football Week 13

Rivalries galore dominate the storylines in Week 13’s edition of the most compelling matchups across the college football landscape.

There are several games where the top teams in the College Football Playoff hierarchy are in danger of toppling. While some upsets are far likelier than others, the raw emotion and competitive fire associated with these guaranteed annual meetings create an intangible X-factor where, frankly, anything is possible.

All of this makes these forthcoming matchups all the more tantalizing to dive into.

No. 4 Michigan at No. 10 Ohio State

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

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How Auburn attacks the Crimson Tide

Iron Bowl expectations are heavily leaned towards an Alabama football blowout. However, I expect this Auburn team to use a gameplan that has shown effectiveness against the Tide this season. What if I told you that the teams that had the most success against Alabama football this year ran the football? It would be surprising […] Alabama Football: How Auburn attacks the Crimson Tide - Bama Hammer - Bama Hammer - An Alabama Crimson Tide Community - News, Blogs, Opinion and more.Original link
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10 college football teams no one wants to face during bowl season

In about a month, bowl season will start in college football with the lower-profile games between less successful but still bowl-eligible squads. Every team has two games at most before the bowl slate is set, and some teams are playing so well right now that potential bowl rivals are kind of hoping that things work out so they can avoid that foe.

Which are the teams playing so well right now that nobody is going to want to face them in December and January? Some are obvious, and some are lesser-known. For some, they have a difficult style of play to game plan for, while others are simply going to have a huge chip on their shoulder. Here are 10 teams that are very much going to cause some trouble for someone in bowl season.

10. Michigan

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Wolverines are deserved favorites as they head to Columbus for the biggest game of their season, and as long as Jim Harbaugh beats Urban Meyer for the first time in the rivalry, they should see off Northwestern and make the Playoff. It’s far from a foregone conclusion — rivalry games are tough, especially on the road — but few teams are playing better than the Wolverines. They boast an exceptional defense and finally seem to have the offense capable of carrying them. Ask Penn State how their trip to Ann Arbor went — a 35-point loss. If they make the playoff, they’ll be a popular dark horse to win it.

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Nick Saban thinks he knows cause of Iron Bowl issues

Nick Saban has only lost 20 games during his 12-year coaching career at Alabama, and 20 percent of them have come to rival Auburn.

The Crimson Tide have gone 7-4 in the Iron Bowl under Saban. This year, the Tide are favored by more than three touchdowns against their rivals. Regardless of the point spread, anything can happen in the game, as Saban knows well from 'Kick Six' in 2013.

So what is it about the game that leads to the inconsistencies in play? Saban believes emotions overcome players, leading to mental mistakes:

The key for Bama is keeping their emotions in check so they don’t commit those mental errors. The Tide enter Saturday’s Iron Bowl 11-0 and on their way to a 15-0 season perhaps. This is looking like it may go down as Saban’s best team at Alabama ever, and one of the best college football teams ever.

You'll receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams.

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Players who will define Rivalry Week

The one week a year with the power to stir the soul of even the most apathetic college football fan is here—at long last, we’ve reached Rivalry Week. It’s thrilling when the matchups come with postseason implications, but the stakes feel high regardless. For the players, it’s a chance to perform in a way that will resonate for years to come. We’re highlighting the athletes whose names could very well be synonymous with their respective rivalries when we look back on 2018.

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

We’ll start with the obvious, cause heck, the Tide’s sophomore signal-caller seems to be defining the whole season. In a world where the Bama defense is typically the team’s calling card and the quarterback position is something of an afterthought (Jake Coker, anyone?), Tagovailoa has been busy rewriting the school record books and could become the first Alabama QB to win a Heisman trophy. Stranger things have happened in the Iron Bowl, but with an Auburn squad that’s essentially irrelevant this season, Tagovailoa appears poised to shine in his first rivalry game as starter.

TaQuon Marshall, QB, Georgia Tech

While we were all wondering what happened to Bryce Love and the Stanford ground game, the Yellow Jackets were quietly racking up enough rush yards per game to lead the nation. That’s largely thanks to the scrambling quarterback tandem of Marshall and fellow part-time starter Tobias Oliver, who are one and two, respectively, on the team in rushing. While Marshall is inconsistent as a passer, he should be able to take full advantage of Georgia’s rather porous run defense. After all, what’s a better motivator than spoiling Playoff dreams?

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John Calipari of Kentucky Wildcats says he's overrated as recruiter

Nov 21, 2018Emailprint

Hours after seeing James Wiseman, the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2019, choose Memphis over his Kentucky Wildcats, John Calipari called himself "overrated as a recruiter."

The Wildcats still have ESPN's No. 3-rated recruiting class behind Louisville and USC, but missed on Wiseman and are unlikely to land any of the top five prospects in the country.

"I think I'm overrated as a recruiter," Calipari said. "We've had kids that made the decision to come here, and it's played out well for almost all of them. My thing is, I want to be able to sleep at night. I want to make sure I'm telling the truth. I want to make sure I'm sticking with guys.

No. 1 recruit James Wiseman commits to coach Penny Hardaway and Memphis.

How is Memphis' hiring of Penny Hardaway paying off? With James Wiseman now headed to the Tigers, the answer is very, very well.

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