San Jose State football signs highly-touted Texas running back

Photo credit: sjsuspartans.com

By: Ana Kieu

Running back Darrin Smith, who’s rated one of the top-100 high school football players for the 2018 season in the Dallas metroplex area by the Dallas Morning News, signed a National Letter-of-Intent to enroll at San Jose State University for the upcoming fall semester.

The 5-foot-10, 196-lb running back from Lone Star High in Frisco, Texas, was rated No. 38 overall and No. 2 among running backs in the Morning News’ February 6, 2019 rankings of the Top-100 area high school players. Smith also was listed by the Waco Tribune Herald’s Top-100 high school players for 2018.

Smith played four seasons of varsity football for Lone Star High. The Rangers posted a 46-9 win-loss record, a 27-2 mark in league action, and played for the 2015 5A-D2 state championship. He rushed for 2,520 yards on 437 carries and scored 34 touchdowns. He also caught 51 passes for 604 yards and returned 13 kickoffs for 273 yards and a touchdown during his high school career.

Smith was the 2017 District 13-5A Special Teams Most Valuable Player and the district’s 2016 Co-Offensive Newcomer of the Year. He concluded his high school football career playing for USA Football’s Under-19 national team in the 2019 International Bowl.

Barracuda messed with Texas and won 2-1

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

By Marko Ukalovic

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The San Jose Barracuda continued their dominance on home ice. They were able to hold on for a 2-1 victory over the Texas Stars on Friday evening at SAP Center. They swept the two-game series against Texas.

San Jose (23-8-1-13) drew first blood early in the first period. Matt Fonteyne skated in along the right boards and fought off a check. Maxim Letunov set a pick, freeing up Fonteyne to skate in from the right faceoff circle and wrist a shot top-shelf on Stars goalie Landon Bow (16-7-4) for his third goal of the season at the 3:59 mark. Manny Wiederer received the secondary assist.

“It’s alway nice to contribute,” said Fonteyne. “If you get pucks on net, the odd one is going to find the net. I’m really thankful for Maxim (Letunov) and Manny (Wiederer). They did a really good job to create space for me for my own shot.”

Texas (21-13-3-2) thought they had tied the game half way through the opening frame, but a last-minute save on a rolling puck heading into the net that was swept away at the last second by defenseman Keaton Middleton.

San Jose extended its lead on the power play with under three minutes remaining in the first period. Cavan Fitzgerald shot from the point caromed off the back of the boards past two players onto the stick of Jayden Halbgewachs, who made a move to the inside and sent in a shot through traffic as he was falling down that found its way into the back of the net. Halbgewachs’ 10th goal of the season came at the 17:12 mark. Kyle Wood received the secondary assists.

James Phelan had a short-handed breakaway opportunity with under a minute left, but  Cuda goalie Josef Korenar (14-3-1) came up with a huge save as the puck trickled underneath his pads to the left corner. Despite being outshot 20-9, San Jose headed into the first intermission with a commanding two-goal lead.

“I felt good after the first period,” said Korenar. “20 shots after one period is a lot of shots. But any goalie who gets 20 shots in a period is going to feel good.”

Texas cut the lead in half on the power play early in the second period. It only took eight seconds for Justin Dowling to send the puck back to the point where Gavin Bayreuther rifled in a shot past Korenar for his third goal of the season at the 4:49 mark.

Texas had the majority of the scoring chances, including a point-blank chance that was one-timed just wide, but weren’t able to tie the game up heading into the second intermission, despite out shooting the Cuda 12-7 in the middle frame.

“To be honest with you I thought it was the two worst periods we’ve played in a long while,” said head coach Roy Sommer. “I told them we played two really bad periods. If you win the third (period) you win a game. And that’s what they did. We found a way to win the game.”

In the third period, San Jose had the ice tilted in their favor out shooting the Stars 14-7 as the line of Alex True-Jon Martin-Francis Perron created the majority of the scoring chances only to have Bow frustrate them.

“I think we got lucky to come up 2-0 in the first period,” said Halbgewachs. “We started to find our game in the third period. We got two points and that’s all that matters.”

Korenar finished the game with 40 saves on 41 shots to earn his 14th win of the season. Bow, despite the strong game in net, suffered the loss stopping 29 of the 31 pucks he faced.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 1/4 on the power play. Texas was 1/4.

Forward Dylan Gambrell was recalled up by the San Jose Sharks.

Coming into the game, Korenar was second in the AHL in goals-against average (2.29) and tied for fifth with 13 wins.

The announced attendance was 3,064.

UP NEXT: The Barracuda return to action on Monday, January 21 as they host the Bakersfield Condors at 7:00 pm at SAP Center.

Barracuda supernova the Stars 6-1 to sweep Texas trip

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

By Marko Ukalovic

It wasn’t exactly the “Four Dead in Five Gun Fight” 137 years ago in Texas, but it was as close as it could get for a hockey game. The San Jose Barracuda (7-1-0-1) scored four goals in the second period in a 6-1 thrashing of the Texas Stars (4-3-1-1) on Saturday evening at H-E-B Center at Cedar Park to sweep their two-game Texas road trip.

Texas didn’t take long to get the opening goal. Michael Mersch tipped in a shot from Denis Gurianov past the five-hole of Cuda goalie Antoine Bibeau (3-1-1) for his fourth goal of the season at the 1:17 mark of the first period.

San Jose would respond with the equalizer just over a minute later, in what would start six consecutive unanswered goals by the Cuda. Jayden Halbgewachs would score his fifth goal of the season after receiving a pass from co-team goal leader Maxium Letunov and jammed in his own rebound past Texas goalie Colton Point (1-2-1) from point-blank range at the 2:33 mark. Filip Sandberg received the secondary assist.

The Cuda took over the lead just 61 seconds later and never looked back when defenseman Keaton Middleton jumped all over a loose puck and wristed it inside the far left post for his first career AHL goal at the 3:34 mark. Alexander True and Lukas Radil received assists on the Middleton’s first ever professional goal.

San Jose expanded their lead early in the second period when Manny Wiederer was able to deflect a shot from the point from Jacob Middleton that just trickled past the goal-line at the 3:50 mark. It was Wiederer’s third goal of the season. Kyle Wood received the secondary assist.

The Cuda poured it on the rest of the second period. Jeremy Roy received a pass from Radil, skated in from the point and rifled a shot past Point for his first goal of the season at the 14:24 mark. Matt Fonteyne received the secondary assist.

Radim Simek joined the goal party over a minute later when his shot from the point beat Point through his five hole for a 5-1 lead at the 15:36 mark. Simek’s second goal of the season would send Point to the showers as he was replaced by Landon Bow. Praplan and Manny Weiderer received assists.

Letunov, who assisted on Halbgewachs goal, beat Bow through his five hole to complete a four-goal second period. His fifth goal of the season was assisted by Halbgewachs at the 16:18 mark.

Bibeau was sharp in the net with 20 saves on 21 shots for the win. Point allowed five goals on only 16 goals in suffering the defeat. Bow finished with nine saves on 10 shots in mop up relief.

GAME NOTES: San Jose was 0/2 on the power play. Texas was 0/2.

San Jose stays undefeated on the road at 5-0. This is the first time in franchise history they finished the month of October with a perfect road record.

This was only the second time this season the Cuda didn’t score the first goal.

Fisticuffs! San Jose’s Jeffery Viel and Texas’ Samuel Laberge late in the second period.

Gurianov has scored a point in six straight games.

The Cuda will only play Texas twice this season as the Stars were realigned into the Central Division (along with San Antonio) of the Western Conference.

The announced attendance was 4,841.

UP NEXT: San Jose returns home on Friday, November 2 to host the San Antonio Rampage at SAP Center at 7:00 pm PT.

A’s hitters torch Rangers’ pitchers in 15-3 laugher in Arlington

Photo credit: @Athletics

By Jerry Feitelberg

It was a very warm night at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, on Monday night as the Oakland A’s started a seven-game road trip against the Texas Rangers. The temperature at the start of the game was over 100 degrees, but that did not faze the A’s hitters one bit.

The Rangers had their best pitcher, Cole Hamels, on the mound. Hamels, a four-time All-Star and 2008 World Champion (with the Philadelphia Phillies), is having an off year so far this season. The 34-year old lefty was 5-8 for the year, but his home record was 1-6 at home.

The A’s countered with their lefty, Brett Anderson, who started the game with a record of 1-2 and has spent a lot of time on the DL. A’s manager Bob Melvin was hoping to get some innings from Anderson to not use his bullpen. Anderson did his job as he went six innings and allowed just two runs and six hits. That, baseball fans, is a quality start.

The A’s torched Hamels for five runs in the top of the second inning. Hamels walked Matt Olson to start the inning. Chapman reached on an infield single. Rougned Odor made a gallant effort trying to stop Chapman’s grounder from going into centerfield. Odor flipped the ball to shortstop Elvis Andrus. Andrus stretched to grab the ball for the out, but he did not control of the ball as Olson’s slid in safely. Mark Canha singled sharply to right field to load the bases with no out.

Jonathan Lucroy was the next hitter. Lucroy was traded to the Rangers in 2016 and was with them until the trade deadline last year when the Rangers sent him to the Colorado Rockies. Lucroy had been with Hamels, who had a winning record when Lucroy was his catcher. Lucroy had hit only one home run so far the year but his second of the season was a grand salami. The ball was hit to deep center-field and barely made it over the fence. Statcast said the ball went 408 feet. The A’s were on the board, and it was just the beginning of the fireworks. The A’s plated another run to make it 5-0. Semien walked. Chad Pinder, who was 8-for-9 with three home runs in his career against Hamels, singled. Hamels retired Jed Lowrie, but was touched for a double by Khris Davis.

The Rangers scored two in the bottom of the third. Odor doubled and scored when Elvis Andrus homered. The A’s lead 5-2 after three. The A’s got the two runs back in the top of the fifth to take a 7-2 lead. With one out, Matt Olson singled. Stephen Piscotty homered for the thirteenth time this year to give the A’s a five-run lead. Hamels was done for the night. He went five innings and allowed seven runs on nine hits. He walked two, struck out five, and gave up two dingers.

Rangers’ manager Jeff Banister brought in another lefty, Matt Moore (former San Francisco Giant), to pitch the sixth inning. Moore set the A’s down in order. Banister should have given him the night off after that. Moore’s second inning of work was a disaster. The A’s scored six times on five hits. The big hit of the inning was a three-run blast off the bat of Matt Chapman. Moore gave up doubles to Lucroy and Semien to make it a 12-2 game. Banister brought in another lefty, Alex Claudio, who did not fare any better as Chad Pinder doubled on Claudio’s first pitch to drive in the sixth run of the game.

The A’s scored two more in the eighth, while the Rangers tallied just one. The A’s took game one by a lopsided score of 15-3.

Game Notes: The A’s continue to play well. They are now 24-7 in their last 31 games and are now 2 1/2 games behind the idle Seattle Mariners for the second Wild Card slot.

The line score for Oakland was 15 runs, 18 hits including four home runs, and no errors.

The line for Texas was three runs, eight hits, and no errors.

The A’s are now 58-43, and Texas falls to 42-59.

Khris Davis hit his 24th home run of the run and his third in the last two games.

Matt Olson had two hits. Steven Piscotty had two hits, three RBIs, and a home run. Matt Chapman had three hits, four RBIs, and a three-run homer. Lucroy hit a grand slam to go along with a double.

Up Next: The A’s and Rangers will meet again on Tuesday at 5:05 pm PDT.

Texas will send left Mike Minor (6-6) to the hill, and Oakland will counter with Frankie Montas (5-2).

Stars upend Barracuda 3-2 in overtime

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

By Marko Ukalovic

Forward Brian Flynn was the hero for the Texas Stars (23-15-4-2) as he scored the game-tying and game-winning goals for his team to snap the San Jose Barracuda’s (19-16-1-2) two-game winning streak with a 3-2 overtime victory at the H-E-B-Center at Cedar Park on Tuesday night.

Flynn set up the dramatic win when he scored the game-tying goal with 1:26 left to go in the third period. His 11th goal on the season came on the power play when the Stars pulled their goalie for a 6-on-4 advantage. Flynn was able to redirect a shot from the point past Antoine Bibeau (12-7-1).

In overtime, Flynn would complete the comeback and sent the 4,580 fans home happy with his 12th goal of the season when he steered a zone-entry pass from Justin Dowling top-shelf over Bibeau’s left shoulder, handing San Jose its first overtime loss of the season.

There was no scoring in the first period, but there were plenty of scoring chances on both sides. Both goalies came up big with Bibeau making 13 saves and Landon Bow making 10 saves, respectively.

The Barracuda drew first blood in the second period when Alexander True scored his sixth goal on the season when at the 2:41 mark when Jon Martin found the rookie forward uncovered in the low slot from below the goal line as True was able to bury the puck past Stars goalie Landon Bow (15-8-3).

The Stars would come back to tie it on the power play when Roope Hintz snuck a shot from below the right circle through Bibeau’s five-hole for his 13th goal on the season at the 12:58 mark.

San Jose would regain the lead late in the period when Marcus Sorensen scored his seventh goal of season by following up his blocked shot and beat Bow on the left side with 1:40 left to take a 2-1 lead into the second intermission. Rudolfs Balcers received an assist on the goal.

Bow finished the night with 28 saves on 30 shots for the victory. Bibeau suffered the loss with 30 saves on 33 shots.

GAME NOTES: The Cuda are 2-1 on the current 6 game road trip. San Jose were 0/1 on the power play while Texas was 2/3. There were no penalties called on either team in the 1st period.

UP NEXT: San Jose continues their tour of the Lone Star State when they travel to San Antonio to open a two-game series with the Rampage on Thursday night at 5 pm PT.

Barracuda Outshines Stars 6-1, Sorensen Gets A Hat Trick, Labanc Returns

Photo credit: @sjbarracuda

By Alexandra Evans

SAN JOSE — The Barracuda have returned to San Jose from their road trip to the Midwest, Texas, and Southern California (a trip that came with three consecutive losses) to face the Texas Stars yet again. The Stars overthrew them 3-2 in a shootout last Saturday, October 28. Tonight, the Cuda refused to be outshined again and crushed them 6-1.

Roster update: Kevin Labanc was reassigned to the Barracuda from the Sharks today. In 13 games with the Sharks this season, he has posted three goals and four assists for seven points, along with a minus-3 rating and 10 penalty minutes.

The force was strong in the first period, and I am not just saying that because the previous night (November 4th’s match against the Anaheim Ducks) was Star Wars night for the Sharks! Marcus Sorensen scored two goals less than three minutes apart, the first one on the power play (Ludwig Bystrom scored the Stars’ first goal of the game 59 seconds before Sorensen’s second goal, on the power play). Nearing the end of the period, at 17:19, Filip Sandberg scored after being handed the puck by Rudolfs Balcers, who received the pass from Brandon Mashinter. In some of the earlier games this season, the Cuda had put up numerous penalties in a single period alone. There were only two in the first tonight.

The second period remained rather quiet, and ended scoreless. Following the first intermission, the boys stepped on the ice looking confident, as they should after a killer first period. Three goals in one period alone is something the Cuda had yet to accomplish prior to tonight’s match.

Five minutes into the third period, the Cuda has 25 shots on goal. Adam Helewka and Julius Bergman each fired the puck at the net within a few minutes of one another, hitting the rim and bouncing back after each player’s attempt. Then, almost eight minutes in, Sorensen notched a hat trick, assisted by Danny O’Regan and Labanc. Approximately three minutes later, Cavan Fitzgerald scored his first goal of the season, making the score 5-1. Oliver Archambault (who was recently recalled from the Allen Americans of the ECHL) wanted in on the action, and scored (his first goal as well) at the 18:44 mark. The final score was 6-1.

Sorensen, who played on the offensive line with O’Regan and Labanc (as he had last year), spoke with the media about his hat trick following the match. This was his first time scoring since opening night.

“It’s huge to be part of the offensive [line], especially on a power play. You need to help the team,” he said.

“[Sorensen] has always had potential, he just found the back of the net, which made an easy night. It was awesome to watch,” Coach Roy Sommer said.

Labanc also spoke about his reassignment to the Cuda. It came as a shocker for some, but his A-game is as strong as always.

“It was definitely fun [playing with the Sharks]. You want to come with the right attitude, you don’t want to think you’re sent down, you just have to be motivated to get back up, and be a good leader for all of the young guys, show them what it takes to play up there [in the NHL]. Work hard, work everyday.

“I learn from Jumbo [Joe Thornton], he’s always working. No matter what or where I play, you’ve got to have that work ethic, that’s what will make you a good hockey player. I’m down here [with the Cuda], so I’m going to work and just do the best that I can.

“Just because you get sent down, don’t be sorry for yourself. Instead, make a statement. Let them know you’re going to play hard no matter what…don’t waste a day,” Labanc shared.

Labanc, who enjoyed reconnecting with last year’s teammates, also discussed the smooth flow between him, Sorensen, and O’Regan.

“I knew I was playing with Marcus and Danny beforehand, so I knew we had chemistry. You just do what you can, play hard, and goals will come,” he said.

I also spoke with Helewka, Archambault, and Fitzgerald on their overall thoughts and feelings about tonight’s big win.

“The talk in the room before the game was ‘it’s a must-win for our confidence.’ We played like that, it showed, and we had success because of it,” Helewka said.

Helewka’s hand-eye coordination has really stood out to me so far this season; he truly knows where the net is, he knows where to send the puck in order to get it into the net, and how to find the “holes” around the net minder. He has been the king of assists thus far.

“I’ve always kind of worked on [my hand-eye coordination], so I guess it might be progressing this year,” Helewka told me after I brought the subject up with him.

Archambault and Fitzgerald scored their first goals of the season in tonight’s match, Archambault’s being his first in the AHL.

“It’s fun to get the first one out of the way, a good pass by my teammates [Tim Clifton and Radim Simek], so I was happy,” Archambault said.

“We had a lot of confidence in everyone tonight, in all three zones we felt good,” Fitzgerald said. “It was a big bounce-back game for us. We knew we needed to come back… it’s good to get that first win [since returning to San Jose] out of the way.”

Astros vs Athletics Sunday finale postponed due to rain – looking ahead to the Rangers

By Charlie O. Mallonee

rainout

OAKLAND–The third and final game of the series between the Houston Astros and the Oakland Athletics that was scheduled to begin at 1:05 pm on Sunday has been postponed due inclement weather. A quick check of the records appear to make this the first postponement in Oakland since April 4, 2014 when a Mariners – A’s game had to be canceled due to a wet infield. The tarp was not put on the infield the night before and a rainstorm drenched the field.

In some ways, this may be a relief for the Athletics. The Astros mastery of the A’s continued on Saturday as they overcame a strong pitching performance by Sean Manaea that included 5-plus no-hit innings to comeback and win the game 10-6.

Houston is now 2-0 versus the Athletics in 2017 and have won nine consecutive games  from the A’s dating back to last season.

The make up date has not been announced. The Astros next visit to Oakland is June 19-22 for a four-game series. It is highly unlikely that it would be turned into a five-game series due to pitching rotations. That would make the three-game series scheduled for September 8-10 the best candidate for a day-night doubleheader. Oakland has an off day on September 7 and a travel day on the 11th.

The A’s and Astros in the standings

A's elephant logoAstros primary logo

 

 

 

 

The Athletics started the day in third place in the American League West with a record of 5-7. They are three games back of the Astros. Oakland is 4-6 in their last 10 games and have lost three games in a row.

The Astros currently lead the AL West with eight wins and four losses. That is the best record in the American League. Houston is 6-4 in their last 10 games and have won four consecutive games.

Up next

The Athletics are scheduled to begin a three-game series with the Texas Rangers on Monday night in Oakland. The A’s are 1-2 versus the Rangers so far this season.

A’s manager Bob Melvin has announced that the plan is to push the pitching rotation back a game so the probables will be as follows:

Mon 4/17 vs TEX   RHP Jharel Cotton (1-1, 3.97) vs. RHP A.J. Griffin (1-0, 6.75) 7:05

Tue 4/18 vs TEX    RHP Andrew Triggs (2-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Yu Darvish (1-1, 2.33) 7:05

Wed 4/19 vs TEX RHP Jesse Hahn (0-1, 3.75) vs. LHP Martin Perez (1-1, 2.20) 12:35

Roster moves for the Athletics

pinder
Chad Pinder

Shortstop Marcus Semien has been placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Saturday due to a right wrist contusion. Semien is scheduled to have more testing on the wrist performed on Monday.

Infielder Chad Pinder has been recalled by the A’s from Triple-A Nashville to take Semien’s place on the roster.

Pinder was batting .324 for the Sounds with one RBI in nine games. He had played six games at second base and three games at shortstop for Nashville. Pinder made his Major League debut with the A’s last season batting .235 with four RBI in 22 games.

Finishing Blow Elusive as A’s Strand 10 Against Darvish, Rangers

By Matthew Harrington

OAKLAND, Calif. –Few teams can say they own All-World talent Yu Darvish, staff ace for the Texas Rangers. The Oakland Athletics can stake claim to that distinction, sporting a 6-1 lifetime record against the Japanese import including a sterling 2-0 record against the international sensation at O.Co Coliseum. Though Darvish didn’t manage his first win in his career in the confines of Alameda County Monday evening, his Rangers outlasted the Oakland A’s (13-6), erasing a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 victory.

“It was a very competitive game,” said A’s manager Bob Melvin. “It was about as close as you can get. They had their ace on the mound. We had them on the run early but recovered well enough to keep him in the game and go to their key bullpen guys.”

Neal Cotts (1-1, 3.38 ERA) picked up the win in relief, Shin-Soo Choo homered for the Rangers (12-8) and former Oakland middle infielder Donnie Murphy singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning to lead the Rangers to a come-from-behind triumph over the American League West leaders. Brandon Moss hit his fourth round tripper of the season and Coco Crisp moved into sole possession of fourth place on the A’s career stolen base list, swiping two bags to move past Carney Lansford with 147 pilferings in his time in green and gold.  Crisp also made an incredible leaping catch in center with his back to home plate, but came up lame clutching his ribs on a diving attempt later in the game.

“We’ll see how he feels tomorrow,” said Melvin. “It’s the second time he’s dove and knicked that area up a little bit.”

Dan Straily battled Darvish pitch-for-pitch before relinquishing a tied game to his bullpen in the sixth inning. Texas saddled reliever Sean Doolittle (0-1, 3.38 ERA) with the loss after the lefty struggled in the eighth to snuff out a Ranger rally. Jason Frasor, Cotts, Alexi Ogando and Joakim Soria held the A’s scoreless over three innings of relief.

Choo greeted Straily with his 12th career leadoff homerun, launching a liner to right for his second long ball of the season and a 1-0 Rangers Lead. Choo later left the game in the seventh inning after suffering left leg tightness when he grounded out on a slow roller to third. Josh Donaldson barehanded the ball for the bang-bang play at first with Choo originally being called safe by first base umpire Adrian Johnson. Melvin challenged the play and, after the replay was reviewed, the call of safe on the field was overturned by crew chief Larry Vanover.

“I heard that he was out,” said Melvin. “Based on the replay I was seeing, I wasn’t sure about it. At that point in time I’m going to challenge it anyway. After the seventh inning the umpires get together, so that was one I would probably challenge either way.”

Moss answered Choo’s dinger with a solo shot of his own in the home half of second, depositing a Darvish delivery just inside the foul pole and beyond the fence. For Moss, the four-bagger marks his fourth of the season and fourth-career off Darvish. Moss accounts for 4 of 41 total career round-trippers for Darvish, nearly ten percent.

The Athletics rally continued when a two-out single to left by Crisp brought Josh Reddick and Eric Sogard around for a two-run edge. It would complete all the scoring Oakland mustered off Darvish, who saw his string of consecutive seven-plus innings starts snapped at three 2014 appearances.

“When he’s out there, we know it’s going to be a pretty low-scoring game,” said Donaldson of Darvish. “We jumped out pretty early. Early on he was coming at us, throwing harder. He ran it up to 96 (miles per hour) then once he got settled in, he started changing speeds which is what he does best.”

The 56-million-dollar man came into play Monday with a 0.82 ERA after allowing two runs in 22 innings on the campaign, but the A’s nearly doubled his ERA to a still-miniscule 1.61 with their three earned runs over six innings. Monday also marked the first time in nine-straight starts that an opposing team scored more than two runs on last season’s batting-average-against leader. Darvish collected six punch-outs in the no-decision, firing a laboring 116 pitches.

Texas cut the deficit in half off Straily after Prince Fielder opened the fourth inning with a double to the corner in left followed by a RBI single by Ex-Athletic Kevin Kouzmanoff. Straily settled down to retire the next three batters in order. Kouzmanoff, the reigning American League Player of the Week for his 10-for-29 performance with two home runs and eight RBIs, finished the day with two hits, an RBI and scored the game-winning run.

A two-out rally in the visiting portion of the fifth inning led to the game-tying run. Fielder hit the third of three consecutive singles to plate Elvis Andrus. Straily then threw a wild pitch to put Alex Rios, the second single of the trio, and Fielder in scoring position, but got Kouzmanoff to chase a 1-2 slider to end the inning and close the book on his day.

“He was spotty at times,” said Melvin on his starting pitcher. “He recovered nicely from the first batter in the game hitting a home run. He had two outs in the fifth and tried to finish that one off, couldn’t do it. At times I thought he threw the ball well, there were times he was maybe a little bit off his command.”

Straily’s pitching line including five innings of work with three runs, all earned on 84 pitches. He struck out six and walked only two but turned the game over to Ryan Cook with no chance at being named the winning pitcher.

“Tonight I was pretty proud of myself,” said Straily. “I never really felt like I was out of any at-bats except having to work my way back into it early. I don’t really feel too down on myself. My first-pitch command was just terrible tonight. That’s something you can’t have out there. I gave it everything I had, I just wasn’t able to get it done there in the fifth.”

Oakland looked poised to add a cushion to its lead after Daric Barton singled to center on a soft liner, marking the fourth-straight inning the A’s leadoff man reached base. Sogard bounced into the momentum-sapping double play but Crisp and catcher John Jaso reached base then stole third and second respectively with Jed Lowrie at the plate. Lowrie coaxed a two-out walk to load the bases for Josh Donaldson, but the “Bringer of Rain” continued an A’s drought with runners in scoring position on the night. Donaldson went around on a check-swing for the third strike on a ball low in the strike zone.

“It’s just one of those things,” said Donaldson. “He’s a good pitcher. He started to bear down on us a little bit. We came up there with the bases loaded and he came in there with a pretty good slider for strike three. The guy’s good. He’s not just your run-of –the-mill guy.”

Donaldson represented one one of seven A’s outs in 10 opportunities with runners on second or third. The A’s left 10 men on base Monday.

“The goal is to get guys on base,” said Donaldson. “We were able to do that. More times than not when we’re going to come through in those situations. Tonight was one of those days where it didn’t happen.”

Ryan Cook and Fernando Abad combined to pitch a scoreless inning apiece before turning the game over to heir-apparent to the closer role, Sean Doolittle, in the eighth inning. Doolittle recently received a five-year extension with the A’s that many suspect puts him in line to take over the ninth inning role at some point in his career. Oakland fans hope Monday doesn’t represent a harbinger of things to come from the bearded southpaw.

Texas opened Doolittle’s frame with Kouzmanoff rocketing a ball to right center that Reddick couldn’t snag on a leap at the wall. Designated hitter Mitch Moreland advanced Kouzmanoff to third on a sacrifice bunt then Kouzmanoff scored on a Murphy bouncer up the middle, the game-winning base knock. Doolittle got Leonys Martin to fly out for the second out before being lifted for Dan Otero. Otero finished off the inning, then pitched a scoreless ninth to keep Oakland within one.

“After they got the bunt down, I snuck one past Murphy,” said Doolittle. “I thought I was going to find a way to get him out. I was doing a good job of staying short. I thought I made a good pitch. The pitch to Kouzmanoff was not a good pitch. The pitch to Murphy was well-executed. He just did a good job of smoking it back up the middle.”

Rangers manager Ron Washington, a former infield coach with the A’s, called on his closer Soria to shut the door on the A’s in the ninth. Soria got Jaso to strike out for the fourth time Monday night before Lowrie reached base then advanced to second on an error at short by Andrus. Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes, who nearly tied the game on a deep drive in a pinch-hit pop-out in the seventh, lifted fly balls for the final two outs and Soria’s fourth save of the season.

“I thought when he hit it, it was out,” said Melvin of Cespedes’ loud out in the seventh. “I know on a cold night it’s difficult here, especially in the big part of the ball park. He hits one good and it normally goes out.”

The A’s will look to get on track again in Tuesday night’s tilt which will feature Tommy Milone opposing Rangers right-hander Nick Martinez before a finale between young pitching sensations Sonny Gray and Martin Perez Wednesday afternoon. The Rangers will look to hand Oakland its first loss of more than two runs this season.

Strong Second Half Leads Cardinal to Victory

stanford womens bb

By: Joe Lami

The number six-ranked Stanford Cardinal traveled to Austin, Texas where they played the unranked Longhorns on Saturday.  Stanford defeated Texas by the final score of 63-54.  The Cardinal extend their record to 4-1 with the nine-point victory.

It was a very impressive win for the Cardinal, as they were able to come back from the seven-point deficit they faced going into halftime.  Texas was able to get on the board first with Nneka Enemkpali’s bucket and the foul to put the Longhorns up 3-0.  Mikaela Ruef then knocked down her first of many on the night.  Texas answered when Imani McGee-Stafford hit her only three-pointer of the night.  Scoring changes would go back and forth until there was 4:23 to go in the first half, where Texas would hold the lead going into the half.  The halftime score was 37-30.

Coming out of the half, Texas would get the two points off of free throws.  Stanford would then go on a 22-5 run to take over the game, giving them a 52-44 lead with 7:25 to go in the game.  The Cardinal would not loose the lead, as they carried it out for the victory.

It was a strong performance from the redshirt senior, Ruef, who picked up her first double-double of the season, scoring 11 points and picking up ten rebounds.  Chiney Ogwumike led the Cardinal in scoring with 18 points, however she was held to only six rebounds.  Saturday was Ogwumike’s first game this season without recording a double-double.  Amber Orrange had yet another fantastic game scoring 13 points.  Though the bench for Stanford had some trouble only notching 8 points total, Sara James was impressive as she led the team in assists with four.

Texas was led by Guard Chassidy Fussell scoring 15 points, with six of them coming from the charity strike, from which she was perfect.  McGee-Stafford was right behind Fussell with 12 points of her own on the way to a double-double with the 14 rebounds that she brought down.

Stanford next travels to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where they will take on Purdue, Florida Gulf Coast and South Dakota State on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  In Mexico, head coach, Tara VanDerveer expects to pick up win number 900, which she is now only two-wins away from the historic feat.

Stanford Ladies Return Home and to Their Winning Ways

stanford womens bb

By: Joe Lami

The number three Stanford Cardinal returned to Maples Pavilion for the first time this season on Friday night, where they beat the Cal Poly Mustangs by the final score of 86-51. It was the first time that the Cardinal have played on their home floor since March 26th, where they hosted Michigan in a second round NCAA tournament matchup.

The Cardinal are coming off a two game east coast road trip which started the season with a record of 1-1.  After a win against Boston College, the Cardinal went to take on number one Connecticut, a game where they would fall 76-57.

Friday night’s game was back and forth between Stanford and Cal Poly for the first ten minutes, seeing six different lead changes.  It was a close game up until Stanford broke free and went on a 27-10 run to end the half.  The halftime score was 41-27.  Stanford continued to dominate the second half of play as well, outscoring Cal Poly 45-24.

Stanford was led by Chiney Ogwumike, who scored 36, a new career high.  She also brought down 11 rebounds in Friday nights’ win.  For Ogumike, its’ her third double-double in as many games and also the 61st in her career on the farm.  Ogwumike was also the only Stanford player to get into double figures, as the next closest player was Mikaela Ruef with nine.  Though Stanford only had one player in double digits, it was a complete team game for the Cardinal as ten different players got onto the scoring sheet.  All of Stanford’s starters got on the scoring sheet as well, as Ruef scored nine, Ogwumike had 36, Kailee Johnson scored seven and Lili Thompson and Amber Orrange each had six.

Stanford continues to struggle with turnovers however, where Cal Poly forced another 15, totaling 46 in only three games.  Luckily for the Cardinal, they were able to dominate the boards once again, outrebounding the Mustangs 47-37.The Cardinal up their record to 2-1 in the win, and they will cap off their short two game home stand on Sunday against the UC Davis Aggies with a scheduled tip for 2 p.m. before they go back on the road to take on Texas.