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ECU hangs on to drop UNC to 23-18 on the season

baseballlogouncZach Houchins had four hits and Ryan Williams worked the final 4.2 innings out of the bullpen as East Carolina hung on for a 3-2 win over visiting North Carolina Tuesday evening at Clark-LeClair Stadium. Landon Lassiter homered for the Tar Heels, who dropped to 23-18 on the year and will host No. 30 Liberty Wednesday at 6 in Chapel Hill.

For the sixth game in a row, Carolina fell behind early and had to try to come from behind. Tuesday it was a wild pitch from UNC starter Taylore Cherry (0-1) that scored the opening run in the third. After ECU’s Drew Reynolds led off the inning with a single, Houchins doubled him to third with nobody out. Cherry got the first out of the frame with a bare-handed grab of an Ian Townsend grounder, but send his first pitch to Luke Lowery to the backstop to score Reynolds. But the sophomore right-hander got Lowery and Bryce Harman on strikes to escape further damage.

Carolina almost equalized immediately as Korey Dunbar sent a deep fly to right to open the fourth against starter Reid Love, but Townsend leapt above the wall to rob the home run and keep it 1-0 Pirates.

The Tar Heels did tie it up in the fifth via the longball, as Lassiter drove his first home run of the year out to left with one out. After a Skye Bolt bunt single and a Dunbar walk, ECU called on Williams with two on and Carolina poised to take its first lead of the night. But Williams got Parks Jordan to ground to first and proceeded to retire the next 10 batters in order.

With Williams dominating on the mound, the Pirates scratched out an insurance run in the eighth thanks to some good fortune. Harman led off the frame against Trevor Kelley with an infield single and, after failing to get a bunt down, Charlie Yorgen reached when his ball off the end of the bat stayed fair for another infield hit. After a Garrett Brooks sacrifice, Hunter Allen’s bloop single to center scored pinch-runner Ben Fultz to make it 3-1. Carolina avoided further damage when Alex Raburn tracked down Bolt’s errant throw to third and retired Yorgen trying to score from second.

But the insurance run would prove vital when the Tar Heels finally got to Williams in the ninth. Zach Daly reached on a one-out error before Michael Russell extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single back up the box. Wood Myers then drove in Daly with a hit to put the tying run in scoring position with just one out. But Williams got Joe Dudek to fly to center and then struck out Bolt to end it, giving the Pirates their first win over UNC in exactly five years.

Williams allowed just two hits and an unearned run over 4.1 innings for his 10th win of the season. Kelley put together another in a string of solid outings, going 3.0 innings with just three hits and a single run.

Carolina will return to Boshamer Stadium Wednesday to face No. 30 Liberty at 6 p.m. The Flames have been one of the best stories of 2014 and entered the week with a 31-9 record and an RPI of 20.

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Devils play two against Syracuse; Heels play two against Louisville next season

acclogo2Next season the Duke and North Carolina basketball teams will have premier home and home series. The Devils host and travel to Syracuse, Notre Dame, North Carolina and Wake Forest while the Tar Heels host and travel to Louisville, Georgia Tech, Duke and NC State.

“It’s exciting to look ahead to our league’s basketball schedule, as there’s no shortage of quality conference games,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “This two-year alignment will allow for outstanding opportunities that will highlight our teams and players while providing our fans with continually appealing matchups.”

The matchups released today designate the 18-game home and away opponents for each of the next two seasons. Specific game dates, times and networks have not yet been determined.

Next season will mark the third in which each ACC team will play an 18-game conference schedule. With Louisville joining the ACC on July 1, nine of the conference’s 15 teams will enter next season having made postseason appearances in 2013-14, including seven teams that took part in NCAA Tournament play this past year.

The ACC’s collective non-losing streak in the NCAA Tournament reached 27 years in 2013-14, by far the longest stretch in the nation. The ACC has had at least one team ranked among the Top 10 of the final Associated Press poll for 54 consecutive years.

Conference game matchups for the next two seasons for Triangle teams are as follows:

Duke 2014-15
Home/Road: North Carolina, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Notre Dame
Home: Miami, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Pittsburgh, Boston College
Road: Florida State, NC State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Louisville

North Carolina 2014-15

Home/Road: Duke, NC State, Georgia Tech, Louisville
Home: Florida State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Notre Dame
Road: Miami, Clemson, Wake Forest , Pittsburgh, Boston College

NC State 2014-15
Home/Road: North Carolina, Wake Forest, Clemson, Virginia
Home: Duke, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Notre Dame
Road: Florida State, Miami, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Boston College

Duke 2015-16
Home/Road: North Carolina , Wake Forest , NC State, Louisville
Home: Florida State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Notre Dame
Road: Miami, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Pittsburgh, Boston College

North Carolina 2015-16
Home/Road: Duke, NC State, Boston College, Syracuse
Home: Miami, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Wake Forest, Pittsburgh
Road: Florida State, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Notre Dame

NC State 2015-16
Home/Road: North Carolina, Wake Forest, Florida State, Duke
Home: Miami, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Louisville, Boston College
Road: Virginia, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Notre Dame

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State’s Norenius named ACC men’s tennis player of the week

Simon Norenius.

Simon Norenius.

NC State’s Simon Norenius has been named this week’s Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Tennis Player of the Week.

Norenius posted a singles and doubles victory in the Wolfpack’s upset victory over No. 25 Wake Forest Saturday afternoon.

Norenius and teammate Austin Powell completed the sweep for State with an 8-7 (3) victory against Anthony Delcore and Adam Lee. In singles, Norenius helped turn the momentum after Wake Forest took a 2-1 lead with one of three 3-set victories for the Pack with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 victory against the No. 71-ranked Lee. The victory assisted the Wolfpack in earning the No. 6 seed in the ACC Championships, whereas a loss would have put NC State as the No. 9 seed in this week’s Championship.

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Duke’s Maurer, Virden earn weekly ACC lacrosse honors

Taylor Virden, Kerrin Maurer.

Taylor Virden, Kerrin Maurer.

Duke senior attacker Kerrin Maurer and senior defender Taylor Virden have been named the Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Lacrosse Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively, as announced Tuesday by the conference.

Maurer netted the game-winning goal with 26 seconds remaining in overtime to send eighth-ranked Duke past No. 3 North Carolina in the first women’s lacrosse game to be played at Kenan Stadium. Maurer tallied her eighth hat trick of the season, scoring the Blue Devils’ first and last goals of the contest. In addition, her assist on a Sydney Peterson goal with 4:12 left in regulation helped knot the game at 6-6. Maurer continues to pace Duke in scoring on the season with a team-best 47 goals and 25 assists for 72 points.

Virden helped the Duke defense hold the Tar Heels to their second-lowest scoring output of the season in Wednesday’s upset victory. One of the team’s key defensive personnel, Virden also helped the Blue Devils win the draw controls category by a 9-8 margin, contributing solid play from the wings.

The ACC Women’s Lacrosse Championship gets under way Thursday, April 24, with quarterfinal action beginning at 11 a.m.

Duke men’s senior attackman Jordan Wolf was name ACC Co-Offensive Player of the Week.

Wolf matched a career high with six goals and eight points overall to lead Duke to a 17-8 win over Rutgers. Wolf extended his point streak to 55 games and his goal scoring streak to 16 as Duke finished the regular season with a perfect 9-0 record at home. Wolf has nine hat tricks this season and 29 in his career, while his six goals moved him to fifth on the ACC career goals chart with 166. This is Wolf’s fourth Offensive Player of the Week honor of the season.

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Duke opens defense of ACC golf title Friday

dukegolfThe team pairings are set for the opening round of the 61st annual ACC Men’s Golf Championship, which will be held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, April 25-27, over the 7,102-yard, par-72 course at the Old North State Country Club in New London, N.C.

Boston College, Maryland and Notre Dame begin the championship on Friday teeing off at 8:30 a.m. NC State, North Carolina and Duke are in the next wave at 9:20, followed by Wake Forest, Clemson and Florida State at 10:20 a.m. Virginia Tech, Virginia and Georgia Tech have the morning’s final tee time at 11:10 a.m.

ACC Men’s Golf Championship – First Round Pairings

8:30 – 9:10 a.m. = Boston College, Maryland, Notre Dame
9:20 – 10:00 a.m. = NC State, North Carolina, Duke
10:20 – 11:00 a.m. = Wake Forest, Clemson, Florida State
11:10 – 11:50 a.m. = Virginia Tech, Virginia, Georgia Tech

Duke enters as the defending champion and will try to repeat against a field that features four teams ranked in the top 20 nationally: No. 5 Georgia Tech, No. 8 Virginia, No. 12 Virginia Tech, and No. 19 Florida State. Clemson is No. 33, followed by No. 37 Wake Forest, No. 86 Duke, No. 92 North Carolina, No. 102 NC State, No. 104 Notre Dame, No. 139 Maryland and No. 212 Boston College.

Georgia Tech’s Ollie Schniederjans enters as the highest ranked golfer in the league at No. 3 in the country according to Golfstat. Following Schniederjans, five more ACC golfers rank in the top 50: No. 11 Scott Vincent (Virginia Tech), No. 15 Jack Maguire (Florida State), No. 22 Denny McCarthy (Virginia), No. 23 Seth Reeves (Georgia Tech) and No. 37 Trevor Cone (Virginia Tech).

2014 marks the 13th-straight year and 29th time overall that the league championship will be held at the Old North State Country Club. Wake Forest leads all schools with 18 league titles and 22 individual champions. Georgia Tech, which has won 12 outright ACC Championships and shared two more, has produced nine individual medalists, including Anders Albertson, last year’s winner. North Carolina is third with 11 titles (10 outright), followed by Clemson with nine (eight outright).

Saturday and Sunday action will be streamed live by the ACC Digital Network starting at 2 p.m. each day. There is no charge for admission.

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Cremins, speaking locally, said he got his redemption nearly 30 years ago

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHe said he likes to visit the Triangle area in part because he always loves the enthusiasm the people in the area have for sports.

Retired Georgia Tech coach and South Carolina player Bobby Cremins was the keynote speaker recently during the celebration of the Raleigh Sports Club’s 50th year.

During those 50 years, the club has hosted some of the biggest names in sports including Stan Musial, Ted Williams, Jesse Owens, Joe Louis, Red Grange and local favorite Choo Choo Justice.

Few have more of a connection to basketball royalty in the Triangle than Cremins. In fact Cremins played under the legendary Frank McGuire at South Carolina. McGuire had coached North Carolina to the national championship in 1957.

Cremins blamed himself for the 1970 ACC championship double overtime loss to Norm Sloan’s NC State. Only the tourney winner went to the NCAA tournament at that time.

“I wish now that I had handled that loss better,” Cremins said. “I couldn’t accept the loss and I responded very poorly. I ran away because I didn’t want to deal with it. Thank God I eventually came back.”

His pro career didn’t last long. In fact, he was the last player cut by Bones McKinney, legendary Wake Forest coach, who was then the coach for the ABA’s Carolina Cougars.

At 27, he became the youngest Division I coach at Appalachian State. “I wanted to stay in the South but I didn’t realize that Boone was the South Pole,” he said.

When Sloan left State in 1980, Cremins tried to get that coaching job. When Bill Foster left Duke that same year, Cremins tried to get that coaching job. Future legendary coaches Jim Valvano and Mike Krzyzewski got those positions.

He said he argued to Duke AD Tom Butters that Krzyzewski would be a terrible choice to make because Army had a losing season.

Cremins applied for the Georgia Tech job the next year. The Jackets had joined the ACC and Cremins saw an opportunity to get back in the ACC to get redemption for the ACC championship loss to NC State.

Former UNC Athletics Director Homer Rice, then the AD at Georgia Tech, hired Cremins. “This time nobody wanted the job so I got it,” he said to the laughter of the audience of more than 240.

He got to coach in the Triangle three times a year against Krzyzewski, Valvano and UNC’s Dean Smith.

Cremins said it was such a shame that Smith’s health has declined. “He’s a great man and I miss talking to him and playing golf with him,” he said adding that Smith set the bar high in the ACC.

But he said that Coach K had broken through the bar set by Smith and, in his mind, ranks behind only former UCLA coach John Wooden as the greatest basketball coach of all time.

Valvano’s career, which included a national championship in ’83, of course was cut short by cancer. “Jim Valvano lived in the future. He saw things before they happened,” Cremins said adding that the V Foundation that Valvano started on his death bed has raised more than $100 million for cancer research.

Georgia Tech wasn’t mentioned in the same breath with State, Duke and Carolina. That is until 1985.

“The key obviously was recruiting.” Cremins said. “Getting players like Mark Price and John Salley, quality kids, and getting them to play together with chemistry was most important.”

In ‘85 Cremin’s Yellow Jackets won the ACC regular season title and then the ACC tournament title when they defeated North Carolina for the third time during the season in the finals.

Legend has it that, after winning the championship, when the team bus passed the old coliseum where South Carolina fell to NC State in the 1970 ACC tourney, Cremins asked the bus driver to stop. He got out with the trophy in hand, gave the coliseum “the bird” and yelled, “I finally got you, you son of a bitch.”

“Yes, we did get that ACC championship in 1985,” Cremins said in closing his remarks. “I got my redemption.”

The 300-plus member Raleigh Sports Club, which meets weekly on Wednesday at the Highland United Methodist Church, was originally established with 12 original members. The members get the opportunity to listen to some of the most influential college and professional sporting figures first hand while recognizing local athletic and academic achievement.

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Sloppy end to the Hurricanes home schedule

canesReality smacked the Carolina Hurricanes square in the face on Thursday, as the team faced its first game after being mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. It also happened to be the team’s home finale.

The visiting Washington Capitals got the better of the two divisional foes with a 5-2 win.

“It wasn’t a good game overall,” Canes coach coach Kirk Muller said. “To me, it looked like two teams that pretty much, in the last few days, were mathematically out of the playoffs It looked like a sloppy game, and I don’t think it was a good hockey game by either team. But for our last game at home, we were hoping for more.”

Captain Eric Staal said the team’s effort wasn’t clearly not good enough. “We had breakdowns, and it ended up in our net. It just wasn’t good enough. There’s not much else to say. We need to be better.”

The Hurricanes have two away games left before the season ends. There are sure to be some big changes before next season.

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Four Wake Co. student-athletes win scholarships

Raleigh Sports Club Scholarship recipients were Claire Fuscoe of Ravenscroft, Emily Hartman of Wake Forest High, Nick Grover of Heritage and Katarina Pibl, not pictured, of Grace Christian.

Raleigh Sports Club Scholarship recipients were Claire Fuscoe of Ravenscroft, Emily Hartman of Wake Forest High, Nick Grover of Heritage and Katarina Pibl, not pictured, of Grace Christian.

The Raleigh Sports Club has awarded four $2,000 scholarships to impressive Wake County student athletes Claire Fuscoe of Ravenscroft, Nick Glover of Heritage High, Emily Hartman of Wake Forest High and Katarina Pibl of Grace Christian.

Fuscoe, who was a key contributor to the Cross Country and Swimming teams at Ravenscroft, also excelled in the classroom, where she has 34 college credits, making her a sophomore in college when she enrolls at UNC-Chapel Hill in the fall.

Her coach, Leslie Payne, said Fuscoe is passionate, driven, self-disciplined and dedicated. Payne said everyday Fuscoe displays her contagious smile and enthusiasm for life. A well-rounded athlete and student, Fuscoe has also joyfully served developmentally challenged children in the community through Learning Together.

Perhaps her greatest athletic accomplishment came in the state cross-country championships where she earned All-State and helped the team to a one point victory for the title. In fact, she has been a key reason that her teams have won three state titles and one runner up title.

Her parents are John Fuscoe and Katherine Smith.

Grover, who ranks in the top three percent of his class, is coachable and great at decision making says his Heritage basketball coach Pat Kennedy.

For the past four years Grover, Kennedy said, has been the most hardworking and diligent student he has ever taught. “Nick thrives on self-discipline and has never missed a deadline,” Kennedy said. “He exudes confidence, yet, stays humble and hungry to learn more.”

Despite a rigorous academic schedule, Grover plays sports, is on the executive board of the Spirit Club, tutors other students, spearheads fundraising opportunities and is a school ambassador to welcome new students to the campus.

He has been accepted to five colleges but has not made his choice yet. His parents are Brian and Mary Grover.

Hartman, who maintains a 4.8 weighted GPA at Wake Forest High, is a conscientious, hard working, bright and fun-loving student who plays soccer for Coach Jeremiah Mattingly.

“She is always up for new challenges and thrives in all aspects of her life,” Mattingly said. “She is one of the most intelligent young ladies I have worked with. She is a true leader to the younger girls and often has a positive quote or activity to help with team bonding.”

Hartman is busy, hard-working and giving as she plays club soccer and high school soccer, volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House, with Special Olympics, takes part in other community and church activities, and she has a job.

She will attend UNC- Wilmington in the fall. Her parents are Rev. John Hartman and Laura Hartman.

Pibl, who could not attend the ceremony because she is participating in a mission trip to Costa Rica, is the valedictorian of her class yet she had time to excel in cross country, track and field, soccer and swimming at Grace Christian.

Her coaches say she has learned skills like dedication, sacrifice and perseverance that have helped her in the classroom and in relationships with others.

The captain of the soccer team, Pibl has endured the ceaseless and painful work necessary to come back from an ACL tear and then a meniscus tear. But her confidence was never shaken with these injuries and she has never considered giving up. Not only did Pibl not give up but she has worked her way back and has committed to play soccer for Emory University.

Her parents are Roman and Lisa Pibl.

Deran Coe, the Wake County Schools athletics director, praised each of the winners and said that athletes are actually more likely to succeed in the classroom. He noted that athletes in Wake County miss half as much school as non-athletes and that the drop out rate of athletes is just .6 percent compared 10.32 percent for non-athletes.

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Campbell, former Apex coach, wins top local honor

Scott Campbell, left, accepts award from Greg Pierce, representing the Raleigh Sports Club.

Scott Campbell, left, accepts award from Greg Pierce, representing the Raleigh Sports Club.

Scott Campbell, a teacher and coach at Apex High School for 25 years, has been honored as the winner of the Raleigh Sport Club’s 2014 Distinguished Service Award.

The club, celebrating its 50th anniversary, presented the award this week in honor of Casper Holroyd, a long-time loyal member of the club who passed away in December. The winner of the award is not only someone who has achieved success as a coach but someone who has done it with integrity and extra time and effort that is appreciated by players and administrators.

Campbell, who recently retired as a coach, in accepting the award said, “It’s been very difficult getting (coaching) out of my blood.” This award conjures up many memories that won’t make it any easier.

Campbell coached varsity girls basketball for each of his 25 years while he coached football for 13 years and baseball for eight years. A lot of those players stayed in contact with Campbell throughout the years to share news of family joys and sorrows.

In fact, while Campbell won 460 games as a basketball coach and was voted conference coach of the year six times, the highlight of his career doesn’t have anything to do with that. Campbell said his highlight “was to walk a former player down the isle at her wedding in place of her deceased father. That meant more to me than any game or any championship.”

His basketball teams did win seven conference championships and his teams made four regional playoff appearances with one state championship appearance. Campbell also was selected as head coach of one all-star game and as an assistant coach for the North Carolina vs. South Carolina Classic.

Campbell was known as a coach that held himself and his players to a high standard, displaying sportsmanship on and off the playing surface. He held his players accountable for their actions, teaching the valuable life-long lessons of responsibility and respecting opponents and officials.

The cycle has continued as several of his former players have become coaches themselves.

“The fact that those former players keep in touch with ‘Coach’ speaks to the fact that he didn’t just teach basketball X’s and O’s,” said Greg Pierce, incoming president of the Raleigh Sports Club. “He taught so much more about what it takes to be a good person and how to make a positive impact on the people you meet in your life.”

Included in the more than 240 people in attendance were Kim Campbell, his wife, Terry Campbell, his brother, and Del Phillips, the athletic director of Apex High School.

Campbell received an award, a certificate, a gift for the whole family and a check for $1,000.

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Bulls end first home stand at 5-3 after win over Knights

bullslogoBehind five runs in the game’s first four innings, and 16 strikeouts from the pitching staff, the Durham Bulls wrapped up their eight-game homestand at 5-3 with a 5-4 win over the Charlotte Knights Thursday afternoon at the DBAP.

The game started at 11 a.m. and was an education day as busloads of school children attended the game.

Durham got things going in the second inning, when the Bulls sent nine men to the plate. With runners on first and second and two outs, Knights’ shortstop Tyler Saladino made an errant throw to second on what would have been an inning-ending force out. Instead, the play extended the inning and allowed Jerry Sands to score the game’s first run. Robby Price then singled to score Mikie Mahtook, before Cole Figueroa was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score the third run of the inning as the Bulls took a 3-0 lead.

Two frames later Durham struck again, as Rodriguez drove in Mike Fontenot as the two tallied back-to-back doubles. Ray Olmedo then doubled to left-center after a sacrifice bunt to drive in Rodriguez to give the home side a 5-0 advantage.

In the fifth Charlotte (4-4) got to Bulls starter Matt Andriese, striking for three runs on four hits, including a two-run homer from Hector Gimenez to cut the lead to two. Then in the seventh the Knights scratched another run across, but went quietly in the final two innings as the Bulls held on for the win.

Right-hander Matt Andriese (1-1) picked up his first International League victory with five innings of three-run ball, while tying a career-high with eight strikeouts. Right-hander Brad Boxberger picked up a six-out save, his first save of 2014, striking out five over two scoreless frames. Southpaw Erik Surkamp (0-1) suffered the loss for the visitors, allowing five runs (two earned) over four innings on seven hits.

The Bulls hit the road for the first time this season as they embark on a five-game road trip beginning Friday, when they take on the Gwinnett Braves at 7:05 p.m. at Coolray Field. LHP Mike Montgomery (1-0, 0.00) is scheduled to throw for Durham against Gwinnett LHP Daniel Rodriguez (1-0, 1.80).