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The Gilmer Free Press

►  Charette, Willey Claim MEC Accolades

The University of Charleston’s Keith Charette and Kourtney Willey have earned Mountain East Conference Runner of the Week honors.

Charette, a junior from Toms River, NJ, was the top Division II finisher at the Virginia Tech Alumni Invitational. Charette completed the 8,000-meter race in 27:56 averaging 5:37 per mile. UC is in its first year of varsity competition in men’s cross country.

Willey, a senior from Las Vegas, Nev., finished 58th overall at the Virginia Tech Alumni Invitational. Willey posted a time of 25:04 in the race averaging 6:41 per mile on the 6,000-meter course.

2014 Mountain East Conference Runners Of The Week
Week Men’s Women’s
September 16, 2014 Jordan Weitzel (Concord) Zoey Vilasuso (WVWC)
September 23, 2014 Keith Charette (Charleston) Kourtney Willey (Charleston)


The Gilmer Free Press

►  MEC Football Preview - Week 4


SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2014





West Virginia Wesleyan (1-2, 1-2) at #11 Shepherd, Noon

Video | Live Stats

Last Year
: Shepherd won 45-10

Notes: WVWC’s Jeremy Musselman will test the NCAA leader in total defense at Shepherd ... Musselman thew for 442 yards and 6 TDs last week ... SU has won each of their first three games by an average of 38.6 ppg.



West Liberty (2-1, 2-1) at Concord (3-0, 2-0), Noon

Video | Live Stats

Last Year
: Concord won 20-3

Notes: CU and WLU are giving up nearly the same amount of yards per game ... WLU’s defense has just one interception on the year, while CU has a league-best six.



Fairmont State (1-2, 1-2) at West Virginia State (1-2, 0-2), 1:00 PM

Live Stats

Last Year
: Fairmont State won 56-3

Notes: FSU’s last road win came in 2011 against WVSU ... Yellow Jackets are looking for their first MEC victory ... both QBs average over 200 yards of total offense.



Urbana (1-2, 1-2) at Glenville State (0-3, 0-3), 1:00 PM

Audio | Video | Live Stats

Last Year: Urbana won 12-9

Notes: GSC held UU to its lowest offensive output of the season last year but failed to score an offensive touchdown in the loss ... two of GSC’s three losses have been by four points or less ... GSC leads MEC in rushing ... UU is giving up just 3.6 yards per rush.



Charleston (3-0, 2-0) at Notre Dame (3-0, 3-0), 2:00 PM 

AudioLive Stats

Last Year
: Charleston won 34-32

Notes: Matchup of two unbeaten MEC teams ... UC won last year on a last-second field goal ... UC’s pass defense (155.3) is ranked second in the league, NDC’s pass offense (301.7) is third in the conference, and NDC’s rush defense is second (96.3) and UC’s rushing offense is third (218.3) ... ... NDC has allowed just one rushing TD ... both teams averaging over 35 ppg.



UVa-Wise (0-3) at Wofford (1-2), 7:00 PM 

Audio | Video | Live Stats

Last Year
: Did not meet

Notes: MEC is 3-0 in non-conference games (all against DII opponents) ... Wofford (Division I FCS) has losses against Georgia Tech and Gardner-Webb ... UVa-Wise has the fewest penalty yards of any team in the MEC.

News & Notes



• The only two 200-yard rushing performances in the MEC both came last week in NDC’s Kenneth Butler’s 230 yards and GSC’s Rahmann Lee’s 220 yards.

• There have been seven total 200-yard rushing performances in the MEC with three of those coming from Notre Dame running backs (two from Pedro Powell in 2013 and one from Butler).

• In addition to 220 yards rushing, Rahmann Lee also had 80 yards receiving to finish with 300 all-purpose yards. That total currently ranks as the fourth-most in a single game in the NCAA this season.

• Lee ranks second among active players in all-purpose yards per game (157.12), third in rushing yards per game (128.5) and fourth for rushing yards (3,212).

• Four different MEC quarterbacks have two 300+ yard passing games this season: Cooper Hibbs (FSU), Jeremy Musselman (WVWC), Brian Novak (CU) and Ray Russ (NDC).

• The MEC’s four unbeaten teams are also the only four teams in the league that average 30 or more minutes of possession this season.

• SU quarterback Jeff Ziemba’s 16-of-16 passing against Fairmont State in week two established a new conference record for completion%age. In a span of two games, he completed 18-straight passes, which is also a new league mark.

• Ziemba has yet to throw an interception this season (61 attempts).

• The Shepherd defense has posted four shutouts since the start of the 2013 season.

• Urbana became just the second MEC to rush for over 100 yards against Shepherd since 2013 with 104 yards on the ground in week three. Shepherd has held its opponents to under 100 yards rushing in 11 of its last 13 regular season games dating back to last season.

• Shepherd leads the country in total defense allowing just 155.3 yards per game.

• SU has yet to allow a point in the first and third quarters of games this season.

• After giving up just 34 points in two games, Concord allowed 34 last week to Bowie State.

• Seven of Brian Novak’s 10 touchdown passes this season have gone to Ryan Stewart. Stewart’s seven TD receptions are the most in the country.

• Novak already has more touchdown passes this season than he did all of 2013, and needs just 500 more yards to surpass last season’s total in that category. He ranks ninth in the country in passing yards with 1,020.

• UC’s Marvin Elam has lost just seven yards on 66 rushing attempts this season. He is second in the MEC with 121.3 rushing yards per game to go with a league-best seven rushing touchdowns.

• Charleston’s Torie Wagner’s 116 punt return yards last week are the most by any player in NCAA Division II so far this season.

• Notre Dame’s Ray Russ has not thrown an interception in his last 102 pass attempts.

• NDC is one of only two teams in the MEC (Shepherd is the other) to hold teams to under 100 yards rushing per game this season (96.3).

• West Liberty’s 38 points last week against West Virginia State were its most in a game since October 27, 2012 against Seton Hill (41).

• WLU’s Alec Wood is the league’s top tackler with 11.0 stops per game.

• Fairmont State is second the MEC in red zone offense converting six of its seven chances so far this season.

• WVWC quarterback Jeremy Musselman tied an MEC record last week with six touchdown passes in week three against Notre Dame. His 442 passing yards were the second-most in league history.

• Urbana’s Cale Burdyshaw is averaging 7.1 yards per carry and 14.7 yards per completion.

• West Virginia State’s Wenley Beliard leads the league in tackles for a loss with six, all of which were solo stops.

• UVa-Wise has the fewest penalty yards per game in the league.

• Terrence Younger’s 6.7 receptions per game are second-most in the MEC.

• Glenville State has converted three two-point conversions this far. No other conference team has converted more than one.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Week 5 High School Games Results in the Area

Class A

Gilmer County (2-3)  52   @  #7 Buffalo (4-1)  69

Tyler Consolidated (2-2)  34  @  Calhoun County (2-2)  23

Philip Barbour (0-4)  14   @  Tucker County (1-3)  21


Class AA

#1 Williamstown - A (4-1)  20   @  #4 Ravenswood (4-0)  60

East Fairmont (1-4)  0   @  #6 Bridgeport (4-1)  41

#7 Ritchie County (3-2)  14   @  #15 Doddridge County - A (3-1)  20 (OT)

#9 Clay County (3-2)  0   @  #16 Nicholas County (3-1)  43

Robert C. Byrd (3-2)  43  @  #15 Grafton (3-2)  7

Roane County (2-2)  35  @  Braxton County (2-2)  7

South Harrison - A (1-2)  44  @  Lincoln (1-3)  19

Notre Dame - A (1-2)  34  @  River View (1-3)  14


Class AAA

#11 Lewis County (4-1)  49  @  Lincoln County (0-5)  0

Parkersburg (1-2)  45  @  Marietta, Ohio (2-2)  14

Buckhannon-Upshur (2-1)  41  @  Oak Hill (0-3)  27



The Gilmer Free Press

►  TOP-25 COLLEGE SCORES

Final Score: (11) UCLA 62, (15) Arizona State 27

Brett Hundley returned to the field on Thursday and showed why he was a preseason Heisman Trophy candidate, throwing four touchdown passes and running for another in No. 11 UCLA’s 62-27 rout of 15th-ranked Arizona State. Hundley played with a heavily wrapped left arm after leaving last week’s win over Texas with an elbow injury. He played through the pain and delivered the best game of his collegiate career, completing 18-of-23 passes for 355 yards. He also gained 72 yards on eight carries. UCLA (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) benefited from the big play, scoring four touchdowns of 80-plus yards. Ishmael Adams was responsible for two of those, returning an interception and kickoff for long scores. Jordan Payton made five catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns, and Eldridge Massington’s lone reception went 80 yards for a tally. Paul Perkins gained 137 yards on the ground, with 81 of those coming on a run late in the contest that included a highlight reel juke at the end of it. Mike Bervocivi made his first career start in place of the injured Taylor Kelly for the Sun Devils (3-1, 1-1) and threw early and often, completing 42- of-68 passes for 488 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Jaelen Strong made a game-high 12 catches for 146 yards.


Final Score: (24) Oklahoma State 45, Texas Tech 35

Daxx Garman threw for four touchdowns and ran for another as 24th-ranked Oklahoma State outgunned Texas Tech, 45-35, in the Big 12 opener for both programs. Garman hooked up with James Washington for two scores and finished with 370 yards and two interceptions for the Cowboys (3-1, 1-0 Big 12), who have won three straight since a season-opening loss to No. 1 Florida State. Davis Webb also tossed four touchdown passes and had Texas Tech (2-2, 0-1) within striking distance before going down with a left shoulder injury early in the fourth quarter. The teams combined for 1,034 yards of offense and 287 penalty yards.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Steelers G Foster Questionable vs. Buccaneers

Pittsburgh Steelers starting left guard Ramon Foster is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay.

Foster, who is dealing with an ankle injury, was a limited participant on Friday after fully practicing the previous two days. Foster was absent from the lineup in Pittsburgh’s was over Carolina.

Cornerback Ike Taylor (forearm) and linebacker Ryan Shazier (knee) were both ruled out.


►  Titans QB Locker Questionable for Sunday

Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Locker was listed as a limited participant in Friday’s practice. He missed the previous two practice days with a sprained right wrist.

Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said Locker’s progress on Friday was encouraging.

If Locker, who sustained the injury during last week’s 33-7 loss at Cincinnati but played the entire game, cannot go, veteran Charlie Whitehurst will draw his first start since 2011.

Locker struggled for a second straight week during Tennessee’s rout at the hands of the Bengals, completing just 17-of-34 passes for 185 yards and two interceptions. The embattled former first-round selection also was picked off twice in a home loss to Dallas the previous Sunday.

The 26-year-old Locker has missed a total of 14 games over the previous two seasons due to an assortment of injuries, most notably a dislocated left shoulder and a foot problem that required surgery.

Tight end Delanie Walker (shoulder) was also listed as questionable. Tight end Taylor Thompson (knee) and defensive end Ropati Pitoitua (knee) both are listed as doubtful.


►  Falcons WR Douglas Questionable vs. Vikings

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Douglas suffered a foot injury in last week’s game against the Buccaneers. The Louisville product has 12 catches for 121 yards and one touchdown in three games this season.

Wide receiver Roddy White (hamstring), returner/receiver Devin Hester (ankle), running back Antone Smith (hamstring) and linebacker Prince Shembo (calf) were all listed as probable.

White will likely return to the lineup after missing last week’s game.


►  Colts’ Thornton Doubtful vs. Titans

Indianapolis Colts right guard Hugh Thornton is unlikely to play against the Titans on Sunday because of an ankle injury.

Thornton, who was held out of practice this week, was listed as doubtful on Friday’s injury report.

Linebackers Jerrell Freeman (hamstring) and Mario Harvey (hamstring) and defensive tackle Arthur Jones (ankle) have been ruled out. Safety Colt Anderson (groin) and linebacker Andy Studebaker (hamstring) are both questionable.


►  Vikings LB Greenway Out vs. Falcons

Minnesota Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway will not play in Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Greenway has been held out of practice all week due to a broken hand and a broken rib. The 31-year-old will miss his first game since 2007, ending a streak of 115 straight games played.

Tight end Kyle Rudolph was also ruled out and will miss about six weeks due to a sports hernia.

Cornerback Josh Robinson (hamstring) is listed as questionable.


►  Chiefs RB McKnight Suffers Torn Achilles

Kansas City Chiefs running back Joe McKnight ruptured his Achilles during Thursday’s practice, the team announced Friday.

With Jamaal Charles out last Sunday, McKnight caught six passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns against the Dolphins.

The Chiefs are left with Knile Davis, Cyrus Gray and De’Anthony Thomas in reserve behind Charles.

In a season-opening loss to Tennessee, the Chiefs lost Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Johnson and defensive end Mike DeVito to the same injury.


►  Eagles LB Kendricks Out vs. 49ers

Linebacker Mychal Kendricks will miss his second straight game Sunday when the Philadelphia Eagles play the San Francisco 49ers.

Kendricks (calf) also sat out last week’s game against the Washington Redskins. The California product has 13 tackles and one sack in two games this season.

Marcus Smith, Emmanuel Acho and Casey Matthews formed a three-man rotation at inside linebacker in place of the injured Kendricks last week.

Center Jason Kelce (hernia) will miss the first of several weeks for the Eagles’ injury-riddled offensive line. David Molk will start at center.

Rookie wide receiver Josh Huff (shoulder) is questionable following a full week of practice. The Oregon product has missed the first three games this season.

Offensive lineman Matt Tobin (ankle) will likely make his season debut Sunday. He is listed as probable.


►  Jets’ Decker Questionable

New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions with his nagging hamstring injury.

Decker suffered the injury two weeks ago and tried to give it a go on Monday night against the Bears, but left the game after having one catch for 19 yards.

He did not practice on Wednesday and Thursday and was limited on Friday.

Cornerback Dee Milliner is listed as doubtful with a quad injury. The 2013 first-round draft pick sat out the season opener with an ankle injury but returned Week 2 to play against Green Bay before missing Monday’s game against Chicago.

Every other player on the Jets’ injury report is listed as probable to play.


►  Panthers RB Stewart, LB Davis Questionable vs. Ravens

Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis and running back Jonathan Stewart are both questionable for Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Davis (hip) and Stewart (knee) saw limited reps in Friday’s practice.

Running back DeAngelo Williams (thigh) will likely return Sunday after missing the past two games. He is listed as probable.

Tackle Garry Williams (back) and running back Fozzy Whittaker (thigh) are both doubtful.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Celtics Send Bogans to Cavaliers

The Boston Celtics shipped veteran shooting guard Keith Bogans and two future conditional draft picks to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday.

In exchange, the Celtics acquired guard John Lucas III, forwards Malcolm Thomas, Erik Murphy and Dwight Powell and 2016 and 2017 second round picks from Cleveland.

Bogans, an 11-year vet out of Kentucky, appeared in just six games for Boston last season, averaging 2.0 points in 9.2 minutes per contest. His career included stops in Orlando, Charlotte, Houston, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Chicago and Brooklyn.

Powell highlights the package Boston received. Cleveland selected the skilled 6-foot-11 power forward with the 45th pick in June’s draft. Powell averaged 14.0 points and 6.9 rebounds for Stanford last season, leading them to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

Thomas, Murphy and Lucas will all be competing for a roster spot during Boston’s crowded training camp.

In corresponding moves, Boston waived guard Chris Babb and wing Chris Johnson.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  NATIONAL LEAGUE SCORES

Final Score: Washington 4, Miami 0 (Game One) Miami 15, Washington 7 (Game Two)

After getting shut out in the opener of Friday’s doubleheader, the Miami Marlins exploded for 15 runs in the nightcap. J.T. Realmuto finished with three hits and four RBI and Enrique Hernandez hit a grand slam as Miami powered its way to a 15-7 victory over the Washington Nationals. Justin Bour had three hits, two RBI and four runs scored and Adeiny Hechavarria collected four hits and drove in two for the Marlins, who had a season-high 22 hits. A.J. Ramos (7-0) earned the win after tossing a scoreless inning. Miami starter Andrew Heaney gave up four runs on six hits and a walk over four innings. Tyler Moore and Steven Souza both homered Washington, which clinched the top seed in the National League with a 4-0 win over the Marlins earlier in the day. Jayson Werth scored twice, brought in a run and finished a homer shy of the cycle. Taylor Hill (0-1) was tagged with the loss in his first career start after giving up seven runs on 10 hits and two walks across 4 2/3 frames.


Final Score: Philadelphia 5, Atlanta 4

The Philadelphia Phillies opened their final series of the season with a 5-4 come-from-behind win over the Atlanta Braves. Marlon Byrd drove in the go-ahead run with a groundout in the seventh after the Phillies erased a 4-0 deficit. After rookie Ken Giles pitched a scoreless eighth, the focus turned to how the Philadelphia fans would greet closer Jonathan Papelbon in his first appearance back at Citizens Bank Park. Papelbon earned a seven-game suspension for his action after blowing a save against Miami on Sept. 14. He appeared to direct a crotch-grab at jeering fans behind the Phillies’ dugout as he left the field. To the surprise of no one, Papelbon entered to a chorus of boos from the home crowd on Friday night. He gave up a one-out double to B.J. Upton, but was able to record his 39th save of the season.


Final Score: Pittsburgh 3, Cincinnati 1

Josh Harrison set a new career-best hit streak and scored the game-winning run in the eighth inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied to a 3-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday. With two outs in the top of the eighth, Harrison singled to center to extend his hit streak to 14 games. Travis Snider then sliced a liner to right that spun away from a sliding Jay Bruce and rolled to the wall. The speedy Harrison scored easily from first. The win pulled Pittsburgh within a half-game of St. Louis for first place in the NL Central. The Cardinals are in action against Arizona tonight. Both teams have already clinched a playoff berth. The Pirates have won 17 of 21. Vance Worley gave up a run on nine hits in 6 1/3 innings, departing in the seventh after giving up a one-out single to Tucker Barnhart. Jared Hughes (7-5) came on and secured the last two outs of the inning to pick up the win.


Final Score: Houston 3, NY Mets 1

Jose Altuve hit an RBI single as part of a three-run sixth inning to give the Houston Astros a 3-1 win over the New York Mets to open a season-ending three-game series. Matt Dominguez also drove in a run while Kevin Chapman (2-0) got the win for getting two outs for the Astros, who had lost their previous three. Brad Peacock gave up a run on four hits with seven strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings in the start. Curtis Granderson hit a solo home run for the Mets, who have lost three of their last four. Jon Niese gave up just three hits over 5 1/3 innings, while Carlos Torres (8-6) allowed three runs—two earned—in relief to take the loss.


►  AMERICAN LEAGUE SCORES

Final Score: Cleveland 1, Tampa Bay 0

Corey Kluber closed out a brilliant 2014 season in grand fashion, striking out 11 over eight scoreless innings to allow the Cleveland Indians to edge the Tampa Bay Rays in a 1-0 duel. Kluber (18-9) scattered five hits and two walks to win his fifth consecutive start and state a final case for the American League’s Cy Young Award. His latest gem was just enough to best counterpart Chris Archer, who gave up next to nothing except for a solo homer to Jose Ramirez in the first inning that wound up as the game’s only run. The effort still wasn’t enough to keep the Indians alive in the playoff race, however, as Oakland’s win at Texas on Friday eliminated Cleveland from contention for a wild-card berth. Archer (10-9) deserved a better fate in Tampa Bay’s sixth loss in eight games. The right- hander yielded just two other hits and a pair of walks after Ramirez’s blast, while striking out six over 7 2/3 outstanding innings.


Final Score: Toronto 4, Baltimore 2

Dalton Pompey and Munenori Kawasaki each drove in a pair of runs as Toronto doubled up Baltimore, 4-2, in the first edition of a season-ending series. Pompey finished 3-for-4 with two triples and two runs scored for the Blue Jays, who received two hits and a run scored each from Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind. Drew Hutchison (11-13) gave up five hits and two runs while fanning eight over five innings. Marcus Stroman earned his first career save by tossing the remaining four scoreless frames during which he allowed one hit and struck out four. Delmon Young and David Lough knocked in a run apiece for the Orioles, who cannot finish with the best record in the American League having suffered their 65th loss. The Angels, who already wrapped up the AL West, have 98 wins. Chris Tillman (13-6) was tagged for 11 hits and four runs over his six-inning stint.


Final Score: Minnesota 11, Detroit 4

Brian Dozier went 3-for-5 with a homer, three RBI and three runs scored to help the Minnesota Twins defeat the Detroit Tigers, 11-4, in the second of four at Comerica Park. Danny Santana also collected three hits and scored twice, Oswaldo Arcia homered and Kurt Suzuki drove in two runs for the Twins. A.J. Achter (1-0) earned the win for two innings in relief of starter Anthony Swarzak, who yielded three runs on seven hits over 4 1/3 innings. Rick Porcello (15-13) was charged with six runs—four earned—on six hits and three walks with six strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings. Porcello is winless in his last six outings, going 0-5 over that span, and has not won since Aug. 26. The Tigers could have clinched its fourth consecutive AL Central title with a win and Kansas City loss in Chicago. Because of the Royals’ 3-1 win over the White Sox, Detroit now leads KC by one game in the division standings.


Final Score: New York 3, Boston 2

With Chris Capuano’s 6 1/3 strong innings leading the way, a New York Yankees team playing without Derek Jeter opened a season-ending three-game series with the Boston Red Sox with a 3-2 victory at Fenway Park. Jeter was given the night off following an emotional Yankee Stadium farewell on Thursday, in which the retiring shortstop delivered a walk-off single in the ninth inning to lift New York to a 6-5 win over Baltimore. Capuano (3-4), released by the Red Sox on July 1 after a 28- game stint in relief, held his former club to four hits and an unearned run while striking out five. David Robertson, who set up Jeter’s memorable heroics last night by allowing three runs in the top of the ninth inning, bounced back to record the final three outs and earn his 39th save.


Final Score: Oakland 6, Texas 2

Josh Reddick hit a solo home run and drove in three as the Oakland Athletics took a 6-2 win over the Texas Rangers in the second of a season-ending four-game set. Oakland stayed a game behind Kansas City for the top wild card spot in the American League. Oakland’s still hasn’t clinched a spot yet, though, as the Mariners defeated the Angels on Friday. The A’s will capture a playoff spot with a win in either of their final two games, or a Mariners loss in their final two games. Adam Dunn drove in a pair of runs and Jed Lowrie finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored for the Athletics, who had lost three straight coming in. Scott Kazmir (15-9) gave up two runs—one earned—on four hits over seven innings to snap a four-decision losing streak. Leonys Martin and Ryan Rua each drove in a run for the Rangers, who had won 12 of 13 coming into the game. Nick Tepesch (5-11) allowed six runs—five earned—on six hits in 4 1/3 innings.


Final Score: Kansas City 3, Chicago 1

The last time the Kansas City Royals made the playoffs, they won the World Series. That was nearly three decades ago. Nori Aoki, Lorenzo Cain and Billy Butler each drove in a run during a three- run first inning, and that’s all the Royals would need as they clinched a postseason berth for the first time since 1985 with a 3-1 win over Chicago on Friday. Jeremy Guthrie (13-11) was sharp in seven scoreless innings, limiting the White Sox to four hits and walk with six strikeouts. Guthrie improved to 3-1 over five starts against Chicago this season. Kansas City clinched at least a spot in the AL wild card, but trails Detroit by just one game in the AL Central with both teams having two games left.


Final Score: Seattle 4, LA Angels of Anaheim 3

Playing with their season on the line, the Seattle Mariners pounded out three home runs en route to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels. Michael Saunders knocked what proved to be the game- winning two-run homer, while Kendrys Morales and Dustin Ackley each provided solo shots for the Mariners, who would have been eliminated from playoff contention with a loss after Oakland took a win from Texas earlier in the night. Seattle trails the A’s by two games in the AL Wild Card standings with each team having two games remaining. Hisashi Iwakuma (15-9) ended a three-start losing streak by going 6 1/3 innings and yielding two runs on four hits. Even with the loss, Los Angeles clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs because of Baltimore’s loss to Toronto on Friday. The American League won the All-Star Game, which also gives the Angels home field in the World Series if they were to make it that far. Jered Weaver (18-9) allowed four runs on nine hits over six innings or work for Los Angeles. Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout hit back-to-back homers in the setback.


Final Score: Houston 3, NY Mets 1

Jose Altuve hit an RBI single as part of a three-run sixth inning to give the Houston Astros a 3-1 win over the New York Mets to open a season-ending three-game series. Matt Dominguez also drove in a run while Kevin Chapman (2-0) got the win for getting two outs for the Astros, who had lost their previous three. Brad Peacock gave up a run on four hits with seven strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings in the start. Curtis Granderson hit a solo home run for the Mets, who have lost three of their last four. Carlos Torres (8-6) allowed three runs—two earned—in relief to take the loss. Jon Niese gave up just three hits over 5 1/3 innings, but was pulled from the game due to an elevated heart rate.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Jordan Staal Out 3-4 Months with Broken Leg

The Carolina Hurricanes revealed Thursday that center Jordan Staal will miss the next 3-to-4 months following surgery to repair a fractured right fibula.

The procedure will take place on Friday at Raleigh Orthopedic by Dr. Marty Isbell and Dr. Kevin Logel.

Staal, 26, younger brother to team captain Eric Staal, was injured during Tuesday’s exhibition contest when he was entangled with Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges.

The left-handed shooter had not missed a regular-season game since being acquired from Pittsburgh in the summer of 2012, accumulating 25 goals and 71 points over 130 contests since then.

►  Predators Agree To Terms with Ellis

The Nashville Predators agreed to terms with defenseman Ryan Ellis on Thursday.

The team announced that full details of the contract with the restricted free agent will be released on Friday. However, TSN.ca reported the deal to be worth $12.5 million over five years.

Ellis appeared in 80 games last season and posted six goals and 21 assists.

Over three seasons in the NHL, the 23-year-old 2009 first-round pick (11th overall) has totaled 11 goals and 33 assists along with a plus-12 rating in 144 games.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Dover: Last Race in the Chase ‘Challenger Round’

Even though its the third race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, its crunch time for several drivers who are trying to remain in the playoffs in NASCAR’s premier series.

Sunday’s 400-mile race at Dover International Speedway is the final event in the first round of the Chase, known as the “Challenger Round.“ After Dover, the Chase field will be trimmed from 16 drivers to 12 for the next round, referred to as the “Contender Round.“

Team Penske drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have already clinched a spot in the Contender Round, which includes the races at Kansas (October 05), Charlotte (October 11) and Talladega (October 19). Keselowski won the September 14 Chase-opener at Chicagoland, and his teammate, Logano, scored the victory last Sunday at New Hampshire.

If a driver in the Chase field other than Keselowski and Logano wins at Dover, that person will also automatically advance to the next round. The remaining available positions 1-12 that have not been filled based upon wins will be determined by points. Each driver will then have his points reset to 3,000.

Keselowski and Logano are 1-2, respectively, in the Chase point standings right now.

The other drivers in the Chase and their points ranking include: Kevin Harvick (3rd), Jimmie Johnson (4th), Kyle Busch (5th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (6th), Jeff Gordon (7th), Matt Kenseth (8th), Carl Edwards (9th), A.J. Allmendinger (10th), Kasey Kahne (11th), Ryan Newman (12th), Denny Hamlin (13th), Greg Biffle (14th), Kurt Busch (15th) and Aric Almirola (16th).

Here are the finishes each Chase driver other than Keselowski and Logano needs at Dover to guarantee himself a position in the Contender Round:

Harvick - 34th or better; or 35th and at least one lap led; or 36th and most laps led.

Johnson - 24th or better; or 25th and at least one lap led; or 26th and most laps led.

Kyle Busch and Earnhardt - 21st or better; or 22nd and at least one lap led; or 23rd and most laps led.

Gordon - 14th or better; or 15th and at least one lap led; or 16th and most laps led.

Kenseth and Edwards - 2nd or better; or 3rd and most laps led.

Allmendinger: 2nd or better.

Kahne: 2nd and at least one lap led.

Newman, Hamlin, Biffle, Kurt Busch and Almirola only control their own destiny by winning the race at Dover.

Johnson, the six-time and defending Sprint Cup Series champion, is the all- time winningest driver at this one-mile, concrete-surfaced track. He has won nine races, including the past two there. If he takes the checkered flag on Sunday, Johnson would join David Pearson, Rusty Wallace and Gordon as those drivers who have won three races in a row at Dover.

“I know we’ve had a lot of wins here and would love to get another win,“ Johnson said. “It’s that time of the year when wins are very important. At the same time, the way this Chase format works, we don’t have to win leaving here to advance to the next round, so that’s kind of a nice position to be in. And it takes a little bit of pressure off and allows us to go out and just kind of have some fun.“

Heading into Dover, just 12 points separate eighth-place Kenseth from 16th- place Almirola.

Presently sitting 10th in points, Allmendinger is hoping to advance to the next round and therefore become the Cinderella driver in the Chase. He finished 22nd at Chicagoland and then 13th at New Hampshire.

“No one really expected us to be here anyway and to have a shot at making it to the next round, so I’m just going to go out there and give it everything I have,“ Allmendinger said. “For us, we just have to run better. Last week (at New Hampshire) was a decent run, but more than anything, we just have to go out there this weekend and try to make sure we maximize every lap we are on the racetrack and get our car good for Sunday. Whatever happens in the race happens.“

Hamlin had a great start in the playoffs with a sixth-place run at Chicagoland, but he had the worst finish among the Chase drivers at New Hampshire, placing 37th due to an early-race fueling problem and then later being caught up in a multi-car wreck. Hamlin dropped to 13th in the standings. He is six points behind 12th-place Newman.

“Our FedEx (sponsored) team can certainly advance to the next segment, but now we need a little help on Sunday,“ Hamlin said. “It’s obviously disappointing to have a mechanical issue take us out of a good finish at New Hampshire, but it’s important to put that in the past and focus on what we can control this weekend at Dover. We have had some speed at the track the last few trips there, and we’ll need that again this weekend.“

Kurt Busch also tumbled in points following his 36th-place run at New Hampshire. He crashed into the wall late in the race. He is eight points in back of Newman.

Almirola had the worst result among the Chase competitors at Chicagoland, finishing 41st due to engine failure. But he bounced back nicely at New Hampshire with a six-place run.

“Our goal is to transfer into that next round, but we can’t really worry about what everybody else is doing. All we can do is worry about ourselves,“ Almirola said. “We’re 10 points out of 12th right now, so basically I just have to finish 10 spots ahead of everybody that is in front of me from 15th to 12th in points, which sounds easier than it really is, but I’m glad for our sake that we’re still in it.“

Forty-three teams are on the entry list for the AAA 400.

Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup. Date: Sunday, September 28. Race: AAA 400. Site: Dover International Speedway. Track: 1-mile oval. Start time: 2 PM ET. Laps: 400. Miles: 400. 2013 Winner: Jimmie Johnson. Television: ESPN. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.


►  Harvick Grabs Seventh Pole of the Season at Dover

Kevin Harvick continued his success in knockout-style qualifying in the Sprint Cup Series this season by winning the pole for Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway—the third race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

Harvick, in his first season as driver of the No. 4 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing, turned a lap around this one-mile, concrete-surfaced racetrack at 162.933 mph during the second and final round in Friday’s qualifying. He is one of the 16 drivers in the Chase field.

It was the seventh pole of the season for Harvick in Sprint Cup. He had six pole victories combined in his career in the series from 2001-13 when he drove for Richard Childress Racing.

Harvick claimed his first pole in his 28th start at Dover. His previous best starting position here was third in 2003. He has yet to win a Sprint Cup race at this track.

Dover is the third and final race in the opening round of the Chase, known as the “Challenger Round.“ Harvick is currently third in the point standings. A 34th-place finish or better for Harvick here will guarantee him one of the 12 spots in the Chase for the next round, referred to as the “Contender Round.“

Kyle Busch, currently fifth in Chase points, will start alongside Harvick on the front row after posting a lap at 162.404 mph.

Denny Hamlin, who is Busch’s teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing, qualified third. Last week at New Hampshire, Hamlin finished 37th and fell to 13th in the standings. He is six points behind 12th-place Ryan Newman, who qualified 20th.

Qualifying fourth through 12th were: Brad Keselowski, who won the Chase-opener at Chicagoland, Jamie McMurray, Jeff Gordon, rookie Kyle Larson, Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Austin Dillon, also a rookie this season, Brian Vickers and Kasey Kahne.

Keselowski, Gordon, Johnson, and Kahne are in the Chase.

The remaining drivers currently in the playoffs and their starting positions include: Matt Kenseth (14th), Joey Logano (16th), Carl Edwards (18th), Aric Almirola (21st), Kurt Busch (22nd), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (25th), Greg Biffle (27th) and A.J. Allmendinger (28th). Logano scored the victory at New Hampshire.

Tony Stewart, who is not in the Chase this year, qualified 15th two days after a grand jury in Ontario County, New York cleared him of any criminal charges for his role in the death of Kevin Ward Jr. during an accident in the August 9 sprint car race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park.

All 43 drivers who attempted qualifying made the starting field.


►  This Week in Auto Racing September 27 - 28

The third and last race in the opening round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship takes place this weekend at Dover International Speedway. The Nationwide Series is also at Dover, while the Camping World Truck Series is racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

NASCAR

Sprint Cup Series

AAA 400 - Dover International Speedway - Dover, Delaware

Even though its the third race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, its crunch time for several drivers who are trying to remain in the playoffs in NASCAR’s premier series.

Sunday’s 400-mile race at Dover International Speedway is the final event in the first round of the Chase, known as the “Challenger Round.“ After Dover, the Chase field will be trimmed from 16 drivers to 12 for the next round, referred to as the “Contender Round.“

Team Penske drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano have already clinched a spot in the Contender Round, which includes the races at Kansas (October 5), Charlotte (October 11) and Talladega (October 19). Keselowski won the September 14 Chase-opener at Chicagoland, and his teammate, Logano, scored the victory last Sunday at New Hampshire.

If a driver in the Chase field other than Keselowski and Logano wins at Dover, that person will also automatically advance to the next round. The remaining available positions 1-12 that have not been filled based upon wins will be determined by points. Each driver will then have his points reset to 3,000.

Keselowski and Logano are 1-2, respectively, in the Chase point standings right now.

The other drivers in the Chase and their points ranking include: Kevin Harvick (3rd), Jimmie Johnson (4th), Kyle Busch (5th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (6th), Jeff Gordon (7th), Matt Kenseth (8th), Carl Edwards (9th), A.J. Allmendinger (10th), Kasey Kahne (11th), Ryan Newman (12th), Denny Hamlin (13th), Greg Biffle (14th), Kurt Busch (15th) and Aric Almirola (16th).

Here are the finishes each Chase driver other than Keselowski and Logano needs at Dover to guarantee himself a position in the Contender Round:

Harvick - 34th or better; or 35th and at least one lap led; or 36th and most laps led.

Johnson - 24th or better; or 25th and at least one lap led; or 26th and most laps led.

Kyle Busch and Earnhardt - 21st or better; or 22nd and at least one lap led; or 23rd and most laps led.

Gordon - 14th or better; or 15th and at least one lap led; or 16th and most laps led.

Kenseth and Edwards - 2nd or better; or 3rd and most laps led.

Allmendinger: 2nd or better.

Kahne: 2nd and at least one lap led.

Newman, Hamlin, Biffle, Kurt Busch and Almirola only control their own destiny by winning the race at Dover.

Johnson, the six-time and defending Sprint Cup Series champion, is the all- time winningest driver at this one-mile, concrete-surfaced track. He has won nine races, including the past two there. If he takes the checkered flag on Sunday, Johnson would join David Pearson, Rusty Wallace and Gordon as those drivers who have won three races in a row at Dover.

“I know we’ve had a lot of wins here and would love to get another win,“ Johnson said. “It’s that time of the year when wins are very important. At the same time, the way this Chase format works, we don’t have to win leaving here to advance to the next round, so that’s kind of a nice position to be in. And it takes a little bit of pressure off and allows us to go out and just kind of have some fun.“

Heading into Dover, just 12 points separate eighth-place Kenseth from 16th- place Almirola.

Presently sitting 10th in points, Allmendinger is hoping to advance to the next round and therefore become the Cinderella driver in the Chase. He finished 22nd at Chicagoland and then 13th at New Hampshire.

“No one really expected us to be here anyway and to have a shot at making it to the next round, so I’m just going to go out there and give it everything I have,“ Allmendinger said. “For us, we just have to run better. Last week (at New Hampshire) was a decent run, but more than anything, we just have to go out there this weekend and try to make sure we maximize every lap we are on the racetrack and get our car good for Sunday. Whatever happens in the race happens.“

Hamlin had a great start in the playoffs with a sixth-place run at Chicagoland, but he had the worst finish among the Chase drivers at New Hampshire, placing 37th due to an early-race fueling problem and then later being caught up in a multi-car wreck. Hamlin dropped to 13th in the standings. He is six points behind 12th-place Newman.

“Our FedEx (sponsored) team can certainly advance to the next segment, but now we need a little help on Sunday,“ Hamlin said. “It’s obviously disappointing to have a mechanical issue take us out of a good finish at New Hampshire, but it’s important to put that in the past and focus on what we can control this weekend at Dover. We have had some speed at the track the last few trips there, and we’ll need that again this weekend.“

Kurt Busch also tumbled in points following his 36th-place run at New Hampshire. He crashed into the wall late in the race. He is eight points in back of Newman.

Almirola had the worst result among the Chase competitors at Chicagoland, finishing 41st due to engine failure. But he bounced back nicely at New Hampshire with a six-place run.

“Our goal is to transfer into that next round, but we can’t really worry about what everybody else is doing. All we can do is worry about ourselves,“ Almirola said. “We’re 10 points out of 12th right now, so basically I just have to finish 10 spots ahead of everybody that is in front of me from 15th to 12th in points, which sounds easier than it really is, but I’m glad for our sake that we’re still in it.“

Forty-three teams are on the entry list for the AAA 400.

Nationwide Series

Dover 200 - Dover International Speedway - Dover, Delaware

Sprint Cup Series regulars Kyle Busch and Joey Logano are scheduled to compete in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Dover International Speedway, and it’s a good bet that either Busch or Logano will be in victory lane.

Both drivers share the record for most Nationwide wins at this one-mile, concrete-surfaced track with four each. Logano had four victories in a row here from 2012-13, but Busch ended his winning streak in the spring race in May.

Busch is driving the No. 54 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, and Logano is behind the wheel of Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford. Right now, Penske’s No. 22 team holds a 37-point lead over Gibbs’ No. 54 team in the Nationwide owners’ championship standings. Six races remain.

The 22 car has been to victory lane four times this season with drivers Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney, who is a regular in the Camping World Truck Series, but Logano has yet to win a Nationwide race this season.

“I really want to get a win, and I think we will,“ Logano said. “(Dover) has always been one of my favorite racetracks and the one I’ve run the best at. I just want to get this No. 22 team in victory lane again and help extend the point lead in the owners’ championship. That’s pretty important to all of us right now.“

The No. 54 team has won five Nationwide races this season—four with Busch and one with Sam Hornish Jr.

When Nationwide most recently competed at Dover earlier this year, Busch led 124 of 200 laps. Logano started on the pole and ran in front for a total of 58 laps but ended up finishing third.

“I love that place, and it’s fun to race there,“ Busch said. “I went there when I was 18 to race in the Nationwide Series for my first time. It will scare you the first time you race there. You carry so much speed at that racetrack…It’s definitely a roller-coaster ride, and you need to treat it like it’s fun and not to be scared of the place, I think, because you can get so much out of that place.“

Rookie Chase Elliott enters this 200-mile race with a 20-point lead over second place and JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith in the drivers’ standings. Ty Dillon, also a rookie this season, is 38 points behind.

Forty-two teams are on the entry list for the Dover 200.

Camping World Truck Series

Rhino Linings 350 - Las Vegas Motor Speedway - Las Vegas, Nevada

While the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series race at Dover International Speedway, the Camping World Truck Series will run its last “stand-alone” event of the season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend.

There are six races left in the season. After Saturday night’s event at Las Vegas, the Truck Series will be off for the next two weeks before resuming its schedule on the third weekend in October at Talladega. Following Talladega are Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead.

Matt Crafton currently holds a seven-point lead over second-place and ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter. Crafton finished third and Sauter fourth in last weekend’s race at New Hampshire.

Darrell Wallace Jr. from Kyle Busch Motorsports placed second at New Hampshire and moved to within 35 points of Crafton. Ryan Blaney from Brad Keselowski Racing is 24 points out of the lead after finishing 10th there.

Three drivers on the entry list for this race have won at Las Vegas in the past—Sauter (2009), Ron Hornaday Jr. (2011) and Timothy Peters (2013). Sauter scored his first career victory in the series here.

“It’s a cool place for me just because it’s where I got my first Truck Series win,“ Sauter said. “I know it’s been a few years ago, but it’s just something you’ll never forget.“

Crafton has competed in 13 truck races at Las Vegas. His best finish here is second, which has occurred three times, most recently in 2012. Last year, he had finished in the top-10 in each of the first 16 races before his streak ended with an 11th-place run at Las Vegas.

“The track is rough, but that’s one of the best things about racing at Las Vegas,“ Crafton said. “It’s got multiple grooves. Not everybody is riding around on the bottom. The asphalt’s not real new, but it’s fairly new, and I think because it’s so rough, you move around quite a bit. I really like racing out there and going out there.“

Wallace and Blaney competed in a truck race at Las Vegas for the first time last year, with Wallace finishing fifth and Blaney 20th.

Thirty teams are on the entry list for the Rhino Linings 350.


►  Busch, Logano Seeking another Nationwide Win at Dover

Sprint Cup Series regulars Kyle Busch and Joey Logano are scheduled to compete in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Dover International Speedway, and it’s a good bet that either Busch or Logano will be in victory lane.

Both drivers share the record for most Nationwide wins at this one-mile, concrete-surfaced track with four each. Logano had four victories in a row here from 2012-13, but Busch ended his winning streak in the spring race in May.

Busch is driving the No. 54 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, and Logano is behind the wheel of Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford. Right now, Penske’s No. 22 team holds a 37-point lead over Gibbs’ No. 54 team in the Nationwide owners’ championship standings. Six races remain.

The 22 car has been to victory lane four times this season with drivers Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney, who is a regular in the Camping World Truck Series, but Logano has yet to win a Nationwide race this season.

“I really want to get a win, and I think we will,“ Logano said. “(Dover) has always been one of my favorite racetracks and the one I’ve run the best at. I just want to get this No. 22 team in victory lane again and help extend the point lead in the owners’ championship. That’s pretty important to all of us right now.“

The No. 54 team has won five Nationwide races this season—four with Busch and one with Sam Hornish Jr.

When Nationwide most recently competed at Dover earlier this year, Busch led 124 of 200 laps. Logano started on the pole and ran in front for a total of 58 laps but ended up finishing third.

“I love that place, and it’s fun to race there,“ Busch said. “I went there when I was 18 to race in the Nationwide Series for my first time. It will scare you the first time you race there. You carry so much speed at that racetrack…It’s definitely a roller-coaster ride, and you need to treat it like it’s fun and not to be scared of the place, I think, because you can get so much out of that place.“

Rookie Chase Elliott enters this 200-mile race with a 20-point lead over second place and JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith in the drivers’ standings. Ty Dillon, also a rookie this season, is 38 points behind.

Forty-two teams are on the entry list for the Dover 200.

Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Saturday, September 27. Race: Dover 200. Site: Dover International Speedway. Track: 1-mile oval. Start time: 3:30 PM ET. Laps: 200. Miles: 200. 2013 Winner: Joey Logano. Television: ESPN2. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.


►  Trucks Series Racing in Las Vegas

While the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series race at Dover International Speedway, the Camping World Truck Series will run its last “stand-alone” event of the season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend.

There are six races left in the season. After Saturday night’s event at Las Vegas, the Truck Series will be off for the next two weeks before resuming its schedule on the third weekend in October at Talladega. Following Talladega are Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead.

Matt Crafton currently holds a seven-point lead over second-place and ThorSport Racing teammate Johnny Sauter. Crafton finished third and Sauter fourth in last weekend’s race at New Hampshire.

Darrell Wallace Jr. from Kyle Busch Motorsports placed second at New Hampshire and moved to within 35 points of Crafton. Ryan Blaney from Brad Keselowski Racing is 24 points out of the lead after finishing 10th there.

Three drivers on the entry list for this race have won at Las Vegas in the past—Sauter (2009), Ron Hornaday Jr. (2011) and Timothy Peters (2013). Sauter scored his first career victory in the series here.

“It’s a cool place for me just because it’s where I got my first Truck Series win,“ Sauter said. “I know it’s been a few years ago, but it’s just something you’ll never forget.“

Crafton has competed in 13 truck races at Las Vegas. His best finish here is second, which has occurred three times, most recently in 2012. Last year, he had finished in the top-10 in each of the first 16 races before his streak ended with an 11th-place run at Las Vegas.

“The track is rough, but that’s one of the best things about racing at Las Vegas,“ Crafton said. “It’s got multiple grooves. Not everybody is riding around on the bottom. The asphalt’s not real new, but it’s fairly new, and I think because it’s so rough, you move around quite a bit. I really like racing out there and going out there.“

Wallace and Blaney competed in a truck race at Las Vegas for the first time last year, with Wallace finishing fifth and Blaney 20th.

Thirty teams are on the entry list for the Rhino Linings 350.

Series: NASCAR Camping World. Date: Saturday, September 27. Race: Rhino Lining 350. Site: Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Track: 1.5-mile oval. Start time: 10 PM ET. Laps: 146. Miles: 219 (350 kilometers). 2013 Winner: Timothy Peters. Television: FOX Sports 1. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  United States Grabs Early Lead at Ryder Cup

Phil Mickelson got up and down for birdie on the 18th hole to give the United States a 2 1/2 - 1 1/2 lead after Friday morning’s four-ball play at the Ryder Cup.

Mickelson and Keegan Bradley earned a hard-fought 1-up win in the final match of the morning at Gleneagles over Sergio Garcia and world No. 1 Rory McIlroy.

Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker rallied from an early 3-down deficit to halve their match with Thomas Bjorn and Martin Kaymer.

“It is not devastating. It’s a point lost, no big drama. These are great players, they’ll bounce back,“ said European captain Paul McGinley. “They do it week in and week out. It’s a point lost in the Ryder Cup, it’s not that big of a deal.“

After the Europeans dominated the last few holes in 2012 at Medinah, Walker and Mickelson won the 18th with birdies to halve and win their respective matches.

“I really liked the way they finished, that’s the most important thing,“ U.S. captain Tom Watson said of his team. “That’s what I’m looking for in Ryder Cup play and it’s what I’ve been trying to stress - how you finish. It’s not how you start, it’s not how you drive, it’s how you arrive.“

The other two matches were 5 & 4 blowouts. In the mornings first match, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson rolled over Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson. Simpson and Watson failed to make a single birdie on the four-ball session.

The other big win went to the American rookie duo of Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth as they trounced Stephen Gallacher and Ian Poulter. Reed and Spieth combined for six birdies in the first 11 holes.

Garcia holed out for birdie on the par-3 fourth. After a pair of halves, Bradley squared the match with a par at the seventh.

Mickelson got up and down for birdie on No. 9, then Bradley rolled in a birdie try from the fringe on No. 10 as the Americans grabbed a 2-up lead.

Garcia made par at 11 and that was enough to trim the Europeans deficit to 1- down. The Americans made a mess of the 13th and McIlroy won the hole with a par to square the match.

Mickelson made another bogey on No. 15, the third bogey in five holes for the Americans, to give the Europeans their first lead since the sixth. However, Bradley answered with an eagle on No. 16 to square the match.

McIlroy got up and down for par at 17, while Bradley 2-putted for his par. There were several poor shots in the final match on the 18th. Mickelson hit a solid flop shot to four feet. After McIlroy missed his par putt and Bradley his birdie effort, Garcia rolled in his par try.

It was all up to Mickelson. The 10-time Ryder Cup performer knocked in his 4- footer for birdie to win the match and give the Americans the early lead.

“That eagle he made on 16 was so tight. Three incredible shots, and I was telling him that I got such an adrenaline rush from his putting. It was just awesome. What a big eagle that was,“ Mickelson said of Bradley.

Bjorn and Kaymer, who won the U.S. Open in a rout earlier this year, grabbed a big early lead on Fowler and Walker. Kaymer birdied the first and fourth, while Bjorn birdied the second to give the Europeans a 3-up lead after four holes.

Fowler cut into that lead with a birdie on the fifth. After the teams matched pars on the next three holes, Walker holed out from a bunker on No. 9 for birdie and the win

The Americans were within 1-down at the turn. Bjorn chipped in for birdie at 13 as the Europeans moved 2-up with five to play. The short game magic continued as Walker again chipped in for birdie, this time at the 16th.

Kaymer and Walker parred the 17th as the Europeans went to the last 1-up. Walker converted a 5-footer for birdie at the 18th to halve the match.

“We knew we were hitting it good, so we just said let’s just keep giving ourselves looks and we did all day, but we didn’t get a lot of them to go in,“ Walker stated. “Rickie got one to get us back to 2-down and we just said let’s just keep chipping away until the end. When they missed on 17, we said this was our 1/2 point and let’s go get it.“

Rose and Stenson took control of their match early on. Stenson made birdie at the second, and Rose birdied the par-3 fourth to give the Europeans a 2-up lead.

After four halves in a row, Stenson drained a birdie on the par-5 ninth. Rose pushed their lead to 4-up with a birdie on the 10th. The team halved three more before Rose poured in a birdie effort at No. 14 to close out Simpson and Watson, who didn’t win a hole in the match.

“We definitely ham-and-egged it well, especially to start with. I played the first hole really cleanly and Henrik bailed me out on two and three, then I took care of four,“ Rose explained. “We really worked well as a team.“

Spieth took the first with a par to put the Americans 1-up in the third match. The teams matched three pars and a birdie over the next four holes before the Americans caught fire.

Reed birdied the sixth and Spieth followed with a birdie at the seventh. Reed’s third at the par-5 ninth stopped four feet from the hole and he knocked that in for birdie.

Spieth followed with 12-foot birdie putt on the 10th. Reed made a birdie on the 11th from a similar distance to push the Americans 6-up with seven to play.

Gallacher won the 12th with a par after Spieth missed his par attempt. Gallacher and Reed parred No. 13. After Spieth and Reed missed their birdie chances at 14, Gallacher missed his birdie from about 13 feet.

That left it to Poulter. The Englishman entered the match with a 12-3 Ryder Cup record, but he failed to convert his 11-footer to give the Reed and Spieth the 5 & 4 victory.

“The first tee shot, Patrick and I both agreed it was the most nervous we’d ever been, even the first tee shot at Augusta. We piped a couple 3-woods out there and got off to a 1-up start and I think that kind of calmed us down,“ said Spieth.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Kvitova, Bouchard Reach Final in Wuhan

Petra Kvitova and Eugenie Bouchard will square off in a rematch of the Wimbledon final in Saturday’s inaugural championship match at the $2.4 million Wuhan Tennis Open.

Friday’s semifinals in China saw the third-seeded Czech left-hander Kvitova eliminate upstart Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 6-3, 7-5 and, in their first-ever meeting, the sixth-seeded Bouchard blitz eighth-seeded former world No. 1 star Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-3 on the hardcourts at Optics Valley International Tennis Center.

Wozniacki was this month’s U.S. Open runner-up to Serena Williams and last week’s Tokyo runner-up to fellow former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic.

The tall 24-year-old Kvitova will appear in her 18th career final, seeking a 14th title. The world No. 3 star is 2-0 in her 2014 finals, including a 6-3, 6-0 spanking of Bouchard at the All England Club in July.

The 20-year-old ninth-ranked Bouchard is 1-2 in her career finals, with her lone victory coming in Nuremberg, Germany, this year.

Kvitova and Bouchard will meet for a third time, with the young Canadian still seeking a victory. In addition to the Wimbledon win, Kvitova also topped Bouchard in Toronto last year.

Saturday’s winner will claim $441,000.


►  Murray Reaches Shenzhen Semis

Two-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray was a straight-set quarterfinal winner Friday at the inaugural Shenzhen Open tennis event.

The second-seeded British star, still seeking his first title since winning the championship at Wimbledon last year, handled Slovak Lukas Lacko 6-3, 7-5 on the hardcourts at Shenzhen Longgang Tennis Center.

Murray’s semifinal opponent on Saturday will be former top-10 Argentine Juan Monaco, who posted an upset by ousting third-seeded French star Richard Gasquet 7-6 (9-7), 6-4 on Day 5.

Two other quarterfinal results saw fourth-seeded Spaniard Tommy Robredo outlast eighth-seeded Italian Andreas Seppi 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3 and sixth- seeded Colombian Santiago Giraldo subdue Serbian qualifier Viktor Troicki 7-6 (8-6), 6-3. Troicki recently returned to the ATP Tour following a doping suspension.

“It was tough, the conditions were difficult, very humid and very hot,“ Robredo said after beating Seppi. “I think I played a good match. I’m happy I’m in the semifinals and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.“

Saturday’s other semi will pit Robredo against Giraldo.

The first-ever Shenzhen titlist will earn $106,970.


►  Nishikori, Gulbis Land in Kuala Lumpur Semis

U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori and second seed Ernests Gulbis led the charge into the semifinals at the Malaysian Open tennis event.

The top-seeded Japanese star Nishikori whipped Aussie Marinko Matosevic 6-3, 6-0, while the talented Latvian Gulbis grounded 33-year-old German Benjamin Becker 6-3, 7-5 on the hardcourts at Putra Indoor Stadium.

Friday’s other quarterfinals saw fourth-seeded two-time Kuala Lumpur runner-up Julien Benneteau of France defeat fifth-seeded Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4 and 33-year-old Finnish left-hander Jarkko Nieminen drive out seventh-seeded Spaniard Pablo Andujar 6-3, 6-4.

Benneteau lost to Portuguese Joao Sousa in last year’s final to finish as the runner-up here for a second straight year.

“I hope I can make the final again. We’ll see what happens tomorrow,“ said Benneteau. “It will be difficult. But I will try to be back in the final again and play better.“

Saturday’s semis will pit Nishikori against Nieminen and Gulbis versus Benneteau.

The 2014 Kuala Lumpur champ will claim $165,000.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  Ski Jump Champ Morgenstern Retires

Three-time Olympic ski jump champion Thomas Morgenstern announced his retirement Friday.

Morgenstern helped Austria win silver in the team event at the Sochi Games.

The 27-year-old Morgenstern struggled after suffering a cranial injury and lung contusion in a training accident at the start of the year.

“I have reached my athletic goals and realized my dreams,“ said Morgenstern on his official website. “With my last jump I got a silver medal with the team in Sochi. For me the time has come to complete this chapter.“

Morgenstern was the individual large hill champion at the 2006 Torino Games and also captured gold that year as part of the team event. He was also a member of Austria’s gold-medal team effort at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

The Gilmer Free Press


SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2014


Major League Baseball - National League
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American League
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LA Angels at Seattle, 9:10 PM - FS-West, ROOT-Northwest, DSS


Interleague
Houston at NY Mets, 7:10 PM - CSN-Houston, SNY, DSS


National Hockey League - Preseason
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Winnipeg at Minnesota, 8:00 PM - TSN3, NHL Network


Canadian Football League
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College Football
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Texas State at Tulsa, 8:00 PM - ESPNews
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Nevada at San Jose St, 10:30 PM - CBSSN


Major League Soccer
Portland at Toronto FC, 1:00 PM - ROOT-Northwest, TSN2, DSS
Philadelphia at D.C., 3:00 PM - NBCSN
Chivas USA at Seattle, 4:00 PM - Time Warner-Deportes, JOEtv, DSS
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Montreal at Columbus, 7:30 PM - TVA Sports, Time Warner-Ohio, DSS
San Jose at Colorado, 9:00 PM - CSN-Bay, Altitude


International Soccer
Liverpool vs. Everton, 7:40 AM - NBCSN
Villarreal CF vs. Real Madrid CF, 9:55 AM - beIN Sport
Manchester United vs. West Ham, 9:55 AM - NBCSN
FC Barcelona vs. Granada CF, 11:55 AM - beIN Sport
Arsenal vs. Tottenham, 12:25 PM - NBCSN
Atalanta BC vs. Juventus FC, 2:40 PM - beIN Sport


Golf
PGA/EUROPEAN - Ryder Cup Matches, 3:00 AM - NBC, Golf Channel
CHAMPIONS - Nature Valley First Tee Open, 4:00 PM - Golf Channel


Auto Racing
SPRINT CUP - AAA 400 practice, 11:00 AM - FS1
NATIONWIDE - 5-Hour Energy 200 qualifying, 12:00 PM - FS2
SPRINT CUP - AAA 400 practice, 2:00 PM - FS2
NATIONWIDE - 5-Hour Energy 200, 3:30 PM - ESPN
CAMPING WORLD - Rhino Linings 350, 10:00 PM - FS1


Horse Racing
Jockey Club Gold Cup, Awesome Again Stakes, 5:30 PM - NBCSN, TVG

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