Badgers pummel Nittany Lions in 3-game sweep

first_imgMegan McCormick / The Badger HeraldEntering the fifth inning of Sunday’s game between Penn State and Wisconsin, the speakers at Goodman Diamond cranked up “Jump Around,” as fans and Badger players alike were caught enjoying a few jumps of their own.When you’re winning like this Wisconsin team, you can enjoy moments like these.The Badgers (27-13, 10-4 Big Ten) dismantled the Nittany Lions (13-26, 5-10 Big Ten) in a three-game series this past weekend, sweeping their opponent with 4-1, 8-0 and 9-0 victories. Wisconsin now currently owns an eight-game winning streak on their home field, as the sweep over Penn State was the program’s first since 1997.“It’s fun to see them keep getting better,” Wisconsin head coach Yvette Healy said. “That’s a big thing that we’ve focused on all year. Today’s win for Cassandra [Darrah], to go from giving up eight hits yesterday to two today, she really had a nice improvement.”In the Badgers final game of the series Sunday, the team once again unleashed an offensive onslaught that led to the Lions being mercy-ruled in the fifth. Benefiting from strong performances from the middle of their batting order, including two-hit performances from both Kendall Grimm and Whitney Massey, Wisconsin cruised to a 9-0 victory.The series finale started off with a bang, as the Badgers chased the Lions’ starting pitcher, Marissa Diescher (5-7), out of the game in the bottom of the first inning without recording a single out. The Badgers scored four runs on two hits in the first frame, as Shannel Blackshear, Stephanie Peace and Karla Powell all recorded RBIs.The rest of the game proved to be a breeze for Healy’s squad, as the Badgers offense scored one run in the second inning and four in the third to compliment starting pitcher Darrah’s (18-7) dominant work on the mound. The former Big Ten Pitcher of the Week made it look easy from the rubber, giving up just two hits while striking out three and walking none in five innings of work.“I go in just thinking I have to do my best, regardless of who it is,” Darrah said. “I just want to keep doing what I’m doing. My team’s right behind me hitting, so that really helps. It’s always nice to have that support.”In the second game of the series – the second game of a Saturday doubleheader – it was more or less the same story, as Wisconsin mercy-ruled Penn State in five innings in an 8-0 win. The Badgers used a six-run inning in the fourth to help seal a solid five-inning, two-hit effort from sophomore Amanda Najdek (5-1) on the mound.Wisconsin put the finishing touches on the game during the bottom of the fifth inning, as Mary Massei’s two-out, bases-loaded hit scored Stephanie Peace to run-rule Penn State.In game two, the top of the order boosted the Badgers offensively, as Massei went 2-for-4 at the plate with three RBIs while Grimm contributed a 2-for-3 performance of her own. Penn State was never able to find an answer against the No. 1 and No. 2 hitters in the Badger lineup throughout the three-game series, as Massei and Grimm combined to go 8-for-15 at the plate, scoring seven runs and driving in six.“I think we all have a common goal of just getting it done,” Massei said. “Every play of the game we’re zoned in and trying to get it done. It just shows how much hard work pulls through. We’re working hard everyday with that goal to get to the NCAA (tournament).”In the first game of the series Saturday, the Badgers set the tone early with three runs in the first inning. Wisconsin scored on RBIs from Blackshear, Marissa Mersch and Michelle Mueller, as the Badgers held on to win 4-1.Darrah was dominant as usual on the mound, as the Badgers’ ace allowed eight hits scattered over seven innings of work. The only run that the sophomore pitcher would allow would be a long-ball to Penn State’s Cassidy Bell, who went 3-for-4 in the game against the Badgers’ righty.The win in game one of the doubleheader Saturday also marked a historic feat. With the 4-1 victory, the Badgers became the fastest team in program history to amass 25 wins.“They’re getting it together,” Healy said. “I really think it’s all the hard work they’ve put in and [assistant coach Randy] Schneider’s work with them offensively. Those are huge games, and I think it takes the pressure off of everybody when you put runs together.”Wisconsin has now won 13 of its last 14 games, while Penn State had won six of its last seven coming into the weekend series with the Badgers.last_img read more

Guus Hiddink urges Baba Rahman to toughen up defensively

first_imgChelsea interim manager, Guus Hiddink, has urged Ghana international  Baba Rahman to toughen up and dominate defensively in order to make him a leading star in the Premier League.The defender has been the subject of much criticism after Chelsea’s lackluster display against Manchester City which saw the Blues hammered by 3 goals.Rahman was singled out for playing poorly which Chelsea fans taking to twitter to criticize him.However, the Dutchman has jumped to the defence of Baba Rahman stating he will be a leading star in the Premier League should he toughen.“When you come in you have your impressions of players, and from Baba I had the impression after a few days that he was too quiet but very skillful in both legs.””He has his left foot from nature but he can handle very well his right foot, which is unusual for left-footed players. “This week I played him in some [training] games in the right-back position, because I was curious to see if he could do it. He did it without any problems. He’s a skillful player but to survive also in the Premier League, he must make it difficult for a manager to take him out of the team.“He has the skill but he must also be able to be dominant defensively. He’s working on that. He’s a very nice person and I said to him: ‘Be a nice person outside the pitch but be less nice on it.’“With experience I hope he can make the next step, because he has the skill. He has to get the attitude of: ‘This is my area and whoever comes in, I kill them.”Baba Rahman was signed in the summer of 2015 for a fee believed to be in the region of £ 21million.  – Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. Our hashtag is #JoySportslast_img read more

Sharapova fights to first title since drugs ban

first_imgMaria Sharapova celebrates her winTianjin, China | AFP | Five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova was made to fight by 102nd-ranked teenager Aryna Sabalenka at the Tianjin Open on Sunday before winning her first title since her 15-month doping ban.The former world number one, who returned to action in April, came from behind in both sets and needed four championship points in the tie-breaker before beating the 19-year-old 7-5, 7-6 (10/8).Maria Sharapova def. Aryna Sabalenka 7-5 7-6(8) to win her Singles Title #36 and her first #TianjinOpen. Her first title since 2015! pic.twitter.com/DsHGPpYIh7— Rodri #SharaFamily (@SharapovAce) October 15, 2017Sharapova clasped her hands to her chest in delight as she absorbed the feeling of winning her 36th tour title and first in more than two years since the 2015 Italian Open.Sharapova, 30, was contesting the seventh tournament of what has been an injury-plagued and controversial comeback since testing positive for the banned substance meldonium in early 2016.She exchanged 11 breaks of serve with the Belarusian, who has yet to win a WTA trophy, before finally clinching it in the tie-breaker when the teenager put a forehand return long.In a tight final of high-decibel shrieking, Sabalenka was broken in the opening game but any expectations that she would roll over quickly dissolved when she won four games in a row to go 4-1 up.Sharapova’s coach Sven Groeneveld urged her to use the body serve, and momentum immediately shifted as she held the next game and then edged a nine-minute game seven to wrestle it back on serve.THE MOMENT! @MariaSharapova wins the 2017 Tianjin Open 7-5, 7-6 in just over 2 hours ? #tianjinopen #Sharapova pic.twitter.com/kSQyqrgr3N— Tianjin Open (@TianjinOpen) October 15, 2017 #36 I will always remember you ? pic.twitter.com/GEczLqGRRd— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) October 15, 2017Sabalenka angrily slammed her racquet down as she double-faulted to be broken for a third time and with Sharapova serving at 6-5, the Belarusian overcooked a forehand to hand over the set.The second set followed a similar pattern and Sabalenka was 5-1 up before Sharapova reeled her in, breaking three times — and saving a set point along the way — before serving for the match at 6-5.But a double fault from the Russian took it to a closely contested tie-break, where Sharapova held championship points four times before finally sealing it after two hours and five minutes.@MariaSharapova and her 36 trophies #Tennis #WTA #Sharapova pic.twitter.com/5fuVy0zLRB— Sharapova Brasil (@SharapovaBR) October 15, 2017Sharapova, whose ranking has dropped to 86, has been playing on wildcards this season. Her return has proved divisive, with some rivals insisting she shouldn’t be back on tour at all.She now heads to next week’s Kremlin Cup in Moscow for the first time since 2007, after also being given a wildcard to play in what is her home tournament.bur/th/smShare on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Messi suffers arm injury as Barca put four past Sevilla

first_imgAfter Inter and Real, whose poor form continued with a loss at home to Levante earlier on Saturday, Barca’s schedule includes the return tie against Inter in Italy, as well as La Liga games against Real Betis and Atletico Madrid.Even without Messi, they might be confident of seeing off Madrid, whose early-season dip has only deepened while Barcelona have sparked a rival.Since drawing at home to Athletic Bilbao last month to make it three games without a win, they have blown Tottenham away at Wembley, taken a point away to Valencia and now eased past Sevilla, who came into the weekend top of the table.Barca fans had chanted, “don’t touch the badge” before kick-off after president Josep Maria Bartomeu had announced earlier on Saturday that plans to change the club crest had been shelved.They were soon celebrating a goal too as Coutinho bent a sumptuous right-footed shot into the far corner with only two minutes on the clock.Messi doubled the advantage, racing clear on the counter-attack before jinking inside and curling into the bottom corner with his left foot. It was his last significant contribution.Ousmane Dembele was his replacement but Suarez took on the mantle, too quick to his own heavy touch and brought down by Sevilla goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik. Suarez buried the penalty.The game seemed up but Marc-Andre ter Stegen had to make a brilliant double save to deny Sarabia and then Wissam Ben Yedder with his thigh.Sarabia gave Sevilla hope with 11 minutes left, his shot deflecting off Clement Lenglet and in, but Rakitic ensured there was to be no late drama with a well-timed volley. Muriel added what proved only to be a consolation in injury time.Share on: WhatsApp Barcelona, Spain | AFP | Lionel Messi scored and then went off injured as Barcelona beat Sevilla 4-2 on Saturday to move back to the top of La Liga.Messi had to be substituted in the 26th minute at the Camp Nou after falling awkwardly on his right arm, but not before the Argentinian had doubled Barca’s lead with a curling left-footed finish.Barcelona now face an anxious wait, with the Clasico against Real Madrid fast-approaching next weekend.Philippe Coutinho had opened the scoring and Luis Suarez’s penalty, which he also earned, made sure of victory before a three-goal flurry in the final 11 minutes.Pablo Sarabia and Luis Muriel twice reduced the deficit to two, either side of a sweeping volley from Ivan Rakitic.Any joy at jumping above in-form Sevilla, however, was tarnished by the injury to Messi.Before the clash against Madrid next Sunday, Inter Milan visit in the Champions League on Wednesday but Messi’s involvement there would seem unlikely.He fell to the ground following a tussle with Sevilla’s Franco Vazquez and, as his right hand tried to cushion the landing, his elbow appeared to buckle.Messi was helped off the pitch by medical staff and, despite having his right arm heavily strapped while Barca played for nine minutes with 10 men, he finally trudged off down the tunnel.If the injury proves serious, the timing could hardly be worse, given Ernesto Valverde’s team face a difficult run of fixtures over the next month.last_img read more