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UCLA, Syracuse, St. Bonaventure among teams headed to First Four

Published: Sunday, March 11, 2018 @ 6:58 PM
Updated: Sunday, March 11, 2018 @ 6:59 PM

St. Bonaventure’s Matt Mobley and Jaylen Adams slap hands after a basket in the first half on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, at the Reilly Center in Olean, N.Y. David Jablonski/Staff
St. Bonaventure’s Matt Mobley and Jaylen Adams slap hands after a basket in the first half on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, at the Reilly Center in Olean, N.Y. David Jablonski/Staff

The eight teams playing in the First Four this week in Dayton include two of the winningest programs in NCAA history and one current and one former coach from Atlantic 10 Conference who know their way around UD Arena.

» RELATED: Wright State to play Tennessee in first round | Ohio State headed to Boise | St. Bonaventure coming to First Four

Here’s a quick glance at the four games, which were announced Sunday with the rest of the NCAA tournament field.

6:40 p.m. Tuesday: No. 16 seed Long Island-Brooklyn (18-16) vs. No. 16 Radford (22-12) — Brooklyn, the champion of the Northeast Conference, is coached by Derek Kellogg, who lost his job at Massachusetts after the A-10 tournament last season. Radford will play in the tournament for the first time since 2009.

9:10 p.m., Tuesday: No. 11 St. Bonaventure (25-7) vs. No. 11 UCLA (21-11) — The Bonnies finished second in the A-10 and lost in the semifinals of the tournament Saturday but earned an at-large bid. They lost 82-72 to the Flyers in January.

» DAYTON NEWS: Xeyrius Williams leaving Flyers

UCLA, the seventh-winningest program in NCAA history, is coming off a 78-67 loss to Arizona in the Pac 12 tournament.

6:40 p.m., Wednesday: No. 16 North Carolina Central (19-15) vs. No. 16 Texas Southern (15-19) — North Carolina Central is making its third NCAA tournament appearance in six years.

Texas Southern is coached by former Indiana head coach Mike Davis, who’s taken the program to the tournament four times in six seasons.

9:10 p.m., Wednesday: No. 11 Arizona State (20-11) vs. No. 11 Syracuse (20-13) — Syracuse, the sixth-winningest program in NCAA history, returns to the big dance after a one-year drought. Allen Griffin, who went to the tournament as an assistant coach with Dayton the last four seasons, will return to UD Arena. He’s in his first year as an assistant coach under Jim Boeheim.

» RELATED: UD Arena ready for First Four

Syracuse opened its last appearance in the NCAA tournament in 2016 with a first-round victory against Dayton in St. Louis. Syracuse reached the final four that season.

Arizona State is coached by Bobby Hurley, the brother of Rhode Island’s Dan Hurley.

Here’s a glance at the practice schedule for the eight teams:

Monday: LIU Brooklyn (5:05-5:45 p.m.); Radford (5:50-6:30 p.m.); St. Bonaventure (6:35-7:15 p.m.); and UCLA (7:20-8 p.m.).

Tuesday: Texas Southern (12:05-12:45 p.m.); North Carolina Central (12:50-1:30 p.m.); Syracuse (1:35-2:15 p.m.); and Arizona State (2:20-3 p.m.).

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How successful was the Dayton Dragons’ first half?

Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 3:07 PM

Fans take over during a 7th inning stretch in Peoria????€??™s 5-2 defeat of the Dragons

The Dayton Dragons wrapped up the first half of the Midwest League season with an 8-0 loss to West Michigan on Sunday

Let’s take a closer look at what’s been an up-and-down season so far for the Cincinnati Reds’ Single-A affiliate. 

1. After losing their last four games, the Dragons finished with a record 31-37. 

Dayton finished the first half in sixth place in the Eastern division, 15.5 games behind leader Bowling Green. 

This marks a major departure from last season when the Dragons streaked through the first half and had clinched a wildcard berth when it was over. 

2. Speaking of streaks, those have marked 2018 for Dayton. 

The Dragons opened the season on a three-game losing streak. 

Then they won their next nine only to lose eight in a row. 

After that came a six-game winning streak. 

Things leveled off to a certain extent after that, but there were still losing streaks of seven and eight games along with a five-game winning streak. 

3. Home sweet home? 

The Dragons were a league-worst 9-23 on the road in the first half. 

They posted a 22-14 mark in front of the fans at Fifth Third Field, however, and that might not come as much of a surprise for a roster that is pretty young. 

Speaking of youth... 

4. Jeter has notable name and game. 

Many of the preseason headlines were devoted to Hunter Greene, the 18-year-old pitching phenom with the triple-digit fastball who was the No. 2 pick in last year’s MLB draft

However, the best teenager on the team so far has been Jeter Downs. 

The infielder leads the team in hits (68) and stolen bases (18) while sharing the team lead in doubles (15) with Montrell Marshall.  

RedsMinorLeagues.com notes Downs, who turns 20 on July 27, has already put up some impressive power numbers compared to previous teenage Dragons

5. What about Greene, anyway? 

Hunter Greene made 12 starts in the first half and finished with a 5.53 ERA. That is the best it has been since he gave up seven runs in less than an inning during his third start. 

Green has allowed six runs and seven walks over 23.3 innings in his last five starts. He has struck out 27 while walking seven and allowing 20 hits. 

RELATED: Greene loses pitchers’ duel

He has gradually worked up his pitch count, throwing 86 his last time out, and shown that while he is raw, Reds fans have a lot to be excited about. 

Reds top pick strikes out eight hitters in three innings in first appearance in Dayton

6. Catcher impresses.  

One of Greene’s batterymates, Hendrick Clementina has been the team’s best hitter so far. 

A catcher acquired in the Tony Cingrani trade, Clementina is has a team-best .971 OPS and also leads the club in batting (.316), homers (nine) and RBIs (35). 

He is one of five teams to make the all-star team, joining outfielder Marshall, outfield Stuart Fairchild and pitchers Cory Thompson and John Ghyzel. 

7. Final verdict. 

Was this a successful first half for the Dragons? 

In record, obviously not. 

The Dragons had the worst on-base percentage in the Midwest League and finished 12th in runs scored. They also had the worst team ERA in the league. 

Development is the name of the game at this level, though, and a handful of the guys in Green look like keepers. 

That includes Greene, who appears to be on the right track after a rocky run in late April and early May

Was last season’s postseason appearance a freak occurrence? That remains to be seen, but at least fans at Fifth Third Field were more likely to see a win than a loss. 

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Is Joey Votto a Hall of Famer? What the stats say through 1,500 games

Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 9:19 AM

Who is Joey Votto: Ten facts about Reds first baseman

Joey Votto played in his 1,500th career game for the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday. He went 2-for-4 with two RBIs in an 8-6 victory at PNC Park against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Before the game, the Reds shared the numbers on how Votto compares to Hall of Fame first basemen from the last 50 years, including Jim Thome, who will be inducted this summer.

» DRAGONS: Dayton ends first half with loss

Here’s how Votto, at age 34, in his 12th season, stacks up against 12 of the greats through the first 1,500 games of their careers. In short, he compares well — especially in on-base percentage and walks, as you might expect.

Batting average: Rod Carew (.335); Frank Thomas (.321); Johnny Mize (.320); Joey Votto (.313); Jeff Bagwell (.305); Orlando Cepeda (.305); Eddie Murray (.299); George Kelly (.297); Jim Thome (.285); Tony Perez (.284); Ernie Banks (.283); Willie McCovey (.282); Harmon Killebrew (.262);

On-base percentage: Thomas (.441); Votto (.428); Bagwell (.418); Thome (.411); Mize (.406); Carew (.392); McCovey (.385); Killebrew (.375); Murray (.375); Cepeda (.355); Perez (.347); Banks (.344); Kelly (.343); 

Slugging percentage: Mize (.580); Thomas (.580); Thome (.566); McCovey (.555); Bagwell (.553); Banks (.536); Votto (.536); Killebrew (.532); Cepeda (.517); Murray (.505); Perez (.484); Kelly (.455); Carew (.450);

Home runs: Killebrew (392); Thome (368); Ernie Banks (353); McCovey (347); Thomas (339); Bagwell (316); Mize (315); Cepeda (279); Murray (275); Votto (263); Perez (246); Kelly (137); Rod Carew (71).

Hits: Rod Carew (1,924); Mize (1,776); Thomas (1,721); Cepeda (1,714); Murray (1,680); Votto (1,662); Bagwell (1,657); Kelly (1,650); Banks (1,618); Perez (1,550); Thome (1,451); McCovey (1,375); Killebrew (1,354); 

Walks: Thomas (1,172); Bagwell (1,012); Votto (1,046); Killebrew (919); McCovey (788); Mize (757); Murray (709); Carew (542); Perez (532); Banks (521); Cepeda (388); Kelly (358); Thome (108).

2018 Cincinnati Reds: 10 things to know(David Jablonski - Staff Writer)

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All-Star voting update: Gennett still third among NL second basemen

Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 1:47 PM

The Reds Scooter Gennett drives in a run with a double against the Pirates on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
Contributing Writer
The Reds Scooter Gennett drives in a run with a double against the Pirates on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff(Contributing Writer)

Scooter Gennett, of the Cincinnati Reds, remains ranked third among second basemen in voting for the National League All-Star team.

Gennett has received 743,979 votes, the league announced Monday in its second release of the voting results. He trails the Braves’ Ozzie Albies (915,736) and the Cubs’ Javier Baez (767,417). All three have a wide lead over the fourth-ranked second baseman: the Giants’ Joe Panik (194,634).

»RELATED: Gennett, Suarez, Votto among all-star candidates

Joey Votto also remains fifth in voting among first basemen (189,364), well behind the league’s overall leader in votes, the Braves’ Freddie Freeman (1,433,140).

Eugenio Suarez, who ranked fourth last week, remains fourth this week among third basemen with 228,806 votes. He leads NL third basemen in RBIs (52) and ranks second in the league among all players. The Rockies’ Nolan Arenado (1,124,563) has a wide lead among third basemen.

Voting began June 1 and continues until 11:59 p.m. July 5. The All-Star Game will be played July 17 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

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Cincinnati Bengals: Rookie Billy Price gets news he’s been waiting for

Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 11:40 AM

Billy Price is eager to see what the rest of the Bengals rookie class is all about on the field this summer

Minutes after the Cincinnati Bengals drafted Billy Price in the first round with the 21st overall pick, the former Ohio center said he expected to be fully cleared by the start of training camp.

Today, Price announced on Twitter he got the news he had been waiting for, writing “Fully cleared for football again” with the emjoi of two hands raised in the air.

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Price injured his pectoral while bench pressing at the Combine.

›› 5 takeaways from Bengals minicamp

He was on the field for rookie camp, OTAs and minicamp, although his participation was limited to position drills and install. Price said last week at the start of minicamp he had been fully cleared for weight room activity. He said he benched 305 pounds — 80 more than the weight that was on the bar when he suffered the injury — and looking forward to today’s appointment because he expected to receive full clearance.

Price will go into training camp, which begins July 26, as the projected starter at center after Russell Bodine, who started all 64 games the last four seasons, signed as a free agent with Buffalo in March.

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