Wright State whips CSU, heads to NCAA tournament

Published: Tuesday, March 06, 2018 @ 7:47 PM
Updated: Tuesday, March 06, 2018 @ 8:37 PM

Raiders beat Cleveland State to earn NCAA berth

PHOTOS: Raiders beat Cleveland State; head to NCAA Tournament |

Wright State is heading back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2007 after ending Cleveland State’s improbable run with an emphatic 74-57 victory in the Horizon League championship game Tuesday night at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.

Senior Grant Benzinger had 19 points and nine rebounds while junior Cole Gentry and freshman Jaylon Hall scored 11 as the second-seeded Raiders pulled away from the Vikings, a fatigued 8 seed that was playing its fourth game in five days.

VIDEO: Wright State watch party at Milano's in Beavercreek

Wright State (25-9) extended its Division I program record for wins in a season, while CSU (12-23) saw its four-game win streak, and its season, come to an end.

The Raiders missed their first six shots and went down by five, but Benzinger got the offense going midway through the first half, and junior Parker Ernsthausen sparked a 15-2 run with an offensive putback and 3-pointer to put WSU ahead 34-26 at the break.

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In three tournament games, the Wright State defense held its opponents to 21, 25 and 26 points in the first half.

Cleveland State, which took more 3-pointers than any team in the league, missed 10 of its first 11 shots from beyond the arc and finished 8 of 25.

Benzinger was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, while Loudon Love also made the all-tournament team.

Love, who had nine points and a game-high 12 rebounds, missed his first six shots against CSU before getting his first one to fall with 14:42 left in the game. That gave Wright State its first double-digit lead, and CSU never got it back under 10 the rest of the way.

Carpenter led the Vikings with 18 points, and Appleby scored 15.

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Reds top Cubs for fifth straight win

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 10:30 PM

            CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 22: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park on June 22, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Chicago 6-3. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 22: Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run in the fifth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park on June 22, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati defeated Chicago 6-3. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

While the 2018 season has been, at best, disappointing for the Reds, it has been disastrous when they were matched against their National League Central Division partners.

The Reds went into this weekend’s four-game series against the Chicago Cubs 8-23 against Central Division teams and 20-22 against the rest of their schedule.

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“Our players look at it like a challenge and a hurdle we have to overcome,” interim manager Jim Riggleman said before Thursday’s series-opener. “We’ve got to start winning some of these games in our division against the Cubs and Cardinals. Milwaukee’s playing very good baseball. The Pirates we’ve held our own against, but we’ve got to step it up against these better Cubs.”

Cincinnati has gotten off to a good start on that quest. After coming from behind on Jesse Winker’s first career grand slam on the way to a 6-2 win on Thursday, the Reds got a go-ahead two-run home run from Eugenio Suarez in the fifth inning, helping them to a 6-3 win before a crowd of 25,885 at Great American Ball Park on Friday.

Billy Hamilton, Joey Votto, Adam Duvall and Alex Blandino also drove in runs to help Luis Castillo snap a four-start losing streak and earn his first win since May 24. Four Cincinnati pitchers limited Chicago to four hits as the Reds earned back-to-back wins over Chicago for the first time since June 30-July 1 of last season. They extended their current winning streak to five games, their longest since winning a season-high six straight from May 8 through May 13.

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“We’re playing really good baseball right now,” Suarz said. “When you play like that, good things can happen.”

Cincinnati’s three relievers – Kyle Crockett, David Hernandez and Raisel Iglesias – teamed up to retire the last 10 Cubs batters.

“That was one of our cleaner ballgames of the season,” Riggleman said. “We played a good ballgame – offensively, defensively, ran the bases well, timely hitting.”

Castillo (5-8) faced one batter over the minimum through three hitless innings before the Cubs reached him for three runs with two outs in the fourth. Javier Baez drove in Ben Zobrist from third with a squeeze bunt, and Middletown-native Kyle Schwarber smacked Castillo’s next pitch into the visitors’ bullpen in left-center field for his team-leading 15thhomer of the season and third in four games.

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The homer was the eighth allowed by Castillo in his last six games and 18thof the season. He went into the game having given up a National League-leading 17 home runs.

The Cubs got runners to first and second with two outs in the sixth, but the left-handed Crockett – promoted from Triple-A Louisville before Thursday’s game – came in to get Schwarber looking to end the inning. Hernandez posted three strikeouts in two perfect relief innings, setting up Raisel Iglesias’s 12thsave in 14 opportunities.

“Castillo did a nice job,” Riggleman said. “In the sixth, we wanted nothing more with Schwarber than to keep him in the ballpark. Crockett was able to come in and strike him out, and that might be as good a two innings from Hernandez this season.”

“We’re a family,” Castillo said of the rejuvenated pitching staff, which has allowed a combined 4.23 earned-run average in June after figures of 5.32 in April and 4.64 in May. “Starters, relievers, we’re all a family. When somebody does good, we’re happy for him. When somebody isn’t as good, we have his back.”

Jose Peraza, who has reached base at least once in 22 consecutive games, started the three-run fifth with a single and stolen base, setting up Votto’s one-out RBI single. Suarez, who extended his career-high hitting streak to 12 games with a first-inning single, followed with a two-run shot to center field, his 16thhomer of the season.

“I put a good swing on a changeup,” Suarez said. “In my first at bat, he threw me a changeup and I rolled it over to the shortstop. After that, I said, ‘I have to be ready for anything.’”

Peraza tied Jesse Winker for Cincinnati’s longest on-base streak of the season. He also stole second base three times, his third one in the ninth setting up Blandino’s RBI single.

The bottom of the Reds order produced a 1-0 lead in the second against Cubs’ starter Jose Quintana (6-6) on Curt Casali’s one-out double, Castillo’s single up the middle – his fifth hit of the season – and Hamilton’s opposite-field single to right, extending his hitting streak to five games.

The Reds went on to load the bases with two outs, but Quintana struck out Votto looking to end the threat.

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Ohio House of Representatives honors Chaminade Julienne baseball team

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 4:09 PM

HIGHLIGHTS: Chaminade Julienne rallies to beat Wapakoneta

The Ohio House of Representatives honored the Chaminade Julienne High School baseball team on Wednesday, 18 days after the Eagles won the program’s first state championship in 48 years.

Chaminade Julienne beat Wapakoneta 3-1 in the title game June 2 at Huntington Park in Columbus.

» CJ COVERAGE: Wissman stars in title game

Jack Huffman, the son of state representative Steve Huffman, R-Tipp City, started for the Eagles. He was the designated hitter during the two state tournament games and drove in a run in a 2-1 victory against Tallmadge in the state semifinals.

Here’s the full text of the resolution honoring the team:

“WHEREAS, Known as a driven and spirited squad, the Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School baseball team has developed into an efficient group of athletes whose skill on the diamond is equaled only by their astounding display of teamwork. Through their rigorous preparation in pursuit of the title, the Eagles admirably overpowered a formidable Wapakoneta squad with a score of 3-1 to win this year’s Division II State Championship crown; and

WHEREAS, Under the astute guidance of Coach Mike Barhorst, the Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School baseball team has set a remarkable precedent with its state championship victory. By collaborating to best a rigorous schedule, the members of the squad have prevailed over numerous adversaries and have learned much about dedication, self-discipline, leadership, and perseverance, and their first-place finish reflects their strong commitment to the sport; and

WHEREAS, The unparalleled achievements attributable to the athletic prowess of the Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School baseball team are a justifiable source of pride not only for its members but also for their families, their coaches, and their community. The journey to securing the state title has been a valuable experience that is sure to benefit the players as they follow in the tradition of excellence that has been established by their school’s athletic programs; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That we, the members of the House of Representatives of the 132nd General Assembly of Ohio, in adopting this Resolution, look with optimism to a promising future for the Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School baseball program and salute the members and coach of the 2018 team on its Division II State Championship; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Clerk of the House of Representatives transmit a duly authenticated copy of this Resolution to the Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School baseball team.

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Dayton Dragons past and present moving up in Reds organization

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 4:41 PM

Dragons OF Stuart Fairchild. The Dragons defeated Lake County 10-9 at Fifth Third Field in Dayton on Thursday, April 12, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Staff Writer
Dragons OF Stuart Fairchild. The Dragons defeated Lake County 10-9 at Fifth Third Field in Dayton on Thursday, April 12, 2018. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF(Staff Writer)

The Dayton Dragons announced a handful of roster moves Thursday as the Cincinnati Reds promoted multiple prospects within the organization. 

Outfielders Stuart Fairchild and Randy Ventura were promoted from Dayton, the Reds’ low Single-A affiliate, to Daytona, their advanced Single-A squad. 

RELATED: Reds make pair of roster moves prior to series with Cubs

The Dragons also added pitchers Tyler Buffett and Dauri Moreta from Billings and outfielder Malik Collymore from Greeneville (Billings and Greeneville are rookie-league affiliates) while activating outfielder Andy Sugilio from the disabled list and pitcher Andrew Jordan from the inactive list. 

Fairchild’s promotion is notable from an overall organization standpoint because he was one of the most highly thought of players the Reds drafted last June. 

According to reports, the Reds also promoted outfielders Jose Siri and T.J. Friedl from Daytona to Double-A Pensacola. 

Siri and Friedl both had outstanding stints for the Dragons last year. 

This season, Friedl hit .294 with three homers, 10 doubles, 35 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 64 games for Daytona. He posted an on-base percentage of .405. 

Siri, who began the season on the disabled list with a thumb injury, played 30 games for Daytona this season and hit .261 with one homer, nine doubles, nine RBIs and nine steals. 

Interestingly, outfielder Taylor Trammell — another 2017 Dragon — has put up better numbers than either of his teammates who were just promoted. 

Trammell is hitting .301 with six homers, 25 RBIs and nine steals. 

Trammell is the team’s No. 3 prospect according to MLB.com, ranking him four spots ahead of Siri. 

Fairchild is No. 10 while Friedl is No. 14. 

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Bengals sign final two draft picks

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 5:11 PM

            Ohio State’s Sam Hubbard practices at AT&T Stadium on Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. David Jablonski/Staff
Ohio State’s Sam Hubbard practices at AT&T Stadium on Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. David Jablonski/Staff

The Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday signed both of their third-round picks, defensive end Sam Hubbard and linebacker Malik Jefferson, to four-year contracts.

The signings mean all 11 picks from the 2018 draft class are under contract.

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Hubbard (6-foot-5, 270 pounds) played in 40 games with 22 starts at Ohio State. He recorded 116 tackles, including 29.5 for loss and 17 sacks. The Cincinnati native (Moeller High School) also had one interception, three passes defended, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Jefferson (6-2, 236) played three seasons at Texas, appearing in 34 games with 30 starts. He registered 233 tackles, including 25.5 for losses and 12 sacks, to go along with six passes defended, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

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As a junior last season, he led the Longhorns with 110 tackles, including 10 for losses and four sacks, and was named Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year, first-team All-Big 12, second-team All-American (AP) and a semifinalist for the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker.

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