Pitchers carry Jackets to win
Three Augusta pitchers combined for a shutout as the GreenJackets blanked the Greensboro Grasshoppers 4-0 on Friday at Lake Olmstead Stadium to improve their South Atlantic League playoff hopes.
Starter Danny Sandbrink went four innings, Steven Neff pitched three innings and Christopher Marlowe went the final two.
The victory, coupled with Rome’s 6-2 loss to Savannah, moved Augusta to within 4½ games of the front-running Braves with nine games left.
Shawn Payne, Jose Flores and Jesus Galindo had RBI for the GreenJackets.
Senior champion will be crowned
Whatever happens in this weekend’s final regular season Regions Bank Amateur Series tournament, there will be a first-time senior player of the year.
After eight events, it has come down to North Augusta’s Glen Hurt and Frank Perry, of Fayetteville, Ga., for the Boone Knox senior player of the year award.
Neither Hurt nor Perry have ever won the senior player of the year title, which has been dominated by Kenny Larry, who has been player of the year four of the previous five years. Larry is out of the running with 170 points, which is fifth in the points standings.
Hurt, with 277 points, carries a 51-point lead over Perry into the Gordon Lakes Ping Regions Invitational, which begins today.
Players earn points for top-20 finishes in the tournament, ranging from 75 for a win, 50 for second, 40 for third, 30 for fourth, 25 for fifth on down to 1 point for 20th place.
Hurt will be player of the year if he finishes fifth or better, even if Perry wins. In that scenario, Hurt would finish with 302 points to 301 for Perry.
North Augusta’s Jeff Pope has already wrapped up the regular division player of the year title with a series record 450 points.
Pacers third in preseason poll
USC Aiken is third and Augusta State fourth in the in the Peach Belt Conference preseason volleyball coaches poll.
The Pacers of USC Aiken received a total of 31 votes to sit just behind Armstrong Atlantic State and Flagler, who both tied for the top spot with 46 points each. Augusta State had 29 points.
USC Aiken finished the 2011 season with a 15-16 record, 7-7 in the conference and concluded the regular season ranked 10th in the final NCAA Division II Southeast Region Poll.
USC Aiken and Augusta State open their seasons on the road on Aug. 31. The Pacers meet Mount Olive in the Francis Marion Tournament and the Jaguars take on Catawba in the Armstrong Atlantic State Tournament.
Champ is forced to retire in semis
In New Haven, Conn., Caroline Wozniacki’s 20-match winning streak in New Haven ended Friday when the four-time defending champion retired from her semifinal match with Maria Kirilenko with a knee injury.
Majerus taking leave of absence
Saint Louis basketball coach Rick Majerus is taking a leave of absence for at least the upcoming season.
The university said Friday that assistant coach Jim Crews will direct the team as interim coach, and that a decision hasn’t been made for the 2013-14 season.
– From staff, wire reports