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Colleges

USC Aiken closer is on third team

USC Aiken junior closer Taylor Grover is a third-team NCAA Division II All-American, as selected by the American Baseball Coaches Association.

The former Midland Valley player led the Peach Belt Conference with 11 saves and had a 5-0 record with a 0.92 ERA.

• The Southeastern Conference is keeping the number of conference football games at eight.

The head coaches voted 13-1 at the SEC Meetings in Destin, Fla., to stay at eight conference games. The only coach voting for nine conference games was Alabama’s Nick Saban.

• Thanks partly to the growth of social media, the tradition of razzing during the offseason between coaches in the SEC could be headed the way of the wishbone.

Most of the jokes come at annual booster tours, which were basically off-season pep rallies.

“I think it’s sad that you can’t go to your whatever clubs and just have a little fun and get everybody to get a good laugh,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said at the SEC Meetings. “They come to see their coaches and they’re all true-blue Bulldogs or whatever contingent they’re with. If you can’t say anything about anybody else without it becoming a big issue, it makes it less fun.”

• A cause of death was not determined Wednesday after an autopsy on the body of a Michigan man who played Division II football and was one of the most successful quarterbacks in college history.

There was no obvious sign of heart trauma on Cullen Finnerty, Lake County Sheriff Robert Hilts said.

Finnerty’s body was discovered in woods in western Michigan, 65 miles north of Grand Rapids, following a search by dozens of people, including former teammates, coaches and current players at Grand Valley State University.

The 30-year-old was with his relatives on a holiday weekend at a cottage in Lake County’s Webber Township. He disappeared Sunday while fishing a river separately from other relatives.

The autopsy “ruled out anything real obvious,” Hilts said in a phone interview.

• The estate of the late Penn State coach Joe Paterno and several university trustees and former players are planning to sue the NCAA over the landmark sanctions against the university for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, according to a report.

NFL

Pats star in need of back surgery

New England tight end Rob Gronkowski will have back surgery on a disk in mid-June.

Gronkowski will undergo the surgery in June, which means he will miss the rest of offseason training activities with the Patriots. He could return for training camp at the end of July.

• The Tampa Bay Bucs have announced wide receiver Steve Smith has retired from the NFL following an injury-plagued career.

Smith, a former Pro Bowler who helped the New York Giants win a Super Bowl, played six seasons in the league with the Giants, Philadelphia Eagles and St. Louis Rams.

He was signed earlier this off-season by the Bucs as a free agent.

Soccer

Belgium tops US in friendly match

In Cleveland, Christian Benteke scored two goals in the second half and Marouane Fellaini had another, leading Belgium to a 4-2 thrashing of the United States on Wednesday night in an international friendly the Americans hoped would get them ready for upcoming World Cup qualifiers.


Top headlines

Monitor reports worsening Vogtle delays

Scheduling delays for two nuclear reactors under construction at Plant Vogtle are worsening, according to a report from a state-hired construction monitor.
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