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Baseball

Jags open season on a winning note

Augusta State began its 2007 season with a 7-1 victory over Carson-Newman on Friday at Lake Olmstead Stadium.

Senior right-hander Trey Williams struck out six batters and gave up one run in eight innings of work for Augusta. Freshman Kyle Payne pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

Junior first baseman Kevin Owens went 4-for-4 for the Jaguars and drove in three runs.

The teams meet at noon today at Lake Olmstead Stadium in the first game of a doubleheader.

- In Aiken, Lincoln Memorial spoiled USC Aiken's season-opener, blanking the Pacers 10-0 behind Joe Workman.

Workman went the distance, allowing six hits as the Railsplitters ended USC Aiken's 18-game regular season, non-conference winning streak.

Lincoln Memorial, of Harrogate, Tenn., struck for five runs in the seventh inning to break open the game.

Darryl Pui and Matt Spivey had two hits each to lead the Pacers.

Lincoln Memorial, which is a first-year member of the South Atlantic Conference, plays at USC Aiken today and Sunday in 1 p.m. games.

- American League MVP Justin Morneau agreed to a $4.5 million, one-year contract with the Minnesota Twins, who also settled their salary arbitration cases with third baseman Nick Punto and outfielder Lew Ford.

Punto agreed to a $4.2 million, two-year contract, and Ford got a $985,000, one-year deal.

Morneau, a 25-year-old first baseman, hit .321 last year with 34 homers and 130 RBI and won the MVP award by 14 points over New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.

Morneau's agreement was at the midpoint between the $5 million he had asked for and the $4 million the Twins had offered.

Punto hit .290 with 47 RBI and 17 steals for the AL Central champions.

Ford was a backup last year who hit .226 with 18 RBI in 234 at-bats.

- First baseman Adam LaRoche avoided a salary arbitration hearing with his new club, agreeing to a $3.2 million, one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

LaRoche, in his first year of arbitration eligibility, had sought $3.7 million from his former club while the Braves offered $2.8 million. LaRoche made $420,000 last season.

After both sides filed their figures in January, the Braves dealt LaRoche to Pittsburgh for left-handed reliever Mike Gonzalez in a Jan. 17 deal that also included two minor leaguers.

Golf

U.S. Women's Open to alter its playoff

The U.S. Women's Open will use a three-hole playoff format starting this year, leaving the U.S. Open as the only major championship with an 18-hole playoff.

"This makes sense for the players, fans, volunteers, vendors, the general media and our broadcast partners regarding the Women's Open," USGA president Walter Driver said.

Tennis

USC Aiken teams are easy winners

In Aiken, the USC Aiken teams opened their seasons with easy victories over Queen's University of Charlotte.

The men won 8-1 and the women prevailed 7-2.

In men's singles, the USC Aiken winners were Bruno Seves, Pierre Negri, Edward Horne, Christopher Kaetz and Wyatt Boylston. The Pacers swept the doubles matches behind the teams of Dagoberto Darezzo-Horne, Negri-Boylston and Seves-Kaetz.

The USC Aiken women also won the three doubles matches behind Mayra Kaefer-Maria Soledad Angel and Elly Toth-Mathilde Grenet.

The Lady Pacers' singles winners were Kaefer, Angel, Marianne Blattes and Brittany Telford.

- In Zagreb, Croatia, defending champion Ivan Ljubicic defeated Thomas Johansson of Sweden 7-6 (8), 6-7 (8), 7-6 (4) to advance to the semifinals of the Zagreb Open.

Ljubicic served 28 aces but hampered himself with careless shots from the baseline and at the net.

Ljubicic faces fourth-seeded Mikhail Youzhny in the semifinals next.


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