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SPORTS

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 9, 2011

SPORTS SHORTS >>

College sports in a nutshell

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Rugby smashes visiting Broncos Kevin Augustine STAFF WRITER

Chico State’s Student Athletics Advisory Committee helped raise $5,000 over the past three years to help a child in need someday, and that day has finally come. Nine-year-old Mason has muscular dystrophy and with the help of the Make a Wish Foundation, Mason will be flying down to appear on the show “Yo Gabba Gabba,” a favorite of his. He was presented with the check at a recent basketball game. source: GOCCAA.org

Butler University, the surprise runner-up in last year’s NCAA Tourney, is now most likely out of the chase for a berth into March Madness, barring a miracle run through the Horizon Conference Tournament. Butler recently lost to Youngstown State, a team with an 8-15 record. The Bulldogs are 15-9 this season, with a 7-5 record in Horizon Conference play. Source: ESPN.com

No. 1 Ohio State is still unbeaten in Division I men’s basketball, after Jared Sullinger and company cruised to victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers, to improve to 24-0 on the season. Ohio State has been No. 1 in the Associated Press poll for a month and are eight more games away from an undefeated season. The win over Minnesota was Ohio State’s 12th in a row on the road in the Big 10. Minnesota has last three straight, dropping them out of the Top 25. Source: Yahoo.com - Compiled by Blake Mehigan

The wind wasn’t the only thing doing the whipping on Chico State’s rugby pitch this past weekend. The Chico State men’s rugby team started the homestretch of their 2011 season by blowing out Santa Clara University, 67-22. Junior outside-back Michael Deel scored four tries and senior halfback Mike Keane, facing those strong winds throughout, went 7-10 on conversions to lift the Wildcats back to 2-2 on the year and within Division I contention. The wind didn’t bend the Wildcats’ temperament, though. Chico State head coach Mitch Jagoe thinks despite the offensive gusto, the focus might have floated away, he said. “It’s good to get the first

We’re a lot better team than we showed today.

BEN FISHER Senior halfback

of two home games under our belt,” Jagoe said. “We still have a lot of work to do. Defensively we were sloppy and lost focus in the second half.” The Wildcats hit the pitch early on offense, setting a tone aided by Deel’s three tries that kept the Broncos scoreless for most of the first half. An offside penalty was called on the ’Cats that gave the Broncos an opportunity for a kick at goal and points on the board to end the half. When success comes early, things tend to get away from fundamentals and detail, Jagoe said.

THE ORION • KYLE EMERY

TURN AND BURN Chico State rugby player Zeke Sulzen stretches and scores a try against Santa Clara in a Feb. 5 victory. The Wildcats won by a lopsided score of 67-22, and now have two games remaining. The final home game will be April 2 against Sacramento State. “We’re up 19-0 then we cause a dumb penalty off a play we know we shouldn’t make,” Jagoe said. “After that, we didn’t come at them hard and fast enough defensively and that was the start of the situation.” The second half showcased more offensive grit by the ’Cats, as multiple players scored to aid an already comfortable lead. Senior halfback Ben Fisher thinks the advantage

may have been a little too comfortable. “Our backline was really good, had great hands and showed solid composure,” Fisher said. “We were doing great on offense but near the end our defense gave in to being tired and lazy.” The Broncos scored all of their tries in the second half, breaking through a defense that kept them out of the try zone for most of the game. “We’re a lot better team than

we showed today,” Fisher said. “We got complacent and weren’t showing up the way we should have in the second half.” Senior fullback Mike Villalobos, who broke through multiple tackles and scored a try in the second half, shared similar sentiments. “We got a little lackadaisical and lazy,” Villalobos said. “But that just comes with getting in the groove of an 80-minute season match as opposed to 60-minute

tournament style that we’ve been used to.” The Wildcats will look to continue riding the win’s momentum as they aim for a tough victory against Stanford this Saturday. “Stanford is going to be a nail-biter,” Villalobos said. “We just need to tune it up, keep moving forward and maintain focus.” Kevin Augustine can be reached at kaugustine@theorion.com

’Cats’ bats dominate in opener

GET DOWN! Wildcats’ shortstop TJ Yasuhara slides into home safely in game two of Feb. 5’s doubleheader sweep over Simpson University. The junior from Hilo, Hawaii, had two hits on the day with a double and a run scored. Chico State scored a whopping 27 runs in two games.

Gina Pence STAFF WRITER

wildcat of the Week

Sam Baker Softball

It’s tough to make a better first impression than Sam Baker did at the Best of the West Invitational Saturday and Sunday in Turlock. The Wildcat pitcher, a junior transfer from Sierra College, tossed three complete games, including two shutouts, earning three wins and striking out 32. Baker dominated batters from Dominican, San Francisco State and Sonoma State. Baker, of Reno, Nev., is an agricultural business major. Wildcat of the Week is a regular feature meant to acknowledge the contributions made by individuals to the team. Winners are chosen by The Orion sports staff, with all sports in consideration. Photo courtesy of Chico State Sports Information.

The Chico State baseball team opened their 2011 season Saturday by crushing Simpson University in a doubleheader sweep, scoring 27 runs on the day. The first game was no pitcher’s duel as both teams were tied at nine runs by the end of the fourth inning. The ’Cats kept the RedHawks grounded for the rest of the game and clawed their way to 12 more runs for a 21-9 victory. The opening game can be a useful indicator of the team’s ability to perform together, said head coach Dave Taylor. “You really don’t know how it’s going to be,” Taylor said. “You play each other all fall and three weeks in January and it’s tough to evaluate your team against each other. To play against another dugout was important for us, and we’ll have a good feeling going into our first conference weekend.” The highlight of the first game came in the bottom of the eighth inning, when senior second baseman Jackson Evans earned his second triple of the game — a Chico State single-game record. Evans scored three runs in the first game and another in the second. The senior transfer from Vancouver, Wash., also had seven RBIs.

THE ORION • KYLE EMERY

“He had a big game and we look for him to be a leader on the field and off,” Taylor said. “He stepped up today and showed us what he was capable of doing.” Catcher Ben Manlove, sophomore recording arts major, belted his first home run of the season in the bottom of the fifth inning, which gave the Wildcats a 10-9 lead. The ’Cats then went on to score 11 unanswered runs to seal the victory. The second game wasn’t as lopsided, however, as both teams battled hard until the Wildcats prevailed 6-2. “It was good that the second

game was more of a dogfight, so we could know what it’s like to really come down and battle back to get another victory,” Manlove said. The victory proved teamwork won’t be an issue with the ’Cats this season, he said. “We get along great in the dugout, in the locker room, which is going to be big in the rest of the season,” Manlove said. Junior pitcher Jordan Lindebaum only allowed three hits in the fi rst game in a relief appearance, but stressed the importance of not underestimating any team. “They had some good pitchers,

they had some guys that can swing it and as we found out in our first game, if you leave the ball up, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing,” he said. The Wildcats were more controlled in the second game, as their defense held the RedHawks to just two runs. “Our pitchers figured out that it needs to be slowed down a little bit, especially with the winds blowing as hard as they did — you can’t leave the ball up like we did,” Lindebaum said. Freshman Nick Baker pitched his fi rst game as a Wildcat in the second contest. Baker is a righty and a

business major from La Quinta, which is just outside Palm Springs. “I wasn’t expecting so many people but it was a pretty big crowd,” he said. “I was a little nervous at fi rst, but I did what I normally do, and it seemed to work.” Next, the ’Cats face Cal Poly Pomona at 2 p.m., Feb. 18, on the road. Despite their opening wins, things are about get a lot more meaningful, as the ’Cats embark on conference play. Gina Pence can be reached at gpence@theorion.com

STAT ’CAT >> MEN’S BASKETBALL

14

The number of winless years in a row that men’s basketball had in Rohnert Park until Feb. 3. Head coach Greg Clink’s crew broke a Sonoma State spell that had lasted since 1997.

BASEBALL

21

The amount of runs that Wildcat baseball scored in its opening game against Simpson University Saturday.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

20

The turnaround in points for women’s basketball against Humboldt State in a frustrating loss Saturday in Arcata. Chico led 37-33 at half.

The Orion  

Chico State's independent newspaper

The Orion  

Chico State's independent newspaper

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