In Sports from United Press International

July 24, 2002 at 3:15 PM
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LSU baseball star found dead

BATON ROUGE, La., July 24 (UPI) -- Wally Pontiff, a third baseman on the Louisiana State baseball team who was drafted by the Oakland Athletics last month, was found dead Wednesday

morning. He was 21.

An LSU spokesman did not know the cause of death, but said that Pontiff was found by family members in his home in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans.

Pontiff was a member of the All-Southeastern Conference second team this spring, batting .339 with six homers and 46 RBI. He was drafted by Oakland in the 21st round last month, but said he would return to LSU this fall for his senior season.

Bikers rest up for next tour leg

LA PLAGNE, France -- American Lance Armstrong's lead is getting bigger as he moves closer to his fourth straight Tour de France title.

The riders took the day off before embarking Thursday on the 17th stage of the world's most prestigious cycling race.

Armstrong widened his overall lead to five minutes, six seconds while Michael Boogerd of The Netherlands won the 16th stage Wednesday.

The 30-year-old Texan finished third in Wednesday's 111-mile stage from Les Deux-Alpes to La Plagne, finishing ahead of his nearest challenger, Spain's Joseba Beloki, and boosting his overall advantage by 45 seconds.

Thursday's stage is an 88.234-mile race from Aime to Cluses. The Tour finishes Sunday on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

Canadiens sign Komisarek to 3-year pact

MONTREAL, July 24 (UPI) -- Defenseman Mike Komisarek, the highest American-born player selected in the 2001 draft, signed a three-year contract with the Montreal Canadiens Wednesday.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

The 20-year-old Komisarek was the seventh overall choice in the 2001 draft. He completed his sophomore season at the University of Michigan in 2001-02, collecting 30 points in 39 games and helping the Wolverines reach the NCAA "Frozen Four."

A native of West Islip, New York, Komisarek was a member of Team USA at the World Junior Championships in 2001 and 2002.

Top-seed Haas upset, Agassi wins

LOS ANGELES, July 24 (UPI) -- Tommy Haas' return to the court was a brief one.

The top-seeded Haas suffered a stunning 6-4, 6-4 loss to American teenage qualifier Alex Bogomolov Jr. on Tuesday night in the first round of the $375,000 Mercedes-Benz Cup.

Haas was playing for the first time since the French Open. He spent some time with his parents in Florida and native Germany while they were recovering from serious injuries suffered in a motorbike accident.

Haas' early exit from the tournament that begins the American hardcourt season leading to the U.S. Open clears the way for a number of players, including Andre Agassi.

The defending champion and second seed, Agassi routed Kenneth Carlsen of Denmark, 6-3, 6-1, in the first round. The 32-year-old Las Vegas native won here in 1998 and last year, when he defeated fellow American Pete Sampras.

Kurnikova in rare win at Stanford

STANFORD, Calif., July 24 (UPI) -- For the first time in month, Anna Kournikova gave the tennis world something to talk about besides looks and losses.

Kournikova posted her biggest win of a bad season, stunning eighth-seeded Anna Smashnova of Israel in straight sets Tuesday in the first round of Bank of the West Classic.

Elsewhere, defending champion Kim Clijsters had no problem with her first match, which was more than Belgian compatriot Justine Henin could say.

The sixth-seeded Henin found the hard surface extremely difficult as she was bounced out of the first round by American qualifier Marissa Irvin.

Clijsters, who received a first-round bye, began her quest for her eighth Sanex WTA Tour singles title with a 7-5, 6-2 victory over American Meilen Tu.

Leiter expected to stay with Mets

NEW YORK, July 24 (UPI) -- Veteran lefthander Al Leiter apparently has agreed to a contract extension and will remain with the New York Mets.

The Mets have called a news conference for later Wednesday.

The 36-year-old Leiter is in the final year of a four-year contract that will pay him $9.25 million this season and is scheduled to be a free agent after the season. His name has been mentioned in trade rumors in recent weeks.

Indians put Murray on DL

CLEVELAND, July 24 (UPI) -- The Cleveland Indians Wednesday placed lefthanded reliever Heath Murray on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Monday, with inflammation in his left shoulder.

Murray has battled shoulder soreness for the last few weeks,allowing a run in each of his last four appearances. In nine outings with the Tribe, Murray is 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA.


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