Cardinals try to pull even with Giants
ST. LOUIS, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- St. Louis Cardinals righthander Woody Williams Thursday night makes his first start since Sept. 20 in Game Two of the National League Championship Series against the San Francisco Giants.
After being acquired at the trading deadline in 2001, Williams went 7-1 and helped the Cardinals to the wild card. This season, he was one of several Cardinals who battled injuries and went 9-4 with a 2.53 ERA in 17 starts.
Williams left his last start in the fifth inning with tightness in his side and was left off the team's Division Series roster against Arizona. He will be opposed by Jason Schmidt, who was reached for four runs, three hits, and four walks in 5 1/3 innings of San Francisco's 10-2 loss to Atlanta Saturday in Game Three of the Division Series.
Wednesday, Barry Bonds tripled, walked three times, scored twice and drove in two runs, and catcher Benito Santiago had RBI singles in each of the first two innings and a two-run homer off reliever Mike Crudale in the sixth inning.
The Giants battered Cardinals ace Matt Morris, hammering the 17-game winner for seven runs and 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings. Crudale followed Morris and caused an uproar when he apparently threw a brushback pitch at Kenny Lofton.
Both benches and bullpens emptied and managers Tony La Russa of St. Louis and the Giants' Dusty Baker exchanged heated words before peace was restored. Williams was one of the first players out of the Cardinals' dugout and gets to face Lofton immediately as the veteran centerfielder leads off for the Giants.
The Cardinals hope to become the first team in 10 years to win the NLCS after losing the opener.
"It doesn't mean anything to me, actually," Baker said. "I mean, I've been on some World Series teams that won the first two games and ended up losing four in a row. You've got to take them one win at a time, just like a countdown to the finish line."
Meanwhile, Thursday is an open date in the ALCS, with Minnesota and Anaheim even at a game apiece.
In Game Two Wednesday, Anaheim beat the Twins, 6-3.
That series continues Friday resumes in Anaheim, with the Angels going with 18-game winner Jarrod Washburn, and Minnesota countering with lefthander Eric Milton, who won his only start in the Division Series against Oakland.
Rodriguez makes big donation to Miami
CORAL GABLES, Fla., Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Alex Rodriguez, a former shortstop prospect at the University of Miami, Thursday announced he has made a $3.9 million contribution to the school.
The gift will be used to fund an annual scholarship at the school for a member of the Boys & Girls Club of America as well as to kick off a stadium renovation campaign for the baseball team.
Rodriguez, the highest paid player in baseball history with a 10-year, $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers and a Miami resident, also announced his intention to enroll at the school.
"When I signed my contract with the Seattle Mariners in 1993, there was only one other possible decision I might have made," Rodriguez said. "I could have enrolled at Miami. I chose baseball first, but I always expected, and I promised my mother, I would one day enroll at the university and get my degree. That day has arrived."
Rodriguez signed a scholarship to play baseball for Miami in 1993, but never played for the Hurricanes after being drafted by Seattle.
"Alex has always, in our mind, been a member of the University of Miami baseball family," said Coach Jim Morris. "Now we can say it officially and we are thrilled that he has given us the means to begin renovating the great ballpark. Too bad he can't play shortstop for us."
The gift to the stadium renovation campaign represents the largest contribution ever to the school's baseball program. The university has decided to name the facility Alex Rodriguez Park when construction is completed.
Boston College tries to ambush Hokies
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass., Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Virginia Tech Thursday night will try to start a season 6-0 for the fifth straight year when it visits Chestnut Hill, Mass., to face Boston College in its Big East Conference opener.
The Hokies already have beaten tough foes this campaign, including defending SEC champions LSU, Texas A&M, and Marshall with highly-regarded quarterback Byron Leftwich.
Virginia Tech has not played since a 30-0 rout of Western Michigan on Sept. 28.
The Hokies rely on the rushing tandem of Lee Suggs and Kevin Jones, who have combined for 13 touchdowns. It marked the 18th straight game that Suggs has started in which he has scored a touchdown.
Bryan Randall has emerged as an efficient if unspectacular quarterback for the Hokies, completing 66.7 percent of his passes for just 527 yards in five games.
The Hokies will be without kicker Carter Wiley, who is bothered by lower back pain.
Boston College (3-1, 0-1), which lost its Big East Conference opener to Miami on Sept. 21, also was off last week.
Brian St. Pierre threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns in a 43-0 win over Central Michigan on Sept. 28, the Eagles' first shutout in 81 games.
St. Pierre will try to get things started against a Hokies defense that has allowed just three points in the first half all season. The Hokies already have 17 sacks.
The Eagles have lost six straight games to Virginia Tech, including a 34-20 setback last season in which the Hokies jumped out to a 34-0 lead and held Boston College to 58 rushing yards.
The last win for BC in the series was in 1995 in Blacksburg, Va.
Report: Oakley to sign with Wizards
WILIMNGTON, N.C., Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Charles Oakley, who started his pro career with Michael Jordan in Chicago, is about to sign a one-year deal to rejoin Jordan in Washington with the Wizards.
The Oakley signing was reported Thursday by the Washington Post. The paper said Oakley will sign a one-year, $1 million contract by the end of the week.
The reported signing also would reunite him with Wizards assistant coach Patrick Ewing, who played alongside Oakley for 10 years with the New York Knicks.
Washington has been seeking to add toughness to its front line and is hoping Oakley fills the bill. However, he turns 39 in December and is coming off the worst season of his 17-year career.
The 6-9, 245-pounder averaged 12.2 points and 11.6 rebounds as a teammate of Jordan for three seasons. The Bulls traded their enforcer to the Knicks in June 1988 for center Bill Cartwright two full seasons before Jordan won his first of six NBA titles.
Oakley spent a decade with Ewing in New York, averaging 10.5 points and 10.0 rebounds per contest, and made one appearance in the NBA Finals.
The Knicks traded Oakley to the Toronto Raptors in June 1998 for center Marcus Camby. In three years with the Raptors, his production decreased to 7.8 points and 7.9 rebounds.
Oakley was traded back to Chicago last season, but played in just 57 games because of an assortment of injuries, and averaged career-lows of 3.8 points and 6.0 rebounds.
Lewis is doubtful for Ravens
OWINGS MILLS, Md., Oct. 10 (UPI) -- All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis, who has not missed a start in his four-year career with the Baltimore Ravens, likely will do just that Sunday against the Ravens play at Indianapolis.
After Lewis missed practice Wednesday, a team official said "it's a long-shot."
Lewis is still in pain after suffering a partial dislocated left shoulder Sunday night against the Cleveland Browns. Being listed as doubtful means there's a 75 percent likelihood that he will not play.
"I'm never prepared to play without Ray, but we have to," said Coach Brian Billick, who's holding Lewis out of practice until Friday at the earliest. "If (Colts Coach Tony Dungy) were any kind sport, he'd put Peyton (Manning) down. Fair's fair. But I don't think Tony's going to do that."
Billick said that, should Lewis miss his first start since 1998, it will provide his team, the youngest in the NFL, another big challenge for the Ravens. Over the past two weeks, their 18 rookies have gone from winless to first place in the AFC North, thanks to primetime victories over the Broncos and Browns.
"We're going to see how this team responds," Billick said. "If indeed Ray can't go, how this team's going to respond to that? How great would that be for this team and the expectations that were brought in for this team, to now, for the third straight game, step up, now on the road, under those circumstances, and come away with a win? Boy, that would be huge."
Lewis leads the team in tackles with 69, almost double the team's No. 2 tackler, interceptions (two), and fumble recoveries (one).
Linebacker is one of the Ravens' deepest positions, which gives Billick several options. Veterans Bernardo Harris and Cornell Brown and rookie Bart Scott could all see time at Lewis' post.
Last season, Lewis missed two weeks of practice with an infection in his elbow and never skipped a game.
"Knowing Ray, I think he'll be out there," said outside linebacker Peter Boulware, who has played with a separated shoulder. "We've talked about it. I told him he'll be able to work through it and be able to play."
"I feel I'm prepared to do whatever's needed for this team to win and whatever they want me to do, I'm willing to do," said Brown, who started at outside linebacker in the Cleveland game. "Playing inside is something I've done before, so it's not that big of a change."
Harris joined the Ravens during training camp after spending seven years with the Green Bay Packers, six as a starter. He said this week will certainly be an adjustment after preparing for special teams play last week.
"I feel like I'm ready," said Harris. "It's my chance to go out there and make something happen."
Ochs transfer to Montana confirmed
MISSOULA, Mont., Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Craig Ochs, who decided last month to leave the football program at Colorado, will indeed transfer to Montana, but will redshirt this season.
At the time of his decision to relocate, he still was pondering whether or not to play again this fall after being sidelined again with the concussion he suffered on Sept. 7 against San Diego State.
It was his fourth known concussion overall and third in 13 months.
Because Montana is a 1-AA program, a level below Colorado, Ochs could have played again this season without sitting out a year, as transfers are required to do under NCAA guidelines.
According to a report Thursday in the Denver Post, Ochs had thought about transferring to the University of Washington to play for Coach Rick Neuheisel, who recruited him while at Boulder.
"Craig Ochs has told (Montana) Coach (Joe) Glenn that he plans to enroll here next semester," Montana Sports Information Director Dave Guffey told the paper.
"He called and verbally committed to the University of Montana," Glenn told The Missoulian. "His intent is to register immediately and enroll in classes in January."
Guffey said Glenn was instructed by his school's Compliance Officer not to comment further on the matter. Ochs will not sign a national letter of intent at Montana, since players are only allowed to sign one during their NCAA careers.
Ochs has petitioned the NCAA for a medical redshirt. If granted, he'll have two seasons of eligibility remaining.
This season at Colorado, Ochs, who started 16 games for the Buffaloes over the past two years, Ochs completed 21-of-42 passes for 327 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Ochs had a strained relationship with Barnett for quite awhile.
Reports indicate part of Ochs' unhappiness at Colorado was with the philosophy of Coach Gary Barnett. That might have been linked to his not being medically cleared to continue his football career this season after his latest injury.
The defending 1-AA national champion Grizzlies are 5-0, and have a 19-game winning streak, dating back to last year. Currently, they are the division's top-ranked team.
Montana plays at Weber State on Oct. 12.
Stars place Arnott on injured reserve
DALLAS, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- The Dallas Stars Thursday placed center Jason Arnott on injured reserve with a sprained right ankle. They said he will be out of the lineup 10-14 days.
Arnott suffered the injury when he was taken down awkwardly by center Vaclav Nedorost in the first period of Wednesday's 1-1 tie with the Colorado Avalanche.
Arnott, 27, was acquired from the New Jersey Devils last March. He had three goals and an assist in seven games for the Stars, and had four goals and an assist in five preseason games.
The first-round pick of the Edmonton Oilers in 1993 has 200 goals and 264 assists in 599 career games.
To take Arnott's roster spot, the Stars recalled right wing Jon Sim from Utah of the American Hockey League. The 25-year-old Sim scored four goals in the preseason with Dallas.