Oakland walks all over Cardinals, completes sweep of two-game series

OAKLAND, Calif. — Regardless of what team appears on their schedule for tomorrow or who the box score shows they faced yesterday, Cardinals manager Mike Shildt repeatedly has said this season that his team’s opponent, day in and day out, does not change.

Here’s a link to the story at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Cards’ depth decreases, so does wiggle room

While musing about the exasperating state of his team heading into the All-Star break, Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein noted that executives are performers, too.

Here’s a link to the column at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Comeback looks unlikely as Ankiel nears what agent Boras calls ‘decision time’

CLEVELAND — The comeback idea, hatched almost a year ago when he returned to the mound on a lark, has likely ended for Rick Ankiel before it could truly start this summer.

Here’s a link to the story at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Silver: NBA ‘can do a better job’ on free agency, rules

LAS VEGAS — The NBA knows its rules about when teams can negotiate with free agents are not being followed.

Here’s a link to the story at the Southern Illinoisan.

AL holds off NL for 4-3 win in All-Star Game

CLEVELAND — Justin Verlander, Shane Bieber and the American League pitchers plugged power back into the mound.
Here’s a link to the story at the Southern Illinoisan.

Baez homers, Cubs win; Alonso sets Mets mark for rookie HRs

CHICAGO — Javier Baez hit a milestone homer to win a game after Pete Alonso went deep once again to set a team record.

Here’s a link to the story at the Southern Illinoisan.

The party’s over: Cards fall short as Angels win finale of Pujols-fest

In the last inning of what could be his last game in St. Louis, Albert Pujols was due up fourth and the three Angels ahead of him of course reached base so that his last at-bat in a ballpark he called home came with the bases loaded.

Here’s a link to the story at St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Salukis use last basketball scholarship to sign Nebraska transfer guard

CARBONDALE, Ill. — With its last available scholarship for the 2019-20 season, Southern Illinois signed Nebraska transfer guard Karrington Davis on Thursday, the final addition to an eight-man Spring recruiting haul under new head coach Bryan Mullins.

A 6-foot-6, 215-pound wing from St. Louis, Mo., Karrington will be a redshirt freshman at SIU this Fall. He missed the 2018-19 season after sustaining a torn Achilles tendon during October workouts seven months ago.

“Karrington is another proven winner that we were able to add to this spring class that is full of players who won state championships or went to NCAA Tournaments,” Mullins said. “He is coming here extremely motivated and eager to show how he is capable of playing. He has tremendous versatility and will impact the game in many ways.”

During his senior year of high school, Davis played for the nation’s No. 1-ranked team — Montverde Academy (Fla.) and contributed to a 35-0 season. He battled a hip injury for a portion of his senior year, but was one of nine Division I signees on the Montverde roster, a group that included Duke’s RJ Barrett, the No. 1 player in the class of 2018.

“I was injured during my senior year at Montverde, and then again last season, so I haven’t really had a chance to show my full potential,” Davis said. “God has a plan for me and I know that I’ll be back better than ever. I’m really motivated and excited to prove what I can do, and show people how good I am as a person and a player.”

A 3-star recruit with offers from Kansas State and Saint Louis, Karrington played two seasons at Chaminade Prep in St. Louis where the school went a combined 51-12 and won the Class 5 state title in 2016. As a junior Davis averaged 19 points and six rebounds per game and was a First-Team All-State selection by the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association. His teammates included 2017 NBA first-round draft pick Jason Tatum and Iowa forward Tyler Cook.

“I love going against top competition, testing myself and getting better every day,” Davis said. “Finding your role on a talented team is really important, whether it’s defense or rebounding or scoring. A lot of people think scoring is the biggest role, but there are a lot of different roles on the court you can play to help a team win.

Davis is the fifth Division I transfer to join the Salukis this spring, along with Northwestern center Barrett Benson, Eastern Illinois guard Ben Harvey, Clemson forward Malik William and Missouri guard Ronnie Suggs. The new-look Salukis will also feature junior college transfer guard Harwin Francois (Daytona State) and three true freshmen — guard Lance Jones (Evanston HS), guard Trent Brown (Pinnacle HS) and forward Marcus Domask (Waupun HS).

SIU returns four players from last year’s squad that finished 17-15 — senior guards Aaron Cookand Eric McGill, junior forward Brendon Gooch and redshirt freshman forward Sekou Dembele.

Lance Rhodes announced as Saluki baseball head coach

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Director of Athletics Jerry Kill announced that Missouri assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Lance Rhodes has been named the eighth head coach in the history of the Saluki Baseball program.

“This is a big day for our baseball program,” SIU Director of Athletics Jerry Kill said. “We landed a proven guy and a great fit in Lance Rhodes. You talk to a lot of candidates who have specialized, but he has coached everything in baseball. He has done it all. In the hierarchy of young coaches, he was one of the most sought-after assistants in the country. He brings a lot of things to the table, but the No. 1 thing: He can flat-out recruit. That’s a big part of being successful, and he’s had great success at every place he’s been.”

“My family and I are beyond excited to join SIU and the Carbondale community, and I want to thank Coach Kill for entrusting me with this storied program,” Rhodes said. “Our staff will be dedicated to student-athlete success academically, socially and athletically. Our program will be committed to disciplined thoughts and actions in our pursuit of Missouri Valley Conference championships.”

Rhodes (age 34) has led turnarounds at Southeast Missouri and Missouri in the last seven years. After Rhodes arrived at SEMO in 2013 with head coach Steve Bieser, the Redhawks won three-straight Ohio Valley Conference championships from 2014-16, culminating in an OVC Tournament championship and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2016. In Rhodes’ final three years in Cape Girardeau, SEMO went 112-64 (.636) overall and 67-23 (.744) in the OVC. Three of SEMO’s five 35+ win seasons all-time came under Rhodes, including a school-record 39 wins in 2016.

In Rhodes first season at Mizzou in 2017, the Tigers won 36 games, the most for the program since 2008. In Rhodes’ three seasons at Mizzou, the Tigers won at least 34 games each year, the most for the program over a three-year span since 2006-08. Mizzou also won 39 total SEC games in that span, the most successful conference stretch since it joined the SEC prior to the 2013 season. Mizzou earned spots in the national top-25 polls every season, reaching as high as No. 18 nationally in 2018.

A proven recruiter, Rhodes has earned national recognition for his recruiting classes at Mizzou, pulling in top-35 ranked classes in each of his three seasons. His 2019 recruiting class was ranked No. 17 in the nation by Collegiate Baseball.

Rhodes has also developed that talent into highly successful players, coaching three OVC Pitchers of the Year, two conference players of the year, 28 MLB draft picks, two Freshman All-Americans and two Academic All-Americans — all in the last 10 years.

He has worked with both pitchers and hitters and seen dramatic improvements in both. While Rhodes served as pitching coach at SEMO, the Redhawks the OVC in opponent batting average twice (2015, 16), strikeouts (2015), walks allowed (2016), wins (2016), and double plays three times (2013, 14, 15). When Rhodes flipped to working with hitters at Mizzou, the Tigers saw dramatic jumps in batting average (by 13 points), home runs (by 21), doubles (by 22), slugging percentage (by 53 points), walks (by 42), on-base percentage (by 15 points), stolen bases (by 12) and fielding percentage.

Rhodes played at Saint Louis (2005-06) and Southeast Missouri (2007-08) and earned his bachelor’s degree from SEMO in 2008. He earned a master’s degree from Emporia State in 2010.

Rhodes and his wife, Brittney, have three sons, Max, Cooper and Hank.

Rhodes agreed to a five-year contract worth $130,000 annually.

Column: You can always go back home again

CARBONDALE — The jury is still out for Patrick Ewing’s return to Georgetown, Penny Hardaway’s run at Memphis and the impending Juwan Howard era at Michigan, but for every Eddie Jordan, Chris Mullin and Marty Simmons, there is a Jim Boeheim, Roy Williams and Matt Painter.

Here’s a link to the column at the Southern Illinoisan.

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