RED SOX- It took all night, but the Red Sox were able to snap their three-game losing streak.
Heading into Comiskey after dropping three out of four to the Yankees in the Bronx, the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox squandered a good start by Jake Peavy against his former team when the White Sox broke a 1-1 deadlock on a 2-out throwing error by Xander Bogaerts in the bottom of the 9th that plated Alexei Ramirez to give the southsiders a 2-1 walkoff win.
Wednesday night's game seemed full of missed opportunities for both teams as the Red Sox took an early 1-0 lead on a Bogaerts RBI single in the first inning. Chicago tied the game in the bottom of the first when Adam Eaton came home from third on a Ryan Robert throwing error to make it 1-1. The Pale Hose would then take a 3-1 lead when Alexei Ramirez belted a 2-run homer off of Clay Buchholz in the bottom of the 6th, but the Red Sox would chip away at that lead.
Boston would get a run back in the bottom of the 8th when Big Papi was walked to lead off the inning and went to second on a walk to Jonny Gomes, then 3rd when Grady Sizemore hit into a fielder's choice. Former White Sox catcher AJ Pierzynski then hit a sac fly deep enough to bring the lumbering Big Papi home to make it 3-2 Chicago. In the 9th, Dustin Pedroia drew a leadoff walk, followed by Bogarts drawing another walk and Big Papi flying out to left. Jonny Gomes then hit an infield single to load the bases before Pedroia came home on a Sizemore sac fly to tie the game before Pierzynsky grounded out to end the inning.
So into extras they went on the South Side, and once again walks would cost the White Sox as Boston took a 4-3 lead in the top of the 11th when Dustin Pedroia came home on a Jonny Gomes sac fly. However, in the bottom half of the 11th and with the White Sox down to their last strike and Jordan Danks on 2nd, Tyler Flowers got a base hit to tie the game at 4-4. Adam Eaton would then fly out to end the ChiSox threat in the bottom of the 11th, so the game continued into the early hours of Thursday morning.
With a depleted White Sox bullpen, Chicago sent out 2B Leury Garcia onto the pitchers mound. Garcia managed to get two out before Daniel Nava and Jonathan Herrera were on board for Jackie Bradley Jr hit a 2-out double to give Boston the lead once again, plating Nava and Herrera and making it a 6-4 Boston lead. After Capuano went 2⅔ innings, Burke Badenhop came out of the bullpen to face the final Chicago batter, striking out Marcus Semien to end the ballgame.
Boston goes on to win this one in 14, despite the fact that Chicago pitching allowed a total of 15 walks and Boston left 28 runners stranded on base- averaging two per inning in Wednesday night's game.
The rubber game is Thursday night with Jon Lester [1-2; 2.57 ERA] going up against Chicago's Chris Sale [3-0; 2.66 ERA]. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 ET and the game will be televised on NESN.
NHL- The Boston Bruins ended the regular season by winning their final two games against Buffalo and New Jersey. The wins mean that Boston has secured the President's Cup Trophy- the NHL's award for the club with the best regular-season record [for point of reference, the Canucks won the President's Cup in the 2010-11 season and the Blackhawks won the honors during the lockout shortened 2013 season -NANESB!].
Under this year's newly-revised NHL playoff structure, the Bruins will face the Red Wings in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with the winner of this series going on to face the winner of the Montreal-Tampa bay Series. The Habs already lead that series 1 game to nothing while the Bruins and Red Wings won't get started until Friday at 7:30 ET from Boston. The Original Six matchup is set to be aired on NESN locally, NBC Sports network nationwide and TSN in Canada.
NCAA HOOPS- Once again, it's been a pretty good week for University of Connecticut basketball. The Men's team faced off against the Kentucky Wildcats in the Men's final last week and led wire-to-wire [although Kentucky would close the gap considerably in the second half- NANESB![ going on to win the national title game by a 54-60 final.
Just days later, in an extremely rare meeting of undefeateds, the UConn women's team faced off against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the NCAA Women's basketball national title game and would go on to win convincingly by a 79-58 final. The University even held a joint parade to celebrate the two national titles. The two championships come 10 years after the last NCAA program to win both men's and women's titles in basketball- which also happened to be Connecticut.
Charlestown, Massachusett's own Shabazz Napier was named the most outstanding player of the 2014 Men's tournament by the NCAA and awarded to Bob Cousey award as the top point guard in the NCAA. Napier- a senior- will enter the NBA draft this season.
NCAA HOCKEY- Sadly, there will be no NCAA Men's hockey title inside the Hub this year. Union, the small upstate New York college just northwest of Albany, made the most of their second Frozen Four appearance since the 2011-2012 season, skating past the Boston College Eagles by a 5-4 final to face the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the National Title Game.
Although Minnesota got out to an early lead, Union took command late in the first period with an explosive two minutes getting goals from Mike Vecchione, Eli Lichtenwald and Daniel Ciampini to give the Dutchmen a 4-2 lead by the first intermission. Minnesota clawed back, getting the only goal of the 3rd from Taylor Cammarata to make it a 1-goal contest, but Union pulled away for good in the 3rd and would go on to win their first ever hockey title.
The Men's hockey title is the first national championship to come to Union since a 1926 Men's Lacrosse title.
OTHER NCAA MEN'S HOCKEY NEWS- Boston College senior Johnny Guardeau was awarded the Hobey Baker trophy this year. The Calgary Flames 4th round pick led the nation in scoring with 80 points in 40 games for Boston College and led in goals (6) and assists (44).