Pirates finalize deal with pitcher
PITTSBURGH – Jeff Karstens is staying with the Pittsburgh Pirates, finalizing a $2.5 million, one-year contract on Thursday.
Karstens can earn an additional $1 million in performance bonuses based on innings.
The 30-year-old right-hander was 5-4 with a 3.97 ERA in 15 starts and four relief appearances last year, when he missed time because of separate injuries to a hip, groin and shoulder. He made $3.1 million.
Karstens gives the club insurance after free agent left-hander Francisco Liriano injured his right arm last month, a deal that has led to a two-year contract not being finalized.
Karstens will be joined in spring training by two of the team’s most promising pitchers in former first round picks Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon. Both received invitations to join the team in Bradenton next month to spend some time with the big club.
Cole, the top overall pick in the 2011 first-year player draft, went 9-7 with a 2.80 ERA in 26 minor league starts last year. The 22-year-old right-hander rocketed through the team’s farm system in 2012, beginning the season in Class A and ending it in Triple-A Indianapolis.
Taillon, the second overall pick in the 2010 draft, went 9-8 with a 3.55 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 26 combined starts between Class-A Bradenton and Double-A Altoona in 2012.
The Pirates also signed veteran outfielder/first baseman Brad Hawpe to a minor league contract. The 32-year-old Hawpe has a career .276 batting average with 124 home runs and 490 RBIs in 893 career games. He last played in the majors with San Diego in 2011, when he hit .231 with four home runs and 19 RBIs.
Pacino gets role as Joe Paterno
LOS ANGELES – Al Pacino will play Joe Paterno in a movie about the late Penn State football coach.
Producer Edward R. Pressman confirms Brian De Palma will direct “Happy Valley,” the tentative title of the film, based on Joe Posnanski’s best-seller “Paterno.”
“’Happy Valley’ reunites the ‘Scarface’ and ‘Carlito’s Way’ team of De Palma and Pacino for the third time and I can’t think of a better duo to tell this story of a complex, intensely righteous man who was brought down by his own tragic flaw,” Pressman said in a statement. No start or release dates were given for the film.
While Pressman said the plot remains “under wraps,” Posnanski’s book followed Paterno’s final years, as the winningest coach in college football history saw his career end in disgrace in 2011 with the sex abuse scandal involving assistant Jerry Sandusky.
O’Brien wins Bryant award
HOUSTON – Penn State coach Bill O’Brien won the Paul “Bear” Bryant College Coach of the Year Award on Thursday night.
O’Brien led the Nittany Lions through an 0-2 start and NCAA sanctions to an 8-4 finish in his first season at Penn State.
Other finalists for the award were Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, Kansas State’s Bill Snyder, Stanford’s David Shaw and Vanderbilt’s James Franklin.
Snyder, Sumlin and Shaw were each finalists at the end of last season.
Former Brigham Young coach LaVell Edwards was the ceremony’s other honoree, receiving the Bryan Lifetime Achievement Award given by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
Edwards retired in 2000 with 257 victories, 22 bowl appearances and one national championship in 1984.
Pitt slips past Clemson in OT
Lamar Patterson had a career-high 30 points, including a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left, as Pittsburgh overcome a five-point deficit in the final seconds of regulation and beat Clemson 83-78 in overtime Saturday.
Patterson’s 3 with 3 seconds left cut the Tigers’ lead to 67-65.
Robert Morris holds off St. Francis in NEC
Karvel Anderson and Lucky Jones came up big again for top-seeded Robert Morris, with 21 and 18 points, respectively, but clutch free throws by David Appolon preserved a 60-57 victory over sixth-seeded St. Francis in a Northeast Conference semifinal on Saturday.
The Colonials (21-12) advance to Tuesday’s championship for the fifth time in six years, facing fourth-seeded Mount St. Mary’s (15-16).
Danel helping Falcons to Division III tournament
When Chelsea Danel was a senior at North Star, the Cougars were able to win a District 5-AA basketball title.
Now Danel, a senior at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, is a key contributor on a Falcons’ hoops squad which upset top-seeded Lebanon Valley 53-47 in the Commonwealth Conference championship on Saturday. It was the ninth title for the Falcons in 13 appearances.
Ferndale grad aiding Duquesne women’s hoops
Matt Schmidt was hired as an assistant coach for the Duquesne women’s basketball team in June.
Now the former Ferndale High School standout will have his first opportunity to experience March madness with the Dukes, who are the sixth-seed in the Atlantic 10 Tournament which opened Thursday in Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Va.
Icecats on way to national tournament
The Pitt-Johnstown hockey team needed to overcome some long odds to advance to the ACHA Men’s Division III national championship tournament in Coral Springs, Fla. next week.
- Local Sports Briefs 3-7-14
St. Francis wins NEC quarterfinal
Ronnie Drinnon hit a go-ahead basket and a pair of free throws in the final 48 seconds, scoring a career high 20 points as sixth-seeded St. Francis battled past third-seeded Bryant 55-54 in the Northeast Conference tournament Wednesday night.
St. Francis hasn’t been in the playoffs since the 2010-11 season and scrapped past Bryant (18-14) in a closely fought contest that saw five ties and five lead changes – three in the final 3:37.
Wake Forest beats Pitt in ACC opener
Dearica Hamby finished with 25 points, 16 rebounds, eight assists and two steals as No. 11 seed Wake Forest women beat 14th-seeded Pittsburgh 72-58 in the first round of the ACC tournament on Wednesday night.
Hamby had a tremendous night in notching her school-record 22nd double-double of the season.
UPJ makes day special for young sports fan
The Pitt-Johnstown baseball team made one of the most important signings in the program’s history on Wednesday at the Sports Center.
Johnstown resident Jill Miller signed a letter of intent on behalf of her 4-year-old son Brandon, who is battling Chiari Malformation, a brain ailment that leads to pain throughout the young boy’s body on a daily basis.
Warren leads N.C. State past Pittsburgh
T.J. Warren scored a career-high 41 points and N.C. State surged past Pittsburgh 74-67 on Monday night.
Warren’s eighth 30-point game of the year gave the Wolfpack’s flagging NCAA tournament hopes a needed boost. N.C. State (18-12, 8-9 ACC) won for just the second time in its last six games, riding Warren for much of the second half.
The ACC’s leading scorer made seven straight shots at one point and finished 16 of 22 from the field. His emphatic dunk in the final seconds sealed it.
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- Pitt slips past Clemson in OT