Arizona, UCLA look to stay ahead of schedule


Arizona, UCLA look to stay ahead of schedule

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) Brett Hundley's father was a running back at Arizona in the 1980s, and his son grew up a huge Wildcats fan.

So what happened to all of that Wildcats gear when the quarterback committed to UCLA?

``Everything I used to do sort of went in the trash,'' Hundley said with a grin.

Hundley has been looking forward to Arizona's visit to the Rose Bowl on Saturday for his own reasons, but the elevated stakes make it even more enticing.

No. 25 UCLA (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12) hosts the 24th-ranked Wildcats (5-3, 2-3) in a key game for two programs with first-year head coaches hoping to keep their rebuilding projects ahead of schedule. UCLA coach Jim Mora's defense will have a compelling matchup with Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez's spread offense, matching strength against strength for two teams looking to burnish their national reputations after thrilling victories last week.

``We just need to keep winning,'' Arizona quarterback Matt Scott said. ``We can lose respect really easy by losing a couple games here or there, so we just want to keep going, keep fighting, and try to get W's. If we can do that, we'll keep getting respect.''

Arizona has won five straight over UCLA, but both teams say there are no lingering hard feelings from the Wildcats' 48-12 win last season in Tucson. That game featured a bench-clearing brawl that led to multiple Bruins suspensions and precipitated coach Rick Neuheisel's departure.

It's all forgotten now for Arizona and UCLA as they build on strong starts. While the Wildcats ride momentum from last week's win over Southern California, the Bruins are bowl-eligible with designs on a Pac-12 South title run after beating Arizona State on a field goal at the gun, extending the school's best start since 2005.

What's more, UCLA is breaking out special ``night uniforms'' for the game, abandoning their traditional baby blue jerseys for a darker look.

``There's implications down the road, and they understand that,'' Mora said of the game's importance to his Bruins. ``It's not something you talk about, but they're excited about being in this position. They've done a good job putting themselves here, and I think they're going to do all they can to take advantage of it.''

Arizona is among the nation's top offenses with 553 yards per game, and Scott is expected to play after getting rocked by the Trojans' defense last week. With receiver Austin Hill and tailback Ka'Deem Carey, the Wildcats have enough offensive playmakers to cause trouble for Mora's defense, which gave up 43 points in two of its last three games.

Yet UCLA's offense might be able to match that production. Arizona's defense has yielded 197 points in the last five games, and the Bruins' freshman quarterback has his offense moving with a fluidity UCLA hasn't possessed in years.

``I remember when he came out of high school,'' said Rodriguez, who was between Michigan and Arizona when Hundley left his Phoenix-area high school in 2011. ``He is an Arizona native, and people know about him. I knew this guy was going to have great success no matter where he went. They have a system that suits him well.''

Hundley looks more comfortable each week at the controls of coordinator Noel Mazzone's schemes, but he isn't the Bruins' only offensive star. Tailback Johnathan Franklin is likely to make history Saturday, needing just 21 yards to surpass Gaston Green as UCLA's career rushing leader.

``He's one of the best backs in the country, definitely in the Pac-12,'' Arizona defensive lineman Tevin Hood said. ``He's a hard runner. With the (offense) they run, we need to focus on keeping up with him and Hundley. We can't have any holes in the defense.''

The Wildcats have yet to win a road game under Rodriguez, and they'll likely need to put yet another big number on the scoreboard to match the Bruins. Scott is confident Arizona can do it, but Hundley sounds equally ready for a West Coast shootout under the late-night lights.

``I like winning, so if that's what it comes down to, let it be,'' Hundley said. ``If we have to (win a high-scoring shootout) every game, that's fine. But it doesn't matter to me. The offense has the defense's back, and the defense has the offense's back. We all play for each other.''

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Orioles make home run history Tuesday night in more ways than one

Orioles make home run history Tuesday night in more ways than one

The Orioles pitching staff has struggled with the long ball all season long, and it culminated in a couple of historic moments at the ballpark.

First, it was Gary Sanchez joining his teammate Gleyber Torres in torturing Orioles pitchers this season, launching his eighth home run of the year against the O’s alone. 

Torres reached that mark earlier in the series, making them the first pair to reach eight home runs in the same season against the Orioles since Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. 

Anytime you’re the first to do something since literally Ruth and Gehrig, two of the greatest home run hitters in the history of the sport, you’re clearly doing something right (or wrong, if you’re an Orioles fan).

What’s especially concerning for the Orioles is how quickly Torres and Sanchez reached this mark, needing less than two months to accomplish what no one else had in an entire season for the last 88 years.

The other piece of history made also came with shocking speed in 2019.

In April, the Orioles became the first franchise to allow at least 50 home runs before May 1. The unfortunate thing for them is they reached the mark with a week and a half to spare.

That trend has continued into May, and the pitching staff now has another claim to fame.

In the sixth inning, the Yankees crushed their third bomb of the evening, bringing the Orioles home runs allowed total to 100 on the season. Per ESPN, the previous fastest team to allow that many was the 2000 Royals, who needed 57 games to make history.

The Orioles did it in just 48. They aren’t just setting records; they’re obliterating them.

With the way the season has gone so far, it’s not hard to imagine the Orioles setting a few more benchmarks for futility in 2019.


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Juan Soto isn't a HR hitter, the Mets broadcast said. Then he immediately went upper deck

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Juan Soto isn't a HR hitter, the Mets broadcast said. Then he immediately went upper deck

Juan Soto did something Tuesday night at Citi Field that made the whole broadcaster's jinx theory come to life. 

During Soto's 2nd inning at-bat, former MLB first baseman, five-time All-Star, 1979 co-NL MVP, two-time World Series champion, and current Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez went out on a limb to describe the 20-year-old phenom. 

He is not a home run hitter even though he had nice power here last year.

So, in a rather timely fashion, the lefty launched a moonshot, 410-foot solo home run to right field for Washington's first run of the game. 

In fairness, Hernandez was just trying to explain that Soto isn't a home run hitter because of the type of swing he demonstrates, one that typically produces more line drives than long-balls.