Nationals

Wake's Campanaro emerges as a double threat

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Wake's Campanaro emerges as a double threat

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) The Atlantic Coast Conference's top receiver once again can try to beat teams by throwing the ball.

Wake Forest's Michael Campanaro says his broken right hand has healed enough that ``I got my fingers back,'' and that could make him doubly dangerous as a threat to catch the ball - or throw it - this week at North Carolina State.

``Can't let you know if it's in the playbook or not,'' Campanaro said Tuesday with a laugh. ``Might be. We might have some tricks up our sleeve this week.''

Campanaro, who missed two games after breaking his hand Sept. 29 against Duke, averages a league-best 8.6 catches for the Demon Deacons (5-4, 3-4). He matched an ACC record with 16 catches while scoring three touchdowns last week against Boston College.

He's also known to throw the ball on trick plays.

He has a passer rating of 412.6 after completing 3 of 4 passes last season with two touchdowns - including a 40-yarder against the Wolfpack that they still haven't forgotten.

N.C. State (5-4, 2-3) certainly has been vulnerable to unorthodox plays, giving up TDs to Tennessee and North Carolina on end-arounds by receivers, then dodging a bullet last week when Virginia quarterback Phillip Sims dropped an easy pass from a running back while wide open in the end zone.

``By now, it's out there that teams are going to try something early, and if we continue to allow them to have success, then they're going to continue to show up early in games,'' N.C. State safety Brandan Bishop said. ``Wake Forest has been known, especially with some reverses, to do some tricky stuff, so I'm sure that we'll see it this week. In fact, I pretty much guarantee it.''

But Campanaro doesn't always need to resort to trickery. He's proven he can put up huge numbers in conventional ways, too.

Three times this season, he's established a career high for receptions in a game.

For a few days, his 10-catch evening in the opener against Liberty was his best, but a week later he had 13 against North Carolina.

Then came his big day against BC, something coach Jim Grobe said wasn't part of the plan. Grobe says he would prefer that another receiver steps up so that the offense isn't exclusively Tanner Price pitching to Campanaro.

``We didn't have a plan to try to have Mike set a record or anything,'' Grobe said. ``We just went in hoping to complete a few and he ended up being the beneficiary.''

Campanaro's three-touchdown performance in that game was his second this season - he also caught two TDs and rushed for a third against Army.

Part of the reason for his gaudy stat line: Wake Forest often asks its flanker to catch screen passes, then turn up field. They count as receptions on the stat sheet but are basically extensions of the run game.

``I thought there were a lot of balls out there that anybody could have been catching,'' Campanaro said. ``It's kind of like an outside running game when you're catching those balls. ... I have fun with it. I like touching (the football) as much as I can.''

When he was hurt early in the Duke game, the offense basically came unglued. In two full games without Campanaro, Price - a career 59 percent passer - hit on just 35 percent of his throws in a loss at Maryland and a close win at Virginia.

Campanaro had six catches for 52 yards in his return two weeks ago against Clemson before getting in a groove against BC. And with his favorite target back to form, Price was 39 of 57 for 293 yards.

``My main goal is to win as many games as possible and get to a bowl game, so that's kind of what we're focused on right now,'' Campanaro said. ``Anything I can do on the offensive side of the ball to keep us on track. I think we're ... getting better each week now, and we're getting our identity back on offense.''

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A quick recap of Tuesday's MLB All-Star Game, including how your Nats did

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USA TODAY Sports

A quick recap of Tuesday's MLB All-Star Game, including how your Nats did

Tuesday evening's All-Star game was fairly uneventful until its later innings. The American League triumphed over the National League, 8 - 6, for their sixth straight All-Star game victory.

Despite fears of potential rain and inclement weather delaying the game, there were no unexpected stops in play. 

The AL started very strong offensively, with runs from Aaron Judge and Mike Trout in the top of the second and third innings, respectively. Jean Segura's three-run homer in the top of the eighth made victory look inevitable for the AL by the fifth. 

Max Scherzer, unsurprisingly, was well received among fans at Nationals Park. The Nats starter pitched the first two innings, giving up four hits. One was Judge's second-inning homer, but Scherzer remained unfazed and lighthearted. Four strikeouts made his performance commendable.

Bryce Harper did not get on as well, striking out in both of his at-bats. After Harper's Home Run Derby Win last night, there was chatter of him going for the MVP title as well. 

It didn't work out, but given Harper's consistent presence at the All-Star game, there's always another chance.

Elsewhere in the dugout for the NL, who rallied back from the three-run deficit, the kids were all right. Willson Contreras of the Cubs had a solo homer at the bottom of the third, the Rockies' Trevor Story had one in the seventh, and Christian Yelich added another in the eighth. A two-run homer by Scooter Gennett in the bottom of the ninth brought the game back to a 5-5 tie.

Jesus Aguilar struck out for the NL, and extra innings began.

In the top of the tenth, Alex Bregman and George Springer, both of the Astros, hit home runs almost immediately off of Dodgers pitcher Ross Stipling. Stop us if you've heard that one before.

With no outs, Michael Brantley took a sacrifice flyout to right field, and Jean Segura got in one more run to put the score at 8-5.

Though Joey Votto (Reds) hit one last home run in the bottom of the tenth, the NL couldn't quite make up the deficit.

After a late night, the American League will be going home happy.

MORE ALL-STAR GAME NEWS:

Elena Delle Donne, Kristi Toliver named 2018 WNBA All-Stars

Elena Delle Donne, Kristi Toliver named 2018 WNBA All-Stars

On Tuesday, the WNBA revealed the list of 22 players selected by fans, WNBA players and head coaches and media for Verizon WNBA All-Star 2018. 

Two Washington Mystics will be featured in the July 28 showcase at Target Center in Minneapolis.

Elena Delle Donne is making her fifth All-Star appearance and serving as one of two team captains, while Kristi Toliver earns the honor for her second time, and first since 2013. 

Delle Donne recorded her 3,000th career point Sunday night becoming the fastest player in WNBA history to reach the milestone with a 23-point performance in a loss to the Atlanta Dream. It was just the 148th game of her career. 

The 28-year-old is averaging 20.6 points, good for fourth in the league. 

Toliver is averaging 14 points and 4.2 assists. The former Maryland Terrapin is also just a week removed from making her debut as part of the Wizards coaching staff during Las Vegas Summer League. 

The Mystics are 13-9 and atop the eastern conference by 0.5 games. The last time the team had two all-stars was in 2015, when Stefanie Dolson and Emma Meesseman played together.

For ticket information about Verizon WNBA All-Star 2018, fans may visit lynx.wnba.com/allstar/.