Next UpThe Cardinals got to Alabama A&M starter Caitlyn Hayden (2-4) early with four runs in the first inning, collecting five hits in the inning and taking advantage of some fielding miscues by the Lady Bulldogs (3-7).LU increased the lead to 6-0 in the second on a two-run double by Brynn Baca. After that it was up to a trio of LU pitchers to hold the Bulldogs at bay.LU starter Laura Napoli (2-3) went the first three innings, leaving with the comfortable lead. Reliever Julia Voluntad wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam with one out in the fourth. Alabama A&M scored three runs in the sixth inning off Amie Cisneros before Napoli came back in to pitch a scoreless seventh inning to close things out. The tourney, which runs through Sunday, has five games scheduled for today. Alabama A&M meets Tulsa at 10 a.m. That is followed by Northern Illinois vs. Alabama A&M at 12:15 p.m., South Dakota State vs. Kansas at 2:30 p.m., South Dakota State vs. LU at 4:45 p.m. and Kansas facing Northern Illinois at 7 p.m. LU plays Kansas at 4:45 p.m. Saturday, Northern Illinois at 10:15 a.m. Sunday and Tulsa at 2:45 p.m. Sunday.— Lamar sports information BEAUMONT – The Lamar Cardinals continued their dominance at the LU Softball Complex, improving to 29-9 all-time at the facility, with a 6-3 victory over the Alabama A&M Bulldogs in the first game of the Cardinal Classic on Thursday.The Cardinals (3-8) jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two innings and held on as they snapped a seven-game losing streak.“We got off to a great start, but we tapered off after that,” LU coach Holly Bruder said. “We didn’t have great at bats after that, but we found a way to win.” Napoli allowed two hits in her four innings, walking one and striking out five. Two of Napoli’s strikeouts came in the seventh, when she set the side down in order. Voluntad pitched one scoreless inning, while Cisneros allowed five hits and three runs, all earned in her two innings of work.“To be honest, I thought Laura pitched better in relief than she did over her first three innings,” Bruder said. “I was very happy with the way she pitched.”Baca led the LU offense with three hits and three RBIs. Brittany Rodriguez had three hits and scored twice for the Cardinals.Hayden pitched a complete game for Alabama A&M, allowing 11 hits and six runs, two earned. She did not walk anyone and had one strikeout. Brandi Foreman and Jessica Alferos had two hits apiece for the Lady Bulldogs.
Middletown High School South’s girls basketball team showed its resilience in its first state championship game appearance when it won NJSIAA Group III, 50-42, over North Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan despite playing the final two minutes without star player Stephanie Karcz, who fouled out.The Eagles led by 10 points at the time, and it never got closer than six as their whirlwind record improved to 26-5 on March 15. Karcz finished with 16 points and, typical of the well-balanced season, two other players scored in double figures: Angela DeBartolome with 11 points and Haley Dalonzo with 10.“When Steph fouled out, everyone was looking at each other and saying, ‘Here it is.’ But this team has been resilient all year long and has faced a lot of adversity,” coach Tom Brennan said. “It’s like they’re saying, ‘What else can you throw at me?’ ”But the Eagles faced yet another challenge when they returned to the Pine Belt Arena Court in Toms River on March 17 to play in the Tournament of Champions against Franklin High School (23-5), a 54-48 winner over Shawnee High School in its Group IV championship game. Franklin is seeded No. 4 and Middletown South is No. 5.Brennan said before the game he would sit Julia Valkos, who broke the ring finger of her left hand in the Group III semifinals victory over Timber Creek Regional High School.“She was outstanding [against Old Tappan], but she was in so much excruciating pain afterward that the risk outweighs the rewards. It’s not worth it.”That means another big effort was needed off the bench from Madison Curtis, who came in when Karcz fouled out against Old Tappan and also capably stepped in for two weeks in late December through early January when Dalonzo was injured.“Somebody’s got to step in and Madison said, ‘Put me in. I’m ready,’ ” Brennan said. “Julia is a big loss because she has great length and is electric offensively in getting to the rim and shooting the three. She’s been better than advertised. But Madison filled in fine for Haley when she was out there.”Middletown South has dealt with adversity from the start of the season, when highly touted Jill Falvey was sidelined with a season-ending injury. Curtis got a field goal down the stretch and was fouled on the play against Old Tappan. Alexandra Balsamo and DeBartolome hit both ends of their two free throws, and Valkos had a big basket to protect the lead. On March 17, the Eagles went up against a similarly well-balanced Franklin team, which has three starters averaging about 10 points a game. But they needed to be strong off the boards, as Franklin rebounds well. If Middletown South won, it would come back on March 19 at the Pine Belt Arena against No. 1-seed Manasquan High School, which it lost to on Dec. 30, 62-27.“[Franklin has] three lightning-quick guards — two who are more shooter than slasher and the other a slasher who sometimes is a shooter,” Brennan said. “They put on intensive pressure and work the ball down low for positioning and patience. But they also swing the ball and get it to the other side of the floor for a good shot.”Coming into the week, the Eagles savored the sweet taste of a championship that was fitting for a team that showed class in victory and defeat, earning the Board 194 Shore Officials Sportsmanship award.Win or lose on March 17, or at any point in the Tournament of Champions, Brennan agreed with many coaches whose teams get there that it’s more of a showcase for teams that reached their primary goal of a group title.“I hear people say that we did what we set out to do,” Brennan said. “They say, ‘Whatever happens from here is gravy.’ I just hope my players go out and play, understanding what was accomplished and just enjoy the game.” By WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent
With talk yesterday of Microsoft getting a team together for Xbox 720, and AMD pushing graphics performance to new heights with the $700 Radeon HD 6990, it’s fitting that Nvidia has just showcased a new Unreal Engine demo during an analyst meeting.This video is simply stunning in terms of graphical quality and the amount of effects in use, especially when you consider it is all being done in real-time.At the start of the demonstration Nvidia state it requires three GTX 580 graphics cards to run. Epic also don’t expect this to run on any gamer’s current setup. It is purely a demo to show what the Unreal Engine is capable of on the next round of hardware, meaning the Xbox 720, PS4, and whatever Nvidia and AMD do next with their graphics cards.The work carried out to produce the demo took a team 12 programmers and artists 3 months. The actual machine running it has a Core-i9 processor at its heart backed up by that trio of graphics cards already mentioned. Sony and Microsoft need to get that level of performance inside a console case before this quality is ever seen on your HD TV.It’s actually the same demo that Epic showed at GDC last week, but the first time we’ve got to see it, and it clearly shows the company expect another powerful round of console hardware even if Microsoft and Sony think they are years away.Read more at VentureBeatMatthew’s OpinionThere have been a lot of complaints recently across the PC gaming market that games are being developed to the level of what consoles can handle and then ported across to PC. You end up with a game that looks great, but doesn’t look stunning as happens when PC hardware is pushed to the limit.If Sony and Microsoft don’t get a new console out for 4 or 5 years then PC gaming rigs are going to have at least one, maybe two generations of new hardware pushing them ahead of the PS3 and 360. Epic is going to want to get its latest engine running games that uses this additional power. Hopefully that will mean PC games take the lead again and start acting as an example of what’s to come on next-gen consoles. The one problem is game developers having enough people to finish a game to the standard seen in this demo in a manageable timeframe.