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Fresno State surprises Rice, 17-5

June 16, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A Fresno State team that struggled to make it to the College World Series rewarded itself with an easy win in its first game in Omaha.

Danny Muno, Alan Ahmady and Jordan Ribera launched three-run homers and the Bulldogs' amazing postseason run continued Sunday with a stunning 17-5 victory over Rice.

The Bulldogs -- the ultimate underdogs as the first No. 4 regional-seeded team to reach Omaha -- broke open the game against their one-time Western Athletic Conference nemesis with a seven-run fourth inning.

They didn't stop there, rolling up the highest number of runs allowed by Rice this season on their way to their 12th win in 14 games.

"That has been a big part of what has gotten us this far," center fielder Gavin Hedstrom said. "We like proving we're better than people say we are."

Fresno overcame an 8-12 start and a long road through the NCAA tournament to win a CWS bid for the first time since 1991. The Bulldogs won a tough regional at Long Beach State and a three-game super regional at Arizona State, seeded No. 3 nationally.

Fresno State scored the most runs in a CWS game since Tennessee beat Georgia, 19-12, in 2001.

Fresno (43-29) will next play Tuesday night against North Carolina (52-12), which beat Louisiana State (48-18-1), 8-4. Rice (47-14) will play Louisiana State that afternoon.

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PRO BASKETBALL

Clippers' Livingston gains full clearance

After nearly 1 1/2 years of rehabilitation, Clippers point guard Shaun Livingston has been medically cleared for basketball-related activities.

Livingston, 22, started playing one on one late last week. His seriously injured left knee has improved to the point where is now dunking. But the odds of him being cleared to play in July's Las Vegas Summer League remain small.

Livingston injured the knee Feb. 26, 2007 against the Charlotte Bobcats. He missed the rest of that season and sat out the entire 2007-08 season.

Livingston will become an unrestricted free agent July 1 if the Clippers do not offer him a salary starting at $5.8 million. The team is still waiting to see how he progresses before making a decision but figures to try to re-sign him at a lower price.

-- Jonathan Abrams

A six-day, no-jury trial in federal court is scheduled to begin today in Seatte to settle the final two years of the SuperSonics' lease at KeyArena.

SuperSonics owner Clay Bennett has gained the NBA's approval to move the team to his hometown of Oklahoma City, but Seattle argues that its lease forces the franchise to play two more seasons in the city.

U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman will rule.

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MISCELLANY

W. Virgina's Alexander to stay in the NBA draft

West Virginia forward Joe Alexander will skip his senior season by remaining in the June 26 NBA draft.

Alexander led the Mountaineers in scoring and rebounding.

Mountaineers Coach Bob Huggins says he supports Alexander's decision.

Today is the deadline for early-entry withdrawals from the draft.

Alejandro Valverde won the Dauphine Libere in La Toussuire, France, putting the Spanish cyclist among the favorites for next month's Tour de France.

Valverde finished with a total time of 27 hours 39 minutes, edging Cadel Evans of Australia by 39 seconds. Levi Leipheimer of the United States -- the 2006 Dauphine winner -- was third, 1:24 back.

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