Nunez’s hit boosts Cards

ST. LOUIS — Denied their first road series win of the year, the Colorado Rockies were still pleased with a split against the defending NL champions.

Abraham Nunez singled home the winning run in the ninth inning of the Cardinals’ 5-4 victory Sunday, giving them two wins in the four-game series against a team with the worst road record in more than two decades.

Columbia Cup brings whirlwind of bike activity

The gusts of wind on Locust Street on Saturday evening were not a gift from Mother Nature in exchange for the past week’s heat, but a result of nearly 50 cyclists racing in small groups up the street toward Broadway.

“When they say go, there is no time to think,” said Steve Kullman, 45, a first-time competitor from Columbia. “The first time that you begin to think is when you are on the way back to the starting line.”

Behind the 8-ball

Columbia pool player Steve Deets assembled a small black pool cue and approached the table in a friendly Thursday night game at Rack & Roll Billiards.

Players at surrounding tables stopped and curiously watched as Deets examined his shot.

Catz impressive in AAU play

The Columbia Catz don’t give up easily.

The Catz, an age 16 and younger boys’ basketball team, made two comebacks in the Kansas City Keys AAU Basketball Tournament, which was. They went 4-1 to finish second in the tournament June 24 to 26, which qualified them for the National AAU Division II Championships July 9 to 14 in Little Rock, Ark.

Two MU players earn spots with national baseball team

Missouri’s Max Scherzer and Hunter Mense are changing their summer plans.

They will abandon their summer league teams after being selected to play for this year’s USA National Team.

Mavericks drop series, prepare for Windy City

The River City Rascals completed their sweep of Mid-Missouri on Saturday night, powering past the Mavericks 11-6 at T.R. Hughes Ballpark in O’Fallon.

Mike Madrid and Justin McKinley hit home runs for the Rascals (20-15).

New league offers swing shift

Blake Ingram was expecting a calming weekend visit to his native St. Joseph two weeks ago. His relaxation ended when his friends from high school called him to fill in on their wooden bat summer league team.

“I’d take the chance to swing a wooden bat any day,” Ingram, a 20-year-old MU sophomore said.

Races put cycling in spotlight

Yellow wristbands with the slogan Livestrong on them will be popular accessories this weekend with Lance Armstrong starting his bid for his seventh straight Tour de France title. They should be more popular than normal in Columbia, though, with hundreds of cycling enthusiasts in town for the 20th Columbia Cup.

A set of four United States Cycling Federation events spanning Saturday and Sunday, the Columbia Cup begins the same day as the Tour de France.

Colorado rocks the Cardinals

ST. LOUIS — Rookie Jeff Francis pitched three-hit ball for six innings, and Garrett Atkins and Danny Ardoin hit home runs Thursday night to lead the Colorado Rockies against the St. Louis Cardinals 7-0 for only their sixth road victory of the season.

Francis (7-5) contributed two hits and scored twice for the Rockies, a major league-worst 6-31 on the road. The start was the most feeble since the 1982 Twins went 5-32, and they had dropped five straight and 11 of 12 away from Coors Field while getting outscored 77-32. The Rockies were 12-15 in June, their fifth straight losing month.

Rascals single out Mavericks

The Mid-Missouri Mavericks dropped their fifth consecutive game, losing 9-8 to the River City Rascals on Thursday in O’Fallon.

The Rascals (18-15) beat the Mavericks (11-22) on an RBI single from Mike Madrid in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Rascals were down as many as five runs in the game before mounting their comeback.

Former pitcher leads bullpen

Quentin Jones used to dream. Then a shaky outing woke him up.

“I always wanted to make it to the big leagues,” bullpen coach Jones said before the Mavericks’ 13-3 loss to Kalamazoo Wednesday night. “But when you get to a certain age — and I’m 26 now going on 27 — then I have to realize if I can pitch and be effective, or could I teach and actually help guys get better.”

Cardinals blast Reds

ST. LOUIS — Fortified by a cortisone shot to his ailing neck, Larry Walker returned to the St. Louis Cardinals’ lineup Wednesday night and hit two-run home runs his first two times up in a 11-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Matt Morris worked seven sharp innings, rebounding from his only loss of the year after an 8-0 start, to help the Cardinals win for the fourth time in five games. The NL Central leaders, who also got homers from Reggie Sanders and Jim Edmonds, are 21-8 against the Reds since the start of 2004.

On target

Columbia is hosting the 2005 National 4-H Shooting Sports Invitational for the second year running.

Events like skeet shooting will be taking place through Friday in various locations throughout the city.

Arrows guiding career path

When Aaron Einsiedel shoots arrows for the Missouri 4-H Recurve Team in the 2005 National 4-H Shooting Sports Invitational, he is doing more than just competing to win.

While other archers have their eyes set on a first-place finish, Einsiedel, 17, is finding ways to gain experience from the sport that can help him in his career.

MU setter volleys with pros at camp

For the second consecutive summer, University of Missouri volleyball setter Lindsey Hunter had the chance to play with the pros at the USA’s National Volleyball Team camp, which was May 15 to June 4 in Denver.

“It was amazing to play with people of that caliber,” Hunter said. “It was a great experience.”

Walker back in lineup

ST. LOUIS — Larry Walker, returning to the St. Louis Cardinals’ lineup Wednesday after missing five straight starts with a herniated disc in his neck, hit home runs in his first two at-bats against the Cincinnati Reds.

The often-injured outfielder hopes a cortisone shot he received on Monday will allow him to play to his ability. He’s struggled while dealing with several ailments this season, hitting .247 with seven home runs and 29 RBIs in 58 games. Walker, 38, has talked of retiring after the season.

Priday named as Freshman All-American

Baseball America named Missouri outfielder Jacob Priday to its Freshman All-America Team on Wednesday.

Priday hit .305 in 60 games with the Tigers last season. He led the team with nine home runs and 67 RBIs.

Umpire’s love of the game still strong

It wasn’t supposed to be Max McLeary’s job to rub the baseballs before the Mavericks’ 16-2 loss to Kalamazoo Tuesday night.

That honor goes to the home plate umpire. McLeary was scheduled to work the bases.

Bucks select Bogut

NEW YORK — It sure was a g’day for Andrew Bogut. And not a bad night for the NCAA champions from North Carolina.

Bogut, a 7-foot center from Australia, was chosen No. 1 Tuesday night in the NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, becoming the first player in five years with U.S. college experience to be drafted No. 1 overall.

Mulder makes up for previous mistakes

ST. LOUIS — Mark Mulder ended a string of poor starts and Reggie Sanders backed him with a two-run home run, helping the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 2-1 Tuesday night.

The Cardinals have won three of four, giving them an NL-best record of 48-28. They sent the Reds to their 15th loss in 17 road games.