Joe's Morning Sports-Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Tampa Bay Rays have won the American League wild-card game by homering four times in the first three innings of a 5-1 win over the Athletics in Oakland.  Yandy Diaz became the third player to homer twice in a wild-card game, leading off the game with a blast and going deep in the third inning.  Avisail Garcia added a two-run blast, Tommy Pham provided a solo shot and Charlie Morton held the A's to an unearned run over five innings to help the Rays earn a meeting with the Houston Astros in the ALDS.

The second ranked Nebraska volleyball team won its fourth straight match with a 3-0 sweep of Rutgers last night in New Brunswick, New Jersey.  Scores of the match had NU winning 25-16, 25-15, 25-14.  Five different Huskers had at least six kills in the match, as Nebraska hit a season-best .468.  Nicklin Hames had 34 assists and seven digs to lead the Huskers.  Their hitting percentage was their best in a Big Ten match since hitting .480 against Rutgers on Nov. 12, 2017.  Lexi Sun had a match-high twelve kills on a career-best .800 hitting percentage, and Madi Kubik had nine kills while hitting .316, the best mark of her freshman season.  NU had a 28-22 advantage in digs and 6-4 edge in blocks.  Nebraska held Rutgers to .112 hitting for the match.  The Huskers are now 11-1 overall and 3-0 in the Big Ten while Rutgers drops to 6-8 overall and 0-3 in the conference.

Nebraska defensive lineman Khalil Davis has been suspended for the game against Northwestern on Saturday for striking an Ohio State player in violation of the Big Ten's sportsmanship policy.  The league announced the suspension yesterday and also issued a public reprimand.  The conference said Davis struck an Ohio State player near the 9:18 mark of the first quarter last Saturday.  No penalty was called.  The 9:18 mark was Ohio State's first play of its second drive, which was a 15-yard run by J.K. Dobbins to the right side.  Davis can be seen falling on OSU sophomore offensive lineman Josh Myers toward the end of the play.  The 6’2, 315-pound Davis was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct during an extra point in the third quarter that put the Buckeyes ahead 48-0.  Nebraska coach Scott Frost said in a statement he supports the discipline.

The Omaha World Herald reports that the Cincinnati Bengals signed former Husker receiver Stanley Morgan yesterday from their practice squad.  The move came after the Bengals placed receiver John Ross on the reserved/injured list.  Morgan, who signed with Cincinnati as an undrafted free agent, left the Huskers with all-time school records for career receptions (189) and receiving yards (2,747).  He played in two preseason games, accumulating seven receptions for 73 yards and a score.  The Bengals are 0-4 following a loss against rival Pittsburgh.  They'll look to get their first win Sunday versus the Arizona Cardinals.

Three-time Nebraska track and field All-American Angela Mercurio has been named as one of nine finalists for the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year award.  The nine finalists were chosen from 30 Woman of the Year honorees, who will be recognized when the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year award winner is announced at an awards dinner on Oct. 20 in Indianapolis.  Schools nominated a record 585 college athletes for the award.  A native of Canada, Mercurio was a four-year letterwinner on the Nebraska track and field team and was a three-time second-team All-American in the triple jump.  She also earned the conference title in the event at the 2019 Big Ten Indoor Championships before going on to place ninth in the triple jump at the 2019 NCAA Indoor Championships.  The NCAA Woman of the Year award has been presented annually since 1991 and recognizes the nation's top senior female student-athlete who has excelled in the award's four pillars of academics, athletics, service and leadership.

The Omaha World Herald & Lincoln Journal Star have updated their high school softball rankings.  In the Omaha World Herald, Papillion La Vista remains first in the ‘Nebraska Top 10’ & Class ‘A’ while Wayne enters that criteria at number nine.  In Class ‘B’, Omaha Skutt stays at number one and Wayne moves up from ninth to sixth.  In Class ‘C’, Fairbury is once again first and West Point Guardian Angels Central Catholic slips from second to third.  In the Lincoln Journal Star, Papillion La Vista remains first in Class ‘A’ while Omaha Skutt stays at number one and Wayne jumps from seventh to sixth in Class ‘B’.  In Class ‘C’, Fairbury is once again first and West Point Guardian Angels Central Catholic remains second.

This week’s Hausmann Physical Therapy Star Athlete of the Week goes to Jordan Plumbtree of the Fullerton volleyball team.  Due to injury, she had to move to a new position and led the Lady Warriors to a 5-2 week.  Plumbtree hit .282, knocking down 68 kills and served 91% with 19 aces.  As a sophomore, she is the area leader in ace serves, with 58 on the season.  Plumbtree was nominated by Coach Megan Plumbtree.  Congratulations to Jordan Plumbtree of the Fullerton volleyball team, she is this week’s Hausmann Physical Therapy Star Athlete of the Week.

Checking out the local schedule for today, the Norfolk Catholic volleyball team visits West Point-Beemer at 7:30 and the Norfolk High softball squad is at Columbus for a 5:00 doubleheader.  In girls golf, Norfolk High hosts the Heartland Athletic Conference Championships at Norfolk Country Club at 9:30 AM.  Schools participating include Fremont, Grand Island, Kearney, Lincoln East, Lincoln High, Lincoln North Star, Lincoln Northeast, Lincoln Pius X, Lincoln Southeast, and Lincoln Southwest.  Elsewhere, the Norfolk Catholic girls golf team competes in the Mid State Conference Tournament at Albion Country Club at 10:00, the Norfolk Catholic cross country girls & boys squads participates in the Battle Creek Invite at Evergreen Hill Golf Course at 4:00, the Lutheran High Northeast cross country runners are involved in the Stanton Invitational at 4:00, and the Norfolk High boys tennis team competes in the Heartland Athletic Conference Championships at Fremont at 9:00 AM.  The event was moved up to today.

Local Schedule:  NC at West Point-Beemer (VB-7:30); Nfk High at Columbus (SB DH-5:00); Nfk High at HAC Championships at Fremont (B. Tenn.-9:00 AM); Nfk High hosts HAC Championships at Nfk CC (GG-9:30); NC at Mid State Conference Tourn. At Albion (GG-10:00); NC at Battle Creek Inv. (G&B CC-4:00); LHNE at Stanton Inv. (CC-4:00).

Friday Night:  The Norfolk Panther football team visits Bellevue West at 7:00.  Pregame coverage at 6:20 on 106 KIX & 106KIX.com.  Also, Stanton entertains Crofton at 6:30.  Pregame coverage at 6:10 on 97.5 KEXL & KEXL.com.

Local Scores:  NECC 25-25-25-25 Hawkeye CC, IA 27-13-14-15 (VB); NECC at North Iowa Area CC (W&M Socc.-Ppd. To Oct 14).

Hausmann Physical Therapy Star Athlete of the Week:  Jordan Plumbtree of the Fullerton volleyball team.

CBS Sports Radio at Newstalk WJAG 105.9 FM & 780 AM Mon-Fri at 6:00 PM; Sat at 4:00; & Sun at 1:00 & the home of Kansas City Chiefs football!

In other news

The Nebraska football team will play Illinois in Dublin, Ireland, to open the 2021 season, the second game in a five-game series of college football games on the Emerald Isle. 

The fifth ranked Nebraska volleyball team turned in another dominant defensive performance en route to a 3-0 win over Michigan yesterday in front of a crowd of over 8,000 fans at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.