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Olympic softball on display

Times Staff and Wire Reports
Published March 4, 2004

The U.S. Olympic softball team, featuring Lisa Fernandez, Jennie Finch, Cat Osterman and Kelly Kretschman, will play six games over the next three days at the Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater.

South Florida hosts the 24-school Speedline Invitational tournament, in which the Olympic squad will play two exhibitions each day at 6 and 8 p.m. Today it plays Illinois and UNLV, Friday it plays Iowa and Baylor and Saturday it faces USF and Oregon. Team USA is 10-0 on its "Aiming for Athens" pre-Olympic tour, all against college teams.

USF coach Ken Eriksen is an assistant on Team USA and will be coaching against USF in the 6 p.m. Saturday game. Gates open at 4:15 and there will be an autograph session from 4:30 to 5. For information and tickets, call 813 785-8668 or go to www.floridasbeach.com/speedline

SOCCER: U.S. women to Olympics

The U.S. women, as expected, qualified for the Athens Olympics with a 4-0 semifinal victory over host Costa Rica in a regional tournament at San Jose. Shockingly, they'll be accompanied by Mexico, which upset Canada 2-1 in the other semifinal.

MEN: Iraq beat Oman 4-0 in Olympic qualifying at Zarqa, Jordan to take first place in its group. Winners of three groups advance to the Athens Games.

COLLEGES: Montana AD resigns

Wayne Hogan resigned amid reports that his Montana program faces a nearly $1-million deficit due to high spending and accounting errors. Hogan, a former FSU associate athletic director, took full blame for any mistakes as university system officials disclosed plans for an independent investigation. Associate athletic director Marie Porter will serve as interim AD.

BASEBALL: Eckerd (4-11) defeated Shippensburg 2-1, the win going to junior Jason Wishin with no runs, four hits and a walk over six innings. ... Florida (12-3) broke a 4-4 tie with five runs in the fifth and went on to a 12-8 win over Stetson (5-5).

GOLF: Transsexual in field

After a year in which seven women competed in men's tournaments, Mianne Bagger made history in the Women's Australian Open at Sydney as the first transsexual to play in a pro golf tournament. "It's my dream to play top-level golf," she said before shooting 12-over 84 in the first round. Bagger was born a male in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1966. This event might be the only chance Bagger gets to prove her talent. The LPGA Tour, U.S. Golf Association and the Ladies European Tour have policies that players must be female at birth.

TENNIS: Roddick wins, finally After two days, two rain delays and a temper tantrum, Andy Roddick finally won his first match in the Franklin Templeton Tennis Classic at Scottsdale, Ariz. The U.S. Open champion needed just two serves to wrap up a 6-3, 7-5 victory over John Van Lottum.

QATAR OPEN: Top-ranked Justine Henin-Hardenne improved to 15-0 this year by beating Maria Vento-Kabchi 7-5, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals at Doha. Second-seeded Jennifer Capriati defeated Ting Li 7-5, 6-1.

MEXICAN OPEN: Defending champions Agustin Calleri and Amanda Coetzer were ousted in Acapulco along with three other high-seeded players.

ET CETERA

BOXING: Peruvian lightweight Luis Villalta, 35, died Wednesday in Miami, four days after collapsing following a 12-round title loss to Ricky Quiles at the Seminole Casino in Coconut Creek. Villalta was not knocked down in the fight, but absorbed heavy shots in the final two rounds.

CYCLING: Lance Armstrong finished in the lead pack in the opening stage of the Tour of Murcia at San Pedro del Pinatar, Spain.

FIGURE SKATING: Russia's Natalia Shestakova and Pavel Lebedev won the pairs title at the world junior championships at The Hague, Netherlands.

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