Tom Vesosky singled home the tying and go-ahead runs in the sixth inning, and reliever Bryce Afthim allowed just two hits over the final 4 2/3 innings as Southern Maine forced a third game in the Little East Conference baseball championship series Thursday in Mansfield, Connecticut, earning a 4-3 win in Game 2 after top-seeded Eastern Connecticut State won the opener in 10 innings, 6-2.

Trailing 3-2, USM (30-9) loaded the bases in the sixth on a double by Sam Troiano, a single by Janek Luksza and a walk to Jason Komulainen. Vesosky then put the Huskies ahead with a single to center.

Troiano also doubled during USM’s two-run fourth inning. The runs scored on a sacrifice fly by Luksza and a groundout by Dylan Hapworth.

Afthim (9-1) relieved Joshua Joy in the fifth after Eastern Connecticut (33-5) scored twice to take a 3-2 lead. The only threat against Afthim came in the eighth, when he got an inning-ending double play after an error and a single put runners on first and third.

In Game 1, John Mesagno hit a tie-breaking two-run homer off Afthim in the top of the 10th inning.


Vesosky and Komulainen each hit a solo home run for USM, which was the home team in Game 1.

The final game of the best-of-three series has been moved to 1 p.m. Friday.

SEA DOGS: Jason Talley hit a grand slam and a two-run homer, and twice and drove in six runs, and Samad Taylor went 4 for 4 with a home run and three RBI as the New Hampshire Fisher Cats routed the Portland Sea Dogs 12-2 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Pedro Castellanos gave the Sea Dogs a 2-0 lead with a home run in the first inning, but New Hampshire scored eight runs in the third against Kutter Crawford and Adam Lau.


NFL: Tim Tebow and Urban Meyer are together again, this time in the NFL and with Tebow playing a new position.


The former Florida star and 2007 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback signed a one-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars and will attempt to revive his career as a tight end. The move also reunites two of college football’s most polarizing figures over the past 15 years.

Tebow, 33, is returning to the NFL after five years playing baseball in the New York Mets’ organization, and he’ll be playing for Meyer for the first time since his senior year at Florida in 2009.

• Morgan Moses was released by Washington, a surprising decision to cut ties with one of the organization’s longest-tenured players.

Moses, 30, started every game at right tackle for Washington the past six years, playing through injury and anchoring that side of the offensive line along with All-Pro guard Brandon Scherff.

Releasing Moses saves $7.5 million against the salary cap.



LPGA: Ruixin Liu birdied the final two holes for a 5-under 66 and a share of the first-round lead with Wei-Ling Hsu in the Pure Silk Championship at Williamsburg, Virginia.


EMILIA-ROMAGNA OPEN: Coco Gauff advanced to the semifinals by beating fellow American Amanda Anisimova 6-3, 6-3 in Parma, Italy.

The 17-year-old Gauff, who last week reached the Italian Open semifinals for her career-best result on clay, will next face Czech player Katerina Siniakova, who beat eighth-seeded Caroline Garcia 7-5, 6-1.

Former U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens also reached the semifinals by beating Sara Errani of Italy 6-3, 6-0. Stephens will face either second-seeded Petra Martić or sixth-seeded Qiang Wang.

BNP PARIBAS OPEN: The tournament in the Southern California desert will return this fall after it was knocked out of its usual March dates this year and last because of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The two-week tournament featuring the men’s and women’s pro tours will be held in October at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Tournament director Tommy Haas said dates will be announced after the ATP and WTA tours confirm their fall schedules, expected sometime in June.


WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: FIFA announced the dates for the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, with the tournament to be played between July 20-Aug. 20.

That puts the tournament start around six weeks later than the previous two editions in Canada and France. The 2019 final won by the United States was played on July 7. The 2023 final on Aug. 20 will be played in Sydney.


OLYMPICS: Two-time Olympic triple-jump champion Christian Taylor underwent surgery to repair a torn Achilles and will miss the Tokyo Games.


Taylor was injured during a meet in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on Wednesday. He had surgery Thursday morning in Germany.

Taylor, 30, captured gold at the 2012 London Games and again four years later in Rio de Janeiro. He also has won four gold medals at the world championships, including three in a row.

• Two-time Olympic 800-meter champion David Rudisha will not defend his title at the Tokyo Games. Rudisha’s agent, Michel Boeting, told The Associated Press that Tokyo was “out of the question” for Rudisha because of a persistent hamstring problem.

The Olympics are set to open on July 23 and the 800 heats start July 31.

“He is just contemplating his next step, whether it’s retirement or to continue training,” Boeting said in a telephone interview.

Now 32, Rudisha has not run at the international level since the 2017 season, and the current injury is linked to chronic inflammation of his sitting bone, Boeting said. Rudisha set the world record of 1 minute, 40.91 seconds when he won gold at the 2012 London Olympics. No one has since come within a second of that time.



NBA: Atlanta Hawks interim coach Nate McMillan was fined $25,000 by the NBA after saying the league is rooting for the success of the New York Knicks and implying his team may struggle to get calls in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Hawks face the Knicks in a best-of-seven series that begins Sunday at Madison Square Garden.


TOUR D’ITALIA: Italian cyclist Andrea Vendrame held off the rest of the breakaway pack to win the 12th stage in Bagno di Romagna, Italy, for his first victory in a Grand Tour, while Egan Bernal kept the leader’s pink jersey.

Vendrame, who rides for AG2R Citroën, edged out Chris Hamilton in a sprint at the end of the 212-kilometer (132-mile) route from Siena to Bagno di Romagna that featured four categorized climbs. There was also a sprint for third, with Gianluca Brambilla narrowly beating George Bennett. The duo finished 15 seconds behind Vendrame.


All four had been part of a large breakaway. Bernal crossed the line in the peloton to maintain his 45-second lead over Aleksandr Vlasov. Nobody else is within a minute of the 2019 Tour de France winner, with third-place Damiano Caruso 1:12 behind.

Friday’s 13th stage is an entirely flat 198-kilometer (123-mile) route from Ravenna to Verona that pays tribute to writer and philosopher Dante Alighieri on the 700th anniversary of his death. It will also give the riders a break before hitting the high mountains the following day.


INDYCAR: An attempted photo opportunity almost went terribly wrong on the opening lap of Indianapolis 500 practice when Colton Herta crashed into both Scott McLaughlin and the wall, oblivious at more than 200 mph to the Instagram moment ahead.

Rahal Letterman Lanigan had its three drivers slowly fan across the Indianapolis Motor Speedway frontstretch at the start of Thursday’s practice for a planned picture. IndyCar said it was unaware of a Rahal photo shoot and so the track was “hot” for the entire field.

McLaughlin and Simona de Silvestro saw the three Rahal cars ahead as they sped through the corner and both immediately slowed to roughly 170 mph. Herta could not see the Rahal cars and it was too late when he noticed McLaughlin and de Silvestro had slowed. He darted high around McLaughlin and bounced off the wall, right back into McLaughlin. Both Herta and McLaughlin then had to pit for repairs.


IndyCar at the end of the session announced that Takuma Sato, Graham Rahal and Santino Ferrucci will all be parked for the first 30 minutes of Friday’s critical practice, when the engine power is boosted and teams get their first true look at their speeds ahead of qualifying.

• IndyCar announced a contract extension with NTT at its title sponsor, a move that solves one of the looming financial questions facing Roger Penske in his second year as owner of the series. NTT is a global technology giant that became title sponsor of the IndyCar Series in 2019. The company has since extended the agreement and become the official technology partner of IndyCar, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Brickyard weekend.

“Over the first two years as entitlement sponsor of the series, the dedicated team at NTT has helped IndyCar become more efficient and effective through smart technologies,” said Penske, who became owner of IMS and IndyCar in January, 2020. “As our sport continues to grow by connecting with a new generation of fans, NTT helps take us down new roads by creating more engaging experiences through our shared digital platforms.”

Next on Penske’s to-do list is ironing out a new television contract. The current deal with NBC Sports is in its final season.

FORMULA ONE: Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc clocked the fastest time on his home circuit during the second practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix. Leclerc is from Monaco and grew up in a flat overlooking the sinewy 3.4-kilometer (2.1-mile) circuit that snakes around the picturesque principality.

He had a best lap of 1 minute, 11.68 seconds and led his Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. by 0.11 seconds. World champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes was third, 0.39 behind Leclerc. The last Ferrari driver to win in Monaco was Sebastian Vettel four years ago, but Hamilton was impressed by what he saw in the two sessions.

“The Ferraris look really strong, surprising to see them improving so much but that’s great,” Hamilton said. “It means more competition. We’ve got some work to do.”

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was fourth fastest and Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas was fifth.

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