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Wednesday, June 29, 2011
U.S. on top in Women's World Cup Group C

By Stacy Title

Women's World Cup: Second-half goals from Lauren Cheney (on a gorgeous cross from Abby Wambach) and Rachel Buehler put the U.S. up 2-0 over North Korea. Sweden beat Columbia 1-0. The win puts the U.S. at the top of Group C.

Side note: The North Korean women's soccer coach, Kim Kwang-min, offered a simple explanation for its loss to the U.S. on Tuesday: a lightning strike during a practice June 8. Yessss! Apparently much of the team -- "more than five" players -- was affected and sent to the hospital in Pyongyang! Hobbled but heroic, they still made their way to the field Tuesday and fought valiantly. A stroke of luck for the Americans? Somehow I think not.

MLB: In the pitchers' duel between Phillies' Cliff Lee and Red Sox's Josh Beckett, Lee came out on top, 5-0, throwing a two-hit masterpiece, his third straight shutout. The man now has 32 consecutive scoreless innings! The Mets hit two grand slams in their 14-3 romp over the Tigers. Last time they had one grand slam? Two hundred and ninety-nine games back.

Side note: Bankruptcy hearings are under way for the Dodgers. So far, the discussion has covered mundane details like credit card bills, but things will no doubt get juicier in the weeks to come. Dodgers owner Frank McCourt was granted a temporary reprieve when the court approved his use of $60 million from his loan. The court also set a July 20 hearing to decide whether he can use the remaining $150 million he borrowed. Let's hope that hearing closes the book on McCourt and gets the Dodgers franchise back on track.

Wimbledon: Maria Sharapova only dropped two games in her rout of No. 24 seed Dominika Cibulkova 6-1, 6-1; a full day's work in just 60 minutes. She next faces unseeded wild card Sabine Lisicki -- she of the 124-mph serve, who beat No. 9 seed Marion Bartoli 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-1. Rounding out the semis are No. 8 seed Petra Kvitova, who knocked out No. 32 seed Tsvetana Pironkova 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-2, and No. 4 seed Victoria Azarenka, in her first Grand Slam semi after she squashed unseeded Tamira Paszek 6-3, 6-1. That is some European salad of ladies.

College World Series: Congrats to the South Carolina Gamecocks, who won their second consecutive College World Series on southpaw Michael Roth's 7 2/3 innings over Florida 5-2. Drama free, they were in control from start to finish and matched the 1996-98 LSU record of consecutive wins in the College World Series with 11 straight. Way to go, Gamecocks!