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WWAY's Wednesday night sports - May 29

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- We invite you to follow WWAY Sports on Twitter @WWAYSports.

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PORTLAND, OR (TIMBERS) -- Frederic Piquionne joined the U.S. Open Cup and Portland Timbers record books with a four-goal performance in the first half to guide Portland to a 5-1 win over the Wilmington Hammerheads. Piquionne becomes just the second Timbers player in the club’s history (across all eras) to tally four goals in a league or cup game. Defender Futty Danso put away the club’s fifth goal in the 73rd minute and midfielder Will Johnson finished with three assists.

With the win over the Wilmington on Wednesday night at JELD-WEN Field, the Timbers advanced to the fourth round of the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and will play host to the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the North American Soccer League (NASL) on Wednesday, June 12.

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WILMINGTON, NC (RELEASE) -- Battle in the South VI Mixed Martial Arts - SUMMER SMASH to be held on Friday May 31st (doors open at 7pm) at the Coastline Convention Center downtown Wilmington. The event features 21 hard hitting fights including 6 TITLE BOUTS matching fighters from North of the Mason-Dixon Line against our local bruisers from the South. The main event goes INTERNATIONAL pairing the 6'2", 255lb GREEK HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION against former Battle in the South HEAVYWEIGHT Champion 6'2", 255lb Allen Crowder!

The fight weigh-ins have been scheduled for 11:00am on Friday May 31st at the Coastline Convention Center downtown.

For additional information please go to www.battleinthesouth.net.

Come join us on the 31st for BATTLE IN THE SOUTH VI - SUMMER SMASH - NORTH vs SOUTH Friday night Mixed Martial Arts fights!

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CHARLOTTE, NC (AP) - The Charlotte Bobcats have hired longtime NBA assistant coach Steve Clifford as their new head coach.

Clifford was introduced at a press conference Wednesday.

An assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers last season, Clifford becomes the Bobcats' sixth different coach since the 2006-07 season.

He spent five seasons (2007-12) working as an assistant under Stan Van Gundy in Orlando. He was also as an assistant coach with the Houston Rockets for four years and with the New York Knicks for three.

This will be his first NBA head coaching job.

Clifford has a monumental task ahead of him. He'll try to turn the Bobcats into a winner, but Charlotte is a combined 28-120 over the past two seasons.

He replaces Mike Dunlap, who was fired after just one season.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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ZEBULON, NC (NCHSAA) -- Some of the top players and teams in North Carolina high school baseball will be trying to add hardware to their trophy cases this weekend in the 97th annual North Carolina High School Athletic Association state baseball championship series.

The 2-A and 4-A series will get underway on Friday at Five County Stadium, home of the Carolina Mudcats, while the 1-A and 3-A classifications will get their series going on Friday at NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro, home of the Greensboro Grasshoppers. All the series are best-of-three games, and each of the teams in the finals survived best-of-three regional championship series.

In Zebulon, the first game on Friday will start the 2-A series between surprising North Brunswick (17-11) and Monroe Piedmont (28-3).

The Scorpions of North Brunswick rallied to defeat Pittsboro Northwood two games to one in the Eastern series. North is led at the plate by junior catcher Shak Graham, hitting .360, and Shelton Perkins (8-2, 2.41 ERA) leads the way on the mound.

The North bats will be tested by a great Piedmont pitching staff that sports a team ERA of 1.59, led by Corey Sikes (9-0, 0.73 ERA). Outfielder Nigel Hester paces Piedmont at the plate with a .449 mark.

The second game Friday night at Five County Stadium will open the 4-A series between Fuquay-Varina (26-4) and South Mecklenburg (25-7), two teams making their fourth appearances in NCHSAA state baseball championship series.

Fuquay-Varina’s Garrett Suggs, an N.C. State signee, is battling a sizzling .449 while Brett Daniels is hitting .432 and is 12-0 on the mound with am 0.84 ERA. South Mecklenburg has a pair of .400 hitters in junior first baseman Harris Yett (.409), who has also hit six home runs, and switch-hitting catcher Logan Koch (.404).

The opening game at NewBridge Bank Park on Friday will be in the 1-A series between Midway (26-3) and defending state champ South Stanly (28-5).

South is in the finals for the fourth time in the last five years and has a great one-two pitching combination in Russ Weiker (11-1, 1.58 ERA) and Chase Poplin (8-2, 1.56 ERA) who is also hitting .414. Midway, in the finals for the first time since 1981, rides a 10-game winning streak into the championship. The Raiders’ Taylor Calcutt is a key player, 10-1 on the mound with an 0.64 ERA and also hitting .379.

The 3-A series will get underway at 8 p.m. on Friday with the opening game between Greenville D.H. Conley (27-3) and Weddington (22-10).

Conley is in the finals for the third time since 2005, with state crowns in ’05 and ’06, and the Vikings are led by Davis Kirkpatrick (11-1, 0.29 ERA, 137 strikeouts in 73.2 innings and a .419 batting average). Weddington battled past Hickory in a three-game regional series and is the defending 3-A champ, although the club got off to a slow 1-4 start. Outfielder Alex Bostic, the MVP of last year’s 3-A championship, swings a big bat for the Weddington Warriors, batting .393 with 11 homers and 35 runs batted in.

The Raleigh Sports Consortium and Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau are serving as host city sponsors for the games at Five County.

CLASS 2-A: FIVE COUNTY STADIUM, ZEBULON

NORTH BRUNSWICK (17-11) vs. MONROE PIEDMONT (28-3)

Game 1: Friday, May 31, 5 pm

Game 2: Saturday, June 1, 11 am

Game 3: if necessary, Saturday, June 1, 5 pm

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- UNCW Chancellor Gary Miller plans to announce on Thursday morning his decision about whether to cut sports programs from the school's athletic department.

Miller will hold a news conference at 8 a.m. on May 30 to announce his decision about the report that recommended eliminating five programs, according to a university spokeswoman. A committee Miller commissioned earlier this year to examine the athletic department recommended the school cut men's and women's swimming and diving, men's cross country, men's indoor track and softball

Miller's announcement will come just before the UNCW Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet for a special meeting at 9 a.m. in the Warwick Center Ballroom on campus. The Board of Trustees is scheduled to discuss the committee's report among other issue.

WWAY has also learned Miller has reportedly been meeting this week with student-athletes for their feedback on the recommendations.

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The Wilmington Sharks picked up a 3-2 extra inning win over Fayetteville on Wednesday night that was dominated by pitching and ended in fireworks. Chris Dula picked an RBI single to win the game for the Sharks in the bottom of the tenth win the game for the Sharks.

The dominance on the bump continued for the Sharks, as starting pitcher John Gora went eight innings struck out five and gave up one run and did a great job locating his fastball and off speed pitches.

The Sharks struck first in the bottom of the second when back to back hits put Alex Freedman and Matt Pullock on base. A ground ball to the right side off of the bat of John Fidanza scored Freedman and the Sharks took a 1-0 lead.

Derek Gibson crossed the plate in the top of the fourth for the Swampdogs to tie up the game at 1-1. Freedman led off the bottom half of the fourth with a walk and Pullock's second hit of the game put runnerson first and second. Freedman eventually scored the second run on a wild pitch from Shawn Talkington. Ryan Busch hit a ground rule double that put him into scoring position and eventually scored to tie up the game at 2-2.

In the tenth, Brennen James was in on relief and ended up loading the bases on a double, walk, and single. Freedman came back strong and struck out back to back batters and then ended the inning on a fly out to left. The Sharks, put a couple runners on in the tenth and with two outs Chris Dula hit a ball to Shortstop Chase Rader,who had an errant throw to first which allowed Dillon Rudio to come around to score.

The Sharks look to improve their 2-0 record at home Thursday against the Edenton Steamers at 7:05 p.m.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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