College Sports

Blanchard could start vs. Appalachian State Saturday

Former Northwestern High School standout Bart Blanchard, a redshirt freshman quarterback at The Citadel, may get his first collegiate start Saturday.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Blanchard could start in Saturday's 2 p.m. Homecoming game against Appalachian State.

Starter Duran Lawson suffered a sprained knee late in last week's 21-17 loss to Georgia Southern and is being evaluated.

"With Duran being questionable, Bart Blanchard will be our go-to guy," Bulldogs coach Kevin Higgins said during his media luncheon earlier this week.

Higgins, whose Bulldogs are 5-3, 4-2 in the Southern Conference, said he has a "lot of faith" in Blanchard.

Blanchard has played in four games, including the final two series against Georgia Southern. He is 4-of-8 for 36 yards.

• LIMESTONE: Ex-Saints right-handed pitcher Kevin Pucetas, who pitched for the Augusta GreenJackets, was named Minor League Baseball's Most Spectacular Pitcher.

The award is given to the pitcher with the lowest regular-season ERA in the domestic leagues.

Pucetas was 15-4 with a 1.86 ERA for Augusta, a San Francisco farm team.

Pucetas edged Rochester right-hander Kevin Slowey, a Minnesota farm hand and former Winthrop Eagle, for the award. Slowey ended the regular season with a 1.89 ERA.

• MIAMI-DADE: Former Clover High School center Tyronne McNeal will begin his sophomore season for the Sharks Tuesday.

The 6-11, 242-pound McNeal and his teammates open the 2007-08 season when the Sharks entertain IMG Academy at 7 p.m.

McNeal appeared in 25 games for the Sharks last season. He averaged 11.1 points and 6.3 rebounds a game, converting 54.6 percent of his field goals and 65.8 percent of his free throws.

• OREGON: Ducks quarterback Dennis Dixon, who has thrust himself into the race for the Heisman Trophy, is a multi-sport athlete, having spent the past summer playing baseball in the Atlanta organization.

Dixon, a left-handed hitting outfielder, was the Braves' fifth-round pick in last June's draft.

He batted .100 for Danville in the rookie Appalachian League and .188 for the Braves' entry in the rookie Gulf Coast League.

Dixon has led the Ducks to a 7-1 record and a No. 4 ranking. The Ducks face No. 6 Arizona State (8-0) Saturday.

• SOUTH CAROLINA: Former Gamecocks baseball standout Steve Pearce was honored with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award as the Topps/Minor League Player of the Year.

Pearce, Pittsburgh's eighth round selection in the 2005 draft, made his way up the minor-league ladder with three stops. He began the 2007 season at Class A Lynchburg, moved to Double-A Altoona and then to Triple-A Indianapolis.

The 24-year-old first baseman-outfielder hit 31 homers and drove in 113 runs in the three stops.

He ended the year by hitting .294 in 23 games with the Pirates.

• WICHITA STATE: Former Winthrop basketball coach Gregg Marshall will make his debut as the Shockers' mentor Saturday in a 7:05 p.m. exhibition game against Arkansas Tech.

One of Marshall's recruits is 6-7 freshman forward Aaron Ellis, a native of Myrtle Beach. Ellis originally committed to South Carolina, but didn't qualify.