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Monday’s Sports in Brief

August 21, 2018

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Alabama will begin its quest for a second consecutive national championship with a rare three-peat.

The Crimson Tide is just the second team to be ranked No. 1 in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll for three straight seasons. Alabama received 42 out of 61 first-place votes.

No. 2 Clemson received 18 first-place votes. Georgia is No. 3 and Wisconsin is fourth. The Badgers received one first-place vote. Ohio State was ranked No. 5.

The preseason AP poll started in 1950 and since then only Oklahoma from 1985-87 had started No. 1 in three straight years until now.

Ring up another milestone for coach Nick Saban’s Tide dynasty. Alabama has won five national championships since 2009 and now has been No. 1 to start the season five times under Saban. Last season was the first time Saban’s team started and finished the season No. 1.

BASEBALL

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Khris Davis asked a young fan from the Make-A-Wish Foundation to sign his jersey, then slugged a mighty home run for the Oakland Athletics in a 9-0 win against the Texas Rangers.

Davis let 10-year-old Oakland sixth-grader Anthony Slocumb print his name in blue ink on Davis’ white jersey, then wore the uniform while hitting his 37th home run in the third inning. Slocumb, in remission from a rare cancer called Langerhans cell histiocytosis, was at the Coliseum with a group from the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Greater Bay Area chapter. His mother, Natalie Sanchez, was delighted by Davis’ gesture.

“I was down there with the other kids and then two other players came down and then he came down,” an overjoyed Slocumb said in an interview with The Associated Press outside the Coliseum. “So, I was like, ‘You’re my favorite player’ and he was like, ‘Cool.’ I said, ‘Can you sign my jersey?’ and then he said, ‘Sure, do you want to sign mine, too?’ And I was like, ‘Sure,’ so we basically signed each other’s jerseys. That’s what happened.”

Davis’ shot was estimated at 438 feet. It came off starter Bartolo Colon and clanked off a window in the suite-level in left-center, a rare spot for home runs to reach here.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Chicago White Sox manager Rick Renteria will stay in a Minnesota hospital overnight after complaining of lightheadedness.

The 56-year-old Renteria was at the ballpark when the issue arose and was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center as a precaution. A team official says Renteria went through tests, but didn’t have any further information.

Bench coach Joe McEwing managed the club for Monday night’s 8-5 victory over the Twins. The teams begin a two-game set in Chicago on Tuesday night.

McEwing says Renteria is “an amazing leader and amazing person.” He says the team’s “thoughts and prayers were with him the whole evening,”

Renteria is in his third season as the White Sox manager.

AUTO RACING

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — IndyCar driver Robert Wickens will have surgery for a spinal injury suffered in a crash at Pocono Raceway.

IndyCar said in a statement the 29-year-old Canadian was scheduled for surgery Monday night in an Allentown hospital. The series was not expected to issue another immediate update on his condition.

Wickens was airlifted from the race track following a crash in the opening laps of Sunday’s race. IndyCar said he suffered injuries to his lower extremities, right arm and spine, and a pulmonary contusion .

Wickens’ car sailed into the fence at Pocono when he and Ryan Hunter-Reay made slight contact. Hunter-Reay’s car spun and Wickens’ car launched over it and into the fence. A large hole was torn into the fence and the race was delayed two hours to repair the damage.

Wickens is a rookie in IndyCar but a championship driver in touring cars in Europe. He left that series this year to try IndyCar alongside childhood friend James Hinchcliffe . The two Canadians became friends racing against each other in the junior ranks and Hinchcliffe lured Wickens back to North America.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State trustees set a private meeting for Wednesday to talk about the future of coach Urban Meyer as the university seeks to quickly move past a scandal that has consumed the football program for nearly a month.

Meyer has been the subject of an investigation into the handling of domestic-abuse allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith.

The university said factfinders briefed the board on Monday. The panel will convene in a public session on Wednesday morning before going behind closed doors to discuss the next steps. President Michael V. Drake will have the final say on whether Meyer keeps his job or faces other consequences.

″(Monday’s) briefing is to ensure that board members are adequately prepared to discuss this matter at Wednesday’s meeting,” Ohio State spokeswoman Emily Caldwell said Monday in an email.

No timetable was given for final resolution of the matter, which has overshadowed the team’s preparation for the 2018 season that begins at home Sept. 1.

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