For the second straight year, the Pima College softball team is headed to the NJCAA tournament after pitcher Yvette Alvarez and the Aztecs beat top seed Central Arizona twice Saturday for the Region I, Division I title.
Alvarez (29-12) threw a shutout in the first game as Pima beat Central 6-0. The Aztecs (46-17) won the title game 6-5 after Alvarez struck out Central's Jessica Loiacano, the league's player of the year, for the final out.
The championship win gave coach Armando Quiroz his 300th victory at Pima. "To get 300 on our way to nationals is special," said Quiroz (300-71-1 in six seasons).
"It felt good to win it again," said Alvarez, named the region tourney MVP again. "Everyone is hitting."
Victoria Mariscal (Douglas) went a combined 5 for 8, with an RBI double to put Pima up 6-4 in the title game.
The national tourney is May 16-18 in St. George, Utah.
• In Los Angeles, UA decathlete Keegan Cooke tied for sixth after five events in the Pac-12 track and field combined events meet. Amber Passalaqua is eighth for the UA women.
Smith captures wild Nationwide win
TALLADEGA, Ala. - Regan Smith won the crash-filled, rain-delayed Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway when NASCAR said he was leading at the final caution flag Saturday night.
On the final lap, Brian Vickers was spun hard into the outside wall. Smith, Joey Logano and Kasey Kahne raced three-wide to the finish line and Kahne crossed it first. But after a video review, NASCAR said Smith won.
• Steady rain Saturday washed out qualifying for today's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega, where the field was set by practice speeds. It put Carl Edwards on the pole, followed by Martin Truex Jr. and Marcos Ambrose.
• American Ryan Hunter-Reay set a track record with a lap of 1 minute 20.430 seconds to win the pole position for IndyCar's Sao Paulo 300 today in Brazil.
Mickelson, Watney tie for lead in Charlotte
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Phil Mickelson and Nick Watney tied for the third-round lead in the Wells Fargo Championship, one stroke ahead of George McNeill, but it wasn't easy in the PGA Tour event at Quail Hollow.
Mickelson hit a shot out-of-bounds, then struck a golf fan in the head, costing him three shots over the last four holes in his round of 1-over 73. Watney had a 71.
Rory McIlroy, who turned 24 Saturday, shot 73 after missing seven putts from the 5-foot range or closer.
• In Williamsburg, Va., two-time champ Cristie Kerr shot a 5-under 66 to take a two-stroke lead over Stacy Lewis and Suzann Pettersen after the third round of the LPGA Tour's Kingsmill Championship.
• In the Woodlands, Texas, Gene Sauers chipped in for birdie on the par-4 17th a day after making a double bogey on the hole, and took a two-stroke lead in the Champions Tour's Insperity Championship with a 6-under 66.
• In college football, Kentucky safety Ashely Lowery was hospitalized in Georgia after a car accident Friday.
• In cycling, British standout Mark Cavendish won the opening stage of the Giro d'Italia that was marred by a crash shortly before the finish in Naples, Italy.
Includes material from news releases