U.S. loses — Horns honked, percussion pulsed and school kids squealed. Miami can make quite a din when the Dominicans win. The visiting team on the scoreboard, the Dominican Republic made itself at home by beating the United States 3-1 Thursday night to earn a berth in the final round of the World Baseball Classic. Pinch hitter Erick Aybar singled home the go-ahead run in the ninth for the Dominicans, who improved to 5-0. They’re assured of a spot in the semifinals beginning Sunday in San Francisco, where two-time defending champion Japan and the Netherlands have already advanced. The United States must now play Puerto Rico on tonight, with the winner earning a trip to San Francisco and the loser being eliminated.
Hamlin won’t appeal — Denny Hamlin and NASCAR settled their censorship flap Thursday when he announced he would not appeal the $25,000 fine levied against him for criticizing the new Gen-6 car. But Hamlin held his ground on refusing to pay the fine. NASCAR said the fine will be settled per the rule book, which allows the sanctioning body to garnish the money from a driver’s race winnings. “Dragging myself, my team and NASCAR through the mud for the next 2 weeks would not be good for anyone," Hamlin posted on Twitter. “I firmly believe I am in the right on this issue and will stand behind my decision not to pay. I understand NASCAR will do what they feel is necessary based on my decision."
Nadal beats Federer— Rafael Nadal defeated error-prone Roger Federer 6-4, 6-2 in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., on Thursday night in the earliest meeting between the two rivals since they first played each other in 2004. Nadal needed barely 1½ hours to close out the defending champion in their 29th career meeting and the first in a quarterfinal. Nadal faced just two break points on his serve.
Hirscher nearly wins title — Marcel Hirscher all but wrapped up his second straight overall World Cup title on Thursday, when closest challenger Aksel Lund Svindal conceded defeat after another of his favored speed events was canceled by bad weather at the finals in Switzerland. Svindal said he won’t race in the season-ending slalom on Sunday, meaning he can’t overtake his Austrian rival’s 149-point lead in the standings. “I see no reason to," said Svindal, who races the slalom only in super-combined events. Hirscher has excelled in slalom this season and has already won the discipline title. The women’s super-G was also canceled, giving this season’s discipline title to Tina Maze of Slovenia, who had already won in the overall and giant slalom standings. Maze could only have been caught by American Julia Mancuso.
Coaching great dies — Jack Curran, who spent more than a half century at Archbishop Molloy High School in New York and was among the nation’s winningest prep coaches in basketball and baseball, has died. He was 83. Curran was the winningest coach in New York state, with 972 victories in basketball and 1,708 in baseball.
OSU safety gets another year — The NCAA has granted Oregon State safety Steven Christian a sixth season of eligibility. Christian missed the 2009 and 20011 seasons at Hawaii because of a hip injury, before transferring to Oregon State. He played in seven games for the Beavers last season with five tackles, an interception and a forced fumble.
— From wire reports