BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Michael Hiers threw four of his five touchdown passes in the first half as Samford rolled to a 69-14 victory over Division II-member Shorter on Thursday night in the season opener for both teams.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ronald Acuña Jr. had a full day: The Atlanta Braves star got married in the morning, hit a landmark grand slam and ended the night beating NL MVP rival Mookie Betts and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He hopes to postpone the honeymoon until November.

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Kirby Smart shrugs off any talk about making history. Despite the Georgia coach's protestations, that storyline is impossible to ignore between the hedges. The No. 1 Bulldogs, who open the season Saturday against overmatched Tennessee-Martin, have a chance to do something that's never been accomplished in The Associated Press poll era. Three straight national championships.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska's fight song begins, “There is no place like Nebraska.” When it comes to volleyball, those words never rang more true than Wednesday night. The Cornhuskers laid claim to the world record for largest attendance at a women's sporting event with 92,003 filling Memorial Stadium for their volleyball match against Omaha.

DENVER (AP) — Darius Vines pitched six strong innings to win in his major league debut and Marcell Ozuna homered for the second time in as many games as the Atlanta Braves beat the Colorado Rockies 7-3 on Wednesday night to complete a season sweep. Kevin Pillar and Orlando Arcia also homered for the Braves, who finished 7-0 against the Rockies for their third season sweep of Colorado. Atlanta outscored Colorado 64-20 over the season sweep.

ATLANTA (AP) — Brent Key says he and his staff studied video of at least 21 schools as he prepared for Georgia Tech's opening game against Louisville, which will bring a new coach, Jeff Brohm, and a transfer quarterback, Jack Plummer, to Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Friday night. One bit of video from Georgia Tech's 2022 season stood out to Key before his first game as the Yellow Jackets' full-time coach — a clip of Georgia Tech's 26-21 win at Pittsburgh during his eight-game stint as interim coach.

DENVER (AP) — Marcell Ozuna hit his 30th homer, Charlie Morton threw six innings of one-run ball and the Atlanta Braves beat the Colorado Rockies 3-1 on Tuesday night for their 16th win in 21 games. Major league-best Atlanta improved to 86-45, including 6-0 against the Rockies with a 57-17 run margin. Colorado, which has lost 12 of its last 13 against Atlanta, is an NL-worst 49-83, assured of its fifth straight losing season. The Rockies have lost eight of nine overall.

DENVER (AP) — Two fans ran onto the field and one made contact with Atlanta Braves star Ronald Acuña Jr. during the seventh inning of Monday night's game against the Colorado Rockies in Denver. One fan got his arms against Acuña during the middle of the seventh inning. Two security people quickly grabbed the fan in right field and as they tried to drag him away, a third security person approached.

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — No one in college football has bigger shoes to fill than Carson Beck. His predecessor as Georgia's starting quarterback was Stetson Bennett, who guided the Bulldogs to consecutive national championships and was always at his best in the biggest games. Now, after three years spent watching mostly from the sidelines, Beck is finally getting his chance to lead the No. 1 Bulldogs.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Patrick Bailey hit a tiebreaking three-run double in the fifth inning, fellow rookie Casey Schmitt hit his first homer in 3 1/2 months, and the San Francisco Giants beat the Atlanta Braves 8-5 Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep. The Giants won for just the sixth time in their last 20 games to slow a slide that has dropped them out of a wild card position after they once held the top spot.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — A decade later, Simone Biles is still on top. The gymnastics star won her record eighth U.S. Championship on Sunday night, 10 years after she first ascended to the top of her sport as a teenage prodigy.

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The American men who had won the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4x100 relay at world championships before this year are known to track fans: Tyson Gay and Maurice Greene. But some of the American men who have gone 3 for 3 in those races at the Olympics are known far beyond the shadow of any track stadium – think, Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — NASCAR driver Ryan Preece is “awake, alert and mobile” after his car rolled about a dozen times after a terrifying crash at Daytona International Speedway. Stewart-Haas Racing said Sunday morning that Preece “has been communicating with family and friends." He was hospitalized overnight.

Chris Buescher won the NASCAR Cup Series regular-season finale at Daytona International Speedway, eliminating fan favorite Chase Elliott from the playoffs and sending Bubba Wallace into the …

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks jumped to an early four-run lead, and nearly blew it in the ninth inning. Their starting pitcher earned his first win in the majors. They even scored on infield fly rule popup. The most impressive highlight of a wild night: a kid stealing the ball from an outfielder trying to steal a home run.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Spencer Strider became the major leagues’ first 15-game winner, pitching three-hit ball over seven inning in leading the Atlanta Braves over the slumping San Francisco Giants 5-1 on Friday night. Michael Harris II had three hits and drove in three runs, helping the major league-best Braves (83-44) to their eighth win in 10 games.

ATLANTA (AP) — Mike Tomlin didn't waver in his decision to play quarterback Kenny Pickett and other Pittsburgh starters even when Atlanta coach Arthur Smith countered with his backups. “I just think it's difficult to box without sparring,” Tomlin said. Pickett and the Steelers scored an early knockout.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani already knew he had a career-altering tear in his elbow ligament when he roped a double to right in the fifth inning of the Angels' doubleheader nightcap on Wednesday. After he hustled to second base, he was greeted by Elly De La Cruz. Cincinnati's 21-year-old rookie shortstop jokingly poked at the smiling Ohtani, essentially asking the two-way superstar, “Are you real?"

ATLANTA (AP) — Even in the Georgia heat, Charlie Morton is thriving at 39. He gives at least partial credit to extra salt on his food. Morton gave up only two hits in seven innings while allowing no runs for the third straight start, Marcell Ozuna drove in four runs with three hits, including a two-run homer, and the Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 7-0 on Wednesday night.

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Branson Robinson, who showed his potential to emerge as a lead running back in 2023 for No. 1 Georgia by rushing for two touchdowns in the Bulldogs' 2022 national championship game win over TCU, will miss this season after suffering a ruptured patellar tendon. Coach Kirby Smart announced Wednesday that Robinson, a sophomore, suffered the injury on Tuesday.

The NCAA rule change that drew the most notice in the offseason might go mostly unnoticed by fans once the college football season is underway. For the first season since 1967, the clock will continue to run, as it does in the NFL, when a team makes a first down on a play that ends inbounds rather than stopping until the chains are set and the referee signals ready for play. The exception is during the last two minutes of the second and fourth quarters.

ATLANTA (AP) — Former Texas A&M quarterback Haynes King has claimed the starting job at Georgia Tech. Coach Brent Key announced Tuesday that King will start the Sept. 1 opener against Atlantic Coast Conference rival Louisville. “We feel like he gives us the best chance in the first game to go out and play the game we want to play,” Key said.

Two-time defending national champion and No. 1 Georgia had the most players selected to The Associated Press preseason All-America team announced Monday. They include tight end Brock Bowers, center Sedrick Van Pran, defensive back Malaki Starks and linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson.

ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves placed right-handed pitcher Yonny Chirinos on the 15-day injured list Monday with elbow inflammation. The move, made retroactive to Sunday, cleared room on the roster for right-hander Allan Winans, who was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett to start the opener of a three-game series against the New York Mets.

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank is adding a second golf component to his business empire by purchasing one of six teams in Tiger Woods' high-tech TGL league scheduled to launch in January. Blank, who also owns MLS Atlanta United and the PGA Tour Superstore, said he was drawn to the league's potential to attract new golf fans with its interaction of tech and live action in a prime-time weekly format. Each of the six teams will have three PGA Tour players.

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