in brief

A “drunk and belligerent” 17-year-old Notre Dame football recruit was killed in a fall from a fifth-floor hotel balcony during his senior year spring break in Florida, authorities said Saturday.

Matt James died early Friday evening at the Days Inn Motel in Panama City Beach. Police said he was dead when officers arrived.

“It appears to be a tragic accident,” Panama City Beach police Maj. David Humphreys said.

James, an all-state offensive lineman at Cincinnati’s St. Xavier High School, had been the first top signing for new Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly.

James was part of a group of about 40 St. Xavier students and a half-dozen parents on the trip.

“Witnesses and friends indicate he had become drunk and belligerent,” Humphreys said. “He had leaned over the balcony rail, was shaking his finger at the people in the next room over. He fell over.”

Humphreys said the railing at the hotel met the standards for proper height. He said police would be interested in pursuing charges if they learn who provided the underage teen with alcohol. Police said an autopsy on James would be done later. Toxicology results were pending.

Also: The UNLV men’s golf team shot 3-under-par 281 in the final round of the Thunderbird Invitational in Tempe, Ariz., moving from 11th to a tie for eighth in the 16-team tournament.

Washington won with a 13-under 839 total. The seventh-ranked Rebels finished at 4-over 856. San Diego State’s J.J. Spaun (8-under 205) won the individual title, and Eddie Olson (213) tied for 24th to pace UNLV.

The UNLV softball team posted two wins to wrap up play in the BYU Round Robin tournament, hammering Idaho State 19-4 before belting five home runs in a 6-4 victory over Cal State Bakersfield in St. George, Utah.

Alyssia De La Torre led the Rebels (23-14) in the opener, going 3-for-3 with four runs scored. Against Bakersfield, Jaci Hull homered twice — including a two-run shot in the decisive fifth inning — to move into a tie with Kim Rondina (1994 to 1997) for first place on UNLV’s career home run list with 46.

The UNLV baseball team lost to New Mexico 6-2 in a Mountain West Conference game at Wilson Stadium. R.J. Arnold contributed to both runs for the Rebels (16-12, 2-4 MWC), hitting an RBI ground-out in the second inning and scoring on a Richie Jimenez single in the fifth.

The College of Southern Nevada baseball team split with Salt Lake Community College, winning the opener 4-1 and losing the second game 3-2 at Morse Stadium.

Marvin Campbell went 1-for-2 with two RBIs in the first game, and Ryan Thomas had a solo homer for the Coyotes (30-6, 17-3 Scenic West Athletic Conference). Bryan Harper (8-1) threw six innings of one-run ball in the seven-inning game, striking out 10 while allowing four hits and no walks.

In the second game, both of CSN’s runs came in the sixth inning, with Gabe Weidenaar scoring on a wild pitch and Bryce Harper stealing home.


Haye punishes Ruiz to gain
TKO in heavyweight title bout

David Haye made a successful first defense of his WBA heavyweight title in Manchester, England, knocking down John Ruiz four times before the American challenger’s corner stopped the fight in the ninth round.

Haye, 29, sent Ruiz to the canvas twice in the first round, but Ruiz survived until his trainer waved the white towel two minutes into the ninth round. For the 38-year-old Ruiz, who held and lost the WBA title twice, it was the ninth defeat of a 55-fight career.

Also: Robert Guerrero will return to the ring to face Roberto Arrieta in a junior lightweight bout April 30 at the Tropicana, Golden Boy Promotions announced.

The fight will be Guerrero’s first since he dominated Malcolm Klassen last year to claim the IBF 130-pound title. Guerrero (25-1-1, 17 KOs) vacated his IBF belt in February to be with his wife, Casey, during the latest steps in her struggle with leukemia.


Browns nose tackle Rogers
pleads not guilty to gun charge

Cleveland Browns nose tackle Shaun Rogers pleaded not guilty to a concealed weapons charge after authorities say he tried to carry a loaded handgun through airport security in a carry-on bag at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Rogers’ attorney, Patrick D’Angelo, said his client entered the plea in Cleveland Municipal Court. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison. Rogers told police he forgot the gun was in his bag when he attempted to fly to Texas on Thursday.

Also: Chelsea moved into the English Premier League lead, as second-half substitute Didier Drogba scored a disputed goal to lift the Blues over host Manchester United 2-1 for Chelsea’s first victory at Old Trafford in five years.

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