Latest Arkansas sports:

Strode on a roll on ITF circuit

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - Former University of Arkansas men's tennis star Blake Strode has advanced to the finals of just his third International Tennis Federation tournament.

Strode defeated No. 6-seed Matej Bocko, 6-2, 6-4, in Joplin, Mo., today.

Earlier this month, Strode beat Bocko in Pittsburgh, Penn., in the semifinals of another ITF event before falling in the finals.

Sundays finals will pit Strode against a familiar foe as he is scheduled to play the winner of the semifinal match between former Tulsa standout Arnau Brugues, the No. 5 seed in Joplin, and former LSU Tiger Michael Venus.

Strode faced Brugues at the ITA All-American last October, beating the then-ranked No. 6 Brugues in straight sets. Then-ranked No. 20, Venus eliminated Strode.

Razorbacks in Rome for swimming event

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - University of Arkansas swimmers Yi-Ting Siow, Erica Totten and Lynette Ng are in Rome this week to compete in the 13th FINA World Championships.

Competing for her home country of Malaysia, Siow will swim in the 100 and 200 breaststroke events and the 200 individual medley.

Siow is no stranger to international competition, representing Malaysia in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics. She holds Malaysian records in the 50-, 100- and 200- breast and the 200 IM.

Totten, competing for the Republic of the Philippines, will swim four events, competing in the 200-, 400- and 800 freestyle events and the 200 fly.

Ng, the Arkansas record holder in the 100 backstroke, is set to swim in the 100 back event for the Singapore National Team.

Hochevar strikes out 13 in KC's 6-3 win over Texas

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Luke Hochevar struck out a career-high 13 in seven innings and closer Joakim Soria earned a rare six-out save, helping the Kansas City Royals end a 10-game losing streak with a 6-3 win over the Texas Rangers on Saturday night.

Hochevar (6-3) had the second-most strikeouts in team history and was particularly effective against Texas' big three, striking out Josh Hamilton, Andruw Jones and Hank Blalock a combined nine times.

Billy Butler hit a two-run homer and Soria took the pressure off Kansas City's beleaguered bullpen with his third career six-out save, ending Texas' 5-game winning streak.

Rangers recovering, report no new swine flu cases

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - After a miserable week of coughing and congestion, the Texas Rangers finally have some good news: No new cases of swine flu and most of the sick players are regaining their energy.

Texas has had at least a half dozen players hit by flulike symptoms and pitcher Vicente Padilla was diagnosed with H1N1 influenza A on Friday. The team is waiting for results of a few more swine flu tests, but nearly everyone seems on the mend.

Padilla worked out on Saturday and is expected to start Tuesday against Detroit. Kevin Millwood also appears ready to go for Sunday's series finale against Kansas City. Shortstop Omar Vizquel was back in the lineup Saturday after missing three games with the flu.

Mets find offense, beat Astros 10-3 behind Niese

HOUSTON (AP) - Jeff Francoeur hit a three-run homer, David Wright added a solo shot and the New York Mets enjoyed a rare offensive outburst Saturday night in a 10-3 victory over the Houston Astros.

Omir Santos also homered and touted prospect Jonathon Niese, just recalled from the minors, pitched seven impressive innings while cruising to his second major league win. New York snapped a 3-game skid, matching its season high for homers in a game and reaching 10 runs for the third time this year.

The injury-ravaged Mets placed slugger Gary Sheffield (hamstring) on the disabled list before the game, but didn't need their home run leader to put together 1 of their best offensive performances this season.


Spurs sign center Theo Ratliff

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - The San Antonio Spurs have signed center Theo Ratliff.

Terms of the deal announced Saturday were not disclosed.

The 6-foot-10 Ratliff spent last season with the Philadelphia 76ers, averaging 1.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.02 blocks in 12.6 minutes while appearing in 46 games.

Ratliff has also played for Detroit, Atlanta, Portland, Boston and Minnesota during 14 NBA seasons.

Ratliff was a second-team selection to two NBA All-Defensive teams (1998-99, 2003-04), and is 1 of 7 players in NBA history to lead the league in blocks in at least three seasons (2000-01, 2002-03 and 2003-04).

He ranks 18th all-time in total blocks (1,902) and is fifth among active players.

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