Briefs: Conner pulls off sweep

What's more difficult to win: an America's Cup or the Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race?

Dennis Conner mulled over the question Sunday when it was confirmed that his Farr 60, Stars & Stripes, had scored a hat trick triple victory in the 64th Newport to Ensenada: first monohull to finish, first in the Maxi class and first in the entire fleet on corrected handicap time. The latter won him the race's biggest prize —-the President of USA Trophy — based on how well boats are sailed to their rated potential.

"I am wondering how many times a boat was first to finish, first in class and first overall," Conner said. "I have been first to finish three times but never won overall at the same time."

The only boat that finished ahead of Stars & Stripes early Saturday morning was Bill Gibbs's multihull Afterburner, truly a different breed of cat that finished 791/2 minutes ahead on real time but nearly two hours behind on handicap time in one of the slower Ensenada races.

It wasn't at all like 2009, when Doug Baker's Magnitude 80 set the monohull record of 10 hours, 37 minutes, 50 seconds and all the other boats finished by 4 o'clock Saturday afternoon. This time a bunch hadn't finished by the 11 a.m. cutoff time Sunday.

All told, 175 boats entered, 167 started and 112 finished. The last was John Granahan's Cal 39-2, Knot A Clew, from Oceanside Yacht Club, competing in PHRF E class.

There were a handful of bigger monohulls with faster ratings than Stars & Stripes, which rated minus-63 seconds per mile.

The first 10 finishers: 1. Afterburner (Tennant Bladerunner 52), Bill Gibbs, Pierpont Bay Yacht Club, elapsed time 17:08:53, corrected time 22:33:05; 2. Stars & Stripes (Farr 60), Dennis Conner, San Diego YC, ET 18:28:25, CT 20:40:11; 3. Alchemy (Dencho 70), Per Peterson, Oceanside YC, ET 19:20:23, CT 22:16:05; 4. Medicine Man (Andrews 63), Bob Lane, Long Beach YC, ET 19:24:13, CT 22:51:17; 5. Peligroso (Kernan 70), Lorenzo Berho, Mexico City, ET 19:45:33, CT 24:02:49; 6. It's OK (Andrews 50), Tres Gordos LLC, ET 19:48:09, CT 21:47:23; 7. Taxi Dancer (Reichel/Pugh 68), Dick Compton/Jim Yabsley/Tom Parker, Santa Barbara YC, ET 20:28:13, CT 23:23:55; 8. Relentless (Santa Cruz 52T), Durant/Shew, Long Beach YC, ET 20:55:19, CT 21:45:31; 9. Stealth Chicken (Perry 56), Tim Beatty, ET 20:58:25, CT 22:07:27; 10. Piranha (Farr 40), David Voss, California YC, ET 21:05:45, CT 21:18:18.

— Rich Roberts

UCI's Hillman lauded

UC Irvine senior Drew Hillman was named the Big West Conference Player of the Week in baseball after batting .625 with 10 hits and six runs batted in to go along with seven runs scored and three stolen bases in four games.

After kicking off the week with a hit against San Diego State, Hillman drove in four runs, scored three and blasted his third home run of the season, a three-run shot, in the series opener at Pacific on Friday.

The left fielder had a pair of hits Saturday including the first of three doubles in the series.

Sunday, Hillman had a career day, going six for six, scoring three and driving in two. He doubled twice and singled four times as well as scored the eventual game-winning run in the seventh to break a 5-5 tie as UCI clinched the series.

Hillman, a former All-American at Orange Coast College, is second on the team with a .350 average and leads the Anteaters with 43 hits and 27 RBIs, heading into Tuesday's nonconference home game against San Diego. His three homers are tied for the team lead.

— From staff reports

Pirates pursue title

The Orange Coast College men's volleyball team will attempt to win the program's first state title since 1994 when it plays host to the state final four, with semifinal action on Wednesday.

The Pirates (16-2), champions of the Pacific Coast Conference, have won nine straight matches entering the 8 p.m. semifinal against the winner of Monday's Santa Barbara-Irvine Valley quarterfinal match at Santa Barbara.

OCC reached the state final last season, but suffered its eighth loss in 13 title-match appearances.

The 5:30 p.m. semifinal Wednesday will pit Western State Conference champion Long Beach against either El Camino or Grossmont, who played in Monday's quarterfinals at Grossmont.

The state final is scheduled Friday at 7 p.m.

— From staff reports

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