Provo Angels sting the ‘Stangs

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    By Scott Creer

    Whether it”s a high scoring game or a low scoring game, the end result for the Provo Angels is usually the same – a win.

    Anchored by strong pitching from lefty Jason Dennis and timely hitting from Nick Gorneault, the Angels beat the Billings Mustangs 3-1 on Monday, June 25. The win improves the Angels” record to 8-2.

    “It”s only 10 games; it”s a good start,” Angels manager Tom Kotchman said. “Obviously we”d rather be 8-2 than 2-8.”

    The game featured the two top teams of the Pioneer League. Billings and Provo both have 8-2 records and both sit atop their respective divisions.

    Dennis pitched over five innings allowing four hits and no runs. Dennis kept the ball over the plate and let his defense take care of matters behind him.

    The Angels turned two double plays and made the routine plays look easy.

    “These guys work hard,” Dennis said. “Our defense is so solid.”

    Kotchman was impressed with his defense, but also praised his starter”s pitching performance.

    “He gave you what you need,” Kotchman said. “He threw strikes and changed speeds.”

    Provo”s coaching staff stresses throwing strikes and Dennis and pitchers Kris Sutton and Dan Jackson followed instructions.

    “The team with less walks makes less mistakes,” Dennis said.

    Jackson pitched two scoreless innings for his second save of the season.

    The Mustangs” starting pitcher Cleris Severino started out strong, but ran into control problems in the third inning. Severino walked the bases loaded with two outs, then allowed a two-run single to Nick Gorneault.

    “Creating chances is important,” Gorneault said. “We have to capitalize.”

    Gorneault took advantage of the situation in the seventh as well. With Maximo Pichardo on third base, Gorneault got the sign from the coaches to bunt.

    “It was a perfect situation for a squeeze play,” Gorneault said.

    Pichardo got a great jump from third and Gorneault laid a perfect bunt to the pitcher. Pichardo scored easily and Gorneault had himself another RBI.

    “There”s no defense against the squeeze,” Kotchman said.

    The Angels took advantage of a tired Mustangs team who just traveled almost 12 hours on a bus to get to Provo. Kotchman understands his Angels need to play their best to beat Billings.

    “That club is well-prepared every night,” Kotchman said. “They hit some balls hard that we caught.”

    Billings and Provo play game two of their three game series on Tuesday, June 26, at 7 p.m.

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