Timing is everything for Provo Angels’ continued success

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    Behind strong pitching and timely hitting, the Provo Angels manufactured a 4-2 win Wednesday, June 27, to complete a three game sweep of the Billings Mustangs.

    Provo’s sixth consecutive victory takes the Pioneer League-leading Angels to a 10-2 record.

    Manager Tom Kotchman attributed the win to gutsy pitching performances by starter Jake Woods and reliever Cliff Smith.

    Things looked bleak for Provo in the first inning as Woods gave up four consecutive base hits, spotting the Mustangs to a two run advantage.

    Following an error by shortstop Jonathan Cahill on a potential inning-ending double play, Woods faced a one-out bases loaded dilemma. Woods kept his cool and struck out the next two batters to end the inning, keeping the game in reach for the Angels.

    Kotchman said the key to the game was having Woods escape from the first inning. Despite his trouble in the first inning, Woods probably would have stayed in the game because of the status of the Angels’ bullpen, Kotchman said.

    “You can’t abuse your guys in the bullpen,” he said.

    Woods, a 19-year-old lefthander from Bakersfield, California, scattered three hits over the next four innings leaving the game with nine strikeouts and no walks in five innings.

    Kotchman gave equal praise to reliever Smith. Smith had never worked more than one inning in a game for the Angels, but threw four no-hit innings with five strikeouts to pick up the win and seal the Angels’ victory.

    The Angels played small ball, producing their runs behind two pairs of RBIs from Maximo Pichardo and Cahill. Provo tied the game in the fifth inning after Ed Welch singled on a bunt, stole second and scored on a single to center from Pichardo.

    The game was decided in the Angels’ half of a three-hit, two-run seventh inning.

    Provo looks for their seventh consecutive win at Larry H. Miller Field tonight, June 28, as it opens a three-game series with Colorado’s affiliate, the Casper Rockies. The first pitch is at 7:05.

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