Sunday, February 22, 2004

Owl Ace Niemann Suffers First Loss in Two Years 

Owls ace pitcher Jeff Niemann (0-1) suffered his first loss since April of 2002, as the Owls lost 3-1 to Arizona State (8-2) in the final game of the Coca Cola Classic at Reckling Park.

Niemann was sharp, only giving up four hits over seven innings, but the last hit was a Travis Buck 2 run home run in the top of the sixth. And the Owls bad which had been white hot entering the game, completely fizzled against Sun Devil pitcher Jason Urquidez. Urqidez shut down the Owls with a complete game 3-hitter. Down 3-0 in the ninth, the Owls rallied for a run with two outs in the ninth as Matt Ueckert singled home Chris Kolkhorst, but Urquindez buckled down and got Adam Rogers to pop up to the catcher for the final out.

The loss ruined what was otherwise a very nice weekend for the Owls.

On Friday night, Sophomore walk-on Matt Moake celebrated his first (of what looks to be many) college start with a home run and 5 RBI to lead the Owls to a 13-5 thumping of Wake Forest. The offense provided smooth sailing for Philip Humber (1-0), who was dominant through five scoreless innings, allowing just a single hit, no walks and striking out nine Demon Deacons. Up 10-0 after five, Humber handed the lead over to the bullpen, who again looked a little shaky as sophomore Eddie Degerman gave up four runs in an inning and a third. But Garrett Pennington came in with one out and one on and stuffed the Deacons rally, pitching a scoreless inning and two-thirds for the Owls.

Saturday, Wade Townsend continued his white-hot start for the Owls by shaking off a first inning homer to post an easy 9-2 win over Cal State Northridge (4-8). Townsend (1-0) gave up his first two earned runs of the year on the home run, but then went on to scatter 5 hits and 3 walks through eight innings to earn the win. The game was close until the Owls blew things open with a four run ninth. The final boxscore looked dominating as the Owls gathered fifteen hits and eight walks but also left 14 men on base. Matt Moake was again the offensive star, going 3-3 with 3 runs scored.

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