For six innings there was no other name more significant than Nick Morande’s. The first-year pitcher out of Florida gave up only three hits, issued no walks, struck out seven batters and did not allow a single run, in their 5-1 win over the Missoula Osprey.
“Maronde, Morande, Morande, what else is there to say?” said Orem Owlz Manager Tom Kotchman. “Had I been more athletic I would have done cartwheels when we were able to get him in the third round.”
Maronde showed Tuesday night why Kotchman has been so high on him this season. It had been a struggle for the Owlz to have a starter pitch more than three innings, let alone six. By going so deep into the game, Morande allowed the bullpen to rest and be fresh to close out the game.
“I saw [Missoula] a few days ago, so I tried to remember their strengths and weaknesses, what they did well against me and what I did well, so I think that helped a lot,” Morande said.
Taylor Lindsey scored on a wild pitch in the third inning. Then Orem exploded in the fifth, scoring two runs on a single with an error on an overthrown ball to first, allowing Ryan Jones to reach third. Frazier Hall jumped into the action, hitting a mammoth blast to right field and earning a two-RBI home run.
Mike Jones continued the pitching prowess by tossing a perfect seventh inning, setting up closer Nick Mutz with a chance to close out the game.
Finally in the top of the eighth, the Osprey capitalized on a solo home-run, off of reliever Nick Mutz. Orem however, quickly dispatched Missoula after giving up the lone run of the night.
Mutz finished off the eighth and ninth to close out a 5-1 win and increase Orem’s postseason hopes.
“Mutz made one mistake, but then he took over and closed the door on them, and that’s what we’ve been looking for,” Kotchman said.