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Pichardo leads Provo Angels to victory

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PROVO — Second baseman Maximo Pichardo did a little bit of everything Thursday night in the Provo Angels' 2-1 Pioneer League victory over the Casper Rockies.

Not only did Pichardo make a couple of dazzling defensive plays and exhibit heads-up baserunning, he also went 3-for-4 from the plate and scored a run. For good measure, he knocked in the game-winning run.

"I'm not the scouting director here," said Angel manager Tom Kotchman, "but maybe he shouldn't have had such a great game."

Kotchman would like to keep Pichardo — who's already become a fan favorite at Larry H. Miller Field. With him, the Angels (4-1) are on a roll, having won four straight games, including a three-game sweep of Casper (1-5).

The Rockies took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning when Oscar Materano hammered a solo home run off Provo starter Ryan Bailey, a former University of Utah pitcher.

In the bottom of that frame, Pichardo tied the score when he slid safely into home, headfirst, from third base after a passed ball. "That was a great instinctive play," Kotchman said.

Later, with the score still tied at 1-1, Pichardo shined defensively. He chased down an errant throw to first base and threw out a Rockies runner trying to advance to second. Pichardo slid, came up with the ball, spun around and fired it to shortstop Casey Smith effortlessly.

Provo goes on the road for the first time tonight for a four-game series with Ogden.

ANGEL NOTES: Attendance was 1,020 . . . Pichardo had three of the Angels' six hits . . . Casper pitchers recorded 13 strikeouts . . . Bailey threw five complete innings, allowed three hits, struck out four and did not allow a walk . . . Angel pitcher Blake Allen was credited with the win and Dan Jackson recorded the first save in Provo Angel history.