PROVO— In baseball, superstition is a big part of the game.
Exhibit A: Provo Angels manager Tom Kotchman. The last thing he wants to see right now is a razor. Why? As long as his team's winning streak grows—it's up to six games after Wednesday's 4-2 victory over Billings—so will his facial hair.
It's gotta be the whiskers. And the scruffy Kotchman doesn't plan on shaving anytime soon. Said Kotchman, "I hope I look like Abraham Lincoln in about three weeks."
Or Brigham Young. This is Provo, after all.
The red-hot Angels have won 10 of their last 11 games and they improved to 10-2 overall—the best record in the Pioneer League—after completing a three-game sweep of the Mustangs.
Things got a little hairy early on for Provo on Wednesday. The Angels had to come from behind after spotting Billings two runs in the top of the first inning. Angel starting pitcher Jake Woods settled down and wound up shutting out the Mustangs through the next four innings recording nine strikeouts.
Cliff Smith relieved Woods in the sixth and went the rest of the way to earn the win, his first of the season. Smith did not allow a hit or walk a batter and he struck out five.
Maximo Pichardo and Ed Welch were the offensive stars for Provo. Pichardo's RBI single in the fifth inning plated Welch (who scored three times on the night) and tied the score at 2-2. In the seventh, Pichardo singled home Ed Tolzien for the go-ahead run. Provo tacked on another run in the seventh to end the scoring.
A crowd of 1,185 witnessed the Angels' win at Larry H. Miller Field. Provo opens a three-game set against Casper Rockies tonight.