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Bats silenced as Angels fall to Great Falls

Provo hitters can’t handle heat from Sox hurler

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White Sox 3 Angels 1

White Sox 2 Angels 0

PROVO — During Saturday's doubleheader against Great Falls, Provo hitters might as well have stepped to the plate with one of those miniature toy bats that were handed out to the fans.

That's because the Angels' real bats didn't do them much good. As a result, the White Sox swept the twinbill.

In the first game, Great Falls pitcher Brandon McCarthy recorded 12 strikeouts as part of a complete-game four-hitter to lead the White Sox to a 3-1 victory.

McCarthy's feat was even more impressive considering the game lasted only seven innings. The 6-foot-7, 199-pounder faced 26 batters and struck out a dozen of them.

McCarthy, a 17th-round pick in the 2002 draft, improved his record to 3-0 and proved why he is one of the top pitchers in the Pioneer League. His sterling performance overshadowed that of Provo starter David Austen, who struck out seven hitters and gave up six hits and two runs in four innings of work.

Provo's bats fell silent in the nightcap, too, as the White Sox shut out the Angels, 2-0. Great Falls (9-3) swept the three-game series from Provo (7-6). Going into Saturday's opener, McCarthy had recorded 14 strikeouts in his first two starts. In addition, he had surrendered just three runs, all on solo home runs. That odd trend continued as Provo outfielder Warner Madrigal cracked a solo homer in the second inning.

Other than that, McCarthy, a native of Colorado Springs, Colo., was almost perfect. Despite their lack of offensive production, the Angels still had a chance to tie the game, or perhaps take the lead, in the sixth inning when Aaron Peel recorded a two-out single, followed by an Adam Pavkovich base hit. That brought up one of Provo's top hitters, Matt Brown. McCarthy and Brown battled until the count was full. Then, McCarthy painted the inside corner of the plate and Brown went down looking to end the inning.

In the top of the seventh, the White Sox pushed across another run after Ricardo Nanita tripled then scored on Brian Anderson's RBI single. Anderson, the Chicago White Sox's first-round draft pick, collected three hits.

Angel leftfielder Blake Balkcom, a fifth-round draft pick of the Anaheim Angels, made his professional debut in the first game. He went 1-for-3 at the plate, including a base hit in the seventh. Balkcom made a sparkling defensive play in the third with a diving catch near the left-field line.

Provo takes today and Monday off before beginning a seven-game road trip on Tuesday at Billings. The Angels will play a three-game series with the Mustangs, then travel to Great Falls for a four-game set. Provo returns to Larry H. Miller Park on July 9 to start a four-game series against Casper.

E-MAIL: jeffc@desnews.com