'Birds Blank Spikes, 4-0

Cowan Earns First Professional Win

August 4, 2009 6:33 PM ET

STATE COLLEGE, PA-'Birds first baseman T.J Baxter didn't show any signs of rust after sitting the last three games. Baxter led off the contest between the 'Birds and the State College Spikes on Tuesday with a triple off Spikes starter Maurice Bankston (2-3). He was quickly brought home on a RBI ground out by second baseman Buck Britton, making his first start since returning to the IronBirds on August 3rd.

Jake Cowan (0-2) took the hill for Aberdeen in just his second start of the year. Cowan made it look easy in the first inning, setting down the Spikes hitters in order and recording two strikeouts along the way.

Bankston and the Spike settled it down after the first inning. Garabez Rosa reached on an error by third baseman Carlos Silva, who would later take a Jake Cowan heater off the hand and leave the game, being pinch ran for by Butch Biela. In the Aberdeen third Britton hit a two out single and was later gunned down by Spikes catcher Craig Parry to end the inning.

The IronBirds had the their best scoring opportunity in their half of the fourth inning. Ty Kelly led off the inning with a badly needed single. Justin Dalles hit into a 5-4 fielders choice, than Conley singled and Garabez Rosa reached on an error to load the bases with two outs. Right fielder Jason Rook stepped into the box and grounded into an inning ending double play and the IronBirds were unable to score.

Through 3 and 2/3 innings Cowan had not allowed a hit until David Rubinstein smashed a double into the left center field gap for the first hit of the game for the Spikes. Pat Irvine, who moved from left field to third base to replace Silva flew out to Rook in right field to end the inning.

The IronBirds kept second baseman Ty Summerlin busy in their half of the fifth, grounding out three consecutive times to him to end the inning.

Cowan was lifted after five shut-out innings for the tall lefty Jake Smith. Smith held the line for the 'Birds but had to work for it. He was in trouble in both innings he pitched, allowing two base runners in the sixth and three base runners in the seventh but stranding all of them.

It got ugly in the eighth for the Spikes defense. Gioioso reached on an error by the second baseman Summerlin, followed by Baxter who was hit by a pitch. With Britton up to the plate he dropped a bunt down that was fielded by the pitcher and thrown over the first baseman Baker's head into right field for a two run error. Britton ended up on second base, was then wild pitched to third and scored on a sacrifice fly by the left fielder Brian Conley for a four to nothing IronBirds advantage.

State College would load the bases in the bottom half of the eighth but 'Birds reliever James Brandhorst got himself out of the jam, getting Pat Irvine to ground out to the shortstop Rosa to end the inning.

The Spikes weren't done. In the bottom of the ninth after Aberdeen went 1-2-3 in the top of the inning, quickly had runners on first and second via the walk on the righty Chase Phillips, in his first appearance since re-joining the IronBirds. He got the next batter to ground into a 4-6-3 double play and that pretty much ended the threat for the Spikes and the game. The final line for the winning Pitcher Jake Cowan was five innings, one hit, no runs, one walk and three strikeouts. He moves to 1-2 on the season. Despite pitching very well Maurice Bankston took the loss. He went six innings, gave up four hits, just the one run, and had four strikeouts. He fell to 2-4 on the year.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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