Feb. 14, 2003
In a pair of pitcher's duels, Air Force and Southern Utah split a non-conference doubleheader in St. George, Utah. The Thunderbirds took the opener, 3-1, while the Falcons endured a 22-minute rain delay to shut out SUU in the nightcap, 3-0.
In game one, SUU senior Jake Reynolds got the Thunderbirds on the board in the first inning by reaching on a two-out double. He then stole third and scored on a throwing error to give SUU a 1-0 lead. Air Force tied the score with an unearned run in the second as Dan Petro's single drove in Tony Shockley. The Thunderbirds used a pair of two-out doubles by seniors Tyler Hunter and Kelcey Kemp to reclaim the lead at 2-1. SUU added an insurance run in the sixth, thanks to a lead-off triple by Reynolds and an RBI-single by junior Chris Mower.
Senior lefthander Shane Perkins (1-0) did the rest, limiting the Falcons to one unearned run on five hits with six strikeouts in a seven-inning complete game effort. Reynolds finished with two of SUU's six hits and two runs scored. Despite a strong outing, Falcon starter Jesper Stubbendorff was tagged with the loss. He threw a complete game, allowing two earned runs on six hits with two strikeouts.
In the second game, Adam Howes hit the first pitch of the game out of the ball park and Paul Vignola and Jason Pruitt combined for the shutout in a 3-0 Air Force win. Air Force's second run of the game came in the second inning on a double steal. Petro, who reached base on an error, stole home for a 2-0 lead. In the sixth, Petro again reached on an error and scored on Nick Liegl's single. Vignola and Pruitt held the Thunderbirds to two hits in the game. Vignola, a freshman, improved to 3-0 this season as he went six innings and allowed just two hits with five strikeouts. Pruitt picked up his second save of the season as he recorded the final three outs. SUU starter Matt Shepherd (0-1) allowed one earned run on eight hits with three strikeouts in 6.1 innings, but was hampered by three Thunderbird errors.
Four Falcons had two hits on the day and no Falcon had more than one RBI. Air Force committed just one error in the doubleheader. Howes hit the only home run by either team on the day.
The shutout was the first by Air Force since a 5-0 win over Army in 2001. It was the fourth shutout of a Division I team in the last three years.
Air Force entered the game hitting .433 as a team, but was held to just 13 hits in the two games.
Both teams will close the series with a pair of seven-inning games Saturday at Dixie High School. First pitch is set for 12 noon (MST).