DENVER — Niwot pitcher Bryan Meek admits to having had stretches on the mound when he’s on fire, and innings when it all falls apart. The Cougars senior has been looking to put together a complete game.
At Coors Field on Monday, Meek hit the mound with his best stuff and didn’t relent until the Cougars had defeated their big league ballpark counterparts, the Skyline Falcons, 4-0.
“It’s always a great time to play here at Coors Field,” Meek said. “I just went out there and tried to throw strikes, and it worked out. I got a couple fastballs by them, and I had the curveball working pretty well today.”
Meek (4-0) held the Falcons to two hits while striking out 10 batters to pick up his fourth win and drop his ERA to 2.69 midway through the season.
Currently enjoying a seven-game win streak and ranked fifth in the April 8 Colorado AP media poll, the Cougars (10-1, 7-0 Northern League) scored 41 runs in their previous four games and still won three of the four by two runs our less. Monday’s shutout, the team’s second of the season, was a refreshing return to pitching and defensive dominance.
“All we really needed was four runs today, and our pitching and defense was able to hold them off and get the win,” Meek said. “We’ve been playing well all season, and we feel pretty good about the rest of it.”
Falcons junior starter Thomas Hoog gave up a single, walked a batter and hit another to load the bases with no outs in the top of the second inning. The Cougars took the lead when third baseman Pate Katechis scored on a Falcon 6-4-3 double play, and freshman shortstop Skyler Messinger drove in a second run with a two-out single.
Hoog appeared to find his off-speed stuff to hold off the Cougars for the next two innings. In the top of the fifth, Katechis hit a double to deep right field that scored Meek from second base, and Cougars center fielder Danny Caruso drove in Alex Kinnison with a sacrifice fly.
Messinger’s older brother Connor Messinger was Times-Call Player of the Year in 2011 and currently plays for University of Nebraska at Omaha. The only freshman on this year’s roster, Skyler Messinger had two hits, drove in a run and turned a 4-6-3 double play in the first inning.
“It was just a crazy opportunity I was glad to be a part of,” Skyler Messinger said of his Coors Field debut. “Just to be here was crazy. It’s something that you always see on TV. Just to play here and get a hit and a win was great. We were happy to get the win today.”
The Cougars and Falcons have played one another at Coors Field each of the past four seasons. Last season, the Falcons prevailed 3-2.
Including a 5-0 loss to Mead (5-6, 4-4 Tri-Valley) on Saturday, the Falcons (8-4, 6-2 Tri-Valley) have been shut out in their past two games after starting the season 8-2. Against the Cougars, three walks and two hit batters eventually doomed Hood on the mound.
“Their kid did a great job throwing the ball, and we didn’t do a great job hitting it. We’ve been hitting decent pitching, but we have to do a better job of hitting great pitching,” Falcons head coach Mike Hoog said. “I felt like we did a pretty good job pitching but we gave up too many free passes. You can’t give up free base-runners in what’s going to be a tight game.”
Adam Reigle and Tyler Brenneman had the Falcons two hits.
The Cougars will play at home against Silver Creek (4-9, 2-6 Northern League) on Thursday. Also on Thursday, the Falcons will host the Windsor Wizards (12-1, 8-0 Tri-Valley), who are currently ranked second in 4A.
Niwot 4, Skyline 0
At Coors Field
Niwot 020 020 0 — 4 5 0
Skyline 000 000 0 — 0 2 0
W — Meek (4-0). L — Hoog (0-3).
Niwot hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Halsey Mendez 4-0-0-0, Meek 4-1-1-0, Kinnison 2-1-0-0, Katechis 3-1-2-1, Caruso 1-1-0-1, Kopplinger 2-0-0-0, Kirkpatrick 3-0-0-0, Messinger 3-0-2-1, Cintora 2-0-0-0, Pasma 0-0-0-0. Totals 24-4-5-3. 2B — Katechis. SB — Messinger.
Skyline hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Angstead 3-0-0-0, Hamby 1-0-0-0, Reigle 3-0-1-0, Brenneman 3-01-0, Hoog 3-0-0-0, Forsyth 3-0-0-0, Soriano 2-0-0-0, Pair 1-0-0-0, Danile 2-0-0-0, Mendivil 0-0-0-0, Bulow 0-0-0-0. Totals 21-0-2-0. 3B — Brenneman.
Niwot pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Meek 7-2-0-0-4-10.
Skyline pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Hoog 4 1/3-4-4-4-3-2, Angstead 2 2/3-1-0-0-0-1.