Aaron Tolentino | Sports editor | March 7, 2018
Pitcher Rob Towne came through yet again for the Diablo Valley College Vikings in their 7-2 victory over the Cosumnes River College Hawks Tuesday afternoon at DVC.
Towne was electric throughout and went nine innings pitched, gave up four hits, struck out seven and most importantly gave up zero earned runs.
With the performance, Towne has an overall record of 5-1, 40 baserunners allowed in 50 innings, 48 strikeouts and a minuscule ERA of 0.90 this season.
There is no doubt he is the ace of this Vikings' pitching staff.
"Towne, by far, one of the best pitchers in Northern California this year," said Vikings head coach Steve Ward. "He pitched great like always. That was (Cosumnes') number one guy and easily outpitched him."
While Towne's line was impressive, it didn't come easy. Towards the end, he was laboring a high pitch count and drew much speculation from the home crowd whether or not he would finish the ninth inning.
"My arm was a little tight," said Towne. "But I figured we got one more inning so just let it all out there and then you got the rest of the week to recover."
The Vikings' bats needed to come alive to give their ace a comfortable lead to work with, and they did just that. The five-run cushion Towne had headed into the ninth made Ward's decision much easier to leave him out there.
Second baseman Isaq Lewis stood out among offensive performers. He went 4-for-4 at the plate, including a key RBI triple in the fourth inning that gave the Vikings the lead for good.
Lewis and the offense put their best effort to give their pitcher his much-deserved run support.
"It just feels good when you know we have a pitcher on the mound that's gonna compete for us," said Lewis. "There's no way we can go out there and not produce for our guy. He's up there, we have to make things happen for him."
Not only was Lewis the star of the game offensively, but he was also involved in a heated altercation with a couple of Cosumnes players in the sixth inning in which it was still a 3-1 ballgame. He was called out making a slide in an attempt to score on a Logan Nonies single. Lewis' leg made solid contact with the catcher that angered both the Cosumnes catcher and pitcher.
"I slid into the guy," said Lewis. "Nothing was intentional there. I just slid in a hard play at the plate. They started chirping. We're just gonna let that go and play our game."
According to Lewis, the Cosumnes pitcher confronted him with explicit language, claiming he made a dirty slide on the catcher.
Things were chippy and competitively close throughout, but the Vikings pulled away with offensive outbursts in the last two innings.
Ward alludes to the extreme level of competition during Big 8 Conference play which may have fueled the excess emotions from the losing side.
"The Big 8 in baseball is just a monster," said Ward. "There's nobody weak and just trying to win a series every time, we did the first week and really that's what we're trying to do this week too."
The Vikings look ahead to beating the Hawks once again when they head to Sacramento on Thursday with the first pitch scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
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