EARLY SEASON NO-HITTER FOR PONSON

For Immediate Release
April 10, 2004

     Michigan  – It was a cool evening as the crowd filled Bank One Ballpark for the first night home game this season. Coming off their first home win of the season, the Maulers were sending their ace Sidney Ponson to the mound against the best baseball has to offer in Pedro Martinez of Tempe.

The first two innings were pretty much uneventful as Pedro scattered a couple of hits and Ponson got through with only a walk and pitched around an error by Carlos Delgado.

In the top of the 3rd, the Michigan crowd held its breath as first baseman Delgado and catcher Mike Piazza collided on a foul popup and lay motionless on the ground. They both finally got up and slowly left the field with Delgado only being out for the rest of the day, but Piazza sustained a leg injury that will keep him on the shelf for 10 days. They were replaced by Howie Clark at first and Jason Phillips at catcher. No one could have foreseen the impact these two players would make on the game.

In the bottom of the 3rd, Miguel Tejada homered to put Michigan in front, 1-0. Ponson then cruised through the 4th, going 1-2-3.

In the bottom of the 4th, Clark doubled to left-center, driving in Ray Durham and making the score 2-0. Ponson then shut down Tempe in the 5th and 6th innings, giving up one walk and only one ball was hit out of the infield. In the bottom of the 6th, Eric Chavez doubled, then scored on a single by Phillips, making the score 3-0.

Top of the 7th, Ponson gave up one more walk, but Tempe couldn’t take advantage. In the bottom of the 7th, Michigan chased Pedro after one out, bringing in Scott Stewart. Vernon Wells greeted him with a double and later scored on a single by Clark, his second RBI of the game. After a groundout moved Clark to 2nd, Phillips drove in his second run of the day, scoring Clark with his second single, making the score 5-0.

Sidney Ponson
(2-0)  1.69

Ponson got through the 8th with a strikeout and 2 routine flyouts and Michigan also went quietly in the bottom of the 8th.

Top of the 9th, the crowd on it’s feet, screaming as Sidney Ponson walked to the mound. Doug Mirabelli led off the 9th with a groundout to short. Mark McLemore fought off a couple of good pitches before finally flying out to right. Then Sammy Sosa came on to pinch hit. The crowd roaring as Ponson went into his windup. Sammy dug into the box, taking a mighty swing, but only found air. Sosa had struck out and Sidney Ponson had his first no-hitter.

After being mobbed and congratulated by his teammates, Ponson spoke to ESPN’s Peter Gammons. “I’ll admit it, I had great stuff tonight and the home plate ump was giving me the high strike. But it really helps when you have a great defense behind you and I don’t have to nibble at the corners and try to throw a lot of strikeouts. Then, to have Carlos and Mike go down and have the production from Howie and Jason off the bench shows just how special a team we have.”

Is this a glimpse of great things to come? Only the season will tell, but Sidney Ponson already has one great memory of this year.

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