Gainesville native and Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Micah Owings was welcomed home by friends and family Aug. 19 when he took the mound to pitch against the Atlanta Braves.
After the game, the Braves might have been just as anxious to get Owings back out of town.
Owings, a Gainesville High graduate, had the biggest game of his young career that night, going 4-for-5 at the plate with six RBIs and four runs. And that is only his performance at the plate.
On the mound, Owings pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and struck out seven to earn the 12-6 win against the Braves.
"It’s up there with the best ever," Owings said. "To be back home and have the game I had tonight, I’m just unbelievably blessed."
Owings doubled and scored in the second inning, hit a solo home run in the fourth inning, hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning and hit a single in the seventh inning.
He did all of this with close to 50 family members and friends in the stands, including Gainesville baseball coach Wayne Vickery.
"It was a nice little homecoming for him," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "We knew he could pitch, and we knew he could hit a little, too. Without him tonight, it’s a different game."
Owings’ 11 total bases were the most for a pitcher since Jim Tobin of the Boston Braves had 12 when he homered three times on May 13, 1942, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Owings was the first pitcher with at least six RBIs in a game since Robert Person drove in seven for Philadelphia against Montreal on June 2, 2002.
His performance impressed even the opposition.
"I kind of grew up playing against him and watching him. So I knew he could hit," Jeff Francoeur, an Atlanta native, said of Owings. "I’ve seen him hit balls before but not with a wood bat in a big league game. He kind of did everything tonight."
In his rookie season, Owings went 8-8 with a 4.30 ERA and 106 strikeouts.