OGDEN -- In life, most everything is contagious.
Whether it is illness, attitude or work ethic, others emulate the actions of their peers.
The same held true for the Ogden Raptors, as a brilliant pitching performance by Victor Araujo ignited a strong Raptor hitting performance, giving Ogden a 10-1 victory over the Idaho Falls Chukars in front of 2,496 fans, in Pioneer League action at Lindquist Field.
"Any time you get your starter out there attacking hitters, and get off the field as quick as you can, you keep the pace up," Raptors manager Damon Berryhill said. "(Our hitters) were aggressive, got themselves into hitters' counts, and when they got balls to drive, did a nice job of not trying to do too much. They just stayed behind them, and drove them."
The Raptors imposed their will from first pitch on, using Araujo's strong pitching to take control early. While Araujo cruised throughout the game, Chukars starter Jakob Junis struggled from the start, allowing eight Ogden batters to reach base in the first inning. The Raptors got on the board courtesy of a Joey Curletta RBI double, which scored Jesmuel Valentin. Then, Raptor catcher Kyle Farmer sent a Junis fastball over the center-field wall for a two-run homer.
Ogden continued the onslaught in the third inning, with Gerson Nunez and Jacob Scavuzzo hitting back-to-back home runs to left field, extending the Raptor lead to 5-0. Additionally, Alex Santana plated Farmer with an RBI single in the fifth inning, and Jake Chaplin scored on a passed ball.
Farmer provided additional offense in the eighth inning, with a two-out RBI double off the center field wall, which plated Jake Chaplin and Jesus Valdez. Farmer would score later in the inning, on a Alex Santana bloop single to right.
The Raptors finished with 16 hits, a season-high for the club. The previous high came on June 20, with 13 hits coming on the road against Grand Junction.
"We put the ball in play today, and, like I always say, good things are contagious," said Farmer, a converted shortstop, who went 3-for-5 with 4 RBI's. "The whole team was swinging the bat well, pitchers were throwing strikes, and that just leads to better things."
"Hopefully we can keep it going."
Idaho Falls' only score came in the sixth inning, when Chukar shortstop Hunter Dozier's RBI single scored Daniel Rockett. The Chukars managed only five hits in the game.
While Araujo was the Raptors' pitching star, Ogden fans got a chance to see a family link to Dodger pitching lore, with Jordan Hershiser making his first relief appearance of the season for Ogden. Hershiser, the son of 1988 Cy Young award winner Orel Hershiser, pitched three scoreless innings for the Raptors to earn the save, after being picked up on June 21 from Low-A Great Lakes.
Araujo earned the victory for the Raptors, striking out seven Chukars, while giving up just one run over six strong innings.
"Right out of the gate, he (Araujo) went right after hitters with his fastball, and mixed in a nice, tight slider to attack hitters," Berryhill said. "(Hershiser) came in and did a nice job- mixed in some nice pitches and gave us a solid three innings, which was exactly what we needed because the bullpen has been a bit banged up."
Junis gave up five runs in 2 2/3 innings, and took the loss for Idaho Falls.
The Raptors are now 2-0 at home -- a fact Farmer thinks is due to the strong fan support.
"Playing at the University of Georgia was a great experience, but these fans are a lot of fun," said Farmer, who had a cameo as a high school quarterback in the movie "The Blind Side." "They cheer you on really hard, they heckle the other teams, and I couldn't stop laughing."
The four-game series continues tonight, with first pitch scheduled for 7 pm at Lindquist Field. Left-handed pitcher Jonathan Dziedzic is the probable pitcher for Idaho Falls, while fellow lefty Luis De Paula is set to start for Ogden.