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Raptors rally, give back lead

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 12:36 PM

Gentry Reinhart

OGDEN — Ogden right-hander Sawil Gonzalez probably wishes the ominous clouds that waited just long enough for the Raptors to finish their series finale with the Orem Owlz on Sunday would have opened up before he took the mound in the top of the ninth.

After Ogden took a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the eighth, Raptor fans watched in horror as Gonzalez allowed five runs through 2/3s of an inning which included four Orem hits, a hit batter, a wild pitch, and a costly throwing error from the pitcher to first base.

Orem escaped Lindquist Field with a 10-6 win and bested the Raptors 3-1 over a four-game series.

“Sawil had a tough game tonight,” Ogden Skipper Damon Berryhill said. “When you jump a lead like that you’ve got to come in throwing strikes, getting ahead in counts, and putting hitters away.”

Despite the deflating loss, Berryhill was optimistic about where his club is at this early in the season.

“We’ve had our problems defensively, but each day we’re going out and getting a little better and trying to stay away from innings like we had tonight,” he said. “For the most part I’m pleased where we’re at and we’re going to keep working hard and improving every day.”

Orem jumped out to an early 4-0 lead behind a solid effort on the mound from starter Yency Almonte, who notched four strikeouts, four hits and two runs through six innings.Right Fielder Brandon Bayardi drove in three runs on a pair of hits for the Owlz while second baseman Angel Rosa had a 3-of-5 night at the plate for Orem.

Ogden finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth on a two-run dinger from left-fielder Jacob Scavuzzo that cut Orem’s lead to two.

Scavuzzo would hit another homer in the seventh, extending a three-game home run streak and tying him for the league lead with Grand Juntion’s Jose Briceno at five.

“I kind of struggled to start off the season,” Scavuzzo said.

“I was trying a new stance and new hand position. But I just went back to what I know with my old stance and it’s been working for me.”

Ogden struggled on the mound as five pitchers combined to allow 10 runs and 14 hits, with seven strikeouts on the afternoon.

“It’s going to be our defense,” Scavuzzo said of what needs to change to remedy the early-season struggles. “We made a some crucial errors and our bullpen needs to step up a little bit, but I’m sure as the season goes on we’ll get that figured out.”

Down 5-3 in the bottom of the eighth, Ogden rallied with a two-out, three-run effort capped by a two RBI double from recent addition Justin Chigbogu, who blasted Brian Loconsole’s 2-2 pitch down the right field line, giving the Raptors their first lead of the game.

The lead didn’t last long as Gonzalez took the mound in the ninth and logged one of the worst outings from an Ogden pitcher thus far. Mercy came in the form of right-hander Jose Diaz, who struck out the only batter he faced.

Ogden travels to Montana today before opening a seven-game road trip, first with Missoula (four games), then Helena (three-game set).

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