OREM -- This one was over early.
The Orem Owlz scored six times in the first inning en route to a 10-5 win over the Ogden Raptors Friday night in Pioneer League action at Utah Valley University's Brown Ballpark in Orem.
With the loss, the Raptors (25-23, 5-4) dropped a game back of Orem (26-22, 6-4) and Idaho Falls in the fierce battle for the South Division playoff berth.
Mark Shannon and Jose Rondon started the bottom of the first with consecutive singles. After Cal Towey walked to load the bases, Brandon Bayardi singled home two.
Alex Allbritton was then hit by a pitch to reload the bases. Two batters later, Michael Fish, in his Orem debut, hit a three-run double down the line in left field and moved to third on the throw to the plate.
Cambric Moye finished the scoring in the first with an RBI groundout to third base, giving the Owlz a 6-0 lead.
That was all Orem starting pitcher Arjenis Fernandez (3-1) needed. The right-hander earned his third win by allowing three runs (three earned) on eight hits, walked two and struck out a season-high seven batters in five innings. He struck out the side in order in the 3rd and 5th after the Raptors put at least one runner in scoring position in both innings with no outs.
Fish finished the game for Orem 2-for-4 with a solo homer and five RBI.
"We swung the bats well tonight. They had to go with a spot starter, and our offense did what we wanted them to do when the other team had to change up its rotation," Owlz manager Bill Richardson said.
"Fish is our type of player. He's going to come out and get his cuts in," Richardson said. "I'm always happy for a young man who gets called up and plays well in his debut, and it was clear that he was not intimidated. Credit the Arizona league coaches for his development to start the season."
A day after losing a 14-game hitting streak the night before, shortstop Jesmuel Valentin started another with a 3-for-5 night for Ogden. Ogden's Adam Law, who grew up in Utah Valley and played at BYU, had three hits as well.
The Raptors outhit Orem 13-11, but the Owlz staff combined to hold the Raptors to 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position, and Ogden hitters struck out 11 times in the loss, including five inning-ending Ks.
Catcher Austin Cowen hit a solo homer for the Raptors just over the wall down the right field line. The solo shot was his second of the season and his first since June 20.
By contrast, Justin Chigbogu, arguably the hottest hitter in the league, struck out five times.
The Raptors and Owlz continue their four-game series tonight in Orem. Victor Araujo takes the mound for Ogden against Orem's Yency Almonte. Araujo is third in the Pioneer League with 48 strikeouts.