Raptors stretch winning streak

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 12:59 PM

Matt Gerrish, Standard-Examiner Correspondent

OGDEN — The Raptors are hanging in there.

Despite sitting in third place in the Pioneer League South division, Ogden continued its hunt for the playoffs on Friday, dropping Orem 5-3 for its third consecutive win.

Joey Curletta had three hits and an RBI, and the Raptors used a big first inning to pull within four games of division-leading Idaho Falls, with nine games remaining in the regular season.

The Chukars fell 6-3 to Grand Junction on Friday.

“These guys know the situation, and I don’t have to say anything to them right now,” said Raptors manager Damon Berryhill. “My players have their backs against the wall and they are fighting every night so they can make the playoffs.

Ogden (13-16) has won six of its last nine games and the Raptors don’t plan on slowing down.

“I think the bottom line is we have to take care of our own business and hope Idaho Falls slips up somewhere,” Berryhill said.

Ogden jumped on the Owlz (15-13) early after forfeiting one run in the top of the first inning.

The Raptors took advantage of three errors, two passed balls and two wild pitches in the bottom half of the frame, tagging starter Cole Swanson (2-2) with four runs to end his night early.

Orem threatened in the fourth, earning one run on an RBI single from catcher Stephen McGee. But Ogden starter Scott Barlow escaped a one-out, bases-loaded jam as Raptors third baseman Adam Law turned a double play on an infield line drive to end the inning.

“Going back to our last road trip, our defense has improved a lot in the past two weeks,” Berryhill said. “Adam (Law) made big plays and our guys, especially our pitching staff, has been feeding off that. Our defense helps keep us in these close games.”

Barlow (4-3), making his league-leading 14th start, won his second straight decision, tossing five quality innings. He gave up three runs on three hits and three walks to go with four strikeouts.

The Raptors added an insurance run in the sixth, when Hank Yates scored on a wild pitch, one of five thrown by the Owlz on the night.

Sawil Gonzalez earned his sixth save of the season, finishing up the ninth inning after Jordan Hershiser walked a pair of Orem batters.

The Raptors have a chance to complete a four-game sweep of the Orem tonight at Lindquist Field at 7 p.m., the final time the in-state rivals will meet this season.

NOTES: Raptors center fielder Hank Yates extended his hitting streak to nine games with a single in the sixth inning. … Barlow has now struck out at least four batters for the ninth time in 14 starts. …

With Friday’s win, the Raptors are 16-3 when allowing three runs or less. … Ogden trails Orem 8-7 in the season series, but can tie it with a victory today.

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