Ogden Raptors beat up relief pitchers to defeat Vibes 16-9
OGDEN — Tuesday night, the Ogden Raptors sent newly signed starter Matthew Hess out to contend with the hot bats of the Rocky Mountain Vibes.
The 6-foot-7 Hess held the Vibes back just well enough until the Raptors could break through offensively and Ogden used two powerful middle innings to claim a 16-9 victory at Lindquist Field.
The two teams meet again at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday to conclude their three-game series with a rubber match.
Rocky Mountain (33-34, 13-7) got two-run homers from designated hitter Jacob Barfield (in the first inning) and left fielder Stephen Wilmer (in the fifth) to claim a 6-3 lead.
But Hess gets the win in the pitching ledger thanks to an Ogden (39-29, 8-12) rally in the bottom of the fifth and a 4-for-5, six-RBI performance from outfielder Nick Ultsch.
The Raptors got to two outs on only the third batter of the fifth but then sent up another eight batters.
Vibes starter Peyton Long started to lose touch by throwing a pickoff move to first base when his first baseman wasn’t covering the bag, scoring Cam Phelts from third and sending Reese Alexiades from first to third. Designated hitter Damian Henderson singled in Alexiades to cut the deficit to 6-5, at which point Long was pulled.
Former Raptor Jackson Cunningham took the mound and gave up singles to Rafael Narea, Coleton Horner, Dakota Conners and Ultsch — the latter three all right back up the middle — to give Ogden a 9-6 lead.
The Raptors scored four more in the sixth inning against Nathan Draves, a rally started on consecutive doubles by Alexiades, Henderson and Narea. Ultsch ended the rally with a two-run single.
Ogden reliever Jon Rice helped plate two RMV runs in the seventh on wild pitches but Ultsch returned the cushion by launching a three-run homer over Raptor Ridge in the bottom of the eighth.
Brandon McCabe and Dan Kubiuk kept the Vibes scoreless in the final two innings, with Kubiuk tossing a 1-2-3 ninth for his league-leading 13th save.