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On two big innings, Ogden Raptors defeat Billings 8-5

By BRETT HEIN - Standard-Examiner | Jun 13, 2024

BRIAN WOLFER, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Ogden Raptors outfielder Pearce Howard pursues a Northern Colorado hit on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, at Lindquist Field in Ogden.

OGDEN -- For the second straight night, the Ogden Raptors gave the ball to a newly signed pitcher for his professional debut.

Eli Elliott fared better Thursday than his former Arizona Christian University teammate Adrian Santa Cruz did Wednesday. Elliott pitched around a pair of homers and set the Raptors up for an 8-5 victory over the Billings Mustangs at Lindquist Field.

The two teams play again at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Billings (11-10) got a pair across in Elliott's inaugural inning. Outfielder Brendan Ryan sent a low-flying laser over Raptor Ridge for a solo homer and Patrick Mills added an RBI double to put the visitors up 2-0.

But Ogden (8-13) answered immediately against Mustangs starter Austin Mora in the bottom of the first. With two outs, designated hitter Nick Ultsch singled home Jack Cone, and Raymond Gil and Kenny Oyama drew consecutive bases-loaded walks to put the Raptors up 3-2.

The Raptors did the rest of their scoring in the bottom of the fourth, tallying five hits against reliever Luke Rettig. Chris Sargent and Landen Barns hit RBI singles while Ultsch sliced a run-scoring double to left-center field to build an 8-3 advantage.

After Elliott completed four innings (three runs on three hits, six strikeouts and six walks), Shane Gustafson threw a clean fifth before surrendering three hits in the sixth. But Gustafson's smart play on a comebacker to the mound led to an out at the plate, limiting Billings to just one run in the string of hits.

Christian Griffin threw a scoreless seventh before Salt Lake City native Brayden Bonner threw himself into minor trouble in the eighth. Bonner hit a batter and walked one more, setting up a Mills RBI single for an 8-5 score.

Quinn Waterhouse was true to form as Ogden's closer, earning his fifth save. The lefty struck out one, walked two and induced a game-ending double play to secure the victory. Waterhouse has now thrown 12 2/3 scoreless innings this season.

The Raptors outhit the Mustangs 12-8. Ultsch finished 3 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

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