The toughest thing for Pioneer League pitchers to figure so far this season is how to keep the Ogden Raptors from scoring.
Through two games in the current series, North Division-leading Idaho Falls has yet to solve the problem. After a 9-3 decision Wednesday, Ogden claimed a 13-5 victory Thursday.
The Raptors lead both divisions at 19-6, which is believed to be the best start to a season in their 26-year franchise history. The unavailability of comprehensive, historical databases makes that impossible to confirm, though previous first-half records make it all but certain it’s a franchise best, the team says.
Despite Brandon Lewis’ early solo homer, Ogden trailed Thursday’s contest 2-1 before a six-run fourth inning.
Sauryn Lao tied the game in the fourth on a bloop single to score Ryan Ward. Jeremy Arocho drove in two with a single to put Ogden ahead 4-2 before the prodigious Andy Pages blew the game open.
Pages, two-time reigning league player of the week, hit a three-run home run that was measured at 440 feet to left field, putting Ogden up 7-2. Pages is second in the league in homers with eight and first in RBIs with 28.
Lao drove in Ward again in the next inning on a double to make it 8-2.
Ogden starter Antonio Hernandez settled in after falling behind early and completed five innings, allowing three earned runs and picking up his first win of the season.
In the sixth, Brandon Lewis smacked a two-run double to score Pages and Justin Yurchak, the latter the league-leader in both batting average and walks, for a 10-3 lead.
The relentless Raptors offense kept coming in the seventh when two walks and a single loaded the bases. A wild pitch and a Sam McWilliams groundout extended Ogden’s lead to 12-3.
In relief of Hernandez, Melvin Jimenez pitched two scoreless, hitless innings and piled up all six outs via strikeout, his only mistake a walk. Through 16 innings in Ogden this season, the flamethrower has struck out 36 batters.
Ogden catcher Tre Todd hit a solo homer in the ninth for good measure, putting the team’s tally to 36 homers in 25 games.
The two teams continue their four-game series at 7:15 p.m. Friday.