OGDEN — It was an inauspicious start for Joel Inoa, one you’d never guess would begin one of Ogden’s best mound outings of the season.
The Raptors pitcher gave up a hit on the game’s first pitch Thursday, hit a batter, then walked the bases loaded, drawing a visit from pitching coach Dean Stiles before recording an out.
A groundout scored a run, but Inoa otherwise pitched around it, then became the first Ogden starter to pitch in the seventh inning. He threw 6 2/3 innings, allowing three hits, Jacob Amaya punctuated the win with an eighth-inning grand slam and the Raptors won 8-1 at Lindquist Field.
Inoa didn’t allow a hit from the third through the sixth innings. Hunter Speer pitched the final 2 1/3 innings for the save, allowing one hit and striking out two.
Inoa nearly didn’t get the win as it took until the sixth inning for Ogden (27-13, 1-1) to take its first lead of the series. Ronny Brito doubled to Raptor Ridge and was singled home by Niko Hulsizer for a 2-1 lead.
Chris Roller hit a broken-bat single to lead off the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, Dillon Paulson parked a towering fly ball over the right-field fence for a 4-1 lead.
In the eighth, James Outman singled and later stole third for the second time of the game. Hulsizer was hit by a pitch and Ramon Rodriguez drew a walk to load the bases.
With two outs, Jacob Amaya came to the plate having an unusual night. The league-leader in on-base percentage (now .474) had yet to reach base.
He fixed that with one hefty swing, driving a no-doubt grand slam to left field and savoring a saunter around the bases as 4,160 fans rose to their feet.
Paulson, Brito and Outman each finished with two hits for Ogden. Javier Guevara had two of four hits for Grand Junction (21-18, 1-1).
The two teams finish their three-game set Friday with Golden Spike Night, part of the yearlong celebration ahead of the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad next year. Players will wear specialty railroad uniforms that can be purchased for $150, with proceeds going to the Union Station Foundation.