OGDEN — Facing a season shutout against Ogden, the Missoula Osprey mounted a pitching gem to claim a rare victory against the Raptors.
Ogden mustered only four hits and fell 7-1 on Thursday night at Lindquist Field, ending an eight-game homestand for the Pioneer League’s best team.
Missoula (29-26, 9-8) scored in the first inning in a way that some might have taken as an omen. Axel Andueza knocked a two-out double off the wall in centerfield, then came around to score on an infield fly from Spencer Brickhouse.
Brickhouse skied his pop-up almost directly to first base and the ball’s flight was high enough that Brickhouse was standing on first base by the time the ball came down. Marco Hernandez tried to dance around Brickhouse, who was standing on the base as he should, and couldn’t get to the ball. It landed in fair territory and Andueza scored.
After being retired in order in the first two innings, the Raptors (42-13, 11-6) had empty scoring chances in the third and fourth innings.
Outfielder Jon Littell recorded Ogden’s first hit of the night, roping a double to lead off the third inning. With one out, Cesar Mendoza singled to put runners on the corners. Ryan Ward then flew out to shallow left field but Littell was sent home on a tag. He was easily thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
Shortstop Zac Ching saw his two-game tear end, but he drew a one-out walk in the fourth inning. Ching then took second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a groundout from Jimmy Titus.
After Hernandez drew a walk and took second on an attempted double steal, outfielder Aldrich De Jongh struck out to end the threat.
The Raptors were then retired in order in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, meanwhile committing four errors in the field to supplement Missoula’s 13 hits.
Ogden rallied to end the shutout in the ninth inning. Ching led off with a walk, moved up on a Titus single and Hernandez fly out, then scored on a sacrifice fly from De Jongh.
The game was Ogden’s last against North Division teams, going 13-3 against Idaho Falls and Missoula.
The Raptors have Friday off before an eight-game road trip to Colorado.