Despite leaving several good scoring chances empty, the Ogden Raptors controlled Tuesday’s road opener from start to finish to claim a 6-1 win over the Orem Owlz at UCCU Ballpark on the campus of Utah Valley University.
Much of that was due to proficient Ogden pitching. Raptors pitchers combined to strike out 18 Owlz batters — two-thirds of the outs needed to complete the nine-inning contest.
With starter Antonio Hernandez only going three innings, the win was credited to Melvin Jimenez, who faced six batters in middle relief, striking out all six.
Hernandez struck out six and allowed five hits in his start, allowing the lone Orem run on a wild pitch in the third inning.
From there, Corey Merrill, Jimenez, Darien Nuñez and Reza Aleaziz allowed only one Orem hit in the final six innings.
Offensively, Ogden (4-1) got going in the first inning when first baseman Justin Yurchak drove a 453-foot home run to right-center field for a 1-0 lead. Yurchak leads the Pioneer League with four home runs in five games.
Where runs were left on the table began when Sam McWilliams led the game off with a double but was picked off before Yurchak’s homer. The Raptors left the bases loaded on two occasions: once in the second inning and once in the sixth.
There was almost a third such occasion in the third inning. Tre Todd walked with the bases loaded to push across a run before Orem recorded two outs. The Raptors finally broke through when Jeremy Arocho drove in two on a double for a 5-0 lead.
Sauryn Lao doubled to score McWilliams in the eighth to round out Ogden’s scoring.
Eight-year major league veteran Andrelton Simmons started at shortstop for Orem (1-4) as most of the Los Angeles Angels farm system was in All-Star breaks. He hit two singles in two at-bats before being replaced midway through the game.
The teams conclude a two-game set Wednesday in Orem before shifting to Ogden for a four-game Raptors homestand that begins Thursday.