OGDEN — To the sixth inning Thursday, it was a game of missed opportunities for the Ogden Raptors.
The Raptors were 0 for 3 with three strikeouts in bases-loaded situations but with two runners on in the sixth, Jefrey Souffront scorched a single along the turf into right field, scoring Tre Todd to tie the game 4-4.
Mere moments later, thunder rolled and the skies opened with rain. But Dillon Paulson hit a double high off Raptor Ridge to give Ogden a 5-4 lead, setting up Matt Cogen for a two-run single and a 7-4 lead.
The Raptors coasted from there and improved to 18-6 at home with a 7-5 win over the Orem Owlz at Lindquist Field.
The rain dissipated and the game continued, which meant 2015 Raptor Wes Helsabeck could pitch a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts in the seventh in an injury rehab appearance.
Many other new faces debuted for Ogden fans Thursday. Outfielder Jon Littell and second baseman Kenneth Betancourt each hit 2 for 4 for the home team.
Jeremy Arocho hit 3 for 5 from the leadoff spot assumed from Jacob Amaya, who was recently promoted to Single-A, and Cogen finished with three RBIs.
Kevin Malisheski struck out seven in four innings as a starter, giving up four runs but only one earned. Gregorio Sequera pitched two scoreless, hitless innings in relief of Malisheski to pick up the win.
Ogden (32-15, 6-3) built a 3-1 lead early on RBIs from Betancourt, Arocho and Cogen. But throwing errors from Arocho and Souffront helped Orem come back and take a 4-3 lead in the fifth, setting up Ogden’s decisive sixth inning.
Hunter Speer gave up a run in the eighth but otherwise pitched two innings for the save.
Orem (13-33, 1-7) also debuted new faces, ones with high hopes. Jeremiah Jackson, this year’s second-round pick for the Angels, led off and Jordyn Adams, this year’s first-round pick, hit second. The 18-year-olds combined to hit 1 for 9.
Ogden moved to 7-2 this season against Orem, including five straight wins.
The four-game series continues with Game 2 on Friday. Ogden’s expected starter is Caleb Sampen (0-1, 8.36 ERA).
Ogden infielder Jeremy Arocho was named an All-Star replacement for Jacob Amaya, who was called up to Single-A. Arocho will join teammates Daniel Robinson, Ronny Brito and Jose Chacin in Grand Junction for the Aug. 7 game.
Longtime major league knuckleballer Charlie Hough will serve as Ogden’s pitching coach for the homestand. He pitched for the Dodgers, Rangers, White Sox and Marlins from 1970 to 1994, retiring at age 46.