OGDEN — With a first-half championship already wrapped up in the midst of a franchise-best win streak, the Ogden Raptors aimed for more history Saturday night and delivered.
Brandon Lewis put a charge into a grand slam in the third inning, leading the Raptors to franchise win No. 1,000 in an 8-3 victory over the Rocky Mountain Vibes in front of 4,183 fans Saturday night at Lindquist Field.
Ogden is 27-6 on the season, winning its 12th straight game and 22nd in 24 contests.
Former third-round pick Nash Walters got the start for the Vibes (13-20) and flummoxed Ogden hitters for two innings, consistent with his 1.44 ERA in six prior starts, before his accuracy got away from him in the third.
Walters issued four walks (one was thrown out stealing), setting up Lewis. On a 2-0 pitch, Walters put a fastball letter high right over the plate. Lewis appeared to be waiting for it, crushing a 457-foot bomb over the scoreboard. It was Ogden’s first hit of the night but it was good enough for a 4-0 lead.
Second baseman Sam McWilliams singled in two more in the fourth for a 6-0 advantage.
Raptors starter Elio Serrano pitched a near flawless four innings before running into trouble in the fifth. He hit a batter, had one reach on a throwing error and another reach on a third strike in the dirt, pushing across a run for a 6-1 mark.
But Yeison Cespedes came on and induced a lineout and a groundout to get out of a bases-loaded jam to keep Ogden’s large cushion.
Sauryn Lao hit an RBI double in the fifth for a 7-1 advantage. After Rocky Mountain’s Edwin Sano hit a solo homer in the seventh and an RBI double in the eighth to cut it to 7-3, Joe Vranesh doubled in Jimmy Titus for the final score.
Raptors pitchers Serrano, Cespedes, Edward Cuello and Hunter Speer combined to give up seven hits and struck out 16.
The homestand continues at 4 p.m. Sunday against the Vibes.
YURCHAK CALLED UP
The inevitable became reality Friday when Raptors first baseman Justin Yurchak, still the league leader in RBIs (31) and on-base percentage (.496) entering Saturday, was called up to single-A Great Lakes.
The 22-year-old and former Great Falls player was traded from the White Sox to the Dodgers in the offseason and bounced back by hitting .365 with eight home runs and eight doubles in 26 games with the Raptors.