Luis Paz hit his third homer in two days, a three-run blast, and the Raptor pitching continued to come up big in a 7-4 win over the Orem Owlz in Orem Saturday afternoon. Paz's power helped Ogden overcome four errors in the field. The win forced a third game to decide the Pioneer League South champion. The winner will face the Billings Mustangs for the Pioneer League title. Billings defeated Great Falls 2-0 in the North Division series.
Starting pitchers Rob McDonnell (Ogden) and Jose Suarez (Orem) threw scoreless ball through three innings. McDonnell has played for Ogden nearly all season and has been on of the team's most reliable starters. For Suarez, this was his second start for Orem.
For the second straight night, Brandon Montgomery drove in the first run of the game, scoring DJ Peters in the fourth. But Suarez's devastating curve ball kept the Raptor bats quiet for five innings.
McDonnell ran into trouble in the fourth. Errors by Gavin Lux and Cody Thomas helped load the bases. Keinner Pina, who drove in the winning runs last night, cleared the bases with a double. For Lux and Thomas, they have combined for seven errors in two days. However, the Raptors have also turned five double plays in the series, and Lux has made multiple far-ranging plays for outs.
Down 3-1, the Raptors took the lead for good in the sixth inning. Alex Hensen replaced Suarez and only pitched to three batters: Keibert Ruiz singled, DJ Peters walked, and Luis Paz homered to centerfield. Jonah Wesely replaced Hensen, and gave up a double to Thomas, an RBI single to Lux, and a two-run triple to Moises Perez. Ogden, which set a team record with 43 triples this season, hit 10 in this ball park during its last series against Orem.
All told in the sixth, Ogden batted around, sending 10 men to the plate. They got six runs on five hits and two walks. They also hit for the cycle with a single, double, triple, and a homer. They ended the inning up, 7-3.
Relievers Adalberto Pena (1-0) and Vinny Santarsiero closed it out for Ogden. Pena gave up an unearned run and got into some trouble, but was able to escape and was credited with the win. Santarsiero hasn't given up an earned run all season, a total of nine appearances. The three Ogden pitchers finished the day with a combined ERA of 0.00, because all four Orem runs were unearned.
The deciding game three is tomorrow in Orem tomorrow afternoon at 4:05 PM, MT. Zac Grotz will be on the mound for Ogden. Orem's starter has not been announced.
You can listen to A.P. Harreld call the game on the Ogden Raptors Network on the free TuneIn app.