OREM, UT - In front of a large crowd expecting postgame fireworks, the Orem Owlz nearly pulled off an in-game comeback Wednesday night.
Unlike the previous week's twinbill at Grand Junction, however, Reza Aleaziz wasn't ready to see the opponents celebrate late.
Aleaziz struck out Los Angeles Angels prospect Jeremiah Jackson with the bases loaded to end the sixth inning and induced a double play ball to wrap up the seventh and earn the save as his Ogden Raptors prevailed, 3-1, to sweep both ends of the doubleheader.
After a 7-2 win in the opener, the visitors got right back on the scoreboard as Andy Pages hit his sixth home run of the season off the left field foul pole in the top of the first.
Orem tied the game with a two-out rally in the third and had runners at second and third, but Justin Yurchak snared a line drive to end the innings and keep it knotted at one.
In the fifth, Joe Vranesh singled with one out. He stole second base with Jon Littell at the plate and two down, which allowed him to cruise home as Littell singled on the next pitch.
Elio Serrano allowed just the one run in the third and retired seven of the final eight batters he faced before handing the game to Aleaziz to start the sixth.
The Oklahoma State product retired the first two batters on four total pitches, but a single and double put the potential tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position. A walk loaded the bases and the Owlz pinch hit Jackson for Kevin Arias, who was 0-for-2. Aleaziz got ahead, 1-2, then fired a curveball and Jackson swung through it to end the inning.
Looking for an insurance run in the top of the seventh, the Raptors scratched it out with some help from Orem's defense. Moises Perez was on first with two out after taking a walk, and he broke for second on a 2-2 pitch to Vranesh. The pitch was lined into left, and Perez motored around to third base. As he approached the bag, the left fielder had trouble picking the ball up, so third-base coach Cordell Hipolito sent Perez home for a 3-1 lead.
Aleaziz allowed a hit with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but Perez started a crisp twin killing on a tailor-made double-play ball to end the game.
The doubleheader sweep was Ogden's first in almost three years - since sweeping Orem, in Ogden, on July 30, 2016 - and, combined with Grand Junction's loss, gave the team a four-game lead almost halfway through the first half.
The Raptors return home Thursday for a five-game series with the new Rocky Mountain Vibes. The first 300 fans through the gates on Thursday get a special, patriotic-themed Raptors T-shirt! It's also Throwback Thirsty Thursday, with the Raptors wearing throwback jerseys and drink specials at the concession stands!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.