Over the past few weeks, the Ogden Raptors have been searching for a convincing win over a playoff-caliber team to build momentum as the postseason draws near.
A comeback win over Grand Junction on Saturday had the look of starting something special, but Ogden was unable to back up their play in a 4-2 loss at Idaho Falls on Monday, the start of a season-ending four-game series.
Niko Hulsizer provided all of the offense for the Raptors with one swing of the bat, crushing a two-run homer to left-center with two out in the second inning. The shot came against Chukars starter Kris Bubic, the #40 overall pick in the recent June amateur draft.
The Raptors would threaten a few times after that - loading the bases with one out in the fifth and watching Dillon Paulson crush a double to open the sixth - but they couldn't find the hits they needed in support of Joel Inoa's return.
Inoa, promoted from Ogden to Great Lakes at the Pioneer League's All-Star break, tossed five solid innings in his first start since returning from helping the Loons clinch a playoff spot. He retired the first five batters he faced before giving up three straight hits in the bottom of the second. The Chukars scored twice in the inning to tie the game.
Inoa worked around trouble in the third but finished his outing with strong fourth and fifth innings. In all, he allowed seven hits through five innings, walked one and struck out four.
Orlandy Navarro entered for the sixth inning and immediately had control issues, walking the first batter he faced on four pitches. The next hitter grounded a single into right field, but Navarro induced a popped up bunt and blew a fastball by Hunter Strong for a strikeout to get close to finishing the frame unscathed. Offerman Collado, the ninth hitter in the Idaho Falls order, had different ideas. After falling behind, 1-2, Collado poked a single through the left side to score two and give the hosts the lead.
The Raptors and Chukars play game two of their series at 7:15 Tuesday night.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.