Owlz Finish Off Sweep of Idaho Falls, 8-4

(Ari Davis)

By Steven Cusumano / Orem Owlz | July 11, 2017 12:13 PM ET

The Orem Owlz polished off a three-game sweep of the Idaho Falls Chukars on Monday night, winning their Pioneer League best 16th game of the year by a final score of 8-4.

 

The Owlz tacked on four runs in the first inning without even picking up a hit, as they batted around for the third straight game.

 

Idaho Falls starter Julio Pinto walked six batters in the first inning and hit one, accounting for all four of the Owlz' runs in the first inning.

 

The Owlz sent all nine batters in the lineup to the plate, with the No. 9 hitter Torii Hunter Jr. grounding into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

 

One inning later, first baseman David Mackinnon supplied the first run-scoring hit of the night, with a line drive single down the first base foul line that scored Brandon Sandoval from second base to give the Owlz a 5-0 lead.

 

The Owlz extended their lead with another run in the fourth inning, when Owlz designated hitter Ryan Vega hit a ground ball through the middle of the infield into center field for a base hit. Brandon Sandoval then came in to score his second run of the game, making the score 6-0 Orem.

 

The six-run Owlz lead was more than enough for Owlz starter Chris Rodriguez, who entered the game on a career-best run.

 

Coming into the night Rodriguez had pitched 10 consecutive scoreless innings, only yielding a total of four hits.

 

This streak held up until the fifth inning, as Rodriguez began his night having pitched four scoreless innings, allowing just one hit.

 

Rodriguez began the fifth inning by issuing a walk to Idaho Falls designated hitter Freddy Fermin. After Rodriguez struck out left fielder Logan Gray for the first out of the inning, shortstop Julio Gonzalez then lined a a pitch into the left-center field gap, advancing to second base with a double as the lead runner Fermin advanced to third.

 

The next batter, Idaho Fall catcher Chris Hudgins then chopped a ball to Owlz third baseman Franklin Torres. Torres came home with the ball as the catcher Franklin Navarro attempted to tag out Fermin trying to score from third.

 

Navarro applied the tag just as Fermin's leg slid into the plate, making for a bang-bang play that left the home plate umpire Trey Thompson with a tough call to make.

 

Fermin was called safe on the field, scoring Idaho Falls' first run of the game and ending Chris Rodriguez' scoreless streak at 14 and a third innings.

 

Rodriguez was able to squirm his way out of trouble to close out the fifth inning, ending his night with a final line of five innings pitched and one earned run allowed on two hits, while striking out five batters.

 

The performance was good enough to award Rodriguez with his team-leading third win of the season, his third straight winning decision.

 

Rodriguez was relieved by right-handed pitcher Denny Brady, who pitched a scoreless sixth inning. Brady then gave way to left-handed-pitcher James Ziemba, who pitched a perfect seventh inning.

 

Right-handed pitcher Zac Ryan then came on to pitch the eighth. Ryan ended up allowing three runs on three hits, including a two-run homer to the clean-up hitter, Robby Rinn, that made the score 7-4.

 

Even despite allowing a career-high three runs, Ryan was promoted to the Angels' Class A-affiliated Burlington Bees shortly after the game, making him the first member of the Owlz to be promoted.

 

In the bottom half of the inning, Owlz outfielder Jonah Todd gave the team some breathing room, with a line drive double that bounced off of the left-center field wall, scoring David Mackinnon from first base to make the score 8-4 Orem.

 

Owlz right-handed pitcher Daniel Procopio then came on to pitch the ninth inning. 

 

Procopio walked the bases loaded before ending the game with a fly out to the center fielder Torii Hunter, cementing the game's final score at 8-4 and giving the Owlz their Pioneer League best 16th win of the year.

 

The Owlz' third win in a row gives them a record of 16-6 on the year, in command of a five-game lead over Ogden Raptors atop the Pioneer League South standings.

 

Orem will get its first day off on Tuesday, July 11th, before beginning a seven-game stretch in Montana against the Great Falls Voyagers and Billings Mustangs. 

 

The Owlz will begin their road trip with three games at Centene Stadium against the Great Falls Voyagers on Wednesday night, July 12th, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 MT.

 

Coverage begins on the Orem Owlz Baseball Network 15 minutes prior to first pitch every game with the Voice of the Owlz, Steven Cusumano.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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