Owlz Pitching Dominant in 5-1 Win

(Ari Davis)

By Steven Cusumano / Orem Owlz | July 16, 2017 6:21 PM ET

The Orem Owlz pitching staff continued to dominate on Sunday afternoon with a 5-1 victory over the Billings Mustangs for their 19th win of the year.

The Owlz used only four pitchers in their series-opening 9-3 win over Billings, and used just three pitchers to make easy work of the Mustangs on Sunday afternoon.

The day began with Owlz left-handed pitcher Justin Kelly on the mound, making his second start of the season in his eighth total appearance for the Owlz.

Kelly was masterful in the game, allowing just two runners to reach base across five scoreless innings.

As daunting as it was for Billings to get runners on base, it was even more difficult to keep them there.

Justin Kelly ended up picking off both of the baseunners that he allowed in the first five innings, tagging out Leandro Santana in the second inning and Miles Gordon in the fourth inning.

Kelly ended his outing by pitching five shutout innings, racking up three strikeouts and allowing two hits, which was good enough to earn him his third win of the season.

The Owlz got Kelly a lead right off the bat, when outfielder Spencer Griffin led off the first inning with a double and ended up coming home with the first run of the game on a groundout from Franklin Torres.

Griffin, the Los Angeles Angels' 16th round pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, made his Minor League debut by batting leadoff for the Owlz and going 2-3 at the plate with a run scored.

The Owlz' 1-0 first inning lead marked the 13th game of the season that the Owlz scored in the first inning, as they are undefeated (13-0) when doing so.

The next run of the game didn't come home until the fifth inning, when Manuel Guzman tapped a ground ball right in front of home plate, beating it out for a base hit and allowing Torii Hunter Jr. to bust home from third base.

Guzman and Hunter each ended the night with two hits.

One inning later, third baseman Jeyson Sanchez provided the Owlz with their biggest hit of the night. Sanchez sunk a two-run homer into the left field corner for his first home run as a member of the Owlz to make the score 4-0.

After Kelly departed the game for the Owlz, right-handed pitcher Isaac Mattson came on in relief and pitched two scoreless innings to preserve what was at the time still a 4-0 shutout entering the eighth inning.

Mattson was then replaced by Connor Riley, who entered the game with a team-best scoreless streak of eight and two thirds innings.

That streak--and the shutout, ended when the leadoff hitter in the eighth inning, Leandro Santana popped a pitch high in the air that carried out over the right field fence to get Billings on the board, making the scorer 4-1.

Riley then finished the game by working around two more hits and striking out a career-high five batters in the Owlz' 19th win of the year.

Owlz first baseman Franklin Torres tacked on a run of insurance in the top of the ninth inning, singling home Brandon Sandoval from second base to cap the game's final score at 5-1.

The win advances the Owlz to a season-high 12 games over .500 with a Pioneer League best record of 19-7.

The Owlz will continue their series in Billings tomorrow night with right-handed pitcher Elvin Rodriguez on the mound, working against Mustangs right-hander Tyler Mondile.

First pitch on the Orem Owlz Baseball Network is set for 7:05 p.m. MT, coverage beginning at 6:50 p.m. 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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