Tom Smart, Deseret News
Orem Owlz player Darwin Perez slips past Idaho Falls catcher Juan Graterol to score the first run of the night. The Owlz won the game, 6-2.

OREM — After being somewhat quiet for a couple of games, the big bats of the Orem Owlz came alive late Tuesday night to end the team's three-game home losing skid.

With four runs in the eighth inning the Owlz broke open a 2-2 tie and pulled away from Idaho Falls for a much-needed 6-2 win.

"It's good to get back on the winning track and the food will taste a little bit better tonight," Orem manager Tom Kotchman said.

Prior to the eighth the Owlz offense, the Pioneer League's top offense, had produced only five hits and two runs. In that four-run eighth, however, the first four hitters in Orem's order reached base and each eventually scored. Luis Jimenez put the Owlz ahead with an RBI single over second and the following run scored on a passed ball. Gabe Jacobo pushed another run across on a grounder to third and Orem's final run scored on Alberto Rosario's two-out double to the right-field gap.

Perhaps the real key to Orem's win was pitching. After the Owlz pitchers struggled on the mound over the weekend, the Owlz three hurlers on Tuesday were extra sharp — striking out 10, walking only three and giving up only six hits.

Starter Will Smith was outstanding in allowing the Chukars only two base runners in his first five innings. The lefty from Georgia finished with seven strikeouts, gave up three hits and did not walk a batter in five and one-third.

"Smith set the tone for the game," Kotchman said. "He's 18 years old, but he didn't pitch like an 18-year-old pitcher. We saw an 18-year-old out there with a lot of poise."

The Owlz went on top 2-0 with a pair of runs in the third. Darwin Perez got things going with a lead-off triple to deep center. He scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly by Ivan Contreras. A two-out walk by Roberto Lopez and a double by Jimenez kept the inning going, which later paid dividends when the Chukars third baseman bobbled a grounder off the bat of Angel Castillo — allowing a second run to score.

Smith, after cruising through the first five innings, struggled slightly in the sixth — giving up a double to Devery Van De Keere and a single to Fernando Garcia to start the inning. Van De Keere scored on a wild pitch, after which Smith was pulled following a strikeout of Patrick Norris.

Unfortunately, reliever Kevin Nabors was unable to protect the lead for Smith. Nabors walked the first batter he faced. Shawn Griffin then tied the game 2-2 when he pushed a run across on a swinging bunt that trickled fair down the first-base line.

For the next two innings, however, Nabors held Idaho Falls in check by striking out three and giving up only one more hit. Orem's Jeremy Thorne took over in the ninth, with the Owlz on top, and closed the door in his first appearance of the season.

The two teams meet again tonight and Thursday at Brent Brown Ballpark, before heading off to Idaho Falls for a three-game set there.

Raptors 5, Ghosts 3

At Ogden, the Raptors capitalized on two Casper errors, including a Carlos Martinez error to score Pedro Baez as part of three scores in the fourth inning on their way to a 5-3 victory. Kyle Russell and Matthew Wallach each doubled in that inning, while Baez finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs.


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