OGDEN The Orem Owlz struck first in the most important "I-15 Series" of the year.
Sparked by home runs from Roberto Lopez and Donato Giovanatto, Orem picked up a 5-1 victory over the Ogden Raptors in the first game of their Pioneer League playoff series Saturday night at Lindquist Field.
The Owlz can earn a spot in the Pioneer League championship against either Billings or Great Falls when the best-of-three series moves to Brown Ballpark for today's 4 p.m. contest.
Lopez got Orem, the Southern Division champion for both halves of the season, on the scoreboard first with his solo shot in the fourth inning. Darwin Perez then added to the lead, scoring on a fielder's choice in the fifth.
Kyle Russell gave the hometown crowd some hope with an RBI double in the bottom of the fifth, trimming the lead to 2-1.
But it was all Orem after that.
The Owlz responded with an RBI double from Tyson Auer, who later scored on a wild pitch, and Giovanatto's eighth-inning insurance blast.
Ogden had chances with nine hits, but the Raptors couldn't capitalize. They also committed three errors in the loss compared to two for Orem.