Owlz come up short in loss to Raptors

The Owlz rally fell short as they lost Wednesday to the Ogden Raptors 8-6.

The Owlz started off strong again with three runs in the first inning. All came with two outs. After that inning, the Owlz failed to put any runs on the board until the bottom of the sixth, when Brennan Gowens knocked in two runs with a base hit up the middle, cutting the Raptors lead to two.

“You can’t depend on two-out hits all game, and we got two of them in the first inning,” manager Tom Kotchman said.

The closest the Owlz got after that was in the bottom of the seventh when catcher Abel Baker, again with two outs, hit an RBI base hit to left field, scoring Kaleb Cowart from third to cut the lead to one. Later in the inning, with runners on second and third, Jerod Yakubik grounded out to first, ending the rally. The Owlz never got another shot after that, going down in order in the eighth and ninth innings.

Ryan Crowley started the game for the Owlz and pitched well through the first three innings, but was pulled in the top of the fourth after giving up a lead-off triple to Noel Cuevas.

The weather was less than ideal with rain showers off and on throughout the game and a strong wind for most of the night. Kotchman wouldn’t use that as an excuse.

“It didn’t bother their pitchers,” Kotchman said. “It was the same for both teams.”

The one pitching bright spot for the Owlz was right-hander Eric Cendejas. He came in in the top of the seventh, putting the Raptors down in order, including an athletic play on the second out, running down a ball that was hit off his shins to get the close out at first.

Cendejas sat down all six batters he faced.

The loss evens the series at one game apiece, and pulls the Raptors to within a game of the Owlz for the division lead. Both games have been close, something that is not new for these two teams.

“When you play Ogden, they’re always competitive games and they’re always close,” Kotchman said. “That’s just the way it is.”

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