The Orem Owlz won their season opener 7-6 over the Casper Ghosts at home in front of a record crowd of 6,163 . Owlz ace Aaron Meade started the game with three strong innings.
“Aaron’s tempo with the catcher was great.” Owlz manager Tom Kotchman said. “Much improved from last year.”
After striking out six in just over three innings, Meade gave up a solo home run to left-center by Matt Argyropoulos, but was able to get out of the inning.
The Owlz took a 1-0 lead in the first inning after Frazier Hall hit a double to right field, scoring Andrew Ray. Hall followed with his second double of the night in the 4th inning, followed by Kaleb Cowart’s single which put the Owlz up 2-1.
Joe Melioris came in to relieve Meade but struggled early, hitting one batter and throwing a wild pitch.
In the 4th inning Meade gave up a solo run home run to left center by Matt Argyropoulos, but was able to get out of the inning.
The Owlz offense found its swagger in the bottom of the sixth inning . Hall reached first after three Ghost fielders overplayed a pop fly to shallow left-center. At that point Ghosts starting pitcher Alving Mejias started to show signs of wear, walking a batter and giving up a three-run home run to Francis Larson, putting the Owlz up 6-3.
“I was just excited to come out and play” said Larsen “It’s a short porch in left.”
Owlz standout Taylor Lindsey had a solid performance, going 3-for-4. After safely reaching first in the 7th inning, Lindsey then stole second, putting himself in scoring position. Kaleb Cowart’s left-center base knock scored Lindsey to put the Owlz up 7-3.
Melioris continued to struggle in the 7th inning, hitting Harold Riggins in the arm. Riggins was unable to finish the game.
Casper’s David Kandilas’ 8th-inning triple scored Jose Riveria to make the game 7-4. Ghosts shortstop Rosell Herrera ground-balled to second, scoring Kandilas and narrowing the margin to 7-5.
The biggest test for the Owlz came in the top of the 9th with Ghosts center fielder Robert De La Cruz on first. Miguel De Leon singled to center to advance De La Cruz to third. Julian Yan then hit deep to center field, scoring De La Cruz to pull Casper within one run.
Center fielder Brennan Gowens saved the lead and the game with a spectacular throw to second, getting De Leon out and ending the game in dramatic fashion.
“It was a good play by their baserunner to get in scoring position” said Kotchman “It was an even better play by the center fielder to throw him out at second.”
Casper 000 120 021 — 6 8 0
Orem 100 104 10x — 7 11 0
W: Melioris (1-0, 0.00) L: Mejias (0-1, 9.00)
S: Kinzer (1)