No C.J. Cron, no problem.
The Owlz bats continued to produce despite playing without the league-leader in home runs, sweeping their four-game home series against Ogden with an 11-5 win Monday night. Ryan Jones went 4-for-5 and four RBI, Taylor Lindsey went 3-for-5 for two RBI, and Kaleb Cowart 2-for-4 for two RBI.
While Owlz manager Tom Kotchman is closely monitoring Cron’s status, he expressed no hesitation about the team’s ability to move on without him.
“It’s over with,” Kotchman said. “He’s not going to be able to play. What it does is it gets some other guys some at-bats and other opportunities for other players to take advantage of.”
Enter Ryan Jones. The undrafted free agent pickup continued his offensive tear Monday, logging his 16th hit over the last 10 games. Over that same span, he has failed to earn a base hit in just two games. Jones’ 2-RBI triple to center in the third inning jumpstarted the Owlz offensive onslaught.
“The biggest thing is the guys in front of me are getting on base,” Jones said. “I was telling guys earler, the pitcher gets all the pressure when guys get on base. when they’re running the bases and stuff is going haywire, that’s when they make a mistake pitch. my biggest thing is to not miss the mistake pitch.”
Lindsey continued to set the table for the middle of the batting order. Orem’s leadoff man scored all three times he reached base, including a two-run home run in the fourth that gave Orem a 6-4 lead they would only expand.
“[Lindsey’s] not your prototype leadoff hitter that has a lot of speed and stuff like that,” Kotchman said. “He’s an average runner. But he’s not moving out of that [leadoff] spot.”
The Owlz offense operated without pressure thanks to a stellar outing from starter Joe Melioris. The 2010 free agent signee went six full innings despite giving up back-to-back home runs in the third inning.
After that, Ogden went 0-for-23.
“To get a performance like Melioris’ tonight, it was simple,” Kotchman said. “He was outstanding. I did not want to take him out at all, but he was too high in his pitch count. Obviously, what we saw tonight, we’re going to need him.”
Orem will now travel to Ogden for three more games against the Raptors, who won the season first-half but are now dead last in the second half with a 1-8 record. The Casper Ghosts (8-1) are a game ahead of Orem.
“We’re 7-2 and we’re still in second place,” Kotchman said. “We’re in a dogfight and we know it.”
Matt Petersen can be reached at [email protected] You can also follow him on Twitter: @SportsWriter93.