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Visiting Owlz fly past Raptors

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Orem infielder P.J. Phillips misses the tag on Ogden baserunner Matt Berezay. The Owlz, however, went on to win the game 4-3.

Orem infielder P.J. Phillips misses the tag on Ogden baserunner Matt Berezay. The Owlz, however, went on to win the game 4-3.

Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News

OGDEN — There's nothing flashy about the Orem Owlz.

They're hitting a pedestrian .257 — fifth in the Pioneer League — yet the Owlz, with their 4-3 victory over the Ogden Raptors Sunday, are 6-2 in the second half of the season and stand atop the South Division standings.

"We're very generic," Orem manager Tom Kotchman said. "We depend on our pitching. If we don't have our pitching, we're not going to win."

Just a week ago, the Owlz hit less than .200 in a sweep of Idaho Falls, but all three wins were by one run, thanks to the pitching.

The Orem staff entered Sunday's game with a 3.79 ERA, second best in the league, with 371 strikeouts, third best, with just 148 walks, second fewest.

Sunday, the Owlz tallied just nine hits but rode the arm of Trevor Bell, who allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings, while striking out three in leading the Owlz to their 11th one-run victory of the season.

"I thought it spoke highly of Trevor that he just about got through six innings in this heat," Kotchman said.

The Raptors, on the other hand, dropped their eighth one-run decision of the season.

"We battled back and got within striking distance, but we weren't able to catch up all the way," Ogden manager Lance Parrish said.

Orem scored all its runs off Ogden starter Bryan Morris, who allowed seven hits while striking out seven in five innings in falling to 1-4.

The Owlz scored a run in the first and then got their three decisive runs in the fourth inning.

Ricky Bambino had an RBI groundout and Ryan Mount went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and a run scored. Morris walked only two hitters in the game, and they both came in the fourth inning.

The Raptors had a runner on third with just one out in the seventh inning and again in the eighth but couldn't push across the equalizer. Scott Van Slyke and Jesus Soto struck out to end the threat in the seventh, and Josh Bell struck out and Van Slyke grounded into a fielder's choice in the eighth.

"We work on situations like that just to get the guys thinking about a man on third with less than two outs and to try to make contact and do whatever you can do to get the bat on the ball, and the two times we weren't successful," Parrish said.

The Raptors were held to just six hits, but only one came in the last 3 1/3 innings.

"If you're going to have a successful season you're going to have to win one-run games," Parrish said of the Raptors' 2-8 mark in those games. "I think, for the most part in a lot of those games, we've fallen behind early and we catch up to a certain point and we can't seem to push past it."

The Raptors tied the score at 1-1 with a run in the second. After Orem scored three in the fourth, Ogden scored two with a two-run homer by Carlos Santana.

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Raptors, while the Owlz have won eight of their last 10.

The four-game series continues with Game 3 tonight at 7 at Lindquist Field.

E-mail: jhinton@desnews.com