Sunday , July 15, 2018 - 8:36 PM
OGDEN — Sometimes it only takes one inning for the Ogden Raptors to take control.
Just a few frames after scoring five runs in the eighth inning Saturday to claim a comeback win over Helena, the Raptors put up a seven-spot in the second inning Sunday and cruised to a 10-7 win over the Brewers, giving Ogden a commanding lead for the first-half title in the Pioneer League South Division.
While the Raptors improved to 20-10, Missoula again beat Idaho Falls (16-14) — giving Ogden a four-game lead with eight games left in the half. Winning the half guarantees a spot in the playoffs come September.
Miguel Vargas factored heavily into Ogden’s success Sunday, going 5 for 5 at the plate to raise his season average to .522 since joining the club on July 2. He singled in the second inning to keep the big rally going and eventually scored on a wild pitch.
In the fourth, Vargas — an 18-year-old Cuban prospect in his first season of professional baseball — hit a solo home run for a 9-1 lead and in the eighth, he singled to score Ronny Brito to pad Ogden’s dwindling lead for the final 10-7 mark.
But the second-inning party started when outfielder Daniel Robinson blasted a three-run homer with Jefrey Souffront and Jeremy Arocho on base for a 4-1 lead.
Brito immediately followed with a solo home run, extending his hitting streak to 13 games. Souffront and Niko Hulsizer added RBIs to make it 8-1 at the end of the second inning.
Raptors starter Joel Inoa moved to 3-0 on the season but ran out of gas in the sixth inning. He surrendered three consecutive singles to start the frame and Helena first baseman Chad McClanahan cleaned up with a three-run double as part of an inning that cut Ogden’s lead to 9-5.
Connor Mitchell relieved Inoa but the Brewers (15-15) continued to chip away, using small ball to make it 9-7 in the eighth.
Gregorio Sequera pitched the final 1 1/3 for Ogden to pick up the save, sweeping through Helena’s batters in order.
While the Raptors totaled 11 hits, Matt Cogen was the only other batter (with Vargas) to hit safely more than once.
Seven of Ogden’s eight early runs came against Helena starter Max Lazar, who was credited with the loss.
The victory gives the Raptors series wins in both sets of the homestand, and the team goes for a sweep of the Brewers at 7 p.m. Monday.
Jose Chacin is Ogden’s expected starter in that game. He’s 3-0 with a 1.78 ERA in six starts, striking out 27 and walking seven in 30 1/3 innings.
Helena is expected to start Justin Bullock, who is 0-3 with an ERA of 7.65 in five starts for the Brewers, carrying an average-against of .317.
Ogden then has Tuesday off ahead of a seven-game trip to Montana (three in Missoula, four in Helena) to end the first half.
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