Owlz benefit from generous Raptors in opener

Owlz benefit from generous Raptors in opener

The Pioneer League season opened Tuesday and the Orem Owlz got their first victory out of the way thanks to a strong performance by last year's top pick and some brutal defense on the part of the Ogden Raptors.

In a game which was 1-0 after six innings, Orem took a 7-5 victory thanks to five unearned runs and a strong performance by Trevor Bell.

Bell threw five innings of shutout ball, giving up four hits and one walk while striking out four. With the one performance, the righty is more than half way to matching his innings total last season. The supplemental first round pick appeared in just four games in the Arizona League last summer, allowing four runs in eight innings.

Catcher Scott Knazek led the Owlz offense, going 3-for-5 with a double on the night. The Rider University alum failed to score, but helped force a throwing error when he went hard into second base on a would-be double play, allowing the runner in front of him to score.

Reliever Jeremy Haynes got the save for recording one out with the tying run on first base. The righty from Tallahassee Community College came on when Aaron Cook struggled and allowed a pair of runs to score. Cook was jittery throughout his professional debut, walking one, uncorking a wild pitch and hitting a batter.

Rancho Cucamonga played the only other game in the system Tuesday night and fell to Lake Elsinore 5-2.

Righty Francisco Rodriguez dropped his fifth consecutive decision, giving up four runs on five hits and three walks in five innings. The 23-year-old starter picked up his only victory in 12 starts on May 10. His struggles this month include a 9.30 ERA and .329 average against in 20.1 innings of work.

Drew Toussaint was the only Rancho hitter with two hits in the game, knocking a pair of singles. The speedster has now hit in six straight games and owns a .333 average this month to raise his season mark to .245. He has been most effective hitting in the seventh slot as he did Tuesday, carving out a .297 mark so far.

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