Avans, Raptors pitching staff combine for big shutout win over Missoula

Wednesday , July 11, 2018 - 7:33 PM

Raptors' Ramon Rodriguez (3) safely slides into home plate past Missoula Osprey catcher Zac Almond (9) on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, at Lindquist Field in Ogden.

MATT HERP/Standard-Examiner

Raptors' Ramon Rodriguez (3) safely slides into home plate past Missoula Osprey catcher Zac Almond (9) on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, at Lindquist Field in Ogden.

OGDEN — Ogden designated hitter Drew Avans led off the seventh inning with a single and was tagged out at second base after an awkward slide in which he turned his ankle.

Avans spent a couple seconds on the ground, then got up and slowly walked to the dugout with a slight limp.

“I was like ‘Man, you want to come out of the game? He goes, ‘Hell no,’” Raptors manager Jeremy Rodriguez said. “I was like, ‘Are you sure?’ and he goes ‘Yeah, yeah I’m good, I can play.’”

When Avans walked to the plate for his next at-bat in the eighth inning, it was clear the slide was only a fleeting hindrance.

He smoked a three-run home run to right-center field that put the cherry on top of Ogden’s most comprehensive win of the season, an 11-0 decision Wednesday in the second game against the Missoula Osprey (13-13).

“I thought (Rodriguez) was kidding the whole time, I didn’t know that he had considered (taking me out),” Avans said.

The first-place Raptors (17-9) had 16 hits, three pitchers combined for a four-hit shutout and Avans went 4 for 5 with five RBIs in his best game of the season.

The three-run bomb in the eighth wasn’t even the most impressive part of Avans’ game Wednesday. After Miguel Vargas gave the Raptors a 1-0 lead in the first inning, Avans launched a 422-foot, first-pitch, two-run home run all the way to Wyoming.

Last series against Grand Junction, he hit a 439-foot home run that traveled to the parking lot out of right field. It was the farthest home run he’s ever hit, he said.

“(I was) swinging at the right pitches, taking the tough ones, the borderline pitches and getting on time with the ones I was supposed to hit,” Avans said.

Jose Chacin was once again stellar on the mound, tossing five scoreless innings with four strikeouts and three hits allowed. But he had plenty of help from the defense. To end the first inning, left fielder Chris Roller sprinted in and dove to catch a shallow line drive.

With Missoula threatening to respond to Ogden’s 3-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning, shortstop Jacob Amaya made a great play to throw out Brandon Leyton on a soft-hit ground ball.

The Osprey had two runners on and two outs at that point, the only time the visitors really threatened.

After Chacin left the game, Hunter Speer tossed two scoreless innings.

Justin Hagenman threw a scoreless eighth and ninth inning, the first of which ended when catcher Ramon Rodriguez picked off a napping Cesar Garcia at first base.

Matt Cogen deposited a pitch over the right-center field wall in the bottom half of the fourth to put the Raptors ahead 4-0. Ronny Brito followed suit with a solo shot in the sixth inning, then Jefrey Souffront and Amaya’s back-to-back RBI singles made it 7-0.

Souffront hit 3 for 4 with two RBIs at the No. 9 spot. Jacob Amaya went 3 for 5 in the leadoff spot and beleaguered center fielder James Outman went 2 for 4.

The two teams play the third of a four-game series Thursday.

Former Raptor Ross Stripling named to National League All-Star team

Ross Stripling pitched for the Ogden Raptors back in 2012. Next week, he’ll be appearing in the MLB All-Star Game. 

The 28-year-old Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher earned the first All-Star nod of his career on Wednesday. He’s been extraordinarily valuable for a beleaguered pitching staff this season.

Stripling is 7-2 with a 2.22 ERA in 89 1/3 innings with an impressive 104-to-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 24 games (13 starts) this season.

A fifth-round pick by the Dodgers in 2012 out of Texas A&M, Stripling went 1-0 with a 1.24 ERA in 14 appearances (12 starts) for the Raptors with a 37-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 36 1/3 innings.

News & Notes

Yeison Cespedes had another brief stay in Ogden. The 20-year-old Dominican pitcher was called up to Advanced-A Rancho Cucamonga on Wednesday.

Cespedes has thrown three scoreless innings in two appearances for the Raptors this season, but allowed seven earned runs in five innings with Great Lakes before being assigned back to Ogden on July 5.

The Dodgers also called up catcher Tre Todd from the Arizona League on Wednesday after he was assigned to the AZL on Tuesday. Todd, this year’s 21st-round pick, hasn’t played a game yet.

You can reach prep sports reporter Patrick Carr at Follow him on Twitter at @patrickcarr_ or like him on Facebook at