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Billings tops Owlz in extra innings

By Neil K. Warner daily Herald - | Jul 25, 2017
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Orem Owlz pitcher Edrick Agosto (27) throws the ball during an Orem Owlz home game against Billings on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 in Orem. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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Orem Owlz center fielder Brandon Sandoval (7) dives for and misses a line drive during an Orem Owlz home game against Billings on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 in Orem. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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Orem Owlz third baseman Franklin Torres (6) fields a ball in the infield during an Orem Owlz home game against Billings on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 in Orem. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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Orem Owlz third baseman Franklin Torres (6) fields a ball in the infield during an Orem Owlz home game against Billings on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 in Orem. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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Orem Owlz outfielder Spencer Griffin (9) catches a pop fly on the warning track during an Orem Owlz home game against Billings on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 in Orem. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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Orem Owlz shortstop Leonardo Rivas (3) runs towards home base during an Orem Owlz home game against Billings on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 in Orem. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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A fan attempts to catch a fowl ball during an Orem Owlz home game against Billings on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 in Orem. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

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Orem Owlz catcher Keinner Pina (4) dodges a close ball during an Orem Owlz home game against Billings on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 in Orem. DOMINIC VALENTE, Daily Herald

OREM — Miles Gordon doubled in what proved to be the winning run as the Billings Mustangs held off Orem 4-3 in 11 innings on Tuesday night.

The Owlz had several chances late in the game to put together a flurry of runs, but couldn’t manage to get the big hit when they needed it.

The Owlz had an early lead when Brandon Sandoval tripled with two outs in the bottom of the first and Ryan Vega singled him home on a line drive to right.

Orem scored again in the third when Leonardo Rivas led off the inning with a single. Spencer Griffin followed with a triple to left-center, but Orem then stranded Griffin.

Billings came back to take the lead with two runs in the seventh. Gordon hit a ground ball in the hole. Shortstop Leonardo Rivas ranged to his right and got a glove on the ball but couldn’t come up with a throw. The play was ruled an error.

Orem pitcher Evan Smith then struck out Andy Sugilio looking, but Alejo Lopez reached base on an error.

The Owlz came into the game allowing the fewest errors in the league.

Leandro Santana then grounded out but the runners moved into scoring position in the process and Jeter Downs followed with a two-run single.

The lead didn’t last long for Billings because Orem rallied in the eighth. Keinner Pina led off the inning with a single and Manuel Guzman followed with another single. Franklin Torres bunted the runners into scoring position and Torii Hunter Jr. walked to load the bases.

The Mustangs then got what they wanted when Angel Molina hit a ground ball to third, but Hunter’s hustle spoiled what could have been a 5-4-3 double play. He beat the throw to second. The relay was in time to retire Molina but not before the Owlz had tied the game.

But Orem was unable to come up with the go-ahead run, and neither team scored in the ninth, so the game went into extra innings.

The Owlz had a chance to win in the bottom of the 10th when an error, sacrifice bunt and walk left two on, one in scoring position, with just one out. But a strikeout and groundout ended the Orem threat.

The loss dropped Orem to 24-11 on the year but the Owlz have already clinched the first half of the Pioneer League South Division and that means Orem will make the playoffs. The first half of the season ends on Sunday.

Orem will conclude its home stand on Wednesday night against Billings. The Owlz will then hit the road for a 4-game series against Idaho Falls before the Pioneer League hosts its annual All-Star game on Tuesday in Hillsboro, OR.

Orem had four players named to the All-Star team. Pitcher’s Elvin Rodriguez and Chris Rodriguez made the team along with Rivas (shortstop) and Vega (outfielder).

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