OREM, Utah -- The Home of the Owlz was inhospitable to the Missoula Osprey on Monday night.
The Owlz tallied runs in six innings and steadily pulled away from the Osprey for an 11-3 win in a Pioneer League baseball game.
Missoula, the first-half champion in the North, fell to 6-5 in the season's second half, 29-19 overall. Orem, the first-half champ in the South, moved to 7-4, 31-18. The teams will square off for the next three nights.
The Owlz ran wild against the Osprey, stealing seven bases. Combined with their 14 hits, it made for a long night for Missoula pitchers.
Anfernee Benitez (2-3) started and took the loss. He pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits and seven runs, just four of which were earned.
The Osprey grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Kal Simmons singled, stole second and scored on a single by Tyler Humphreys.
The Owlz, though, responded with two in the bottom half. Juan Moreno walked, Michael Pierson singled and both runners moved up a bag when catcher Francis Christy couldn't handle a pitch. Both then scored on a double by Jeff Boehm.
Missoula tied it at 2-2 in the third on Simmons' first homer of the season.
The Owlz got to Benitez four three runs in the fourth inning to take a 5-2 lead. Singles by Sam Koenig and Alex Abbott, and a walk to Ranyelmy Alberto loaded the bases with no outs. Tanner Lubach lofted a sac fly to score the first run, Abbott stole home for the second and Moreno's single plated Alberto.
The Osprey got one back in the fifth to cut the gap to 5-3. Mike Abreu walked and went to third on a single by Raymel Flores. Abreu scored on a sac fly by Isan Diaz.
The Owlz chased Benitez with two more runs in the bottom of the fifth. Their cause was aided by a pair of Missoula errors. Boehm drove in one with a single and later scored on a single by Abbott.
Orem's lead grew to 8-3 when Lubach doubled and eventually scored on a sac fly by Moreno. The Owlz added another run in the seventh when Sam Koenig singled home Jared Foster, who had doubled.
NOTES: Missoula's Austin Byler was named the Pioneer League Player of the Week on Monday. In four games, Byler went 7 for 18 with a double, four home runs, nine RBIs and seven runs scored. Three of Byler’s four bombs were in Missoula’s 12-6 victory over the Grand Junction Rockies on Sunday.