By Brady Bingham
OGDEN — Former Cal State Fullerton product Dustin Garneau, nicknamed Drago, patterned his game after Los Angeles Dodgers catcher and former Ogden Raptors star Russell Martin.
The second-year catcher of the Casper Ghosts looked a lot like the big-league star Sunday night at Lindquist Field, going 2-for-4 with a two-run home run and two-run scoring double. The effort led Casper to a 5-2 victory over the home favorite Raptors.
The win was Casper’s first of the season — the Ghosts are 1-4 — and ended a modest two-game winning streak for the Raptors (2-4).
Casper left fielder Avery Barnes went 4-for-4 and leadoff hitter Eliezer Mesa added two hits in the Ghosts 12-hit attack.
Ogden catcher Griff Erickson recorded a double and an RBI triple for the Raptors, who continue to struggle get the bats going. They had just five hits Sunday night.
“We are kind of off to a slow start this season,” Ogden manager Damon Berryhill said. “Right now, we only have three or four guys getting quality at-bats. Then, I think what we see is that guys tend to press a little, try too hard.
“We saw (pitcher) Graham Miller for the first time tonight. He had some command problems, but he battled out of them,” Berryhill added. “Overall, our pitching has been solid.
“We are struggling a little bit, but we are a better club than that,” he said.
Garneua’s homer came in the fourth inning. After Casper’s Avery Barnes reached with a single off Ogden starter Antonio Castillo’s glove, Garneau crushed a Castillo offering over the left field fence for a two-run blast, giving the Ghosts a 3-0 lead.
Casper took a first inning lead when designated hitter Nathan Hines hit a bleeder down the left field line to score Angelys Nina, who had doubled earlier in the inning.
In the sixth, Garneau added to his big night by poking a liner down the left-field wall for a double and two more RBIs. Casper first baseman Chad Jacobsen had reached on a walk and Barnes hit a liner up the middle to put Ghosts on first and second, before Garneau’s hit made the score 5-1.
Ogden put a run on the board in the fifth inning when Erickson hammered a pitch to deep right-center field for a triple, which scored Kyle Orr, who reach on a walk, from first.
Ogden’s Mario Angelo Songco made it 5-2 in the bottom of the sixth when his double off the center-field wall scored Brian Cavazos-Galvez from first with two outs.
Ogden had its best chance in the bottom of the third, when Erickson smashed a grounder between the legs of Jacobsen. Ghosts’ starter Chris Balcom-Miller then balked Erickson to second and Raptors began a rally.
After Balcom-Miller bobbled David Iden’s one-hopper, the Raptors had runners on first and third with no out.
However, David Iden was caught trying to steal second, Lenell McGee went down swinging, and Austin Yount looked at a third strike and the inning was over.
Castillo suffered the loss for the Raptors. He surrendered three earned runs and eight hits in four innings.
Casper reliever Clint Tilford took the win after Balcom-Miller only went three innings. Reliever Nick Gaudi pitched the ninth to earn the save.