GJ Rockies good in all three phases in big win over Ogden
Harrison Musgrave didn’t mind sitting in the dugout for 15 or 20 minutes Thursday night as his Grand Junction Rockies teammates ran the bases.
The Rockies’ starting pitcher recorded his first professional win thanks to a four-hit, five-strikeout performance through his five innings.
Oh yeah, and the 13 runs on 17 hits his teammates provided in a 13-2 Pioneer League victory over Ogden at Suplizio Field.
“I don’t mind doing that. Our team scores runs and I go back out there and do what I can to limit them,” Musgrave said. “I’d rather sit there and score a bunch of runs rather than two minutes and I’m back out there pitching. It’s a good thing.”
Just about everything was good for the Rockies, who got the leadoff man on base in each of the first seven innings and scored at least one run in each of those innings.
“I just like to try my best to set my teammates up. Anything I can do, a bunt, hit by pitch, anything I can do to get on base and use my speed,” said leadoff man Wes Rogers, who opened the bottom of the first with a walk.
And since the Rockies entered the game with a league-high 70 stolen bases, the Raptors knew they had to keep Rogers close. Even though he missed the first month of the season with a sprained ankle, the word is out that Rogers can run, just like the rest of the Grand Junction lineup.
Ogden starter Victor Gonzalez threw over to first and the ball sailed wide. There went Rogers, all the way to third, and the track meet was on. Yonathan Daza, who went 4 for 5 and drove in three runs, singled with one out, stole second and came home when Henry Garcia drove a double to left-center.
“I kind of have to pick my spots,” said Rogers, who went 2 for 3, scored twice and drove in two runs in his third game, raising his batting average to .500. “I haven’t had that many stolen bases yet and I’m already getting pitchouts. I’ve gotta just know the right time.
“That’s just how our coaches have us geared. We have a lot of speed, a lot of great players. We’re going to run, get things in motion.”
By the time Musgrave went to the mound for the second inning, he had a 4-0 lead. It was 5-0 when he went out for the third, 7-0 for the fourth and 8-0 for his final inning.
“It’s good to throw with a big lead,” he said. “Just throw fastballs and let them hit it and let your defense work. We scored tonight ... eight runs when I pitched? That’s a lot, so it was pretty comfortable.”
At one point, Musgrave retired eight in a row, getting a great diving catch in center by Omar Carrizales to end the third inning.
“That’s the first game I’ve been able to go to five innings to get a win with my pitch count,” he said. “A solid day, I couldn’t be happier.
“When you’re only throwing 35, 45 pitches, it is what it is, but it’s different. It’s kind of like relieving out there. Getting to throw 60 pitches, it’s more like a start and you get to settle in a little more and find your groove. Hopefully we get to build up more during the year.”
Defensively, the Rockies were also locked in. In the sixth, with the Raptors loading the bases on a pair of base hits and a walk against Rafael Betancourt, Collin Herring lifted a foul ball near the Raptors’ dugout on a 3-2 count with two out.
In a 9-0 game, a lot of players will let that ball drop into the dugout and take their chances on the next pitch.
Not Kevin Padlo. He sprinted to the dugout, leaned on the fence and reached as far as he could, nearly losing his balance and tumbling in, and made the catch.
“I was kind of scared of falling in, but I came up with the ball, so that’s good,” Padlo said with a grin. “That’s the way we like to play, especially when we have a lead. Everybody has fun and goes all out. It’s nice to see.”
The Rockies added three runs in the sixth and Padlo added an RBI double in the seventh for a 13-0 lead. Ogden scratched out single runs in the eighth and ninth innings to avoid the shutout.
Every Grand Junction starter got at least one hit and all but two scored at least one run.
“I was looking at the scoreboard all night,” Padlo said. “We scored in that inning, in that inning. We scored in every inning (except the eighth). That’s fun to see.”