Briceno hits a home run, but GJ Rockies lose to Orem
Jose Briceno hit a three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning, but it was too little, too late for the Grand Junction Rockies.
Orem pitchers limited Grand Junction (33-40, 12-23) to four hits and one run in the eight previous innings and defeated the Rockies 5-4 in Pioneer League baseball Thursday night in Orem.
The Owlz (37-35, 17-17) led 4-0 after four innings, a lead that could have been larger if not for two good defensive plays by the Rockies in the first inning. Orem loaded the bases in the first and got a two-run single from Eric Aguilera. Aguilera took second base on the play because of a fielding error by left fielder Jordan Patterson.
Briceno then picked off the runner at third base, and after a walk, Grand Junction ended the threat with a 4-6-3 double play.
The Rockies got their first run in the fifth when Miguel Dilone scored on a 4-6-3 double play.
Orem’s run in the bottom of the eighth came on a double steal as Ranyelmy Mendoza stole second, and Kody Eaves stole home. Eaves stole second base earlier in the frame and now has 22 steals for the season.
Grand Junction’s ninth-inning rally began with a leadoff single by Terry McClure. Zach Osborne then doubled to put runners on second and third. After Patterson popped out to the third baseman in foul territory, Briceno hit his eighth home run, clearing the left-field wall.
Orem reliever Jonathan Van Eaton, who entered the game to begin the ninth, then struck out Dilone and got Corelle Prime to line out to the left fielder.
Briceno and Osborne each had two hits for the Rockies, who finished with seven hits. In addition to his home run, Briceno hit his 15th double.
Joel Payamps (4-7) was the losing pitcher, allowing four of Orem’s runs through 3 2/3 innings. Helmis Rodriguez pitched 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief for Grand Junction, limiting the Owlz to one hit and no walks.
Orem starter Arjenis Fernandez threw the first five innings, allowing one run on two hits and two walks, to earn the win.
The Owlz stole five bases in five tries, and they turned three double plays.