GJ Rockies fall in 11 innings
Michael Ramirez slapped the dirt as the ball sailed over the left-field fence Saturday night.
That was one pitch the Grand Junction Rockies catcher wishes he had back, a game-tying home run with two out in the top of the ninth inning.
There was another one in the top of the 11th, which Jesus Valdez hit over the wall in right field for what ended up being the winning home run in the Ogden Raptors’ 10-9 victory over the Rockies in front of 3,175 fans at Suplizio Field.
The loss erased a 5-0 first-inning lead by the Rockies, when they took advantage of starter Matt Laney’s control problems in a 35-pitch inning.
Laney walked three and gave up two home runs in the inning, a three-run shot by Julian Yan and a solo home run by Chris Cowell, his first as a professional ballplayer. The Rockies (23-22, 2-5) sent 10 men to the plate in the inning.
Conversely, Johendi Jiminian, who has had control problems for the Rockies much of the season, needed only seven pitches to get out of the top of the first.
He pitched into the fifth inning, and although he allowed seven runs on a dozen hits, he made progress by not walking a batter. He entered the game with 21 walks in 22 innings.
The Raptors (24-21, 3-4) scored two runs in each of the next three innings off Jiminian, but the Rockies kept answering. David Dahl, who extended his hitting streak to 17 games, doubled to right-center to lead off the second.
Dahl and Matt Wessinger both batted in each of the first three innings — Dahl hit safely in all three and finished 3 for 6 and is now hitting .376.
Matt Wessinger bunted him to third, and got a base hit out of the deal when he slid head-first under the tag at first. With two out, Correlle Prime walked to load the bases, chasing Laney.
His replacement, Michael Drowne, walked Cowell to force home a run.
Grand Junction scored three more in the fourth, with Jeff Popick beating out an infield hit and scoring when Yan hit his second home run of the night. It was the Rockies’ right fielder’s third in the past two games, giving him a team-high nine, tied for the Pioneer League lead.
Prime doubled to the wall in right and scored on a groundout by Jason Stolz.
After that, though, the Rockies’ offense shut down. They didn’t have a base runner after the sixth inning. Prime singled and Cowell walked with one out, but Stolz grounded into a double play to end that chance.
The Raptors’ bullpen retired the next 15 Grand Junction hitters in order.
Patrick Johnson, who came in for Jiminian, allowed a solo home run in the seventh to cut it to 9-8, and when he tired, walking back-to-back men after Corey Seager’s shot to right, Rayan Gonzalez was called out of the bullpen.
He only needed one pitch to do his job, getting Bladimir Franco to ground into a double play to preserve the Rockies’ one-run lead.
Raul Fernandez allowed a base hit in the eighth, and the Rockies turned it over to closer Scott Oberg in the ninth.
Oberg struck out the first two batters, but got a pitch up over the plate to Tyler Ogle, playing in his first game for the Raptors after being assigned from Class A (short season) Great Lakes.
He hit a towering shot over left field to tie it at 9-9 and the Rockies couldn’t get the tying run on base.
The teams combined for 19 runs on 30 hits. Ogden had 19 hits, including six doubles and four home runs — Valdez also hit a two-run home run in the third.
The final game of the homestand is at 2:05 this afternoon, with Matt Carasiti (2-1) of the Rockies facing Ross Stripling (1-0). Monday, Grand Junction travels to Orem, which leads the second-half standings at 5-2. In the overall season standings, the Rockies trail Ogden by one game and have a one-game lead on Orem.
GJ ROCKIES 9 (11)
up next: Grand Junction vs. Ogden, 2 p.m. today
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