GJ Rockies rebound with 6-5 win at Orem
OREM, Utah — Even though the second half of the Pioneer League season is barely a week old, the Grand Junction Rockies’ series in Orem is a key one.
The Rockies entered Monday night’s game four games back of the Owlz for first place, and came away with a much-needed come-from-behind 6-5 win.
The win improves the Rockies’ second-half record to 3-6, with a 7-5 season series edge against Orem.
“This is a real big win for us,” Rockies manager Tony Diaz said. “To come from behind and then hold on at the end is a great testament to the character of this ballclub.”
Ryan Warner retired the first two batters in the bottom of the first with relative ease, but the next five Owlz reached, four of them on singles up the middle. Jonathan Walsh drove in the first run and Chevy Clarke the last two for a 3-0 lead.
Orem added another two-out run in the third when Jonathan Walsh hit his sixth home run of the season, but the lead was wiped away in the fifth.
Michael Ramirez and Juan Ciriaco reached base to open the inning. Ashley Graeter brought home Ramirez with a single and Ciriaco scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-2.
Then, with Ben Waldrip ahead in the count, Orem manager Tom Kotchman elected to pull starter Jairo Diaz in favor of Yancarlos Santiago.
Waldrip made him pay, hitting his ninth home run of the year to tie the game at 4-4.
After the Rockies took the lead with two runs in the seventh, including a bases-loaded walk by Correlle Prime for the go-ahead run, Orem threatened to follow suit.
Anthony Bemboom singled and scored on Sherman Johnson’s one-out triple to put the tying run on third base. Alving Mejias struck out Wade Hinkle for the second out of the inning, then Rockies manager turned to Raul Fernandez.
He got Michael Snyder to fly out to right field on the first pitch to preserve Grand Junctino’s 6-5 lead.
Warner didn’t get a decision, allowing four runs on seven hits in three innings. Alving Mejias picked up his third win, allowing one run in 3 2/3 innings out of the bullpen. Fernandez retired all four batters he faced, and Scott Oberg picked up his ninth save of the season.
“Mejias was the key to the game,” Diaz said. “He kept us in it, and then he did a good job of keeping them off the scoreboard after we tied the game, so we were able to keep momentum.”
David Dahl was 1 for 4, extending his hit streak to 19 games, and now has the longest current hit streak in the league after Seth Mejias-Brean’s 22-game streak came to an end.
Lefty Jayson Aquino (1-0) makes his second start for the Rockies tonight. Aquino beat the Owlz last week.
Rockies notes: Right fielder Julian Yan is the Pioneer League offensive player of the week. Yan went 10 for 31 with two doubles, six home runs, 14 RBI and scored eight runs in the past seven games. He now has 10 home runs, which leads the league, and is fifth in the league with 36 RBI.
He’s the third GJ Rockies player to be honored, following Ryan Garvey and Ben Waldrip.