GJ Rockies recap, June 20, 2017
GRAND JUNCTION 17, IDAHO FALLS 11
Tuesday at Suplizio Field
Grand Junction 1-1, Idaho Falls 1-1
At the plate
It was a record-setting night, with the Rockies pounding out a club-record 23 hits, breaking the 2015 mark of 20.
Every Grand Junction player had at least one hit and each of the Rockies scored at least once. Shael Mendoza was 5 for 6, Pedro Gonzalez 4 for 5, Javier Guevara and Alan Trejo each went 3 for 6, and Jordan Ebert was 3 for 3.
“Club record? Heck, we’ll take that,” GJ manager Frank Gonzales said, laughing.
“I’m not sure we want to play four-hour ballgames every night, but we’ll take that kind of offense any time.”
On the mound
Logan Longwith, who signed with the Rockies out of the independent Frontier League, got the win in his Pioneer League debut. He went 5 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits. He struck out one but did not walk a batter. Four of the runs came in the sixth inning, but Alexander Martinez came out of the bullpen to get the Rockies out of the inning. He allowed a sacrifice fly to center, with Gonzalez making a nice running catch against the wall, and an RBI single by Darrell Miller Jr., before striking out Christhian Vasquez.
“I kind of like how he keeps the ball in the bottom part of the zone early,” Gonzales said of Longwith. “I had one of those little faux pas in the fifth inning, I said, ‘Hey, Jonsey (pitching coach Doug Jones), what’s he got on a pitch count?’ He goes 54. Heck, he’s good, and sure enough (he gave up a two-run home run)… You never know, but he threw well early.”
In the field
With a gusting wind blowing out to center when the game began, the outfielders stayed busy right off the bat. The second batter of the game, Ricky Aracena, tripled to right-center and scored on a double that sailed over Gonzalez’s head. The Rockies returned the favor, with Mendoza hitting a leadoff triple and scoring on a double steal after Gonzalez walked and stole second. Grand Junction left fielder Tyler Bates not only had to deal with the wind, but he was fighting the sun early in the game. He recorded two of the three outs in the third, first shading his eyes with his glove after momentarily losing the ball in the sun, and the making a nice running catch to end the inning. Gonzalez also made a pair of athletic catches, first a running catch in left center, and then tracking a ball to the wall in the sixth.
The key inning
Grand Junction scored four runs in the third inning to go up 9-1, but after the Chukars closed to within one run twice, the Rockies finally responded in the eighth. The seven-run inning was highlighted by Hidekel Gonzalez’s first home run, a three-run shot just inside the foul pole down the left-field line. Trejo led off the inning with a base hit up the middle and Nate Coronado followed with a base hit. Ebert’s sacrifice bunt moved them into scoring position, and Trejo came home on one of three passed balls by the Chukars’ catchers, two by Darrell Miller Jr., and one by Freddy Fermin. After Bates was hit by a pitch, Mendoza beat out a chopper to third, scoring Coronado. Pedro Gonzalez then laced a double to the wall in right-center, scoring Bates and sending Mendoza to third. Mendoza took a big turn, his helmet flying off, and when the relay to the plate sailed wide, he scored to put the Rockies up 14-9. Hidekel Gonzalez put it out of reach with his home run.
Around the diamond
Brendan Rodgers will be promoted to Double-A Hartford today, according to an MiLB.com report. Rodgers, who played in the California League All-Star game Tuesday night, confirmed the report to Josh Jackson.
“I’m pretty excited. It actually really wasn’t supposed to be out until (Wednesday), I was told,” said the Rockies’ first-round draft pick, who spent 2015 in Grand Junction. “I guess everybody knows now. It’s all over social media, so I can’t really say I’m not going, because I am. I’m pretty excited. I’m ready to start with a new team and get going.”
Rodgers, who is hitting .400 for Lancaster with 12 home runs, 21 doubles and 46 RBI, saw his 23-game hitting streak end on June 16. … Coronado lost the grip on his bat in the third inning, and it sailed into the stands above the third-base dugout. Luckily, no one was sitting where the bat landed, but a fan quickly retrieved the lumber. A GJ Rockies employee was sent to retrieve the bat, at first offering a baseball, but the fan, with the crowd cheering him on, was reluctant to give it up. He finally did, as other fans booed, but ended up getting a broken bat in the deal. The fan got bat signed by Coronado.
Idaho Falls at Grand Junction, 6:40 p.m., Suplizio Field
Starting pitchers: Anderson Amarista, GJ (0-0) vs. Jeremy Gwinn, IF (0-0)
TV: Ch. 16 (KGJT)
They said it
“The energy is great, isn’t it? Our assistant director of development, Chris Forbes, is in, and he said ‘He might be my favorite player right now. I love that kid.’ How can you not?” — Frank Gonzales about the energy second baseman and leadoff hitter Mendoza brings.
— Patti Arnold, The Daily Sentinel