GJ Rockies recap, June 22, 2017
Idaho Falls 13, Grand Junction 10
Thursday at Suplizio Field
GJ Rockies 1-3, Idaho Falls 3-1
The key inning
A pair of two-out walks issued by Grand Junction reliever Colton Hathcock in the top of the seventh and a triple from Jonathan McCray put Idaho Falls over the top. After the two walks, coaches met with Hathcock on the mound, but McCray laced the stand-up triple into the right-center gap. The hit put the Chukars up 7-5 and they never trailed after that.
On the mound
Grand Junction starter Jeffri Ocando had an up-and-down outing, stabilizing after a rocky start only to struggle again in the sixth.
A solo home run from Ricky Aracena put the Chukars up early in the first inning. After Grand Junction scored three runs in the bottom of a frame, Idaho Falls regained the lead on a pair of RBI hits. The singles were set by a walk, a balk and a wild pitch from Ocando.
Still, after the third inning, the right-hander pitched two scoreless innings before giving up a leadoff triple and RBI single in the sixth. That led to a pitching change, but manager Frank Gonzales said Ocando battled in his debut.
“I have no qualms with his outing at all,” Gonzales said. “Honestly, I thought him making it four or five innings, keeping us in the ball game, I thought he did a good job for his first time out in the (United) States. There’s a lot of potential there and I think he’s going to figure it out. Really easy delivery, so I liked what I saw today.”
Ocando scattered eight hits over 5 1/3 innings, surrendering five runs and one walk with three strikeouts.
At the plate
For the second time in four games, Shael Mendoza finished with five hits. He’s one of six Grand Junction players to accomplish the feat and the only one to do it twice.
Mendoza doubled and drove in four runs. Currently, he’s hitting a team-best .706.
First baseman Hidekel Gonzalez hit a home run, his second of the season, and finished 2 for 5. Designated hitter Jeff Bohling also clubbed a home run, a 409-foot blast to the gap right of center.
New in town
Colorado Rockies’ top pick Ryan Vilade, along with fellow draftees Tommy Doyle and Chad Spanberger, arrived in Grand Junction and practiced with the team. After touring the facility, Vilade, a shortstop, and Spanberger, a first baseman, took part in fielding drills, base running exercises and hit during batting practice. Vilade, in particular, made his presence felt by launching a wind-aided home run over the bleachers in left field in the practice session.
Gonzales said the several pitchers in Grand Junction on rehab assignments are building up their strength. Ben Bowden, the Rockies’ second-round pick in 2016, once again threw from 100 feet during practice. The manager said Devin Burke is progressing well, but is “three weeks or a month” from a simulated game and that Mike Zimmerman “still has a little ways to go.”
“Those guys are all diligent and they’re doing their work,” Gonzales said. “That’s all you can ask.”
Around the diamond
3B Jordan Ebert was released ... Former GJ Rockies shortstop Brendan Rodgers finish 0 for 4 in his debut with Double-A Hartford. The Yard Goats lost to Richmond 3-0.
GJ vs. Ogden, 6:40 p.m., Suplizio Field
Starting pitchers: Jorge Oviedo (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Gregorio Sequera (NR)
Radio: GJRockies.com (Internet only)
They said it
“The hitters, you look at the numbers hitting-wise and we’re probably at the top of the league as far as average, driving in runs, things offensively. And we really haven’t had to rely on the home run ball. It really comes down to execution, hitting quality pitches. We still got a little big in the zone at times, but I thought the hitting was good. Pitching-wise, we just weren’t able to put guys away and we’ve got to be a little bit more consistent down in the zone.” — Gonzales on the loss.
— Matt Meyer, The Daily Sentinel