GJ Rockies start hot and finish cold in loss to Ogden
An explosive first inning suggested offensive fireworks were in store from the Grand Junction Rockies in their return to Ogden.
Instead, the next eight innings were a collective dud.
The site where Grand Junction got swept in three games to open its season remained unyielding as the Raptors got their bats going late and rallied to defeat the Rockies 8-5 in Pioneer League baseball Thursday.
Grand Junction dropped to 5-6 with the loss and is 0-4 against Ogden, which leads the South Division with an 8-3 record and is tied with Billings for the best mark overall.
The Rockies wasted no time getting on the board as Max White opened the game with a home run, his first of the season.
The rest of the five-run outburst occurred after two outs. Jason Stolz walked, David Dahl doubled, extending his hitting streak to seven games, and Julian Yan singled them home. Ben Waldrip then doubled in Yan, and Wilfredo Rodriguez singled home Waldrip to chase Ogden starting pitcher Derek Cone.
Jason West relieved Cone, ended the uprising and cooled the Grand Junction bats for the next three innings. West retired all 10 batters he faced, striking out four of them, before exiting after the fourth inning.
The Rockies reached Ogden’s next two hurlers for five hits and two walks over the following four frames, but no big hit accompanied them.
Meanwhile, the Raptors worked their way back into the contest, getting a run in the first and a run in the second. Leadoff doubles in the fourth and fifth, however, did not produce runs, as Rockies starter Josh Mueller escaped unscathed.
Mueller pitched into the sixth inning for the second game in a row, but he allowed three consecutive singles to open the sixth, with Justin Boudreaux plating two runs on that third hit. Boudreaux went to second on the throw home, stole third, and after Jeremy Rathjen walked, scored on a wild pitch to tie the game.
Mueller was pulled after Alex Santana doubled to put runners on second and third. Reliever Brian Rike sent Rathjen home for the go-ahead on a wild pitch, then recorded a strikeout and walked two batters to load the bases. A flyout to Dahl in center field finally ended the outburst.
The Rockies bats sparked briefly in the seventh as Cesar Galvez, who has a hit in nine straight games, and Ryan Garvey opened with back-to-back singles, but Stolz grounded into a 5-4 double-play, and Dahl popped out to the second baseman.
Rike allowed two more runs in the bottom of the seventh, leading to his exit with one out and runners on first and second. Shawn Stuart ended the rally with help from Garvey, who made two catches in left field, including an over-the-shoulder catch for the second out.
Grand Junction put runners on first and second with one out in the eighth but hit into another double play to end the rally.
Then, the Rockies went quietly in the ninth, despite sending the top of its order to the plate. After a flyout, closer Owen Jones struck out Galvez and Garvey, both swinging.
Both teams finished with 11 hits. White, Galvez and Rodriguez collected two hits apiece for Grand Junction. Galvez has hit safely in nine straight games.