GJ Rox hit, pitch well in close loss to Billings

The Grand Junction Rockies hit two triples Monday night and its pitching staff combined for a season-high 15 strikeouts during a 4-3 loss to Billings in a Pioneer League matchup.

The defeat kicks off a seven game swing across Montana for the Rockies (27-19, 4-4 second half).

The Mustangs (23-24, 6-3) opened the bottom of the fourth inning with back-to-back solo home runs from Aristides Aquino and Kevin Franklin.

Grand Junction answered with one run in the top of the fifth, coming on a sacrifice fly from Roberto Ramos. Randy Reyes and Hamlet Marte opened the inning with singles — and Marte stole second base — before Ramos plated a run with a high fly ball to center field.

Craig Schlitter struck out the side in the bottom of the fifth — one swinging, two looking — bumping his season strikeout total to 23 in 22 2/3 innings.

Wes Rogers led off the sixth inning with a triple, his first of the season, and scored on a single from Forrest Wall.

Wall reached second on a groundout, and scored on an error to give Grand Junction a 3-2 lead.

Rafael Betancourt struggled during the bottom half of the frame, giving up consecutive hits with two outs, but Yoely Bello coaxed a bases-loaded pop-up to end the inning.

Betancourt suffered an apparent injury during the outing, signaling for a trainer before exiting.

Billings picked up another run in the bottom of the seventh to tie it 3-3, and Aquino hit an RBI single to secure the win for the Mustangs.


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