Grand Junction Rockie recap, June 24, 2017
Ogden 9, Grand Junction 0
Saturday at Suplizio Field
Grand Junction 1-5, Ogden 3-3
The key inning
The Rockies were shut out for the first time since July of last year behind stellar pitching from Ogden. The Raptors backed their pitchers with four runs in the second inning to take an early 6-0 lead.
Kevin Lachance hit a one-out single and immediately stole second. A walk put two runners on, but starting pitcher Justin Valdespina coaxed a fly ball for the second out.
Back-to-back two-out hits sank the Rockies. Cristian Santana singled up the middle to score one run, then Romer Cuarado hit a three-run home run deep to center field to cement the early advantage.
On the mound
Hunter Williams made his debut for Grand Junction. The left-handed pitcher was drafted in the 11th round of this year’s MLB Draft out of independent league baseball after leaving the University of North Carolina prior to the collegiate season.
Williams allowed only one hit over two innings, struck out three batters, and Grand Junction manager Frank Gonzales said the pitcher stopped things from getting really out of hand.
“It’s good, because you just never know what you’re going to get the first time a guy goes out there,” Gonzales said. “He’s a kid we took out of independent ball and we know the stuff is there. We saw him in the Cape (Cod League) a year ago and he was one of the best pitchers there. We believe we got a guy who is probably a top-100 guy if he stayed in school. And he knows that, but he has a really good arm from the left side and I’m happy with what we got out of him tonight.”
Grand Junction surrendered 68 runs and committed 14 errors in its season-opening six-game homestand.
Gonzales said some time away from Suplizio Field will do the team some good.
“It’s cool because these guys need to experience that and it will do them some good to get out and see a new ballpark,” he said. “Of course, it’ll be teams we’ve already seen — we haven’t seen Orem — but we get a series with Idaho Falls and then get to come down into Utah to finish up. It’ll be a good trip for us to bond, for sure.”
The Rockies travel to face Idaho Falls, Ogden and Orem before returning home for a game on July 4. Grand Junction faces Orem on that day, with a 6 p.m. start time to accommodate fireworks after the game.
Around the diamond
Jon Gray was solid in a rehab start Saturday for Triple-A Albuquerque, scattering five hits over five innings and allowing only one run. He walked four and struck out six ... Boise left-handed pitcher Breiling Eusebio allowed only one hit over seven innings Friday night in the Hawks’ 5-1 win over Hillsboro.
GJ at Idaho Falls, 4 p.m., Melaleuca Field
Starting pitchers: Logan Longwith, GJ (1-0, 11.81 ERA) vs. TBA
They said it
“It’s honestly a tough way to start for guys having a new experience. There’s some guys here, you can go down our lineup, that have had a pretty good couple series offensively. But from a pitching standpoint, there’s still work that needs to be done. I think you saw some improvement tonight and we’ve learned from the last six games. If we keep improving, I have no problem with how we’ve handled our business.” — Manager Frank Gonzales on the opening homestand.
— Matt Meyer, The Daily Sentinel