Grand Junction Rockies recap, Aug. 24, 2017
Grand Junction 9, Orem 4
Thursday at Brent Brown Ballpark
Grand Junction 32-28, 14-8 second half; Orem 39-20, 13-9
By winning their fourth straight game, the Rockies have closed the gap on Ogden for the second-half title. The Raptors are one game ahead of Grand Junction. The teams face each other five straight games in September. Orem won the first-half title and will face the second-half champion in a best-of-three series to reach the Pioneer League championship series. Grand Junction reached the playoffs in 2012 and 2013, but have not been in the postseason since. The Rockies are a season-best four games over .500 with 16 games remaining.
Chad Spanberger pulled into a tie with Casey Golden in their team home run race, going deep in his first two at-bats, giving him 14. They’re only two behind Julian Yan’s team record of 16 set in 2012. Spanberger’s leadoff home run in the second inning tied the game at 1-1, and in the fourth, after Golden singled and stole second, Spanberger went deep to right-center for a 3-1 lead. Grand Junction has shattered the franchise single-season home run record, hitting 83 with 16 games remaining. The record was 69, set in 2013. Todd Czinege led off the sixth by going deep to left, his eighth of the season, and Ramon Marcelino led off the eighth with his 11th home run. Seven of Grand Junction’s 12 hits were extra-base hits.
On the mound
Jorge Oviedo struck out six and didn’t walk a batter in seven strong innings to improve to 3-1. His start gave Grand Junction’s bullpen a break — Hayden Roberts allowed only one hit and struck out three over the final two innings.
The key inning
GJ’s four-run fifth inning gave the Rockies enough breathing room after the Owlz pulled within one run. Czinege led off with a walk and scored when Javier Guevara doubled to left. A base hit by Kennard McDowell scored Guevara, and he stole second. With two out, Golden doubled him home, and the Owlz weren’t about to led Spanberger swing away again, intentionally walking him. Alan Trejo followed with a base hit to get Golden home before Marcelino grounded out.
Around the diamond
Golden has driven in 19 runs in his past eight games, with eight RBI in the past three games. ... After playing a 3-hour, 48-minute, 11-inning marathon on Wednesday, the teams breezed through Thursday’s game in 2 hours, 26 minutes.
Grand Junction at Orem, 6:35 p.m., Brent Brown Ballpark
Starting pitchers: Anderson Amarista, GJ (4-1, 7.45 ERA) vs. Simon Mathews, OR (2-1, 5.40 ERA)
— Sentinel staff