Grand Junction Rockies recap, Aug. 27, 2017
Orem 5, Grand Junction 4 (11)
Sunday at Suplizio Field
Grand Junction 32-31, 14-11 second half; Orem 42-20, 16-9.
On the mound
Lucas Gilbreath was wildly effective for Grand Junction, allowing two runs — one earned — in four innings of work. He also struck out five, but walked four. Those free passes came in low-pressure situations, however, and it was a throwing error that gave the Owlz a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth.
He threw 73 pitches, 41 for strikes. Although he wasn’t in line for the win after pitching only four innings, Grand Junction manager Frank Gonzales said Gilbreath put the team in position to secure a victory.
“He went four and he got his pitch count a little high,” Gonzales said. “I think he hit 75 on the night and when he hits 75, he’s done for the night. I thought his outing was pretty good. He threw fine and kept us in the ball game.”
Colton Hathcock followed with two hitless innings, striking out four batters, and held down Orem as Grand Junction stretched its lead to 4-2 in the sixth.
The Owlz got the best of Michael Agis in the seventh with two leadoff singles. Both runners were pushed into scoring position with a bunt and scored on a fielder’s choice and throwing error, respectively. Agis bounced back in the eighth, getting three quick outs, and Jefry Valdez struck out the side in the ninth.
Tommy Doyle breezed through the 10th inning, but Orem pushed across the eventual winning run in the 11th when the Owlz’s Julio Garcia hit a hard ground ball that glanced off Doyle’s leg, deflected to the right side of the infield and rolled between several Grand Junction defenders.
At the plate
Casey Golden clubbed his 15th home run of the season during the fourth inning, tying him for the team high with Chad Spanberger. Both players are now only one home run shy of matching the franchise record of 16 set by Julian Yan in 2012.
Ramon Marcelino hit his 12th home run of the season, putting him fourth all-time in the franchise’s history.
Todd Czinege had two doubles to lift his batting average to .292.
With the Pioneer League season rapidly nearing its end, several Grand Junction players were out Sunday with various injuries. Infielders Ryan Vilade (back), Shael Mendoza (wrist/hand), Jeff Bohling (concussion) and Alan Trejo (back), plus catcher Javier Guevara (head) were all unavailable. Combine that with outfielder Pedro Martinez’s recent trade to the Texas Rangers’ organization and it left Grand Junction with only catcher Kyle Cunningham and outfield Brett Stephens as available substitutes.
“All of it is horribly concerning,” Gonzales said. “Losing Pedro in the last week here has made it tough. We’re at the very limits of our roster and we’ll see if we’ll get the most out of what we’ve got and compete.”
Grand Junction vs. Orem, 6:40 p.m., Suplizio Field
Starting pitchers: Will Gaddis, Grand Junction (3-1, 5.52 ERA) vs. Christopher Molina, ORM (1-0, 8.59 ERA)
TV: Ch. 16 (KGJT)
— Matt Meyer, The Daily Sentinel