Grand Junction Rockies recap, Aug. 29, 2017

Grand Junction 18, Orem 8

Tuesday at Suplizio Field


Grand Junction 34-31 16-11, Orem 42-22, 16-11

Record round-trippers

Casey Golden and Chad Spanberger both tied the club record by hitting their 16th home runs of the season. Golden lined a shot over the center-field wall in the bottom of the first to tie Julian Yan’s record (2012). Spanberger followed with a two-run blast to left in the seventh inning. Ramon Marcelino is fourth all-time with 12.

“It didn’t start off as a competition but it became one,” Golden said. “It’s fun, especially when we’re out here winning games, getting RBI and having quality at-bats. It’s fun to have a little competition like that.”

They said they have a “gentleman’s bet” — no money, just pride, and a little ribbing, to see which can finish their rookie season with the most home runs on GJ’s top power-hitting team. The Rockies have hit 91 home runs (Todd Czinege and Brett Stephens also went deep Tuesday), shattering the 2013 record of 69.

“He’s keeping up with me,” Spanberger said with a grin, even though for couple of hours, he was trailing. “When he hit his, I was like, ‘Aw, sweet,’ and when I hit mine ... he said he kinda wished it hit the wall. That’s kind of mean.”

At the plate

Clutch two-out hitting sparked the Rockies. Golden’s home run came with two out, and after the Rockies scored two runs on three straight singles in the second, Kyle Cunningham singled with two out and scored on Joey Bartosic’s triple to the wall in left-center. The Rockies were 7 for 12 with runners in scoring position and had six two-out hits and had nine RBI with two out.

On the mound

Justin Valdespina earned his third win, giving up six runs on six hits over five innings. Shameko Smith allowed one run in two innings, Brandon Lambright threw a scoreless eighth inning and Jan Lopez allowed one run in the ninth.

The big inning

A seven-run third inning gave GJ a comfortable lead, with Golden banging a leadoff double off the wall in left. Stephens’ home run was the big hit of the inning.

Playoff race

With only 11 games remaining, the Rockies are three games behind Ogden for the second-half title.

“We have to win and hopefully Ogden can lose a couple in there,” Spanberger said. “We need to take care of business in Idaho Falls. We can’t control what (the Raptors) do, we can only control what we do.”

Golden agreed, saying it’s a case of the Rockies continuing to get consistent pitching and have quality at-bats.

“We have the team to make a run, we just need to play our brand of baseball, just play, and we can definitely catch them,” he said.

Around the diamond

Three Rockies were selected to the Pioneer League postseason All-Star team — second baseman Shael Mendoza, shortstop Alan Trejo and Golden. Mendoza also played in the Pioneer-Northwest League All-Star game earlier this month. ... A trio of former GJ players have been assigned to play in the Arizona Fall League for the Salt River Rafters. The AFL combines prospects from several teams on a half-dozen teams for games in October and November. Catcher Dom Nunez (2013, 2014), outfielder Yonathan Daza (2014) and pitcher Zach Jemiola (2012, 2013) will play for Salt River. The Rockies have one more infield spot to fill. Former GJ manager Anthony Sanders will be one of the coaches. ... GJ radio broadcaster Adam Spolane will return to Houston next month, but he’s not sure what he’ll be returning to after Hurricane Harvey. Spolane said Tuesday his apartment wasn’t damaged, but his parents’ home was and his grandmother’s apartment complex was evacuated when the electrical system was destroyed by flooding. His family is safe, he said.

On deck

Grand Junction at Idaho Falls,
7:15 p.m., Melaleuca Field

Starting pitchers: Jorge Oviedo, GJ (3-1, 4.66 ERA) vs. TBA, IF



— Patti Arnold, The Daily Sentinel


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