Grand Junction Rockies recap, July 7, 2017
Grand Junction 18, Orem 7
Friday at Suplizio Field
Grand Junction 6-13, Orem 13-6
Every Grand Junction batter scored at least once as the Rockies snapped a five-game losing streak, all against league-leading Orem. When the Owlz threatened to sweep the four-game series at Suplizio by breaking a 2-2 tie with one run in the third and three in the fourth, Grand Junction’s hitters responded.
The 18 runs are a season high, passing the 17 they put up in their only other win at Suplizio Field in the second game of the season. Three straight hits in the fourth inning, including Joey Bartosic’s two-run double to the left-field corner, triggered a five-run outburst.
“In that fourth inning they went up 6-2 and I was on third base and it was 5-6 and I told Frank, ‘We come back and win this game, we’re going to be sitting pretty.’ It’s good to have a team win like that,” Bartosic said.
Ryan Vilade’s two-run single put Grand Junction on top for good, 7-6. Vilade went 3 for 5, his first three-hit game of his professional career, with three RBI and scored three times. He was one of three Rockies to drive in three runs — Chad Spanberger crushed a three-run home run to right in the sixth and Ramon Marcelino added a three-run shot in the seventh as Grand Junction blew the game open.
“Once they score and take the lead you have to come back and answer and we did that very well,” Vilade said. “We put up a four- or five-spot and took the lead and it snowballed the rest of the game. (The three-hit game) was fun. That’s what baseball is all about. You have good days and bad days, I’m just happy to get the win.”
Only the Rockies’ leading hitter, Shael Mendoza, was hitless, striking out three times. He walked and scored in the first and stole his league-leading 15th base. His groundout in the seventh got the 18th run of the game home. His batting average dropped to .426.
On the mound
Jefri Ocando lasted only 3 2/3 innings, walking an uncharacteristic five batters — he entered the game with only six walks. The reigning Pioneer League pitcher of the week allowed five runs on six hits. After that, the bullpen returned to dominating, issuing only three more walks, and put up four shutout innings once the offense got rolling.
Jan Carlos Lopez got his first win, recording the final out of the fourth inning after walking one batter and giving up an RBI double. Will Gaddis made his professional debut with 1 2/3 solid innings, allowing one hit, and Michael Agis threw 2 1/3 shutout innings. Hayden Roberts allowed one run in the ninth.
“You love to see the bats explode like that and our pitchers threw great, threw strikes,” Vilade said. “We played great defense; it was an overall great win.”
In the field
Grand Junction committed one error in the first inning when third baseman Alan Trejo’s throw across the diamond was wild. Right fielder Ramon Marcelino was backing up the play and fired a strike to the plate as Brandon Sandoval was trying to score. He beat the throw, but failed to touch the plate and was tagged out. Marcelino also made a diving catch in the second inning, and on Sandoval’s base hit up the middle in the second, Pedro Gonzalez threw to the plate too late to prevent the run, but catcher Javier Guevara snapped a throw to second base, getting Sandoval trying to advance on the throw home. Trejo made an off-balance catch of a popped-up bunt in the fifth, and Vilade fielded a ball over the bag at second that caromed off the pitcher’s mound and made a running throw to end the sixth inning.
By the numbers
The Rockies scored 18 runs on 18 hits, drew 11 walks, but still struck out a dozen times. The key number: Grand Junction was 10 for 23 with runners in scoring position. Orem went 3 for 20.
Around the diamond
Former GJ shortstop Brendan Rodgers (Double-A Hartford) and third baseman Ryan McMahon (Triple-A Albuquerque) are playing in Sunday’s MLB Futures Game, with Rodgers on Team USA and McMahon on the World Team. Bo Bichette, the son of former Rockies slugger Dante Bichette, is representing Toronto on Team USA. Bichette is a shortstop in Class A. The Futures Game is at 2 p.m. (MDT) on Sunday and will be shown on MLB Network and MLB.tv. … The Rockies are hosting a free kids baseball camp from 9-11 this morning at Suplizio Field. The camp is open to kids ages 5-12. Parents are asked to pre-register their children online. Information: gjrockies.com, go to “baseball camp” under the “tickets and promotions” tab.
Ogden at Grand Junction, 6:40 p.m., Suplizio Field
Starting pitchers: Lucas Gilbreath, GJ (0-0 10.80 ERA) vs. Gregorio Sequera (0-0, 2.61 ERA)
TV: Ch. 16 (KGJT)
They said it
“We stopped playing as individuals and started playing as a team. Once that happens we’re going to be a lot of fun.” — Joey Bartosic
— Patti Arnold, The Daily Sentinel