Grand Junction Rockies recap, July 9, 2017
Ogden 10, GJ 1
Sunday at Suplizio Field
Grand Junction 7-14, Ogden 11-10
Home run happy
The Raptors took a page from the Rockies’ Saturday playbook, using the long ball to score runs on the hot evening. Home runs accounted for the first eight Ogden runs.
Grand Junction’s lone run was a solo shot by Ryan Vilade, which cleared the fence just under the video board.
On the mound
Grand Junction starter Justin Valdespina (0-3) was one pitch away from getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning. After retiring the first two batters of the inning, an infield single, a double down the left-field line and a walk loaded the bases. After a visit to the mound by pitching coach Doug Jones, Valdespina threw a 2-2 pitch to cleanup hitter Romer Cuadrado, who launched a grand slam to right-center for a 5-0 lead.
It was the 87th and final pitch of the game for Valdespina, who threw only 47 strikes, going deep in counts most of the day. The other run he gave up was a solo home run to Starling Heredia in the first inning. Reagan Biechler gave up back-to-back solo home runs to Eric Meza and Hendrick Clementina in the sixth, and Jan Lopez allowed a solo home run to Heredia to lead off the seventh.
Ogden starter Carlos Felix (2-1) was perfect through 2 2/3 innings, with Alan Trejo beating out a bunt to third to break it up. Felix threw five scoreless innings, striking out five and walking one. He gave up two singles.
At the plate
The Rockies managed only seven hits and struck out 10 times. After getting 10 hits with runners in scoring position on Saturday night, they only had three runners even get to second on Sunday, going 0 for 3. Vilade was the only batter to even touch third, that coming on his home run. Pedro Gonzalez and Ramon Marcelino both struck out three times.
On the bases
The Rockies, who lead the Pioneer League in stolen bases with 42, were caught stealing twice. Trejo singled in the third, but was caught in a rundown after being picked off, and Joey Bartosic singled in the sixth, but was thrown out trying to steal second, ending the inning with Vilade at the plate. The Rockies’ shortstop hit his home run leading off the seventh.
Tempers flared briefly in the eighth inning when Jan Lopez hit Clementina in the leg with a pitch. Words were exchanged, and players from the Ogden dugout chirped at Lopez. Designated hitter Eric Meza, who had walked ahead of Clementina, walked toward the mound as the umpires quickly quieted things. Grand Junction’s Alan Trejo walked Meza back to second base, patting him on the back. Both benches were warned.
Former GJ Rockies Future stars
Two former Grand Junction players made stellar plays in Sunday’s MLB Futures Game in Miami. In the third inning, Brendan Rodgers, playing second base for Team USA, made a sliding back-handed pick, popped to his feet and threw out the runner.
In the top of the ninth with Team USA up 7-4, one runner on first and one out, McMahon tracked a foul ball to the World team dugout on the first-base side. He left his feet to lean over the dugout rail and made the catch to help preserve Team USA’s 7-6 victory.
Rodgers is the Rockies’ No. 1 prospect, McMahon is No. 4.
“You don’t really realize how big this game is until you look down,” Rodgers said after the game. “It’s the first time I’ve played with USA across my chest. Being able to do that is a lot of fun.”
Around the diamond
The Rockies wore their July 4 stars and stripes jerseys. ... Tonight is the final game of the homestand, with the club getting their first day off of the season on Tuesday, traveling to Billings, Montana.
Ogden at Grand Junction, 6:40 p.m., Suplizio Field
Starting pitchers: Logan Longwith, GJ (1-2, 11.84 ERA) vs. Osiris Ramirez, Ogden (0-1, 5.54 ERA)
TV: Ch. 16 (KGJT)
— Patti Arnold, The Daily Sentinel