Ray’s HR in 8th inning lifts Orem past Rockies

OREM, Utah — Andrew Ray was 0 for 3 with three strikeouts.

On the first pitch of his fourth at-bat Tuesday, trailing by a run, he crushed a three-run home run to left field to lift the Orem Owlz to 6-4 win over the Grand Junction Rockies.

The loss drops the Rockies to 3-7 in the second half, 7-6 against Orem overall this season.

Orem broke a scoreless tie in the fourth. Jonathan Walsh worked a two-out walk and scored on Michael Bolaski’s triple to give the Owlz a 1-0 lead.

Through five innings, the Rockies managed only one hit, a Max White bunt single, and didn’t hit a ball out of the infield, but that changed in the sixth.

With one out, David Dahl singled to extend his hitting streak to 20 games.

He moved to third when Ashley Graeter singled and scored on a wild pitch to tie the game.

Grand Junction loaded the bases in the seventh and White laced a line drive at the feet of Owlz second baseman Sherman Johnson that he couldn’t handle. That scored two runs for a 3-1 lead, but Orem answered with two in the bottom of the inning to tie the game.

It didn’t stay 3-3 for very long.

Ben Waldrip opened the eighth inning with a single. With one out, Matt Wessinger hit into what looked like a double play, but the relay throw from Johnson was low, keeping the inning alive.

Correlle Prime took advantage of the mistake by doubling home Wessinger to give the Rockies the lead again, but Orem answered right back.

It started with a one-out walk to Jonathan Walsh, who moved to third when Caleb Bushyhead singled. Grand Junction manager Tony Diaz turned to Raul Fernandez, who gave up the home run to Ray, giving Orem the lead for good.

“The walks hurt us in this game,” Diaz said. “We walked four guys and three of them scored. That’s the difference in the game.”

Jayson Aquino allowed one run over six innings in his second start. He struck out six and walked two. He has allowed only two earned runs over 11 2/3 innings with Grand Junction.

“He pitched tonight like he deserved to be at this level,” Rockies pitching coach Ryan Kibler said. “He was able to execute his pitches and settle in and get us deep in the game.”

Eddie Butler, who has won his previous four starts, gets the start for the Rockies at 7:05 tonight in the final game of the series against right-hander Gabriel Perez, who leads the Pioneer League with seven wins.


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