Rockies looking to regroup

Grand Junction Rockies pitcher Luis Guzman throws to an Ogden Raptors batter during the top of the second inning of Ogden’s 6-2 win Monday at Suplizio Field. Guzman threw four scoreless innings before giving up two home runs in the top of the fifth inning.



Monday at Suplizio Field

Ogden 6, Grand Junction 2

Records

Grand Junction 19-15 (35-37), Odgen 19-16 (36-37)

Playoff push

It’s now a best-of-three series to extend the season. Ogden’s victory reduced Grand Junction’s lead to one-half game in the South Division of the Pioneer League with three games to play. Grand Junction needs to split the four-game series to win the second-half title; Ogden must win three of four.

“That was a tough one,” GJ manager Frank Gonzales said. “We didn’t swing it; four hits isn’t going to get you much.”

On the mound

Luis Guzman (5-2) was the hard-luck losing pitcher, allowing three runs in the fifth inning after four stellar innings. He ended up allowing four runs on nine hits in five innings, leaving with the bases loaded in the sixth. He struck out six and walked only one, but two home runs cost him. Ogden’s Rob McDonnell (4-0) struck out seven and walked two in five innings, allowing two runs on three hits for the win.

“He was OK. Honestly, I thought he left some balls up pretty much the whole game and he got away with some stuff early,” Gonzales said of Guzman. “But when you give extra outs, there were balls that should have been outs all night, double-play balls. It changes the order as you move along. Certain at-bats may not be at-bats later on (in RBI situations). Quite honestly, we were lucky to be that close early.”

At the plate

Jose Gomez keeps getting closer to David Dahl’s club record for single-season hits, with singles in his first two at-bats, giving him 96. Dahl had 106 hits in 2012. Gomez is also pushing to move up the list in single-season batting average, now at .369 after going 2 for 3 with a walk. Dahl hit .379 in 2012, Yonathan Daza hit .370 in 2014.

The key inning

What started out as a pitcher’s duel turned into a hitter’s game, especially for Ogden, which finished with 13 hits. After the Rockies broke a scoreless tie in the fourth when Roberto Ramos hit a two-run double to the wall in left-center, Ogden finally solved Guzman’s off-speed pitches in the fifth. With one out, Keibert Ruiz doubled off the wall in left-center and D.J. Peters hit the first of his two home runs, deep to right. One out later, third baseman Brandon Montgomery, who played for San Jacinto College-North (Texas) in the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series in May, crushed a home run to center field for a 3-0 lead. Peters, who played at Western Nevada, which lost to Yavapai College (Arizona) in the NJCAA Western District title game, hit his second home run of the game in the seventh, a towering shot to left, for a 5-2 lead.

Short hops

On Peters’ first home run, right fielder Manny Melendez was sprinting after the ball and slammed into the wall, going down in a heap on the warning track. He slowly got to his feet and was checked by Grand Junction trainer John Duff and stayed in the game. … Pedro Gonzalez threw out a runner at third base from center field in the sixth inning. With the bases loaded, Mitchell Hansen hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Gavin Lux, and Brock Carpenter tagged and tried to take third. Instead, Gonzalez fired the ball to Taylor Snyder, who made the tag and hung onto the ball despite getting spun around when Carpenter slid into the bag. … Before the game, Montgomery posted a video of Suplizio Field on his Twitter account, writing, “This gives me chills being back on the field!” and tagging #GatorForLife. Montgomery hit .333 during JUCO this past May for San Jacinto, which lost to Yavapai in the title game. … Jonathan Piron had a nightmare game defensively at second, with three errors, two fielding and one throwing. None, however, led to Ogden runs. “Those are routine balls and somehow you’ve gotta make those plays, especially in these kinds of games,” Gonzales said. “They seem more impactful this time of year so unfortunately that’s the way the ball bounced and worked out that way.”

On deck

Ogden at Grand Junction, 7:05 tonight, Suplizio Field

Starting pitchers: Zac Grotz, Ogden (3-0, 0.75 ERA) vs. Alejandro Requena, GJ (0-5, 5.40 ERA)

Radio: 100.7-FM (KKVT)

Video: MiLB.tv

TV: Ch. 16 (KGJT)

He said it

“We go out and get after teams a little bit after they beat us the first game. I played for a great coach that told me great teams never lose twice in a row, so we come back tomorrow and pick up a game and pick up the next game, too. Great teams never lose series and never lose two in a row.” — catcher Steven Leonard. The coach he referred to is Iowa Western Community College’s Marc Rardin.

— Patti Arnold, The Daily Sentinel


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