The Grand Junction Rockies took a 5-0 lead early, then survived a rough ninth inning as they edged Orem 6-5 in Pioneer League baseball Sunday at Orem.
Grand Junction is off to a 4-0 start and is the only unbeaten team in the league.
The Rockies opened the game with a three-run first inning that included a leadoff home run by Cole Norton, who paced Grand Junction’s 10-hit attack by going 3 for 3. He also doubled and drew three walks.
A pair of singles by Zach Osborne and Raimel Tapia were followed by a wild pitch, a passed ball and a groundout, plating both.
The Rockies then added two runs in the top of the fourth for a 5-0 lead, and back-to-back doubles to start off the fifth inning by Ryan McMahon and Jairo Rosario gave Grand Junction a 6-1 lead.
Meanwhile, Rockies starting pitcher Devin Burke worked the first six innings and limited the Owlz (1-3) to two runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out five.
Jacob Newberry and Scott Firth each pitched a scoreless inning of relief for Grand Junction, which sent Carlos Yan to the mound to pitch the ninth.
Yan struggled with his control, hitting the first batter he faced. Then, after a groundout, he hit another batter and walked the next three, forcing home two runs, before striking out Jose Rondon for the second out. He followed with another walk, however, forcing home Orem’s third run of the inning.
Rockies coach Anthony Sanders changed pitchers at that point, bringing in Jordan Mejia, who struck out cleanup hitter Eric Aguilera with the bases loaded to end the game and earn a save.
Aguilera led the Owlz with two hits, including a solo home run in the fourth inning, and drove in two runs.
Tapia and Rosario each had two hits for the Rockies, who had a base runner in each of the final four innings but were held scoreless and limited to one hit during that stretch.