The win’s the thing
No-decision, getting hit twice OK with Bryant in GJ Rox's victory
Tony Bryant could not catch a break Tuesday night.
First, the Grand Junction Rockies’ starting pitcher took a ball off his heel. The “thwack” of the ball hitting him was audible throughout Suplizio Field.
Then, he took a glancing shot off the foot, inches away from hitting in the exact same spot.
But the big right-hander hung in there, pitching 5 1/3 uneventful innings as Grand Junction topped Ogden 8-6.
“It happened so fast I really didn’t have time to react,” Bryant said. “But I figured that it hit me in the foot, it hurt, but I should be able to pitch after being hit in the foot. The next one hit my spike right by where I got hit, so at that point it was time to make an adjustment.”
To further illustrate his bad luck, Bryant was saddled with a no-decision for the Rockies (6-3).
The Raptors (4-5) scored their first run when catcher Dom Nunez fired to first base with the bases loaded.
Nate Causey stretched to catch the ball, but couldn’t come up with in and Ogden’s runner scampered home as Causey tried to get up.
Another run scored on an error, and when Bryant was pulled, back-to-back ground-rule doubles had erased the Rockies’ 5-2 lead.
But to Bryant, “that’s baseball.”
“I thought I had a good outing, but I could of done some things better to keep it a little closer,” Bryant said. “But we got the win and that’s really all that matters.”
Bryant finished with three strikeouts and one walk, allowing three runs — all earned — on seven hits.
The Rockies scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to back Taylor Black. The 26th-round pick had a rough start in the top of the inning, but settled in for a scoreless seventh to earn the win.
Gavin Glanz, an Arvada native, was solid in the eighth inning and Matt Pierpont notched his first save of the season.
Rockies manager Anthony Sanders said the pitchers are still adjusting to life in the bullpen.
“Man, Tony did a really good job tonight throwing strikes and keeping these guys off balance and really setting the tone for us,” Sanders said. “We’re still trying to get some of these guys from the draft used to coming out of the bullpen and having them ready to deal with a variety of situations. That’ll come with time.”
Offensively, big innings set the tone for Grand Junction.
Three straight singles in the second inning set the stage for Denzel Richardson’s two-run double, Omar Carrizales’ RBI triple and Terry McClure capped the five-run inning with a two-run home run to straightaway center field.
In the sixth inning, again, it was three straight singles that sparked the multi-run inning. The third single, by Richardson, scored Nunez and Troy Stein.
Richardson finished 2 for 3 with 4 RBI and two stolen bases.
“I was trying to hit the ball in front and thought I executed well by hitting two balls up the line,” Richardson said. “Had a stolen base too. My mind-set was really confident. I knew I could do it.”
Carrizales also picked up a steal, his fourth of the season.
In total, Grand Junction had four stolen bases, pushing the team’s season total to a Pioneer League-best 33 steals. That mark is nearly double the next highest total.
“Its really about teaching guys to run the bases,” Sanders said. “To me, you really have to get the fear out of your mind if you’re going to be a good base stealer, and this is a very quick way of finding out what these guys can and can’t do.”
The bottom half of the Rockies’ order, No. 5 through No. 9, all had multiple hits.
Stein was 3 for 4 with a double and three runs and Carrizales was 3 for 3, adding a single and a double to his triple.
“I’ve been mixing these guys up non-stop with different leadoff hitters and different combinations of guys,” Sanders said. “I’m going to give these guys plenty of opportunities early to prove what they can do.”
Grand Junction will close out its short home series against Ogden tonight at 7:05 p.m. before traveling to Idaho Falls.