Tigers hold on to defeat Durango

Grand Junction wasn’t going to blow a lead to Durango again — not at home with a possible district playoff berth on the line, but the Tigers came close.

Durango loaded the bases in the top of the seventh inning before the Tigers got the final out to preserve a 4-3 Southwestern League victory Friday at Suplizio Field.

“This is a huge win, not only because we lost to them last time, but it also sets us up for the playoffs,” said Charlie Reicks, who picked up the save.

The Tigers (13-4, 6-2 SWL) are in good position for a district playoff berth and can clinch it with a victory over Montezuma-Cortez at 10 a.m. today at Suplizio Field. The Demons (10-7, 4-4 SWL) will need to win their final two league games and get some help to get a district berth.

Grand Junction was in line to get the win against the Demons three weeks ago in Durango, but gave up five runs in the sixth inning to lose 5-4.

“We didn’t have any errors this time,” Grand Junction coach Kyle Rush said. “We played good defense today. (Tyler) Stanford threw well and got us a win. “

Stanford limited Durango to three runs on six hits for the victory. He struck out three and walked three.

The senior left-hander didn’t give up a hit until the fifth inning when he gave up back-to-back hits to lead off the inning. Stanford, though, was able to get out of trouble without allowing a run.

Grand Junction added a run in the bottom half for a 4-0 lead when Andy Willett scored on a single and an error.

Stanford, however, gave up a couple runs in the sixth on back-to-back hits and a bases-loaded walk before getting a fly out to end the threat.

Durango’s Joe Brennan was nearly as good as Stanford.

The right-hander limited the Tigers to three hits, but walked seven in a complete-game effort.

“We didn’t have many hits, but I thought our approach today was great,” Rush said. “We hit it hard quite a few times; we just didn’t have anything to show for it. That kid did a great job, he’s going to be good for a couple more years.”

Brennan walked two batters in the third and it cost him.

Andy Willett doubled home a run, then Aaron Berk had a two-run double to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.

Berk singled in the fifth to move Willett to third and Willett scored when Brennan threw wildly to first attempting to pick off Berk.

Willett’s brother, Charlie, was injured in the top of the sixth when Durango’s Easten Garcia slid into Willett attempting to break up a double play.


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