Walk-off HR lifts Missoula past GJ Rox

Dane McFarland hit a walk-off home run with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning Friday night to lift Missoula to a 3-2 victory over the Grand Junction Rockies.

Alec Crawford came in to pitch the ninth for the Rockies, who had a 2-1 lead, and he struck out Kevin Cron to open the inning.

Trevor Mitsui, though, doubled off the wall in left and McFarland ended it with his fifth home run of the year, clearing the left-field wall.

The loss spoiled a solid night by Grand Junction’s pitching staff. Harrison Musgrave allowed only one run on four hits in 3 2/3 innings, striking out two. Craig Schlitter, Rafael Betancourt, Taylor Black and Yoely Bello combined to allow only two hits until the ninth and didn’t walk a batter.

Betancourt and Bello allowed one hit each, with Bello striking out two. Schlitter threw 1 1/3 innings, striking out one, and Black also had a strikeout. Musgrave walked one batter, the only walk the Rockies issued the entire game.

A first-inning triple by Randy Reyes scored Wilson Soriano, who beat out a bunt with one out. Henry Garcia followed Reyes’ fourth triple of the season with an RBI single to center, but the Rockies stranded two runners.

After that, they couldn’t move runners. Max George doubled with one out in the second but was picked off second. In the sixth the Rockies had a chance to add to their 2-1 lead. With two out, Hamlet Marte walked and tried to score from first on Kevin Padlo’s double to center, but was thrown out.

Betancourt gave up a leadoff single in the sixth, but with one out, Mitsui, who hit for the cycle on Thursday, lined out to right, and Denzel Richardson threw to first to double up Justin Williams.

Each team had eight hits, with Garcia and George each going 2 for 4 for Grand Junction, which opens a four-game series against Helena tonight. The Rockies went 4-3 against Missoula in the first half of the season.

Grand Junction (17-14) is now four games behind Orem in the Pioneer League South Division. The Rockies are tied with Idaho Falls for second place.

With seven games remaining in the first half of the season, the Rockies’ elimination number is four, meaning any combination of Orem wins and Grand Junction losses totaling four knocks GJ out of contention for the first-half championship and a guaranteed spot in the playoffs.

The Rockies won the first half last season.


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