Alex Haynes' most recent start for the Grand Junction Rockies didn't go well, getting torched early against Ogden in a 19-8 loss last Saturday.
It was the first difficult outing of his professional career, a stinging experience he would need to bounce back from in his next appearance.
He did that and then some Friday night.
Haynes, starting for the second time on the same field he played on for Walters State in the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series in June, recorded all nine outs in his three innings by strikeout before the Rockies' bats caught fire late in a 12-2 win over Orem at Suplizio Field.
"Especially after last Saturday, I just pounded the zone and dared them to hit it," Haynes said. "Luckily, I came out with nine Ks."
As Haynes was accounting for all of the team's outs early, Yolki Pena gave the Grand Junction offense a jolt in the second inning after the Rockies (10-10) left the bases loaded in the first. The outfielder's first home run, a drive to right, gave Grand Junction a 1-0 lead.
Miguel Ausua relieved Haynes in the fourth inning and immediately ran into some trouble. A double, a groundout and a sacrifice fly allowed the Owlz (7-13) to tie the game 1-1. Ausua allowed two more singles before getting out of the inning.
After his rough start, the right-hander bounced back to pitch five strong innings, with his most notable moment coming in the fifth. Facing David Clawson with two outs and the bases loaded, Ausua got a strikeout to escape the jam.
The Rockies broke open the 1-1 tie in the bottom of the sixth. Pena and Cristopher Navarro, who both had three hits, reached on a single and double, respectively. Eddy Diaz walked to load the bases with one out.
Chad Sykes entered the game for Orem to try to keep the game tied, but Christian Koss walked to drive in Pena and give Grand Junction the lead for good.
Navarro and Diaz both scored after two errors on one play — a wild throw by catcher Jeans Flores followed by a high throw to third base by Sykes to give the Rockies a 4-1 lead.
"We had guys come through later in the game," said Rockies manager Jake Opitz. "We had guys in scoring position all game, we just couldn't get the big hit. They made that big throwing error back to the pitcher, we scored two runs, and that took the monkey off our back."
A wild pitch allowed Koss to score to increase Grand Junction's lead to 5-1.
The Rockies continued to pull away in the seventh.
After Walking Cabrera led off with a double deep to right field, he scored on a line-drive single by Navarro to make it 6-1. Koss added a two-out, two-run single to score Navarro and Diaz.
Grand Junction wasn't done scoring.
Colin Simpson led off the eighth with a triple deep to center field before scoring on a triple by Cabrera. Reese Berberet got in on the RBI act with a double to deep left to score Cabrera for a 10-1 lead.
Berberet scored on another Orem error.
The situation became so dire for the Owlz that they pulled pitcher Andrew Blake for infielder Jose Quezada.
With the bases loaded, Koss, who finished with four RBI, hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Pena for the final run.
"We did everything well," Opitz said. "We played defense, we pitched and we hit. It took us a while to get going, but those last three innings, we blew up. It was good to see."