(VOYAGERS MEDIA RELEASE)
GREAT FALLS –The Voyagers went back-and-forth with Grand Junction before losing 8-6 in 10 innings Sunday afternoon at Centene Stadium.
With the win, Grand Junction (12-15) has seven victories in its last nine games and has claimed the first two games of the series. The Rockies improved to 8-6 on the road this season, the second best road record in the Pioneer League. They are 1-1 in extra-inning games this season. Great Falls (10-16) is now 2-3 in extras and has lost three in a row at home. With a Billings loss Sunday, the Voyagers remain 3.5 games back of first place in North Division.
Grand Junction started the scoring with a single tally in the third. The Rockies scored on three consecutive singles, all with two outs in the inning. Joey Bartosic lined a base hit to left and later scored on a Pedro Gonzalez single lined into center.
It took until the sixth for Great Falls to break through. Anthony Villa reached base for the Voyagers on a pop-fly infield single that fell near second base. With two outs, Amado Nunez walked. Felix Mercedes tied the game on a line drive single to left. Tate Blackman then extended his hitting streak to five with an RBI single softly into center for a 2-1 lead.
Both sides put up three runs in the seventh as the lead changed hands. For the Rockies, Todd Czinege reached on an infield error to start the inning. Javier Guevara followed with a single. After a sac bunt moved the runners to second and third, Jeff Moberg singled home Czinege to tie it. One batter later, Brett Stephens guided a two-run scoring single to right-center that gave Grand Junction a 4-2 advantage.
In the home half of the seventh, the Voyagers jumped in front by one. Tyler Frost whacked a one-out, solo home run high and deep to right that cut the lead in half. It was Frost’s second homer of the season. Back-to-back walks of Jacob Cooper and Anthony Villa kept the line moving. Franklin Reyes reached with an infield single to load the bases. Amado Nunez then gave Great Falls a 5-4 lead with a two-RBI blooper into shallow right-center.
Grand Junction leveled the contest on a wild pitch in the eighth. Pedro Gonzalez doubled to lead off the inning. He later moved to third on a ground out before coming home with the tying run. The Rockies reclaimed a one-run lead at 6-5 in the top of the ninth. Jeff Moberg started it with a one-out double to right. Brett Stephens immediately drove in Moberg with a double to left-center. Leading off the bottom of the ninth, Anthony Villa broke even for Great Falls with a home run lifted high in the air to right. It was Villa’s team-high tying sixth dinger of the season.
In extras, Grand Junction doubled the Voyagers into submission. Chad Spanberger lined a one-out double into right-center. Todd Czinege doubled off the wall in right to give the Rockies the lead back. Javier Guevera made it 8-6 with an RBI single to right. Great Falls went quietly in the bottom of the tenth.
On the mound, Jefry Valdez went from blowing his first save to posting the win. Valdez (2-1) pitched two innings and gave up one earned run on one hit with three strikeouts. Blake Battenfield took the loss. Battenfield (0-3) allowed two earned runs on four hits. Justin Valdespina had a quality start for Grand Junction. Valdespina lasted six and gave up two earned runs on six hits with two strikeouts and two walks. In his first professional start for Great Falls, lefty Parker Rigler lasted four innings and gave up one earned run on three hits with three strikeouts and no walks.
Great Falls committed three more errors in the game. That makes eight errors in the first two games of the series. At the plate, the Rockies outhit the Voyagers 13-to-11. Brett Stephens led the way for the Rockies with two hits and three RBIs. Amado Nunez went 2-for-4 with two RBIs for his first multi-hit game since joining the Voyagers. Anthony Villa collected two hits with three runs scored.
Great Falls continues its longest home stand of the season with game three of four against Grand Junction Monday night. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. at Centene Stadium.