The good news is the Missoula Osprey don’t have another Friday the 13th game remaining on their schedule.
The bad news is they did nothing to disprove the notion the date is connected to misfortune. Grand Junction rattled O’s starting pitcher Jared Ray for six runs in 5 1/3 frames and Missoula struggled with the bats in a 10-1 Pioneer League loss on Friday night at Ogren-Allegiance Park.
The Osprey (13-12) never did crack Rockies starting pitcher Matt Carasiti (1-1), who sidestepped several tight situations in delivering six scoreless innings. He entered the game with a 6.11 earned run average but you never would have guessed by the way he contained Missoula, allowing just three hits.
“That was the best start I’ve had since I’ve been here,” said the sixth-round draft pick, who was making his fifth start. “I was a little rusty in the beginning of the season, so it feels good to finally get it going.
“I kept my fastball down in the zone, then when I had to I went to my splitter, changeup … But mostly I located my fastball, getting ground balls. It’s huge to get this series because we were on a little slide.”
Missoula’s troubles began in the second inning. Ray (1-2) served up a no-doubt gopher ball over the left field fence to Grand Junction’s Ryan Garvey.
The Osprey threatened in the bottom of the inning when Jake Lamb and Yosbel Gutierrez led off with back-to-back singles. Unfortunately for the hosts, Tyler Bream grounded into a double play and they ended up coming away empty.
The Rockies (12-13) stretched their lead to 3-0 in the third. The inning started on a high note for the O’s when left fielder Breland Almadova gunned down Jason Stolz as he attempted to leg out a double. But with two outs, Grand Junction strung together a pair of singles. Steven Graeter then capitalized with a two-RBI double on a fly ball that sailed over the head of Missoula right fielder Justin Bianco.
The game got out of hand in the sixth as Grand Junction sent 10 hitters to the plate and rang up seven runs. Ray was chased after surrendering a one-out RBI single to Garvey and hitting Julian Yan with a pitch. Dexter Price came on in relief for Missoula and didn’t fare much better.
The low point for the O’s came when Price walked two hitters in a row, the second with the bases loaded. Later, with two outs and the bases loaded, Graeter hit a base hit that was misplayed by Missoula center fielder Socrates Brito, allowing two more runs to score.
Trailing 10-0, the Osprey threatened in the bottom of the sixth when Bianco singled and John Leonard drew a walk to start the inning against Carasiti. But the next three Missoula hitters failed to plate a run, including Brito, who hit a sharp one-out liner that was snagged by Grand Junction second baseman Juan Ciriaco.
Missoula finally got on the board against Grand Junction reliever Kyle Roliard in the eighth inning.
After Tyler Linton singled and Bianco walked, it looked as if the Rockies might again get out of a tight spot when they turned a double play. But Linton came in to score from third on a passed ball.
Missoula manager Andy Green rested two of his top players in catcher Michael Perez and outfielder Evan Marzilli, who is batting a team-high .424. Gutierrez took advantage of his opportunity as Missoula’s catcher, collecting a team-high two hits in four plate appearances. Graeter finished with a game-high 3 hits and three RBIs for Grand Junction.
The Osprey, who have lost their last two home games, will try to bounce back on Saturday night in their first of four home games against the Orem Owls. Orem is in last place in the Pioneer League’s South Division.
Bill Speltz can be reached at 523-5255 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grand Junction Missoula
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Ciriaco 2b 4 2 2 2 Ruiz ss 3 0 0 0
Dahl cf 5 1 1 0 Brito cf 3 0 0 0
Graeter 3b 5 1 3 3 Almdova lf 4 0 0 0
Waldrip 1b 5 0 1 0 Lamb 3b 3 0 1 0
Garvey lf 5 2 2 2 Dultz ph 1 0 0 0
Yan rf 4 1 0 0 Gutierrez c 4 0 2 0
Briceno dh 4 1 2 1 Bream 1b 4 0 0 0
Stolz ss 3 1 1 0 Linton dh 4 1 1 0
Rodriguez c 3 1 1 1 Bianco rf 2 0 1 0
Leonrd 2b 2 0 0 0
Totals 38 10 13 9 Totals 30 1 5 0
E – Stolz, Brito. DP – Grand Junction 2m Missoula 1. LOB – Grand Junction 5, Missoula 6. 2B – Graeter 2. HR – Garvey (3).
G. Junction 012 007 000 – 10
Missoula 000 000 010 – 1
Grand Junction IP H R ER BB SO
Carasiti W, 1-1 6.0 3 0 0 1 2
Seise 1.0 0 0 0 0 1
Roliard 1.0 1 1 0 2 0
Meaux 1.0 1 0 0 0 2
Missoula IP H R ER BB SO
Ray L, 1-2 5.1 7 6 6 1 2
Price 2.2 5 4 3 2 2
Spilker 1.0 1 0 0 0 0
PB – Rodriguez. HBP – Yan (by Ray), Brito (by Roliard). Umpires – HP: Clinton Vondrak. 1B: Mitchell Morgan. T – 2:21. A – 2,329.