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09/13/2007 12:33 AM ET
Brossman, Owlz forge lead in Pioneer Finals
Third baseman homers, triples as Orem holds off Great Falls in opener
Orem's top regular-season hitter Jay Brossman is batting .333 in the playoffs. (Brent Asay/


Jay Brossman homered and plated three runs as Orem defeated visiting Great Falls, 7-5, in Wednesday's opener of the Pioneer League Finals.

The 22-year-old third baseman smashed a two-run triple off the wall in center field in the fifth inning and clubbed a solo homer to left in the seventh.

It was the first three-bagger of the season in 280 at-bats for Brossman, who went 2-for-4 and scored twice.

"With runners on second and third, I was looking to hit a sacrifice fly," he said. "He had gotten me out twice with sliders away, so I jumped on an early fastball. I'm not the fastest guy, and truthfully, it looked like the center fielder kind of slipped which allowed me to book it to third."

Brossman correctly guessed fastball-in on his home run.

"It was a full-count pitch, and I had already fouled off a couple of tough pitches away," he said. "He had only come inside once during the at-bat, and I was waiting for another pitch in that location."

Brossman led the Owlz with a .346 batting average with seven home runs and 44 RBIs during the regular season. He collected five four-hit games and his first two-homer game July 30.

The Owlz snapped a scoreless tie in the fourth. Gordon Gronkowski doubled and Hector Estrella walked ahead of Julio Perez's two-run triple to center. Perez, who hit .276 with eight homers during the regular season, also stroked an RBI two-bagger in the sixth.

Orem starter Michael Anton (1-0) gave up two runs on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.

"He gave us a huge performance," Brossman said. "He threw strikes and pitched to his defense. He gave us a great start and a chance to score some early runs.

"You have to win playoff home games," he added. "Taking early control of the series is important. It's that simple. We got a good win [Wednesday] against probably the most complete team in our league."

Mason Tobin pitched around two hits and a walk in 1 1/3 frames, and Ryan Brasier yielded a walk in a scoreless ninth to notch the save for the Owlz, who will travel to Centene Stadium for Friday's Game 2 of the best-of-3 series.

The White Sox rallied in the sixth. After C.J. Retherford led off with a single, Dale Mollenhauer and Salvador Sanchez walked and Jim Gallagher legged out an RBI infield single to first base. Josh Morgan added a sacrifice fly to center later in the frame.

In the seventh, John Curtis led off with his first postseason homer and Christian Marrero delivered a two-run single with the bases loaded to cut Orem's lead to 6-5.

Great Falls starter Anthony Carter (0-1) surrendered five runs on five hits, walking three and fanning five over five innings to take the loss.

Shane Figueroa is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.