Grand Junction, CO-The Voyagers pitching staff matched a season-high in strikeouts, but the offense went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position in a 5-4 series-opening loss to the Rockies Wednesday night.
Great Falls (9-13) dropped to 3-9 on the road this season, and has lost seven consecutive road games. Grand Junction (13-11) improved to 6-6 at home.
The Rockies started the scoring with a two-run bottom of the third. Yolki Pena led off the inning with a line drive single to right. Cristopher Navarro followed with a single on the ground into right and Pena moved to third. Navarro stole second, and both runners scored on a one-out single lined into center by Christian Koss.
The Voyagers then scored single runs in three straight innings to take a 3-2 lead after six. In the fourth, Luis Mieses smashed a two-out, solo home run deep to right for his second of the season. Tom Archer, making his Great Falls debut, tied the game in the fifth with an RBI single to center that scored Tyrus Greene from second. Greene had doubled deep to the wall in right. In the sixth, Luis Curbelo led off the frame with a base hit lined into center. Curbelo later scored from third on a throwing error to first as Mieses reached on a fielder's choice.
Grand Junction used a two-out rally in the seventh on four straight singles to plate three runs for a 5-3 advantage. Yolki Pena and Cristopher Navarro both singled to center. Eddy Diaz leveled the game with an RBI single to center. A base hit lined into center by Christian Koss broke the tie and brought home two. Great Falls scored once in the top of the ninth but left the tying run stranded at second.
Anderson Bido picked up the win in relief for the Rockies. Bido (2-0) worked one inning and struck out one. Karan Patel took the loss for the Voyagers. Patel (1-1) pitched two relief innings and gave up three earned runs on four hits with three strikeouts and one walk. Gavin Hollowell earned his fourth save after he allowed one earned run on two hits with one strikeout. Great Falls starter Avery Weems was impressive in his Pioneer League debut after being promoted from the AZL. Weems was in line for the victory as he lasted five innings and allowed two earned runs on six hits with nine strikeouts and no walks. The nine strikeouts are the most by a Voyager pitcher this season. The staff combined to strike out 13 Grand Junction batters.
The Rockies outhit the Voyagers 11-to-10. Harvin Mendoza, Cameron Simmons, and Tyrus Greene all had two hits in defeat. Simmons and Greene both produced a single and a double. Yolki Pena and Cristopher Navarro collected two hits apiece with two runs. Christian Koss drove in four on two base hits.
Great Falls plays game two of four at Grand Junction Thursday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. The trip also features four games in Colorado Springs against the Rocky Mountain Vibes. Great Falls returns home on July 19th to face Missoula. For season tickets and promotional information, call 406-452-5311 or visit www.gfvoyagers.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.