For the first time all season, the Helena Brewers (17-29, 2-6) were shut out in a 3-0 loss to the Grand Junction Rockies (24-24, 6-4) on Friday night at Kindrick Legion Field .
With the game scoreless in the top of the eighth innings, reliever Brandon Presley (0-1) walked Javier Guevara, the first walk for either team, and surrendered a single to Alan Trejo. Presley was lifted for reliever Parker Bean, who faced Rockies third baseman Jeff Moberg in a sacrifice bunt situation. Moberg one-hopped a bunt back to Bean, but the right-handers toss to first was wide of the bag, loading the bases on the throwing error. After striking out the next batter, Bean walked Shael Mendoza, forcing in a run, giving Grand Junction a 1-0 lead. Two more runs came in to score on a passed ball and a wild pitch, extending the Rockies lead to 3-0. Of the eight batters that came to the plate in the eighth for Grand Junction, only one recorded a hit.
Helena's best scoring opportunity came in the bottom of the ninth. Payton Henry reached on a two-base error by Rockies right fielder Ramon Marcelino, but the next two Brewers batters struck out, bringing up Jose Gomez. On a 2-2 pitch, Gomez bounced a ball to Mendoza, who had it deflect off his glove, putting men on the corners. Pinch hitter KJ Harrison struck out in the next at-bat, ending the game and the Brewers rally.
In his first start for Helena, right-handed pitcher Gabe Friese tossed 4.0 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and not walking a batter while striking out four. Rockies right-hander Logan Longwith hung pitch-for-pitch with Friese, hurling 5.0 shutout innings and surrendering just two hits while striking out four.
The Brewers continue their series with the Rockies on Saturday night at 7:05 PM. Helena is scheduled to send RHP Nelson Hernandez (5-1, 5.28) to the mound against Grand Junction RHP Anderson Amarista (2-1, 9.82). It's College and Crosstown Night, with discounted tickets for fans that show their school spirit. Additionally, representatives from colleges all over Montana will be at the game. Tickets are available at the box office, over the phone at (406)-495-0500 or online at helenabrewers.net.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.