After dropping five straight before the All-Star break, the Helena Brewers were looking to get back on a roll. After jumping out to an early 2-0 lead Thursday night, the Grand Junction Rockies battled back to tie the score. It looked like the losing streak might reach six, but Jay Feliciano gave his team a huge boost with a three-run homer in the top of the ninth to send Helena to the 5-2 victory. Four Brewers had 2-hits in the contest and Parker Bean earned his fifth save of the season.
In the top of the first, Helena jumped out to quick two-run lead. Nicholas Pierre led off the game by drawing a walk. Grand Junction starter Justin Valdespina retired the next two batters, but KJ Harrison put his team ahead with his second home run of the season, a towering blast to the deepest part of the ballpark to make it 2-0.
Dylan File started to the Brewers and was absolutely brilliant on this evening. He kept the Rockies off the scoreboard for the first five innings of the contest and his opponents were only able to get a lone run against him in the bottom of the sixth inning. In that frame, Casey Golden hit his seventh home run of the season over the left-center field wall to make this a one-run game.
File went 6-innings, allowing 6-hits, a walk and a run. He struck out 5.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Helena Brewers turned to Karsen Lindell and Grand Junction would tie the score against him. After retiring the first two batters of the inning, Shael Mendoza and Pedro Gonzalez delivered back-to-back line drive singles to put runners at the corners. Ryan Vilade followed with the third straight two-out hit, this time scoring Mendoza to tie the game at two.
It would stay that way until the top of the ninth when Helena retake the lead. With Jefry Valdez on the hill for Grand Junction, Tristen Lutz singled to start the inning and moved to third on a double by Harrison. Payton Henry then grounded into a fielder’s choice that retired Lutz at the plate and left runners at the corners with one down. Next up was Jay Feliciano, who drilled his seventh home run of the season over the left-field wall to put Helena back on top, 5-2.
In the bottom half of the ninth, Parker Bean came on looking to close out the contest. He walked one batter, but retired the side for his fifth save of the season.
Tristen Lutz, KJ Harrison, and Jay Feliciano were each 2-4 for the Brewers. Harrison scored two runs and drove in two more, and Feliciano drove in three. Chad McClanahan was 2-3. The Grand Junction offense was led by Pedro Gonzalez who was 3-5.
These two teams continue their four-game series Friday night. The Brewers are scheduled to send RHP Jayson Rose (1-3, 6.35) against Rockies RHP Logan Longwith (2-3, 8.35). First pitch is scheduled for 6:40.
By Robert Pannier