OGDEN — For the second straight day, nine innings wasn’t enough as the Ogden Raptors and Grand Junction Rockies battled in the Pioneer League South Division playoffs late Saturday night at Lindquist Field.
With Dodgers icon Tommy Lasorda looking on, Ogden skipper Damon Berryhill and the Raptors looked to punch their ticket to a third consecutive Pioneer League Championship Series.
But the Rockies scored a run in the top of the 11th inning, then shut down the Raptors in their half for a thrilling 8-7 victory.
The decisive Game 3 is set for today at 4 p.m. at Lindquist Field.
Ogden’s 6-foot-3 right hander Ross Stripling started on the mound and was solid through six innings giving up two runs on six hits while striking out six.
Scoring got started early for the Raptors as right fielder Jeremy Rathjen crushed a two-out homer in the first inning that sailed over the scoreboard in left field.
Rathjen was 3-for-4 with three RBIs.
Boasting a league-leading 125 stolen bases during the regular season, Berryhill was aggressive with his base runners all night, logging four stolen bases in the game.
Down 2-0 in the fifth, Grand Junction tied the game after Stripling plunked two straight batters and loaded the bases for David Dahl who drove in two with a base hit.
The Raptors regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth as Grand Junction third baseman Ashley Graeter couldn’t handle a line drive from Ogden’s Eric Smith that scored Malcom Holland. Smith scored a few pitches later as Rathjen sent an RBI single just fair of the third base line.
Grand Junction pulled Aquino and put 6-foot-2 left-hander Jonathan Vargas on the mound before Ogden got one more and ended the inning up 5-2.
Aquino gave up five runs on four hits and struck out eight through 4 1/3 for the Rockies.
In a freak accident during the bottom of the sixth Ogden’s Corey Seager was hit by the business end of Delvis Morales’ broken bat while in the dugout. He took the field at shortstop for the top of the seventh but left the game afterward and was replaced by Justin Boudreaux.
Jason West took over on the mound for the Raptors in the seventh and after retiring the Rockies in order attempted to knock down a line drive with his bare hand in the eighth. After a few warm-ups West continued and gave up two quick runs on back-to-back doubles before Berryhill replaced him with Alan Garcia.
Up 5-4 with the go-ahead run on first and two outs, Grand Junction’s 6-foot-6 245-pound first baseman Ben Waldrip crushed Garcia’s 1-2 pitch over the wall in right-center and suddenly the Rockies were up 7-5.
Ogden equalized in the bottom of the eighth as Smith drove in Morales with a base hit that turned into a double after it got past Grand Junction left fielder Jeremy McLeod. Rathjen came to the plate next and hit an identical ball that scored Smith and tied the game at seven.
In the North Division championship, Great Falls’ Adam Heisler hit a walk-off two-run homer to right field to give the Voyagers a 5-4 win over the Missoula Osprey.
That series is tied 1-1, with the deciding game today as well.
• DODGERS CF KEMP UNDERGOES EXAM ON INJURED SHOULDER: Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp will miss at least the final two games of this weekend’s key series at San Francisco because of his troublesome left shoulder.
Kemp was scheduled for an MRI exam Saturday using dye contrasting to give doctors a better idea of where he is hurt. His shoulder is still bothering him from a crash into the outfield wall Aug. 28 at Coors Field.
Manager Don Mattingly expects Kemp to return this season. The injury affects Kemp at the plate and the Dodgers want to find out exactly what is wrong.