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Northern Colorado Owlz win Saturday, Sunday games against Grand Junction

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It appears the Northern Colorado Owlz’s knockout round win on Friday started a win streak.

The Owlz (11-11) defeated the Grand Junction Rockies (10-12) in their Saturday and Sunday games.

Game 1

In the team’s game on Saturday, Northern Colorado started the scoring. It was a close game, 6-4, but the hits came when necessary and the defense stayed in control.

In fact, the defense played a large role in the win. NoCo’s pitching staff struggled in the victory, striking out just five batters and walking three. The squad also allowed two wild pitches that advanced a runner to scoring position.

Those behind the mound, however, committed just one error — it did allow a run to score in the top of the eighth — but they fielded cleanly the rest of the game. The Rockies finished with 12 hits in the game, but the defense was available for flyouts and groundouts. NoCo logged a double play and caught a runner stealing, as well.

On the offensive side, the bats weren’t exactly hot, but they got the job done.

Center fielder Cameron Phelts singled to right field and advanced on a wild pitch in the bottom of the second. He and first baseman Liam Scafariello came home off a two-run homer. That gave the Owlz a small advantage they would hold onto throughout the game.

The Owlz’s next big inning was in the seventh, when they scored three.

Catcher Marshall Rich singled for the second time in the game to get on base. Second baseman Zach West followed that up with a double to move both players into scoring position.

Then, third baseman Jordan Garr doubled, bringing home his teammates. Finally, Phelts contributed a sacrifice fly to plate Garr.

Their other run came in the second when Garr’s RBI gave Rich enough time to score.

Grand Junction scored relatively consistently, recording a run in four separate innings. It did not, however, have a breakout frame to take the lead from the home squad.

Like NoCo, the Rockies pitching staff did not have its best day, either. Its bullpen struck out six at the plate, walked two and gave up one wild pitch. It relied on the defense to keep the Owlz from taking a larger lead.

Scafariello, Rich and Garr all finished with two hits. Garr led the way with three RBI and Rich scored twice.

Game 2

The series finale was similar to the one prior as the Owlz won, 6-5, behind a two-run start.

Right fielder Brian Dansereau tripled to left center, which put the Owlz up two in the bottom of the first. His hit brought Phelts and second baseman Brandon Crosby across the plate, both of whom drew walks.

In the second, shortstop Kevin Higgins started the inning with the leadoff base hit. Catcher Robbie Kellerman doubled down the left field line to move both players into scoring position.

An RBI groundout from Garr scored Higgins, before Phelts added a triple to bring Kellerman across.

Two more unearned runs came across in the fifth, one from a Rockies error and another off a sac fly.

Dansereau accounted for three RBI. Phelts and Higgings logged two hits each.

Northern Colorado’s offensive advantage was significant since the pitching staff struggled and was unable to get into a rhythm. It logged just three strikeouts, five drawn walks, three wild pitches and two hits by a pitch. Two of the three wild pitches led to Grand Junction runs, one in the second and seventh.

Grand Junction’s remaining runs came after a single, double and triple.

The Owlz’s defense came in clutch to end the game, recording a double play and groundout to the pitcher.

Meanwhile, the Rockies’ pitchers struck out 13 Owlz and walked four.

NoCo will play two games at Jackson Field this week against the Rocky Mountain Vibes at 4:05 p.m. Tuesday and 1:05 p.m. Wednesday. The Vibes will host the remaining games of the series, all set for 6:30 p.m.

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