Decisive 6th Inning Dooms ChukarsAugust 19, 2012 - Pioneer League (PL) Idaho Falls Chukars
The pivotal inning began started positively for Idaho Falls with Nick Cuckovich walking and Jin-Ho Shin and Rainier Bello both being hit by pitches to load the bases for the Chukars with no outs. The hot hitting Nick DelGuidice got the first crack at an RBI, but flew out to shallow right field to keep the runners in place. Up next was left fielder Jerico Blanco, who entered Saturday night with six hits in eight at-bats in the series. Blanco proceeded to fly out to mid-left field, which prompted Cuckovich to break for the plate. The ensuing play at the plate went the way of the Osprey, as Cuck was called out to end the inning despite what looked like his foot sneaking under the tag.
The lost opportunity for Idaho Falls seemed to enliven Missoula, who came out swinging in their half of the sixth. First baseman Rudy Flores hit the first pitch of the frame over the left field wall for a solo home run to get things started and, one out later, left-fielder Alex Glenn followed with a solo blast of his own over the short right-field fence to tie the game at 5-5.
Following a ground ball single by shortstop Pedro Ruiz, Omar Ramirez decided to pull starting pitcher Alec Mills in favor of reliever Joe Lopez. The move did not go as planned, as Lopez promptly allowed an infield single to Missoula center fielder Breland Almadova followed by a 3-run long ball to third baseman Jake Lamb to give the Osprey their first lead of the game at 8-5.
The Chukars would rally for two runs in the seventh when Ethan Chapman tripled in a run and later came in himself on a wild pitch, but the Osprey would plate an unearned tally in the bottom of the inning to push their lead back up to 9-7.
The Greybirds had one final push in the ninth as Adalberto Mondesi hit a two-out, RBI triple of his own to put the tying run at third, but Elier Hernandez followed with a fly out to right to end the game.
The sixth inning meltdown wasted two early homeruns by the Chukars, as Cuckovich slammed a 3-run blast in the first and Shin launched a mammoth 2-run bomb in the third to put Idaho Falls up 5-1.
Mills (1-5) took the loss for the Chukars with his worst starting performance of the season, as the 20-year-old allowed six runs on nine hits over his 5.1 innings pitched. Osprey reliever Chase Stevens (3-2) earned the win with his Houdini performance in the sixth. Chris Capper (1) earned the nail-biter save after pitching the last two innings.
The Chukars (11-9) fortunately remain just one game of first place in the South Division as the Orem Owls lost as well. The Osprey (12-8) keep pace with the Billings Mustangs and remain two games back in the North Division.
The two clubs will wrap up their 4-game series Sunday evening, with the Chukars going for the series win at 5:15 pm.
Pioneer League Stories from August 19, 2012
- Osprey Rally Again for 11-8 Win over Chukars - Missoula Osprey
- 7-Run Lead Disappears in Chukars Loss - Idaho Falls Chukars
- Owlz Split Series with 6-4 Win - Orem Owlz
- Osprey Snap 4-Game Slide with 9-8 Win over Chukars - Missoula Osprey
- Voyagers Fail to Pick-Up Rockies Blitz - Great Falls Voyagers
- Bullpen Falters in 10-6 Loss - Orem Owlz
- Decisive 6th Inning Dooms Chukars - Idaho Falls Chukars
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