Chukars Outlast Mustangs in Extras for Series Sweep
Billings, MT - Looking to sweep their series in Billings, the Idaho Falls Chukars jumped out to an early four run lead, only to watch it slip away. Tied at five after nine, the Chukars scored two runs in the tenth to retake the lead. The Mustangs loaded the bases with one out in the tenth, getting the tying run in scoring position, but Reniel Ozuna hit into a 4-6-3 game ending double play. Idaho Falls downed Billings 7-5, garnering the three game sweep to start the season.
The Chukars took advantage of severe command issues from Mustang starter Ricky Karcher to jump out to a big lead early. In the second inning, Karcher put the first two runners on thanks to a walk and a hit by pitch, and a run scored two batters later on a double from Ismaldo Rodriguez. Karcher walked two in the next inning, and with two on and two out, Michael Emodi made Karcher pay for his control issues, blasting a three right home runs to deep right center field to make it 4-0 Chukars.
Idaho Falls starter Rylan Kaufman kept Billings off the scoreboard in the first two innings, but Billings cut the Chukars lead in half in the bottom of the third on an RBI triple from Quin Cotton and an RBI single from Claudio Finol. From there, he shut out the Mustangs over his final two innings, finishing his day with a five inning performance, allowing just those two runs, walking one and striking out three.
Emodi added to the Chukars lead with an RBI single in the fifth, but the Mustangs came storming back, scoring two in the sixth and one in the seventh to tie the game at five. Derrick Adams (W, 1-0) came on to start the eighth, and got the first two he faced before allowing a two out double to Leonardo Seminati. He walked pinch hitter Reniel Ozuna intentionally to put a force on, and the move paid off as he fanned Cotton swinging to end the frame. Both teams went scoreless in the ninth, sending the game to extras.
With a runner at second to start the tenth inning by rule, Rhett Aplin singled to left against Jerry D'Andrea (L, 0-1), moving the designated runner Juan Carlos Negret to third. After Chris Hudgins struck out looking, Emodi hit a sac fly to score Negret, reclaiming the lead for the Chukars. The key blow came next, as Rodriguez sent a double off the right field wall, scoring Aplin to extend the lead to two. Emodi (5) and Rodriguez (2) were responsible for all runs scored in the game.
Noah Bryant (SV, 1) entered for the tenth with a runner starting at second. He got a ground out to start, but walked the next two to load the bases and put the tying run at second and the winning run aboard. After a visit with pitching coach Clayton Mortensen, Bryant needed just one pitch to finish the game, as he got Ozuna to hit into a 4-6-3 double play.
The Chukars open their home slate tomorrow as they take on the Missoula Osprey. First pitch is at 7:15 PM, with magnet schedules being given away courtesy of Bingham Healthcare. There will be a postgame fireworks show thanks to Bingham Healthcare, and a pregame Chip for Charity presented by Bank of Idaho. Limited tickets remain so visit ifchukars.com to get yours now.
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Pioneer League Stories from June 16, 2019
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