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Seismic Sixth Turns Tide for Chukars

June 15, 2019 - Pioneer League (PL) - Idaho Falls Chukars News Release

Billings, MT - On a night where the Chukars offense was quiet early, the bats woke up at just the right time. Having just one hit entering the sixth inning, Idaho Falls scored three times in the sixth inning to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead. The Chukars added on another run in the seventh and held on as the Mustangs scored a run in the ninth, but stranded the tying run at third. Idaho Falls downed Billings 4-3 to improve to 2-0 on the young season.

Billings cracked the ice in the bottom of the first, as Jonathan Willems tripled with one out against Chukars starter Adrian Alcantara (W, 1-0). Cash Case stepped in next, and drove home Willems with a sacrifice fly. The Mustangs then tacked on a second run in the bottom of the second, as TJ Hopkins walked with one out and stole second. Hopkins scored on a two out single to left field from Leonardo Seminati.

After the second, Alcantara locked in, allowing just one hit over his final three innings. He completed five innings, surrendering just those two runs on three hits, walking two and striking out four.

Mustangs starter Miguel Medrano dominated the Chukars from the jump, retiring the first 13 batters he faced. Chris Hudgins ended the perfect game bid though with a one out single in the fifth. While the Chukars didn't score in the fifth, the hit helped springboard the rally in the sixth that turned the tide for Idaho Falls. Medrano was pulled after five having thrown just 64 pitches, giving way to second year Mustang Ryan Dunne (L, 0-1).

Hector Pineda singled with one out in the sixth against Dunne, and Tyler James followed with a walk. That brought up Maikel Garcia, who lined a single to right, scoring Pineda to make it 2-1 Mustangs. James was thrown out at third trying to go first to third, but was picked up by Juan Carlos Negret. Negret took an inside fastball and belted it over the left field wall for his first Pioneer League home run, giving the Chukars the 3-2 lead.

Idaho Falls tacked on a critical insurance run in the seventh, as a pickoff error from Andre McDonald allowed Ismaldo Rodriguez to go to second. That set up Isaiah Henry, who singled on a line drive to right, plating Rodriguez to put the Chukars up two.

Malcom Van Buren (SV, 1) took over for Alcantara to start the sixth inning and gave up just one hit through his first two innings. The first two reached against him in the eighth inning, but Van Buren stranded the tying run on by retiring the next three. In the ninth, Van Buren plunked Carlos Reina to start the inning, but then got the next two on strikes. Seminati kept the game alive with a single, and Quincy McAfee cut the Chukars lead in half with a single that scored Reina and moved Seminati to third. With the tying run 90 feet away, Van Buren shut the door by fanning Quin Cotton to end the game. Van Buren finished his outing with just one run allowed over four innings while striking out six. Through two games, Idaho Falls pitching has recorded 24 strikeouts.

The Chukars go for the sweep tomorrow as they send left hander Rylan Kaufman to the hill. First pitch is at 1:05 PM, and you can listen to the game on KSPZ 980 The Zone or online via the TuneIn app.

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