Voyagers Walk to Series Victory at Idaho Falls
Idaho Falls, ID - The Voyagers sent 12 batters to the plate and walked seven times in a six-run eighth that propelled them to a 9-6 series-deciding victory over the Chukars Thursday night at Melaleuca Field. Great Falls (14-15, 29-37) won two of three and improved to 12-22 on the road this season. The Chukars (8-22, 29-38) fell to 16-16 at home. Idaho Falls has lost seven of its last eight. The Voyagers lead the season series 9-to-6. Great Falls magic number to be eliminated from contention still sits at two after Missoula beat Billings in extra-innings Thursday.
Idaho Falls opened the scoring with a single run in the bottom of the first. In the top of the third, Bryan Connell tied it for the Voyagers with a lead-off solo home run deep to right-center. It was Connell's fourth big fly of the season. The Chukars reclaimed the lead at 3-1 in the home half of the third on an RBI triple from Jose Marquez and an RBI single by Juan Carlos Negret.
The Voyagers answered quickly with a two-run fourth to level the game at 3-3. Harvin Mendoza led off the inning with a double to the gap in left-center. Mendoza moved to third on a wild pitch and later scored on a Tyrus Greene RBI groundout. Sam Abbott then tied it with a solo home run crushed deep to right for his team-leading eighth of the season. The Abbott homer traveled 488 feet for the team's longest of the season.
The Chukars brought home single runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings for a 5-3 lead. After a seven-inning start with a season-high 12 strikeouts for Stephen Ridings, the Idaho Falls bullpen took over and proceeded to walk seven batters in the top of the eighth inning. Three of those walks came with the bases loaded. The inning also featured a sacrifice fly by Caberea Weaver that scored a run, a throwing error on a grounder to short, and an infield single by Lency Delgado. All told, Great Falls scored six times for a 9-5 cushion.
Great Falls only managed four base hits in the win. The Voyagers struck out 16 times but produced eight walks. Idaho Falls stranded 10 and finished 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position. Sam Abbott went 1-for-2 with the homer, two walks, and two RBIs. Bryan Connell homered and walked with two runs. Joshua Rivera walked twice with an RBI and a run. Three Chukars had multi-hit games. Juan Carlos Negret collected two hits with three RBIs. Jose Marquez drove in two with two runs.
Nick Johnson posted the win in relief. Johnson (1-2) worked one inning with two strikeouts and one walk. Jose Ramirez took the loss in relief. Ramirez (2-3) pitched one-third of an inning and allowed four runs (three earned) on three walks without giving up a hit. Pauly Milto notched his third save of the season with one hit allowed and one strikeout in the ninth.
Great Falls returns to Centene Stadium Friday for their last home series of the season against Billings. Game one of four is Friday night at 7 o'clock. For Voyagers season tickets and promotional information, call 406-452-5311 or visit www.gfvoyagers.com.
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