Billings, MT - Determined to atone for a subpar performance last night, the Idaho Falls Chukars busted out of the gate tonight against Billings, scoring four runs before the Mustangs had a chance to bat. The Chukars never trailed, beating the Mustangs 8-5 to even the series at one game
Billings, MT - Determined to atone for a subpar performance last night, the Idaho Falls Chukars busted out of the gate tonight against Billings, scoring four runs before the Mustangs had a chance to bat. The Chukars never trailed, beating the Mustangs 8-5 to even the series at one game apiece. With Missoula's win in Great Falls, the Chukars remain one game in front of the Osprey for first place in the Northern Division.
After managing just three hits last night, the Chukars offense got off to a fast start against Billings starter Orlando Rodriguez. Clay Dungan singled with one out, and in a two strike count Rhett Aplin homered down the right field line, his sixth of the year, to put the Chukars up 2-0. For Aplin, it was the fourth time he had homered against Billings.
The rally didn't stop there, as Juan Carlos Negret doubled to right with two outs, and Isaiah Henry followed with a double of his own, plating Negret. Henry then took off for third with Rodriguez in the stretch, and the throw to third sailed wide, allowing Henry to score.
However, the Mustangs got to within a run, scoring one in the second and two in the fourth inning. Their run in the second came on a strange play, as with runners at the corners and one out, Reyny Reyes lined out to Kember Nacero at second. Nacero had Quincy McAfee easily doubled off at first, but threw the ball into the stands, allowing the runner at third to score. In the fourth inning, Edwin Yon started the inning with a double, and Leonardo Seminati struck out, but a wild pitch from starter Cole Watts on strike three allowed Seminati to reach and moved Yon to third. McAfee then drove Yon home on a fielder choice, and then scored on a triple from Reyny Reyes, making it 4-3 Idaho Falls.
The score remained 4-3 going into the top of the sixth inning, where the Chukars took advantage of severe command problems from Billings reliever Alberto Gonzalez. Michael Emodi started the inning with a single, and Gonzalez then hit Negret. Henry walked to load the bases, and two runs scored on back to back hit by pitches of Nacero and Hector Pineda. The second hit by pitch ended the day for Gonzalez, who had two more runs added on his line thanks to a Jose Marquez sacrifice fly and a Dungan single.
Bryar Johnson (W, 1-1) earned the win for Idaho Falls, his first of the season. Johnson allowed just one hit over three innings, with two unearned runs scoring against him in the seventh. Brad Bonnenfant (SV, 2) picked up the save, tossing two scoreless frames.
The Chukars look for the series victory as they send Nathan Webb to the hill tomorrow. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PM, with the pregame show hitting the airwaves of ESPN 980 The Sports Zone at 12:50. You can also listen to the game live via the TuneIn App.