Idaho Falls, ID - Facing the league's best offense, the Chukars were going to have to bring their A game to Melaleuca Field for the series opener against the Ogden Raptors. Unfortunately, that did not occur, as the Raptors scored four runs in the second inning and never trailed, winning by a 9-3 final. With Missoula's win over Orem, the Chukars' lead in the division is down to two games.
Ogden, who came into the game with the league lead in batting average and runs scored, flex their muscles in the second inning. Brandon Lewis started the frame with a double, and Sauryn Lao followed with a double, but Lewis could only get to third. Zac Ching walked to load the bases, but Chukars starter Anthony Veneziano punched out Brandon Wulff for a big first out. Veneziano got a comebacker from the next hitter Ramon Rodriguez, and easily would have had a force at home. However, Veneziano threw the ball wide, allowing two to score. The next batter Andy Pages then doubled home two, making it 4-0 Raptors.
The Chukars though fought back and cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the frame. Rhett Aplin started the inning with a double, and then got the third with one out on a single from Michael Emodi. Aplin though scored on the play as right fielder Brandon Wulff bobbled the ball. The error though proved to be a moot point, as Ismaldo Rodriguez tripled, scoring Emodi to make it 4-2 Raptors.
That though was as close as the Chukars would get, as Ogden added on a run in the third, two in the fifth, one in the seventh, and one in the ninth. Idaho Falls had the bases loaded with nobody out in the fourth inning, but a double play and a strikeout kept them off the scoreboard. The only other run the Chukars scored in the game came in the fifth, as a Brady McConnell triple scored on a two out error.
After starting the season 9-0 at home, the Chukars have now lost their last three home games, allowing a combined 21 runs over the stretch.
Tomorrow the Chukars look to even the series as they send Alec Marsh to the bump. Ogden counters with left hander Antonio Hernandez. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 PM, and tickets are still available by visiting ifchukars.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.