A slugfest ensued for the second straight night at Melaleuca Field between the Idaho Falls Chukars and Ogden Raptors. The end result, again, was the Chukars inching closer to first place in the South with a win.
At the end of their 11-10 victory over Ogden, however, it was Idaho Falls helping Grand Junction into the top spot in the division with the Rockies' win over the Orem Owlz. Ogden had been in front for three days, but they now fall one-half game behind Grand Junction. The Chukars are two and a half back, and the league has nine games left on the schedule.
Tuesday's game featured a rough start for both sides. Matt Portland allowed five runs and got only two outs in the first inning - though because of an error all of the runs were unearned - but his offense took him off the hook with six unearned runs on three errors in the bottom of the first.
The visitors went back on top with three runs in the second, the only inning of Nick Andros' four that he struggled. Ogden added two in the fifth for a 10-6 lead before the Chukars made another comeback.
After Idaho Falls stranded two on with one out in the fifth, Joe Dudek opened the bottom of the sixth with a solo shot to right-center, his fifth home run of the season. Angelo Castellano walked and a Jordan Ebert single brought him in to close the gap to two. The Chukars stranded another two that frame.
In the bottom of the seventh Meibrys Viloria reached second on a bunt single and throwing error. Dudek notched his third RBI of the game with a double down the left-field line, and Ebert drove in Dudek with two out to tie the score.
Idaho Falls took the lead in the seventh. Luke Willis singled down the line and advanced when Mitch Hansen overthrew second base. Ricky Aracena's sacrifice bunt moved Willis to third, and Viloria drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly.
Cole Way pitched three and a third scoreless innings to earn his fourth win of the season, and Richard Lovelady struck out one and induced a double play grounder in the ninth for his fourth save in four attempts.
The final game of the series between the Chukars and Raptors is Wednesday night at 7:15. It is Fan Appreciation Night courtesy of Shaka's, and free Chukars pennants will be given to the first 1,000 people courtesy of Bingham Memorial Hopital. The night is presented by Sand Hill Media and TV-8.
If you can't come to the game, make sure to listen to John Balginy and Andrew Haynes on the call on ESPN 980 AM (and the TuneIn app), 105.1 FM and 94.5 FM.
For tickets and other information, call (208) 522-8363, follow the Chukars on Facebook or Twitter (@ifchukars) or visit www.ifchukars.com.