Missoula, MT - While the Chukars have experienced the thrill of a walk off three times this season, yet have they been on the receiving end of it. Tonight that changed, as the Osprey scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, walking off the Chukars 4-3. It's the first time all season that the Chukars have dropped a series.
The game though started off with a good omen Anthony Veneziano had the bases loaded against him with nobody out in the first inning, as a double, walk, and single packed the bags full. Veneziano though got a pop out in foul territory, a fly out to shallow left, and another fly out to left to keep the game scoreless after one.
The Chukars immediately picked up Veneziano with a run in the top of the second, as a one out single from Juan Carlos Negret got from first to third on a wild pitch. Negret then scored on another wild pitch, putting the Chukars on the board first.
Negret's single was the only base runner the Chukars had until a one out walk to Hector Pineda in the sixth inning. In the seventh though, the Chukars bats woke up. Brady McConnell started the frame with a double, and Negret followed with a double off the wall in left, easily scoring McConnell to extend the lead to 2-0. Osprey reliever Pedro Zorrilla got the next two hitters, but Isaiah Henry then doubled to left, plating Negret to extend the lead to 3-0.
Missoula's first run of the game came in the eighth, as a one out double from Cesar Garcia scored on a two out single from Spencer Brickhouse. After an error put the tying run on base, Austin Manning got Kevin Watson to ground out to end the inning.
However the Chukars were not as fortunate in the ninth, as Dom Canzone started the inning with a double. Liuvin Valbuena then walked, putting the tying run on for David Sanchez. Sanchez singled to center, scoring Canzone, but a fielding error from Henry allowed Valbuena to score and Sanchez to go to second, tying the game and putting the winning run at second. Jose Reyes grounded out, and Garcia was intentionally walked, setting up a battle with Tristen Carranza. Carranza sent a ball into right center that went over Negret's head, but Sanchez had to hold up at second to make sure the ball wasn't caught. The relay home was on point, and catcher Stephan Vidal appeared to have gotten the tag on Sanchez before he crossed. Alas, Sanchez was ruled safe, giving the Osprey the walk off win.
The Chukars have their chance at revenge tomorrow as they return home to square up with the Osprey. First pitch is at 4:30 PM, and limited seats remain as all box seats are sold out. Visit ifchukars.com to get your seats now.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.