IDAHO FALLS, IDAHO
- The Missoula Osprey snapped a 3-3 tie with a three-run eighth inning as they beat the Idaho Falls Chukars, 6-4, here at Melaleuca Field on Saturday in front of 2,190 fans.
The Osprey (15-12, 33-32) pulled to within two games of first place in the Pioneer League North Division standings, as the Billings Mustangs lost at Ogden on Saturday, 11-8.
With the game tied at 3-all in the top of the eighth inning, the Osprey used the famed "Baltimore Chop" to fuel a three-run rally. Rudy Flores led off the inning with a single and then advanced to third on a Michael Perez single. Outfielder Socrates Brito hit a chopper to shortstop, with the throw to second too late to get Perez. That allowed Flores to score to put the Osprey in front, 4-3.
After a sacrifice bunt by Danny Pulfer moved the runners to second and third, Tyler Bream hit a two-run single off of Chukar reliever David Middendorf (2-1) that was chopped over the drawn-in infield that pushed the lead to 6-3 Missoula.
Perez added a three-run home run for the Osprey, who had just nine hits in the contest. Flores also had a two-hit night for Missoula.
Chris Thomas was effective, pitching five solid innings and allowing three runs in his second start of the season. The bullpen - Michael Rivera (2-2) and Vince Spilker - kept the Chukars in check the rest of the night, with Rivera getting the win and Spilker picking up his fifth save of the season.
The Osprey and Chukars wrap up their three-game series on Sunday here at Melaleuca Field. The Osprey will start right-hander Ross Gerdeman, while the Chukars will counter with Pioneer League Pitcher of the Year, left-hander Sam Selman.
The Osprey will return home for a two-game series with the Great Falls Voyagers on August 28-29. Tickets are available now at the MSO Hub Box Office, located at 140 North Higgins in Downtown Missoula, online at MissoulaOsprey.com and by phone (406) 543-3300.