(Editor’s note: Billings Mustangs release)
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — The Idaho Falls Chukars (8-0) put together a six-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning to overcome a four-run deficit and defeat the Billings Mustangs (1-7) 8-6 in front of 2,928 at Melaleuca Field on Saturday.
The Chukars grabbed the first lead of the game, taking advantage of solo home runs from Michael Emodi and Rhett Aplin in the second and fourth, respectively. They held a 2-0 lead through the sixth inning.
After being shut out through the first six innings, the Mustangs delivered their biggest offensive inning of the year in the seventh. Trailing 2-0, three runs crossed the plate on four hits and an error. Leonardo Seminati led off the frame with a single and advanced on a throwing error by the Chukars’ third baseman. Victor Ruiz doubled in the first run of the inning while a fielder’s choice and Quin Cotton’s RBI single helped finish off the three-run frame to give Billings their first lead of the night.
The Chukars squandered a huge opportunity in the bottom of the seventh. After a leadoff double, an error and a walk loaded the bases for Idaho Falls with nobody out. Frainger Aranguren battled back to strike out the next two batters he saw and got Clay Dungan to pop out behind home to strand the bases loaded and preserve the 3-2 Mustangs lead.
Idaho Falls again had the tying run at third again in the bottom of the eighth, but Johnnie Schneider came in to deliver a huge strikeout and strand the runner there.
With two outs and nobody on in the top of the ninth, Billings rattled off three runs in the inning for some extra cushion. Robert Boselli III drove a three-run homer to right-center to make it a 6-2 Mustangs advantage.
The Chukars then put together an incredible six-run rally in the bottom of the ninth to steal the win. Ismaldo Rodriguez hit a two-run home run two batters in to get the scoring started. Later in the frame with two outs, two on and the Chukars trailing 6-5, Rhett Aplin sailed a walk-off, three-run home run to right-center to complete the comeback and erase the 6-2 deficit.
Idaho Falls stays unbeaten on the season with the win.
The Mustangs and Chukars will face off in the finale of their three-game series Sunday, June 23. First pitch from Melaleuca Field is set 4:00 p.m. MDT.