IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — The Idaho Falls Chukars sprinted to a large Pioneer League Baseball North Division lead, but now the Missoula Osprey are closing fast.
Missoula beat first-place Idaho Falls for a fourth straight night, sweeping a two-game series at Melalueca Field with an 8-5 victory.
A seven-run third inning proved to be too much for the Chukars to overcome. The scoring started when Carson Maxwell tagged up and scored from second base on a sac fly to center. Dominic Canzone added a run-scoring triple. Liover Peguero and David Sanchez each had RBI singles in the outburst. Spencer Brickhouse made it 8-0 with an RBI single in the top of the fourth.
Tyler Poulin shut down the Chukars through five innings on the mound, giving up only a single hit and one walk while striking out five.
Idaho Falls started a comeback in the bottom of the sixth. A sac fly, Michael Emodi single and groundout brought in three Chukars runs. The home team put two more on the board when Jose Marquez doubled and Clay Dungan drove in a run with a groundout in the bottom of the seventh. The Chukars brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, but Ryan Fritze forced a come-back groundout to end the game.
The 11-9 Osprey have now climbed within three games of the 13-5 Chukars. Missoula stays on the road with a three-game series starting in Billings on Saturday.