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7 run 5th inning costs Chukars in loss

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The Idaho Falls Chukars led 6-1 going to the bottom of the 5th inning but The Great Falls Voyagers scored 10 unanswered runs, including 7 in the 5th inning propel them to a 11-7 victory over the Chukars on Thursday night at Centene Stadium.

The Chukars got off to a 2-0 lead after Tyler James and Nate Eaton each scored on separate wild pitches from LHP Matt Portland. James went 3 for 5 with 2 stolen bases to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. The 2 stolen bases gives James 33 on the season.

Idaho Falls added to the lead when Angel Medina hit a 2 run home run to right field to give the Chukars a 4-0 lead. Medina went 2 for 3 with 2 runs scored.

It was a 6-1 Chukars lead going to the bottom of the 5th. That’s when the game changed. Great Falls scored 7 runs on 5 singles and 2 errors by Eaton at second base. Great Falls added a solo home run by Romy Gonzales in the 6th inning. The Voyagers added 2 in the 7th inning to make it a 11-6 game.

The Chukars scored in the 8th inning on a solo home run by Chase Vallot’s 4th home run of the year. That made it a 11-7 Voyagers lead, which ended the scoring by either team.

Game 2 of the 4 game series is Friday night in Great Falls. The Chukars will go with RHP Connor Mayes. He will be opposed by Voyagers RHP Cody Heuer. 7:00 pm first pitch.

Chukars notes: Chukars batters struck out 13 times in the game. That’s 59 strikeouts by Chukars batters in their last 5 games. Tyler James 13 game hitting streak is a season high for a Chukars player this season. His 33 stolen bases are more than the ENTIRE Great Falls team. Chukars pitchers JC Cloney and Daniel Duarte were both called up to Single-A Lexington. 2018 All-Star Kris Bubic went 4 innings plus, 3 hits, 5 runs, 2 earned, 3 BB and 6 K’s. The Chukars outhit the Voyagers 9 to 8. That’s only the 2nd time the Chukars have lost a game when they outhit the opposition (21-2 record).