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Idaho Falls Chukars continue magical start

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File photo | EastIdahoNews.com

The following is a news release from the Idaho Falls Chukars.

IDAHO FALLS – When you’re on a roll, sometimes the breaks bounce your way.

On a cold Friday night at Melaleuca Field, the Chukars had everything bounce their way. Three separate times in the final three innings their opponents, the Billings Mustangs, had chances to take the lead and all three times they failed. The Chukars cashed their chips in the tenth, as an error aided in scoring the winning run, giving Idaho Falls the 4-3 extra inning and a seven game winning streak to start the 2019 season.

The Chukars took advantage of severe command issues from Mustang starter Miguel Medrano to get on the board in the first inning. Clay Dungan and Juan Carlos Negret both singled, putting two on with one out. Medrano then threw eight balls in nine pitches, walking Rhett Aplin to load the bases and Chris Hudgins to force in the first run of the game.

Chukars starter Christian Cosby was solid throughout, scattering five hits over five innings. The only run he allowed came in the fifth inning, as two singles and a bunt put two in scoring position for Victor Ruiz, who grounded out but brought the tying run home. Idaho Falls though took the lead back in the bottom of the fifth as a leadoff triple from Kember Nacero scored on a single from Clay Dungan. Dungan eventually scored as left fielder Cash Case committed a missed catch error on a lazy fly to left field from Rhett Aplin, making it 3-1 Chukars.

Billings tied the game again in the seventh as reliever Cole Watts allowed the first two on, both scoring on a sac fly and RBI single respectively. Watts was in a two out based loaded jam with the game still tied in the eighth, but Chih Wang (W, 2-0) got Claudio Finol to ground out to end the inning. Wang got in his own one out bases loaded jam in the ninth, as a one out error loaded the bases, but Wang got back to back strikeouts to strand the bases loaded for the second straight inning.

In the bottom of the ninth, Isaiah Smith for the second straight night struck out with two out, but a wild pitch on strike three allowed him to reach. Smith stole second with Nacero up, and Nacero then singled to shallow right, but Smith was thrown out at the plate, sending the game to extras.

With the tie breaker runner on second to start the tenth, Wang got a Case ground out to move the runner to third. That brought up Leonardo Seminati, who had already recorded three hits on the night. Manager Omar Ramirez decided to intentionally walk Seminati, and the move paid off as Wang punched out the next two to keep the game tied.

In the bottom of the tenth, Dungan led off with Nacero starting at second, and Dungan hit a dribbling ground ball up the middle. Shortstop Ranser Amador fielded it and tried to go to third, but his throw sailed high and wide, allowing Nacero to score to give the Chukars their second walk off win in as many nights.

The Chukars look to make it eight in a row as they host the Mustangs for the second game of their three game series Saturday night. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m., and Saturday is the U.S. Bank Kids Clinic with it also being Idaho Falls and Ammon Little League Night. Tickets are available at ifchukars.com.

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