By MARLOWE HEREFORD
The Grand Junction Rockies had their way at the plate in the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader, but the Idaho Falls Chukars took over to sweep Friday’s doubleheader.
In a game resumed from Thursday, the Chukars (33-30, 13-12) pounded out 11 hits and held the Rockies (39-24, 16-9) off the scoreboard for five innings en route to a 13-1, seven-inning drubbing in Friday’s opener. I.F. then held on for a 2-1 win in the nightcap.
Chukars manager Omar Ramirez was not only glad for the wins, which moved the Chukars within three games of the Pioneer League South Division leading Rockies, but to get two games played after dealing with rain delays the three previous days.
“Finally, we got to play,” Ramirez said. “We’re still in the playoff hunt.”
The Chukars added to a 7-0 lead from Thursday’s rain suspended contest with timely hits and by taking advantage of two errors and a wild pitch by Grand Junction in the last three innings. Ryan O’Hearn’s one-out three-run homer soared over the right field wall in the bottom of the fourth extend Idaho Falls’ lead to 10-0. He had five RBIs in a 3-for-5 day.
“He has been the guy for us,” Ramirez said. “He’s the best hitter in the lineup.”
Grand Junction’s lone run came on Forrest Wall’s solo homer in the sixth. Corey Toups’ RBI double brought home Luis Valenzuela, a wild pitch by Rockies pitcher Alec Kenilvort allowed Brandon Downes to score and a sac fly by O’Hearn drove in Toups for the Chukars’ final runs in the bottom of the sixth. Idaho Falls ended the game with a 4-6-3 double play in the seventh.
Matt Strahm earned the win, giving up one run on two hits while striking out three and walking none in three innings for his first win of the year. He said the 7-0 lead gave him confidence upon taking the mound.
“Just staying ahead, trusting my defense,” Strahm said. “Just let your defense work.”
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