Tag: Brennon Lund

Big eighth inning lifts Chukars over Rockies 6-2


If not for an odd ejection on Wednesday, Meibrys Viloria might have started the season with a six-game hitting streak.

The Idaho Falls Chukars catcher is now batting .524 after a 2 for 4 performance against Grand Junction on Friday. Viloria helped the Chukars beat the Rockies 6-2 in I.F.’s first road game of the season, and he played an inconsequential role in the Chukars’ biggest inning.

Chukars breakout in the eighth

Viloria doubled and scored in the top of the fifth inning to give I.F. a 2-1 lead, but Grand Junction scored in the bottom of the sixth to tie it up. The game looked headed for extra innings.

Then came the eighth, when all nine I.F. batters got a plate appearance. The Chukars hit four singles, but three Grand Junction errors played a bigger role in the decisive inning. I.F. plated four runs in the eighth to take a 6-2 lead.

Viloria’s hot start in context

Viloria’s .524 batting average is now second in the Pioneer League behind Orem’s Brennon Lund (.550). Viloria does, however, have a league-leading six doubles, and his 1.520 on-base-plus-slugging percentage heading into Friday’s game led the league, as well.

Other contributors

I.F.’s 1-2 hitters center fielder Tanner Stanley and shortstop Ricky Aracena each went 2 for 5 against the Rockies, and first baseman Ryan Dale went 2 for 4.

Chukars starting pitcher Igol Feliz pitched six full innings, allowing two runs (both earned) on seven hits, two walks and two strikeouts. Left-hander Cole Way pitched two scoreless innings (two hits allowed) for I.F., and fellow lefty Christian Flecha pitched a scoreless final frame (two walks allowed).

Player of the game

Grand Junction third baseman Jonathan Piron

Unlike Viloria and Rockies shortstop Taylor Snyder (2 for 4, home run), Piron did not commit an error. The third baseman went 2 for 4 with a double, a stolen base and a run scored on the night.

Up next

The Chukars (5-2) return to Sulplizio Field Saturday for game two of their four-game series against Grand Junction. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

Chukars rally for a 5-4 win over the Owlz

Chukars pitcher Matt Portland grabs a bunted ball during the game against the Orem Owlz on Wednesday at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)
Chukars pitcher Matt Portland grabs a bunted ball during the game against the Orem Owlz on Wednesday at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)

The Idaho Falls Chukars fell behind early, gave up a late home run and suffered an ejection Wednesday against the Orem Owlz at Melaleuca Field.

The same three events occurred in I.F.’s7-4 loss to Oremon Wednesday, but the similarities mostly ended there.

The Chukars quickly turned a 1-0 deficit into a 4-1 lead, and they held on for a 5-4 win to end their two-game losing streak to the Owlz.

Big fifth inning

Orem scored its first run in the top of the fourth inning, but it didn’t record a hit until an inning later. That first run scored thanks to a Connor Justus walk, a sacrifice bunt and a two-base wild pitch by Chukars starter Matt Portland.

The way I.F. was hitting, it wasn’t far fetched to think the fourth-inning run would have been enough for the Owlz. But I.F.’s early listlessness disappeared in the fifth inning. The Chukars notched five of their seven hits in the frame and scored four runs.

Among the hits that inning was a single from catcher MJ Sanchez. It was the first professional hit for Sanchez, who was drafted in the 35th round of this year’s MLB draft and made his pro debut Tuesday.

Portland escapes

Portland allowed only one hit in his five innings Wednesday night, but he was far from dominant.

The left-hander began his day by walking leadoff hitter Jahmai Jones and hitting two more Owlz in the top of the first inning. Luckily for Portland, a double play negated the walk, and he induced a groundout (with the two runners he plunked on base) to end the inning.

Portland also walked Jones to lead off the third inning, but another double play erased the damage.

Portland ended up with five walks (three to lead off an inning) and the two hit-by-pitches, but he struck out four and allowed one run.

Another ejection

With two outs in the top of the third inning, Chukars starting catcher Meibrys Viloria exited the field so suddenly, it took a while for spectators to figure out what happened.

Home plate umpire Will Glienke had ejected Viloria mere seconds after Orem designated hitter Brennon Lund drew a walk. Viloria didn’t get in a heated argument with Glienke. In fact, it was hard to tell if the catcher said anything. Chukars manager Justin Gemoll had a brief conversation with Glienke after the ejection, and Sanchez came into replace Viloria.

Chukars third baseman Manny Olloque grabs a foul ground ball during the game against the Orem Owlz on Wednesday at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)
Chukars third baseman Manny Olloque grabs a foul ground ball during the game against the Orem Owlz on Wednesday at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)

Gemoll said Glienke did not give an explanation for the ejection, but he would explain it later.

Glienke also tossed Gemoll in Tuesday’s game for arguing about a play at first base that the umpires reversed from out to safe.

Player of the game

Chukars shortstop Angelo Castellano

The 21-year-old normally starts at second base, but he played shortstop Wednesday in place of Ricky Aracena. Castellano played solid defense all night, but his bat earned him this accolade.

Castellano went 2 for 2 with an RBI triple in the four-run fifth and a sacrifice fly in seventh. The sac fly provided a crucial insurance run for the Chukars, who went up 5-2 in the inning. Orem’s Troy Montgomery (2 for 3) hit a two-run home run in the eighth to cut I.F.’s lead to one.

Up next

The Chukars (3-2) and the Owlz (3-2) wrap up their four-game series Thursday night at Melaleuca Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

Owlz hand Chukars first loss of 2016 season


The Idaho Falls Chukars dropped their first game of the 2016 season, falling 8-5 to the Orem Owlz in front of a crowd of 2,346 fans Monday night at Melaleuca Field.

The Chukars gave up four runs in the top of the first inning and never recovered, though the they made it close late.

Tough start

Idaho Falls was rarely challenged in its season-opening two-game sweep of Ogden, but that changed quickly Monday. The Owlz loaded the bases with one out (single, hit by pitch and a single by former BYU standout Brennon Lund) before Torres roped a double to left-center that made its way to the wall, scoring all three baserunners. Torres then came around on an error by first baseman Brandon Dulin to make it 4-0.

The Chukars cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the first on an RBI single from Dulin and an RBI fielder’s choice from David Edwards, but that was as close as Idaho Falls would get.

Orem scored single runs in the second, third and fourth off Idaho Falls starter Andres Machado (four innings, nine hits, six earned runs, one strikeout) and another on Nick Flair’s homer off Jason Freeman to lead off the fifth.

Big arms

Orem’s four pitchers looked like they belonged in a huddle rather than on the mound Monday.

The Owlz opened with 6-foot-5, 224-pound right-hander Crusito Mieses, who allowed two runs on seven hits while striking out four in five innings. He was followed by 6-4, 250-pound lefty Ariel Ovando, who worked a perfect sixth inning. Next up was 6-5, 240-pound righty Blake Smith, who allowed a run on a hit with one walk and one strikeout in one inning.

Ty Barkell, a 6-3, 225-pound righty, closed it out despite giving up two runs on two hits and four strikeouts in two innings.

All four Orem pitchers touched at least 90 on the radar gun.

Big hitters

Brandon Dulin and Meibrys Viloria had big nights for the Chukars in defeat, combining for five hits and two runs. Dulin, who homered Saturday, went 2 for 4 with a run to increase his season average to .385. And Viloria went 3 for 4 with two doubles and a run scored.

The Chukars finished with 10 hits.

Player of the game

Owlz third baseman Franklin Torres

The 19-year-old from Maracay, Venezuela, had a night, going 3 for 5 with a double, two runs scored and three RBIs. His three-run double in Orem’s four-run first set the tone, and he added two singles. Torres made two throwing errors, but he also made two tough plays in the field.

Up next

The Chukars and Owlz return to Melaleuca Field on Tuesday in the second game of the four-game series. First pitch is 7:15 p.m. Nate Bertness is scheduled to start for Orem while Alex Luna is set to take the mound for Idaho Falls.