Tag: Christian Flecha

Meibrys Viloria named Pioneer League MVP

Viloria
Viloria

Idaho Falls Chukars catcher Meibrys Viloria, who batted over .400 for most of the season, won the Pioneer League’s 2016 Ralph Nelles Award as the league’s most valuable player.

Viloria, a 19-year-old catcher from Cartagena, Colombia, through Monday led the Pioneer League in batting average (.381), doubles (28) and RBIs (54). And one season after not having an extra-base hit for the Burlington Royals, Viloria is second in the league with 37 extra-base hits. He is also second with 53 runs and third in on-base percentage (.442) and slugging (.619).

The international free agent owns the Pioneer League’s longest hitting streak of 2016 at 20 games from July 7 to Aug. 7.

“It’s a great credit to him and the year he’s had,” Idaho Falls manager Justin Gemoll said in a news release. “He does a lot of good things blocking balls, controlling the running game and leading the pitching staff, and offensively he’s had a great approach and been consistent all year long. He’s one of those kids who comes ready to play and wants to play every day. His energy is infectious for our team and he got after it all season long.”

Viloria is the third Chukar to win the award since Idaho Falls became affiliated with the Royals. Clint Robinson, currently with the Washington Nationals, won the award in 2007, while Ryan O’Hearn, now at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, was honored in 2014.

Viloria, Olloque honored

Idaho Falls teammates Meibrys Viloria and Manny Olloque were named to the 2016 Pioneer League end of season All-Star team, the league announced late Monday. The award is voted on by the league’s managers and honors the best players at each position.

Viloria, who was named the league MVP Tuesday, leads the league in batting average, doubles and RBIs through Monday.

Olloque, in his third minor league season, was hitting .319 through Monday with 15 doubles, seven homers, 49 RBIs and 50 runs scored.

Tuesday’s game

CHUKARS 6, OWLZ 5: At Orem, Utah, Idaho Falls built a 5-1 lead and then held on late to beat Orem the day after it was eliminated from the Pioneer League playoffs.

Idaho Falls starter Alex Luna was solid again, allowing two runs on seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts over six innings. The 6-foot-5, 205-pound right-hander improved to 5-1 and saw his ERA drop to 3.90.

The Chukars scored single runs in the first and third innings and plated two in the fourth to go up 4-1. I.F.’s lead went to 6-2 after single runs in the sixth and seventh. Orem, which rallied in the eighth, ninth and 10th innings Monday to win, scored three times in the eighth to cut the lead to one. But Christian Flecha worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth to close it out.

Idaho Falls shortstop Ricky Aracena had one of his best offensive games of the season, going 3 for 3 with two walks, a double and three RBIs. He also stole a base and was error-free in the field. Rudy Martin was 2 for 4 with two runs scored and Luke Willis was 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI.

The Chukars (38-36 overall, 16-21 second half) return to Melaleuca Field for the final two games of the season. Idaho Falls and Orem will play Wednesday and Thursday, with first pitch scheduled for 7:15 p.m. both nights.

Raptors rally past the Chukars 3-2

Hernandez
Hernandez

Idaho Falls’ slim chances at making the Pioneer League playoffs took a big hit Friday with a 3-2 loss to the Ogden Raptors in Utah.

The loss, combined with Grand Junction’s 15-inning win over Orem, pushes the Chukars five games behind the Rockies in the South Division second-half standings with just eight games to play. Idaho Falls can be eliminated with any combination of Chukars losses and Grand Junction wins that adds up to three.

Good start, bad finish

Idaho Falls got another good performance from a starting pitcher, but couldn’t make it equal a win. Arnaldo Hernandez was strong in his six innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits with two walks and nine strikeouts. But the game was tied when he left the game, and Ogden got to the I.F. bullpen when it counted.

DJ Peters did the damage, smacking a solo homer off Christian Flecha in the bottom of the eighth. Ogden relievers Adalberto Pena and Vinny Santarsiero did the rest, allowing just one hit and two walks while striking out five over the final three innings to secure the win.

Idaho Falls finished with just five hits, two of them coming from Joe Dudek. Angelo Castellano added a solo homer in the third inning, his second of the season.

Player of the game

Ogden right fielder DJ Peters

On a night of limited offense, Peters was the hero. He stepped to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the eighth in a tie game and belted a no-doubter over the wall in left-center field. That run proved to be the difference.

Up next

The Chukars and Raptors play a doubleheader today after Thursday’s game was rained out. Idaho Falls will start Andres Machado (2-3, 3.72) starting Game 1 at 3:05 p.m. and Igol Feliz (2-3, 5.54 ERA) taking the hill in Game 2 to follow.

Chukars crumble in an 11-5 loss to Orem

Idaho Falls Chukars bat boy Derik Johnson congratulates Joe Dudek after Dudek’s two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning against the Orem Owlz Saturday at Melaleuca Field. (Courtesy of Steve Thayer)
Idaho Falls Chukars bat boy Derik Johnson congratulates Joe Dudek after Dudek’s two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning against the Orem Owlz Saturday at Melaleuca Field. (Courtesy of Steve Thayer)

The Idaho Falls Chukars went 7-12 on the road in the first half, yet they almost won the Pioneer League South Division title. league-best 15-4 home record kept them in the hunt.

The road struggles have worsened in the second half (3-10), and I.F. has plummeted down to average at home.

I.F. fell to the Orem Owlz 11-5 on Saturday night at Melaleuca Field. The Chukars are now 7-6 at home in the second half, and the division crown continues to stiff-arm them. They’re dwelling at the bottom of the South standings, five games back of the Ogden Raptors. Twelve games remain.

So close, yet so far

Saturday’s game went back-and-forth for eight innings. Even the Owlz’ three-run rally top of the seventh, which gave them 6-2 lead, was answered. The Chukars scored twice in the bottom half.

Orem’s lead was cut to one when Luke Willis hit a one-out RBI triple in the bottom of the eighth. But Rudy Martin and Nick Heath each struck out, providing omens for the next inning.

Cole Way came in to pitch the top of the ninth, and he lasted a long time in terms of minutes, not outs. Way faced eight batters and recorded one out. He allowed four hits and walked three, leading to five runs (all earned) and an 11-5 for Orem.

“We’ve been fighting,” Chukars first baseman Joe Dudek said. “We just seem to have that one inning that kinda kills us.”

It was a rough night for the entire Chukars bullpen. Starter Igol Feliz allowed three runs (one earned) in six innings. The righty was replaced by lefty Christian Flecha, who allowed three runs (two earned) in the first of his two innings. Overall, the relievers allowed seven hits and four walks while striking out two.

Dudek thrives as I.F. dives

I.F.’s subpar second half has coincided with a Joe Dudek hot streak.

Dudek went 0 for 3 on Aug. 13 against Great Falls, dropping his batting average to .207 and his OPS to .672. The first baseman has gone 16 for 36 (.444) since, including a 1 for 2 showing on Saturday in which he drew three walks and hit two-run home run.

His batting average is now .319, and his OPS is around 1.000.

“I feel comfortable in the box. That’s really all there is,” Dudek said. “Seeing pitches pretty well, putting good swings on it and good things have happened.”

Player of the game

Owlz left fielder Zach Gibbons

Orem first baseman Nick Flair and Jose Rojas each produced three hits, but Gibbons reached base more times. Gibbons went 2 for 3 with two walks, and he stole two bases.

Edwards gets promoted

Chukars infielder David Edwards was promoted to Single-A Lexington on Saturday. The Kansas City Royals did not send player to the Chukars as of Saturday night.

Edwards appeared in 51 games for the Chukars, and he was positioned all over the field. The 23-year-old played 22 games at first base, 16 at second and six at third, according to Baseball-Reference (he was I.F.’s designated hitter in his other seven games).

Edwards hit .284 with a .346 on-base percentage and a .490 slugging percentage in 218 plate appearances. His eight home runs lead the Chukars, as well.

Up next

The Chukars (32-31 overall, 10-16 second half) welcome the Ogden Raptors (32-32, 15-11) for a crucial four-game series starting Sunday. I.F.’s Andres Machado (4.17 ERA) takes on fellow righty William Soto (5.31). First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.

Chukars’ lineup, bullpen awaken in a 7-5 win over the Mustangs

Idaho Falls Chukars pitcher Cole Way (right) celebrates his save with catcher MJ Sanchez Wednesday night against the Billings Mustangs at Melaleuca Field. (Photo courtesy of Steve Thayer)
Idaho Falls Chukars pitcher Cole Way (right) celebrates his save with catcher MJ Sanchez Wednesday night against the Billings Mustangs at Melaleuca Field. (Photo courtesy of Steve Thayer)

Not once did Cole Way shake off MJ Sanchez in the top of the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game. Ten minutes after the inning began, Way and Sanchez embraced.

The pitcher and catcher celebrated a rarity: an Idaho Falls Chukars win over the Billings Mustangs at Melaleuca Field. The 7-5 victory was the Chukars’ second of the six-game homestand, and their first over Billings this season. And it wasn’t close to over until Way’s final pitch of the ninth hit Sanchez’s glove.

Way buckles down

Third baseman David Edwards committed a fielding error with one out in the top of the ninth, setting up an easy narrative: an error sinks the Chukars once again.

Errors have killed I.F. all season, especially in the second half, and the Chukars looked doomed for a similar fate Wednesday. The Mustangs put the tying runs on second and third with one out in the ninth.

The situation didn’t phase Way. He struck out Colby Wright, who had gone 2 for 3 with a double heading into that at-bat. Cassidy Brown was up next. On a 2-2 count, Sanchez called for a changeup. Way didn’t hesitate, and he got Brown to chase to end the game.

“Cole’s best pitch is probably his changeup,” Sanchez said. “I had a lot of confidence in him and what he had, and I knew he was going to trust me. We were in sync.”

Right after the strikeout, Way screamed and pointed at Sanchez, praising his catcher for a good gameplan.

“He sat there and watched the hitters for eight innings, he read all their swings and he had a great sequence on every at-bat,” Way said. “He called a perfect pitch at the perfect time.”

Five in the sixth 

Rudy Martin led off the bottom of the first with a double. The Chukars were held hitless for the next four innings.

The first five innings summed up I.F.’s second half. The lineup looked listless. The bullpen got knocked around, this time with Christian Flecha filling the role with two earned runs in the fifth.

The lineup and the bullpen flipped a switch after that, starting with an offensive eruption in bottom of the sixth. The lineup batted around thanks to five hits and two walks.

Martin sparked the rally with a lead-off walk. The center fielder doesn’t like to use the word “slump”, but that’s what he was mired in for the bulk of August. From July 26 through Tuesday’s game, Martin hit 6 for 47 (.128) with two walks.

“We’ve been working in the cages, and today, it was a lot better,” Martin said. “I’m feeling a lot more comfortable at the plate. Hopefully tomorrow I can come and do the same thing.”

Sanchez was another struggling Chukar heading into Wednesday. He had been 0 for 10 without a walk in the month of August. On Wednesday, Sanchez extended the sixth inning rally with a single, and he walked in the eighth.

Cepin extends streak

The Chukars have struggled in almost every area during the second half. One of the few bright spots has been starting pitching, and that silver lining continued to glimmer Wednesday.

Left-hander Reinaldo Cepin allowed two earned runs on five hits and a walk in four innings. He also struck out three.

Before Wednesday, no I.F. starter had allowed more than one earned run on the homestand, yet I.F. went 1-4 in those games.

Player of the game 

Mustangs left fielder Taylor Trammell

Trammell went 2 for 3 with a triple, a double, two walks and three runs scored.

Up next

The Chukars (28-27 overall, 6-11 second half) and Mustangs (34-20, 11-5) wrap up the four-game series Thursday at Melaleuca Field. I.F.’s Matt Portland (6.59 ERA) takes on fellow lefty Max Wotell (5.03).

Late rally can’t rescue Chukars in 14-8 loss to Grand Junction

 created on Friday 7/29/2016 at 7:41:41 pm by Victor Flores modified on Friday 7/29/2016 at 9:19:25 pm by Victor Flores Cutline 1editforJuly-30-Chukars-2.jpg Idaho Falls center fielder Nick Heath follows through on his first-inning double during Friday’s game against Grand Junction at Melaleuca Field. (Courtesy of Steve Thayer )
Idaho Falls center fielder Nick Heath follows through on his first-inning double during Friday’s game against Grand Junction at Melaleuca Field. (Courtesy of Steve Thayer )

Everything felt familiar for five innings Friday.

The Idaho Falls Chukars trailed Grand Junction 3-1 through five, but the 2,947 fans at Melaleuca Field had seen this movie before. Just one night earlier, the Chukars trailed by three runs through five. They ended up winning 7-6. And I.F. owns the highest-scoring offense in the Pioneer League, as well.

Sure enough, the Chukars finished Friday with eight runs. But they weren’t nearly enough.

The Rockies pounded I.F.’s pitching staff for 14 runs on 17 hits. Only a six-run ninth inning prevented a double-digit blowout.

Floodgates open

Save for a couple of solo home runs, Chukars starter Arnaldo Hernandez pitched well heading into the sixth inning. Then the right-hander ran into control issues, and I.F.’s bullpen couldn’t plug up the leak.

Hernandez walked two of the first three batters he faced in the sixth, and he was replaced by Christian Flecha. The Rockies piled up four hits against the lefty, leading to five runs and an 8-1 lead.

Enmanuel Camacho relieved Flecha in the seventh, and the hits kept flowing. Grand Junction scored four runs on four singles and a walk.

“They were finding holes,” Chukars pitching coach Jeff Suppan said of Grand Junction’s hitters. “Sometimes, you make a really good pitch and it gets hit. Sometimes, you make a bad pitch and it’s an out. This is development. You’re learning. You’ve gotta know, how do you pitch when you don’t have your best stuff?”

The final two runs scored on a play that summed up I.F.’s first eight innings. With two outs, Cole Anderson hit a soft ground ball to Jordan Ebert. The ball rolled right under the legs of the Chukars’ second baseman, resulting in a 12-1 lead for the Rockies.

Baker holds I.F. in check

Rockies starter Bryan Baker entered Friday’s game with a 7.52 ERA. He had allowed at least two earned runs in his first five starts, and he was facing the Pioneer League’s best lineup.

Naturally, Baker quieted the Chukars.

Idaho Falls catcher Meibrys Viloria loads up to make a throw after a dropped third strike during Friday’s game against Grand Junction at Melaleuca Field. (Courtesy of Steve Thayer)
Idaho Falls catcher Meibrys Viloria loads up to make a throw after a dropped third strike during Friday’s game against Grand Junction at Melaleuca Field. (Courtesy of Steve Thayer)

The right-hander allowed a run on two hits and a walk in the first inning. I.F.’s next four innings against Baker were scoreless. On the night, Baker allowed allowed five hits with five strikeouts and the lone walk.

Viloria’s streak continues 

Meibrys Viloria had another strong performance at the plate Wednesday, going 2 for 5 with an RBI double. The all-star catcher extended his hitting streak to 16 games in the process.

Viloria has gone 31 for 61 (.508) with three home runs, two triples and six doubles during the steak, which began July 7 at Ogden.

Player of the game 

Rockies right fielder Manny Melendez 

Melendez and Jonathan Piron both recorded four hits, including one extra-bagger. Piron hit a double and Melendez hit home run, which gives him the slight edge for this award.

Up next 

The Chukars (23-17, 1-1 second half) and Rockies (17-23, 1-1) return to Melaleuca Field Saturday at 7:15 p.m. Igol Feliz (6.31 ERA) will start for I.F.

Chukars shine in speedy 7-0 win over Osprey

Machado
Machado

Life is good for the Idaho Falls Chukars at Melaleuca Field this summer.

The Chukars failed to reach 10 hits at home for the first time in 11 games (they finished with nine) Monday, but they came through when it counted. And combined with the dominating and efficient pitching of Andres Machado, Cole Way and Reinaldo Cepin, Idaho Falls cruised to a 7-0 win over the Missoula Osprey that sent the crowd of 3,502 fans home in 2 hours and 13 minutes.

The win pushed Idaho Falls to 14-4 at the friendly confines on Jim Garchow Way. Idaho Falls is tied with Orem for first place in the Pioneer League South Division at 18-12.

Mound masters

There’s efficient, and then there’s the performances turned in by Idaho Falls’ pitching trio Monday. Machado set the tone,allowing a double to Eudy Ramos with one out in the second inning but nothing else. The 6-foot, 175-pound right-hander pounded the strike zone, didn’t walk a hitter and struck out four in five innings. And he did it on just 51 pitches.

“He was dominating,” Idaho Falls manager Justin Gemoll said. “He had a good fastball, he had command He was on.”

Machado was followed by the 6-foot-10 lefty Way, who allowed just one hit while striking out two in two scoreless innings. Cepin finished it off, giving up two hits and striking out one in two innings.

Hit parade

Idaho Falls entered the game as the Pioneer League’s best hitting team. They added nine hits in 31 at bats to that total, giving the Chukars a .326 team batting average. And while they didn’t reach double digits Monday, they were timely when it mattered.

Ricky Aracena got things started with a leadoff walk, Angelo Castellano moved him to second on a fielder’s choice, Manny Olloque got him to third with a sac fly and Meibrys Villoria brought him home with a single to center.

Idaho Falls followed the same pattern in the second, with Nick Heath drawing a leadoff walk, Ryan Dale following with single, Luke Willis adding a sac bunt and Castellano scoring Heath with a single to left.

The Chukars broke it open in the third, highlighted by Dale’s two-run single to center.

“They’ve got a consistent approach,” Gemoll said. “They’re locked in on what they want to hit.”

Player of the game

The honor has to go to Machado, who picked up his first win of the season. The native of Carabobo, Venezuela, has allowed just one run in the last 14 innings. Machado’s ERA was 13.50 after his first outing, 10.13 after his second and 7.62 after his third. It sits at 4.00 after Monday’s gem.

Up next

The Chukars and Osprey wrap up their four-game series at 7:15 p.m. tonight at Melaleuca Field. Idaho Falls is then off Wednesday before opening a four-game series in Helena, Mont. on Thursday.

Sunday’s game

CHUKARS 11, OSPREY 3: Idaho Falls kept its good streak going, piling up 17 hits and rolling to its fifth win in the past five games in front of 1,104 fans Sunday at Melaleuca Field.

Designated hitter Yeison Melo led the attack, going 4 for 4 while pushing his batting average to .351. Melo singled twice, doubled and belted a two-run homer in the third inning.

But Melo was far from the only hitting hero. Shortstop Ricky Aracena went 3 for 3, drew a walk and scored three runs, Third baseman Manny Olloque was 3 for 5 with two runs scored and an RBI while second baseman Jordan Ebert went 3 for 5 with double, a run and two RBIs for Idaho Falls.

That was more than enough support for Chukars starter Igol Feliz. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound righty worked a solid seven innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts to pick up his first win of the season. Lefty Christian Flecha got the final six outs, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out one.

Chukars’ home prosperity continues with 8-2 win

Luna
Luna

After a week away from Melaleuca Field, the Idaho Falls Chukars looked revitalized Wednesday.

The offense was its usual destructive self, the defense was crisp and the pitching was stingy. It was the team road crowds have rarely seen and I.F. crowds have grown accustomed to.

In the end, the Chukars beat the Helena Brewers 8-2.

Home cooking

A team succeeding at home isn’t news, but the Chukars have been especially potent at Melaleuca Field and lackluster on the road.

Wednesday’s win improved I.F.’s home record to 10-3, compared to 4-8 on the road. The Chukars have a 32-run differential at home, while their road differential is minus-1.

I.F.’s success this season has sprung from its bats, which delivered again on Wednesday.

The Chukars drew four walks and piled up 15 hits, including three that went for extra bases. Designated hitter Yeison Melo went 3 for 5 with a triple, while left fielder Luke Willis, catcher Meibrys Viloria, center fielder Rudy Martin and second baseman Jordan Ebert each added two hits.

The defense only committed one error and made multiple highlight plays, such as Ebert’s leaping catch that prevented a run and began an inning-ending double play in the fifth inning.

Alex Luna, Sam Selman and Christian Flecha fell into some holes but clamped down whenever Helena smelled a rally.

Olloque’s scare

Chukars third baseman Manny Olloque was absent from the lineup Wednesday because he was involved in a car accident before the game.

One of I.F.’s bat boys was driving the car, and Olloque said the other driver was at fault. The front of the bat boy’s car was smashed and the airbags inflated on impact, but none of the passengers were seriously hurt.

“Luckily, we were wearing our seat belts,” Olloque said.

The airbags left lingering pain in Olloque’s chest, which led the Chukars’ coaching staff to hold him out of Wednesday’s game. Olloque believed he could have played, and he said he’ll be ready for Thursday’s game.

Roster moves

The Chukars made several roster changes on Wednesday.

Tanner Stanley (.337 average, .883 OPS in 89 at-bats for I.F.) moved up to Single-A Lexington. Fellow outfielder Leland Clemmons (5 for 10 with a home run for I.F.) was released.

The Chukars also added three players from the Arizona League: Ebert, Martin and right-handed pitcher Paul Young. Martin played two games for the Chukars last season.

Player of the game

Chukars starting pitcher Alex Luna

Luna got into some hairy jams thanks to nine hits allowed, but he escaped them all. Throwing strikes was a main key to his success. He struck out five and walked none on 55 strikes against 25 balls.

Luna has allowed two earned runs in his last three starts (17.2 total innings). His season ERA is now 2.08, and he’s struck out 29 while walking six.

Up next

Jace Vines will start for the Chukars (14-11) against fellow righty Rodrigo Benoit. First pitch against the Brewers (10-15) is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

Chukars’ rally comes up short in Ogden

Flecha
Flecha

The Idaho Falls Chukars and Ogden Raptors left a large chunk of offense in Idaho Falls, but they played their second close game in Ogden.

A night after the Raptors won 4-3 in 10 innings, they held on for a 5-4 win on Thursday at Lindquist Field. The tight victory completed a two-game sweep for Ogden over I.F.

Chukars make it interesting

When Ogden took a 5-0 lead after four innings, three Chukars had reached base (one single, two walks). But I.F. did not go quietly.

Angelo Castellano walked, Manny Olloque reached on an error and Meibrys Viloria and Yeison Melo each hit RBI doubles in the top of the sixth, cutting the deficit to 5-3.

In the top of the ninth, Tanner Stanley scored on a two-out wild pitch to decrease the deficit to 5-4. Olloque followed that up with a single, but Viloria grounded out to second base to end the game.

This was I.F.’s seventh one-run game of the season. The Chukars are now 3-4 in those contests.

Flecha holds the fort

I.F.’s late offensive surge wouldn’t have mattered if Christian Flecha struggled.

The left-hander replaced starting pitcher Jace Vines (five earned runs, six hits, two walks, four strikeouts) in the fifth inning, and he finished the game. Flecha pitched 3.2 scoreless innings, allowed one hit and one walk and struck out three.

Flecha’s shutdown performance came four days after he gave up three earned runs in 0.2 innings against Grand Junction. His ERA dropped by 2.28 points after Thursday’s outing.

Can’t run before you walk

The Chukars mustered five hits for the second straight night after averaging 17.3 hits per game their previous four contests. But while the Chukar bats remained quiet, the plate discipline improved.

I.F. followed up a three-walk performance on Wednesday with seven free passes on Thursday. Only one player (Castellano) scored after drawing a walk, which points to I.F.’s struggles with the bat. But a patient approach can lead to better pitches, which can rescue hitters from slumps.

Player of the game

Raptors center fielder Cody Thomas

Thomas earns this honor for the second straight night. That’s because he hit a two-run home run for the second straight night, this time in the first inning. He finished 1 for 3 with a walk.

Up next

The Chukars (11-9) continue their road trip with a four-game series at Orem (13-7) starting Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Big eighth inning lifts Chukars over Rockies 6-2

Viloria
Viloria

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.