Tag: Jonathan Piron

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 earn second straight walk-off win over Rockies

Chukars shortstop Angelo Castellano tags out Cole Anderson, of the Grand Junction Rockies, on Friday at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)
Chukars shortstop Angelo Castellano tags out Cole Anderson, of the Grand Junction Rockies, on Friday at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)

The Idaho Falls Chukars walked off winners against the Grand Junction Rockies for the second straight night.

Friday’s walk-off wasn’t quite as odd as Thursday’s (more on that later), but it was almost as rare. Nick Heath hit a two-run triple in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Chukars a 5-4 win at Melaleuca Field.

“It’s a great feeling,” Heath said.

Heath’s walk-off

The center fielder Heath came to the plate with one out and runners on first and second in the bottom of the ninth. Grand Junction led 4-3. Heath fell into a 1-2 hole, but he turned on the next pitch and lined it down the left-field line.

The outcome of the play came down to a footrace, which the Chukars won easily. The ball rolled so far into the corner that Manny Olloque, who started the play at first base, scored standing up.

“I kinda knew I was gonna get an offspeed down-and-in, some type of pitch inside,” Heath said. “That’s what I was geared up for, and I was able to put a barrel on it.

Right-handed pitcher Jace Vines is the highest 2016 MLB draft selection on the Chukars roster, and the fourth-rounder made his first start for I.F. on Friday. But he was completely overshadowed by the 18-year-old who started for Grand Junction.

That 18-year-old was Riley Pint, a right-hander who was selected No. 4 overall in last month’s MLB draft.

Pint retired the final six batters he faced after a leadoff infield single by Luke Willis. He struck out two and walked none, mixing a mid-90s fastball with a big breaking curveball. He was relieved after two innings due to a pitch limit.

“I had to get all the nerves out of the way before I started pitching, but it was great,” Pint said. “I was finally glad to get on the mound.”

Thursday’s game under protest

The Chukars walked off in strange fashion Wednesday, and the Rockies were not happy with a crucial non-call.

With runners on first and second, Willis hit a ground ball to second baseman Jonathan Piron, who turned and threw to shortstop Jose Gomez. Gomez dropped the ball and got hit in the knee by a sliding Meibrys Viloria. Gomez writhed in pain as the ball rolled away, allowing Colton Frabasilio to score and give I.F. a 7-6 win in 10 innings.

Angelo Castellano, of the Idaho Falls Chukars, breaks his bat during a line drive in the second inning against the Grand Junction Rockies on Friday at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)
Angelo Castellano, of the Idaho Falls Chukars, breaks his bat during a line drive in the second inning against the Grand Junction Rockies on Friday at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)

The Rockies are protesting the game, arguing that Viloria’s slide was outside of the basepaths. But manager Frank Gonzales doesn’t expect the result to change, he said Friday. The umpires told Gonzales that the non-call on Viloria’s slide was judgment call, which cannot be overturned by a protest.

Roster moves

The Chukars lost one outfielder and gained another on Friday. Jose Sanchez was moved to Burlington (the Kansas City Royals’ other Rookie-level team), and Leland Clemmons moved up to I.F. from the Arizona League.

Sanchez hit .438 with a .938 OPS in 16 at-bats for the Chukars this summer. Clemmons, who the Royals signed as an undrafted free agent in 2014, hit .083 with a .646 OPS and one home run in 12 at-bats for the Royals last month. He has 11 home runs in his three-year career.

Player of the game

Chukars center fielder Nick Heath

Heath finished 2 for 4 including the walk-off triple.

The Chukars (8-6) will face another first-round pitcher on Saturday at Melaleuca Field. The Rockies (6-7) will start righty Mike Nikorak, the 27th overall pick in the 2015 MLB draft. I.F. will send lefty Matt Portland to the hill. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.

Chukars beat Rockies 7-6 on an odd walk-off play

Idaho Falls Chukars third baseman Angelo Castellano grabs an infield grounder during Thursday’s game against the Grand Junction Rockies at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)
Idaho Falls Chukars third baseman Angelo Castellano grabs an infield grounder during Thursday’s game against the Grand Junction Rockies at Melaleuca Field. (Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com)

In one moment, the Idaho Falls Chukars’ rally looked over. A moment later, they were celebrating a walk-off win.

So goes baseball.

Idaho Falls ended a three-game losing streak with a 7-6 win in 10 innings Thursday over the Grand Junction Rockies. The play that gave I.F. the win baffled just about everyone in attendance at Melaleuca Field.

‘A weird walk-off’

Chukars first baseman Colton Frabasilio said the weirdest walk-off play he’s ever seen came between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3 of the 2013 World Series, a game he attended. In the bottom of the ninth, St. Louis’ Allen Craig tripped over Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks following a wayward throw from Boston catcher Jared Saltalamacchia. Craig was out at the plate, but the umpires ruled that Middlebrooks obstructed Craig’s path home. That meant Craig scored, and the Cardinals went up 2-1 in the series.

Frabasilio played a key role in Thursday’s walk-off, which was almost as odd as the World Series play.

Frabasilio was on second base, Meibrys Viloria was on first and Luke Willis was at the plate with one out in the 10th. Willis hit a two-hopper to Rockies second baseman Jonathan Piron, who tried to start an inning-ending double play. But Jose Gomez could not hold onto Piron’s throw, and Viloria hit Gomez with his right leg as he slid into second base. Viloria’s slide sent Gomez to the ground in pain, and the ball trickled into the outfield. Frabasilio scored easily as a result.

“I just turned around, saw the ball rolling on the ground and that was it,” Frabasilio said. “It was a weird walk-off, for sure.”

Field umpire Forrest Ladd did not make any signal during the play. He and home plate umpire Carter Goodson agreed that Viloria’s slide was not illegal, so Gomez was charged with an error (the ninth of the game) and I.F. earned the win. Gomez walked off the field after spending a few minutes on the ground with a trainer tending to him.

The Chukars suffered two walk-off losses earlier this week. The first was a 6-5 loss at Grand Junction on Monday, when Piron hit a walk-off RBI single in the 10th. The second came on Tuesday at Ogden, a 12-11 loss in which the Raptors scored three times in the bottom of the ninth.

Roster move

Left-handed pitcher Sam Selman joined the Chukars late Thursday afternoon to continue his rehab assignment.

Selman made six relief appearances in Double-A Northwest Arkansas this April before hitting the 7-day disabled list in May. He pitched out of the bullpen three times since June 22 for the Arizona League Royals, where he began his rehab assignment.

The 25-year-old made his pro debut with I.F. in 2012. He appeared in 13 games (12 starts), posting a 2.09 ERA with 89 strikeouts and 22 walks. Selman advanced as high as Triple-A Omaha, where he made five relief appearances in 2014.

Player of the game

Chukars designated hitter Ryan Dale

The Aussie went 2 for 4 with his first home run of the season, a solo shot off Alejandro Requena in the fifth inning.

Up next

The Chukars (7-6) and Rockies (6-6) convene again at 7:15 p.m. Friday with a couple of high 2016 draft picks starting on the mound. Fourth-rounder Jace Vines will start for I.F. against fellow righty Riley Pint, the fourth overall pick in the June draft.

Chukars fall 6-5 to Rockies in 10 innings

Viloria
Viloria

The Idaho Falls Chukars erased an early five-run deficit only to give it away in extra innings, falling to the Grand Junction Rockies 6-5 in 10 innings Monday night in Colorado. That gave the Rockies a split of their four-game home series against the Chukars and left the teams tied with 6-4 records.

Tough start

Idaho Falls starting pitcher Matt Portland got off on the wrong foot Monday, starting with a walk to leadoff man Manuel Melendez. That was followed by a single, a sac fly, a single, another sac fly and a single before Luis Brito sent a ball over the fence in right for a three-run homer.

The Chukars’ lefty settled down after that, allowing just one more hit over his next four innings while finishing with seven strikeouts. Idaho Falls closed the gap with two runs in the second and one in the third, and forced extra innings with single runs in the eighth and ninth innings.

Big finish

The Rockies escaped a jam in the top of the 10th inning when David Edwards led off with a single. After Manny Olloque struck out, the threat ended on a strikeout and caught stealing. In the bottom of the 10th, Melendez led off with another walk, moved to second on Jose Gomez’s sac bunt and scored on Jonathan Piron’s single to right.

Player of the game

Chukars DH Meibrys Viloria

Viloria, a 5-foot-11, 175-pounder from Cartagena, Colombia, continued his torrid start of the season with another big night Monday. Viloria doubled (his ninth of the season) and homered (his first of 2016) in a 3-for-4 night, scoring once and driving in two runs. He bumped his batting average to .548.

Up next

The Chukars (6-4) head north to begin a three-game series against the struggling Ogden Raptors (1-9) at 7 tonight.

Sunday’s game

CHUKARS 18, ROCKIES 7: At Grand Junction, Colo., Idaho Falls pounded out 10 doubles and 23 hits overall in a thrashing of Grand Junction.

The Chukars led 4-0 after two innings, 6-1 after three, 7-1 after four and 13-1 after five.

Catcher Meibrys Viloria added to his hot start, going 3 for 6 with two doubles, two runs and two RBIs. Viloria is hitting .519 with eight doubles in seven games. Yeison Melo was 2 for 6 with two doubles, a run and four RBIs, Angelo Castellano was 2 for 3 with two doubles, four runs and three RBIs and Ricky Aracena went 2 for 6 with two doubles, a run and an RBI.

Alex Luna was the beneficiary of all of those runs, allowing two earned runs on five hits and three walks while striking out nine in 5.2 innings to earn the win.

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.