Tag: Stephen Milligan

Chukars drop tight doubleheader to Missoula

Saturday’s Pioneer League game between the Idaho Falls Chukars and the Missoula Osprey was rained out, giving the Chukars their first night off of the season.

But the extra rest didn’t result in wins the next day.

The rained out game forced a Sunday doubleheader. Missoula won the first game 3-2 and the second 4-1 (each game lasted seven innings) at Allegiance Field to win the series.

After two scoreless innings in game one, the Osprey scored three combined runs in the third and fourth off of starting pitcher Todd Eaton (three earned runs on seven hits and a walk in 5.0 innings pitched) to take a 3-0 lead.

The Chukars answered with two runs in the top of the fifth on a RBI single by designated hitter Nick Dini (1 for 3) and an RBI double by third baseman Ryan Dale (1 for 2).

In the second game, Missoula scored two runs in the first inning on a solo home run from Isan Diaz and a triple from Austin Byler.

Chukars starting pitcher Brandon Thomas settled down after that inning, allowing three total runs (all earned) on five hits and a walk in five innings pitched.

Idaho Falls didn’t score until the top of the seventh inning. The Chukars offense mustered three hits, two by left fielder Roman Collins.

Outfielder Amalani Fukofuka went 1 for 3 with a double in each game to increase his hitting streak to 12 games, the longest in the Pioneer League this season.

Idaho Falls relief pitcher Stephen Milligan gave up one earned run in the second game, ending the bullpen’s 26-inning streak of not allowing an earned run.

Monday’s game between the Chukars and Missoula Osprey was rained out. Both teams will take their scheduled off day today and make up Monday’s game on Wednesday in Idaho Falls as part of a doubleheader, which begins at 5:30 p.m. (each game will last seven innings). Both teams were originally scheduled for a three-game series in Idaho Falls starting Wednesday.

Strong pitching lifts Chukars 4-2 over Orem

By VICTOR FLORES
vflores@postregister.com

A win’s a win, especially for the struggling Idaho Falls Chukars. But no one in pinstripes wanted to see another poor pitching performance, even in victory.

They didn’t.

Led by starting pitcher Derek Gordon, the Chukars (6-13) got a 4-2 win over the first-place Orem Owlz (13-6) on Monday at Melaleuca Field, preventing an Owlz sweep.

Gordon.
Gordon.

“You could tell pre-game, there was a different feeling in the clubhouse,” said Gordon, the younger brother of Kansas City Royals’ All-Star Alex Gordon. “When you go out with the feeling that you’re going to win, it’s tough to lose.”

Before Monday, a Chukars pitcher had gone 5.2 innings or more only three times this season.

Gordon made that four.

Gordon, who lasted

5.2 innings on June 26 against Grand Junction, gave up two hits Monday in his fourth start of the season. The right-hander gave up two runs (one earned) on three walks and seven strikeouts. That’s the most strikeouts by any Idaho Falls pitcher in a single game this season.

“I felt more comfortable on the mound tonight than I have this season,” Gordon said. “I was locating my pitches all night.”

Milligan
Milligan

Stephen Milligan arguably pitched better than Gordon in his 3.1 relief innings. The left-hander gave up zero runs on two hits, a walk and three strikeouts.

At the plate, center fielder Cody Jones continued his hot start. Jones, who joined Idaho Falls on Saturday after a week in Arizona, went 3 for 4 with two doubles and two RBIs on Monday. He’s now 7 for 13 in three games.

Catcher Pedro Gonzalez went 3 for 4 with a double, and Jeckson Flores went 2 for 3.

Other than their 2-0 loss to Grand Junction on June 26, this was the Chukars’ lowest-scoring game of the season.

“They’re going to need to learn to play in these types of games,” Chukars manager Justin Gemoll said. “So, it’s good for us to have a close game every once in a while.”

The Chukars travel to Great Falls for a three-game series starting tonight at 7.

Sunday’s loss

On Sunday, the Chukars fell behind 5-0 after four innings and never recovered in an 8-5 loss to Orem.

Starting pitcher Dylan Sons went 5 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits, two walks and five strikeouts.

1-2-3 hitters Cody Jones, DJ Burt and Josh Banuelos each went 2 for 4 with a walk, with Banuelos adding three RBIs.

Roster shakeup

Three Chukars were promoted to Single-A Lexington after Sunday’s 8-5 loss to Orem — outfielder/first baseman Alexis Rivera and left-handed pitchers Brennan Henry and Eric Stout.

Rivera played for Idaho Falls for parts of each of the last three seasons. He exited Idaho Falls with a .362 batting average and Pioneer League-highs in home runs (seven) and walks (17) in 69 at-bats.

Henry transferred from Lexington to Idaho Falls on June 22. He made four relief appearances for the Chukars, posting a 1.69 ERA in 5.1 innings.

Stout joined the Chukars on June 29 and made one start, giving up three runs (one earned) on five strikeouts and no walks.

“We’re trying to develop players and get them better so we can push them up the system,” Gemoll said. “For us as coaches, we’re real happy anytime that happens.”

These three players will join former Chukars’ infielder Luis Valenzuela, who moved from Idaho Falls to Lexington on July 2.

Former Chukar joins Royals

On Monday, the Kansas City Royals called former Chukar Cheslor Cuthbert. The infielder replaced fellow former Chukar Mike Moustakas, who was placed on the family emergency/bereavement list after leaving the team Sunday for a family emergency, according to the Kansas City Star.

Cuthbert, 22, played one season for the Chukars as a 17-year-old in 2010. The infielder played 14 games for Idaho Falls, hitting .233 with two home runs in 64 plate appearances.

Cuthbert (.256 in 76 games for Triple-A Omaha this season) was set to make his MLB debut Monday against the Tampa Bay Rays starting at third base and batting eighth, but the game was postponed due to tornado warnings.

Chukars drop third straight; Melaleuca Field receives Baseball Digest honor

POST REGISTER

The Grand Junction Rockies and Idaho Falls Chukars, the top two hitting teams in the Pioneer League, played an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel Friday at Sam Suplizio Field.

The Rockies scored single runs in the first and sixth innings and limited the Chukars to a season-low hit total to earn a 2-0 win. Grand Junction improved to 4-1 against Idaho Falls this season.

Two nights after being held to season lows of four runs and seven hits in a loss at Ogden, the Chukars were blanked on six hits. The Chukars struck out six times and got just one runner to third base (a Kyle Pollock triple with two outs in the ninth).

The lack of offense wasted a strong night from I.F. pitchers, who allowed just one earned run on seven hits.

Starter Derek Gordon worked the first 5.2 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Stephen Milligan gave up two hits in 1.1 scoreless innings of relief while Tripp Davis struck out the side in the eighth.

The Chukars (3-6) and Rockies (6-3) play the second of four games at 7 tonight.

Melaleuca Field honored: Melaleuca Field earned the title Best Rookie League Ballpark in a Baseball Digest competition.

Fans voted in an 18-field March Madness-style bracket. Melaleuca Field entered as a No. 4 seed. Melaleuca took down Burlington Athletic Stadium (home of the Burlington Royals) in the fourth round and Dehler Park (home of the Billings Mustangs) in the semifinals.

In the finals, Melaleuca was the top pick of fans over Howard Johnson Field, home of the Johnson City Cardinals.

“Everyone in Idaho Falls should be proud of this competition,” Idaho Falls Chukars general manager/president Kevin Greene said in a news release. “It’s a city-owned facility, so anyone from the fans who come to the games to Melaleuca as a sponsor should take pride in this. I know I am certainly proud to come to work here every day.”

For a closer look at the competition, visit http://ballparkdigest.com/2015/06/26/best-of-the-ballparks-melaleuca-field/.