The Idaho Falls Chukars returned to Melaleuca Field on Wednesday night, but the team’s recent funk continued.
The Chukars dropped a 9-3 decision to former Pioneer League Southern Division foe Ogden, falling behind early and failing to mount a comeback as the Raptors padded their lead late.
The loss was the seventh in the past eight games for the Chukars (14-8), whose once impressive lead in the standings is now two games over Missoula. The Raptors (18-6) lead the Southern Division and have the best record in the Pioneer League.
The game was the series opener between the North and South leaders, but the Chukars couldn’t keep pace with Ogden, which entered the game as the top scoring team in the league at eight runs per game.
The Raptors loaded the bases in the bottom of the second inning with no outs and scored two runs when Ramon Rodriguez hit a liner off of Idaho Falls starter Anthony Veneziano that ricocheted toward third. Veneziano got to the ball but his throw home was wild and two runs scored. Andy Pages followed with a double to left that brought home two more runs for a 4-0 Raptors advantage.
Down 4-2, the Chukars had their chances in the fourth, loading the bases with no outs but failed to score. Ogden added a couple of insurance runs in the fifth.
Idaho Falls finished with eight hits and left 11 runners on base. Ismaldo Rodriguez had the lone RBI for the Chukars.
The series continues today at 7:15 p.m. at Melaleuca Field. Probable starters are Alec Marsh for the Chukars and Alfredo Tavarez for the Raptors.