With Great Falls trying desperately to defend their Pioneer League title from a year ago and with no other Chicago White Sox affiliates in action, we’ll take some time this week to put together quick recaps of this week’s final series in Montana.
It started out exciting, but a bit rough for the Voyagers, who dropped the series opener against the last-place Idaho Falls Chukars, 2-1, in 10 innings.
As you might imagine, the pitching was brilliant for Great Falls. A 2019 draftee, Chase Solesky, started and threw five innings of four-hit, one-earned, five-K ball. Solesky has struggled at times in his first pro year (6.17 ERA after tonight’s gem), but came up CLUTCH for the Voyagers tonight. It was Solesky’s longest pro outing.
Following Solesky was McKinley Moore, who threw two delicious frames as well, with four Ks. Moore came up from the AZL White Sox at the end of August and has yet to surrender an earned run in two outings.
Problem was, while the Chukars were mostly snuffed through six, so were the Voyagers. Great Falls rallied to tie in the top of the fifth, when Luis Mieses led off with a double to center and Ty Greene followed with a single to right, rattling it off of Chukars first baseman Travis Jones and into right field.
Sam Abbott pushed Greene to second with a single, but then was picked off of first base by catcher Stephan Vidal. With two outs, Tom Archer singled for the fourth hit of the inning, but Greene was gunned down at home trying to give Great Falls the lead.
It would prove to be a costly out, because after a Caberea Weaver single to lead off the sixth innings, the Voyagers would be held hitless.
The game went into extras, and in the bottom half Idaho Falls sacrificed the starter runner on second base to third, and after an intentional walk and strikeout, Rhett Aplin singled home the winning run with two outs, for a heartbreaking Great Falls loss.
Jason Morgan starts tomorrow for the Voyagers, and has improved over the course of the season, holding a 4.58 ERA. He’s opposed by a pretty hittable Chukars starter, Stephen Ridings, with a 6.62 ERA; Voyagers Sam Abbott and Bryan Connell have homered off of him already this season.