Rookie-Advanced Idaho Falls was outhit in its playoff opener Monday, but the Chukars still rolled to a 7-1 victory over Grand Junction.
That's because the Rockies made eight errors (yes, eight) that led to seven unearned runs as Idaho Falls won its first playoff game since 2006.
“We just couldn’t catch the ball, couldn’t throw the ball,” Grand Junction manager Anthony Sanders told the Grand Junction Sentinel. “The guys were loose all day, they were loose in the clubhouse. The lights came on and maybe some of these young guys froze up.”
Humberto Arteaga opened the Idaho Falls first by reaching on an error. After an out, Hunter Dozier doubled and Cody Stubbs followed with an RBI single. Dozier scored on Daniel Rockett's grounder led to a force out. Mauricio Ramos then singled and Frank Schwindel reached on an error that scored Rockett to give the Chukars a 3-0 lead.
Grand Junction got a run in the top of the third, but the Chukars scored one in their half thanks to two errors.
Idaho Falls pushed three more runs across in the seventh. Arteaga led off and reached on an error, Elier Hernandez walked and Dozier singled to load the bases. After an out, Rockett's ground ball led to an error that scored two. Ramos' grounder scored Dozier to make it 7-1.
Chukars starter Jonathan Dziedzic struck out six in five innings and got the win by allowing just one run on four hits. A left-hander, Dziedzic was a 13th-round pick out of Lamar in this year's draft. He was 2-0 with a 2.68 ERA in the regular season.
Kyle Bartsch gave up two hits in two shutout innings. Josiel Martinez and Matt Alvarez each pitched a hitless inning of relief.
Idaho Falls has a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three Pioneer League Divisional Series. Game two is at Grand Junction, where game three would be played if needed.
This is the first time the Chukars have been in the playoffs since 2007 when Greg Holland Mike Moustakas were were with the team. That team was swept 2-0 by Orem.