MISSOULA — Payback was pure bliss for the Missoula Osprey Wednesday night.
Two weeks to the day after squandering a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth at Idaho Falls, the O's turned the tables on the Chukars. Missoula erased a two-run deficit in the ninth in a thrilling 4-3 win in front of a season-high 4,432 fans at Ogren-Allegiance Park.
It marked the first time all season the Pioneer League-leading Chukars (13-3) lost a best-of-3 series. Missoula improved to 9-9 with its second straight win over Idaho Falls.
"It was awesome," said Tristen Carranza, who ended the game with a walk-off RBI double. "Hope we can keep doing this for the fans.
"It's a lot of fun playing at this level," added the 22-year-old, who played for New Mexico State in the spring. "Playing baseball every day is fun."
Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Dom Canzone started the rally for the hosts with a leadoff double off reliever Austin Manning. Luvin Valbuena then drew a walk, setting the stage for a David Sanchez base hit that went through the legs of center fielder Isaiah Henry, allowing two runners to score.
One out later, Cesar Garcia was intentionally walked, loading the bases. That set the stage for Carranza's shot to right-center field, scoring Sanchez with the winning run.
The O's were kicking themselves early. They loaded the bases, with a Jose Reyes double and Carranza single sandwiching a Garcia walk. Chukars starting pitcher Anthony Veneziano regrouped and wriggled out of the jam, coaxing three pop-up outs.
Idaho Falls broke on top with a run in the second. Juan Carlos Negret hit a leadoff single, took two bases on a Josh McMinn wild pitch and scored on a wild pitch as his catcher Valbuena struggled to block two balls in the dirt.
Veneziano allowed a Canzone double in the fourth and a Jose Reyes single in the fifth but the lefty departed without surrendering a run. Jose Ramirez came on in relief of the Chukars' starter with two outs in the fifth.
McMinn was almost as good as Veneziano, allowing just one run with six strikeouts in five innings of duty. Pedro Zorilla came on in relief in the sixth and ran into big trouble in the seventh, surrendering a Negret RBI double off the wall and a two-out RBI single by Henry.
Missoula wasted a leadoff double by Spencer Brickhouse in the sixth and a one-out base hit by Valbuena in the seventh.
The Osprey got on the board in the eighth. Garcia ripped a one-out double off Ramirez and Brickhouse delivered a two-out RBI single against Manning. Liover Peguero extended the inning when he reached on an infield error but Kevin Watson was unable to take advantage with runners on first and second.
Ryan Fritze (1-1) picked up the win on the mound after pitching in the top of the ninth. Manning suffered the loss.
Carranza, Brickhouse, Canzone and Reyes all had two hits to lead the Osprey. Reyes, Canzone and Carranza all had a double.
Idaho Falls suffered consecutive losses for the first time this season. The Chukars came to Missoula this week with just one loss.
Negret led all hitters Wednesday with 3 hits. Missoula stranded 10 baserunners in the game and Idaho Falls four.
The Osprey will have their hands full at Idaho Falls Thursday. The Chukars are 9-0 at home this season.