OREM — The Orem Owlz's season ended Sunday amid the haze of a 9-3 playoff loss to visiting Idaho Falls.

The Chukars netted the bulk of their offensive output on a three-run home run in the top of the first and a fifth-inning grand slam.

"Two swings, seven runs," Orem manager Tom Kotchman said. "We make mistakes at the wrong time, and we pay for them. They're an older club, (and) I think their experience showed a little bit more today.

"It was just bad timing with those home runs. Those things hurt you, and we weren't able to stay out of the big inning."

The Owlz, trailing only 3-2 as the fifth inning began, will be left to wonder what might have been if not for a costly error.

With one on and no outs, Idaho Falls second baseman Kurt Mertins hit a slow roller up the middle that had double play written all over it. The ball, however, trickled under the glove of Orem second baseman Tadd Brewer as he attempted to backhand it and went into the outfield. Instead of having no runners and two outs, Owlz starting pitcher Kenneth Herndon found himself facing men on first and third with nobody out.

It was a jam Herndon would not escape. After yielding a two-RBI double to designated hitter Marc Maddox a couple of hitters later, Herndon gave way to reliever Barret Browning. Kotchman subsequently lifted Browning after two batters for Pedro Herrera, whose first pitch Brenan Herrera deposited onto the grassy hill beyond left field for the death-blow grand slam and a 9-2 lead.

"I was just trying to put the best (pitcher) out there for the matchup," Kotchman said. "(Pedro) Herrera comes in, and he's been lights-out lately. He threw a first pitch that was a hanging breaking ball, and (Brenan) Herrera hit it out. He's an experienced kid, and his experience paid off."

Orem never recovered. The Owlz managed only a handful of singles the rest of the way. In the bottom of the eighth Orem loaded the bases with one out and even pushed across a run to make it 9-3, but catcher Scott Knazek grounded into an inning-ending double play.

First baseman Jase Tuner staked Idaho Falls to a 3-0 lead with a three-run shot in the top of the first inning.

In the home half of the first, Orem answered back with a pair of its own runs. Brewer and Peter Bourjos were on second and third, respectively, with no outs. Brewer scored on Christopher Pettit's sacrifice fly, and a groundout by first baseman Abel Nieves plated Bourjos to make it 3-2.

With Saturday's win, the Chukars clinched the best-of-three series two games to none. Idaho Falls advances to take on Missoula in the Pioneer League Championship Series.

Their elimination means that in 2006 the Owlz franchise will not finish the season atop the Pioneer League for the first time in three years.