BILLINGS – The Billings Mustangs (11-7, 34-22) fell 3-1 in their series opener to the Missoula Osprey (8-10, 23-32) Friday in front of 2,474 at Dehler Park. The game included four ejections and four hit batters.
Missoula took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Paxton De La Garza was walked aboard and scored on the RBI double of Eudy Ramos.
Andrew Jordan (1-4) went four innings in the start for the Mustangs, striking out a career-high eight batters. He allowed two runs on six hits. The Mustangs struck out 15 as a staff, the second most they have tallied all season.
The Osprey added to their lead in the top of the third inning to make it 2-0. Jasrado Chisholm singled and scored with the help of two wild pitches.
Billings scored their lone run of the game in the bottom of the third when Taylor Trammell singled over the head of the pitcher Luis Castillo to score T.J. Friedl. Trammell went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. He was responsible for two of the three Mustangs hits. After the third, Billings would not record another base hit in the game.
Things heated up in the fifth when Joel Kuhnel hit Eudy Ramos with a fastball, the second time Ramos had been hit in the game. Kuhnel was immediately ejected and both benches would clear. No punches were thrown. Bryan Araiza hit an RBI single off of Junior Arias later in the inning to round out the Osprey scoring and make it a 3-1 contest.
Cassidy Brown would wear a heater in the sixth, but no ejections followed for the Osprey. Alejo Lopez and Ray Martinez were ejected later that same inning after arguing balls and strikes with the home plate umpire and Arias followed in the seventh after hitting Ramos for a third time. Arias delivered a 93 MPH fastball that hit the third baseman in the helmet to end his night. Arias was ejected and the benches cleared for a second time Friday night. Ramos, unable to continue playing, was escorted off the field and replaced by Kal Simmons at third.
Missoula recorded just one hit after the fifth as both teams went scoreless from the sixth through the ninth.
The Mustangs will try to snap their three-game losing streak Saturday at Dehler Park. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m.