(Editor’s Note: This is a release from the Billings Mustangs)
BILLINGS – The Billings Mustangs (10-6) had their three-game winning streak come to an end on Tuesday with a 5-4 loss to the Helena Brewers (8-8) in front of 2,732 at Dehler Park.
Mac Sceroler (0-1) made his professional debut in the start for Billings. After striking out Jose Gomez to start the game, Sceroler hit a rough patch in the first. He would wind up walking the bases loaded before Zach Clark singled to score Chad McClanahan to open the scoring. Yeraldy Martinez then hit a grand slam in the next at-bat to make it a 5-0 Brewer lead. It was the sixth grand slam hit in the Pioneer League this season and the fourth hit by the Brewers.
That, however, is where the offense would end for Helena. They would not score another run and would only collect one more hit the rest of the game. Moises Nova, Connor Bennett, and Dauri Moreta combined for eight shutout innings of relief, allowing just one hit and striking out 16. The Mustangs struck out 19 total in the game, a new season-high. The three Brewer hits is a new season-low for Mustang opponents.
Billings narrowed the score with two homeruns in the third. Morgan Lofstrom and Jeter Downs each had solo homers in the inning. It was the first of the year for Lofstrom and the first of his professional career for Downs.
An Alejo Lopez triple to lead off the fifth turned into another run when Lofstrom sacrificed him in. Lofstrom would have three RBI in the game. Lopez finished 2-for-4 with two triples. He is the second Mustang, along with Zeke White, to collect multiple triples in a game this season.
Lofstrom singled in the seventh to Lopez to bring the Mustangs within one, but that is as close as they would get. Andrew Vernon and Parker Bean did not allow a run over the last two innings for Helena.The tying run would get to third in the bottom of the eighth when Montrell Marshall was walked with one out and advanced two bases on Andy Sugilio’s single. Back-to-back strikeouts from Vernon would strand them both aboard.
The Mustangs will host the Brewers for the finale of their two-game series Wednesday at Dehler Park in Billings. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.