(Editor’s note: Great Falls Voyagers release)
GREAT FALLS – The Voyagers used nine extra-base hits to fuel a series-opening 10-7 win over the Helena Brewers Friday night at Centene Stadium.
Great Falls (23-31, 8-8) improved to 13-13 at home and is riding a three-game winning streak. The first-place Voyagers have scored 40 runs on 52 hits over that three-game stretch. It marks the first time this season Great Falls has posted three straight games with double figure runs and double figure hits. Helena (20-34, 5-11) has lost four in a row and sits at 9-18 on the road this season.
The Voyagers opened the scoring with a two-run bottom of the 1st. J.J. Muno reached with a one-out single lined into center. With two outs, Justin Yurchak singled to center. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch and then scored on a Tracy Hadley two-run single into center. Great Falls made it 3-0 with a single mark in the 3rd. Tate Blackman led off with a double and later scored on sacrifice fly to right by Max Dutto.
The Brewers exploded for four runs and the lead in the 3rd. Nick Roscetti and Nicolas Pierre started the inning with infield singles. Kenny Corey drove in the first run with a base hit to left. Tristen Lutz reached with an RBI single to left. Gabriel Garcia tied the game with an RBI groundout to short. Lutz scored for a 4-3 Helena lead with two errors on the same play. A pick-off attempt at second went into center field and allowed Lutz to advance to third. The throw was bobbled in center and Lutz raced home.
Great Falls quickly leveled the game in the bottom of the 3rd with a two-out solo home run from Justin Yurchak deep up the right field line. It was Yurchak’s fourth homer of the season. A two-run 4th for the Voyagers put them ahead to stay. Tate Blackman led off with a walk. With two outs, Logan Taylor and J.J. Muno both walked to load the bases. Anthony Villa then smacked a two-run double deep to the wall in left and it was 6-4.
The Voyagers kept the pressure on with two more two-out runs in the 6th. Logan Taylor doubled to the gap in right-center. A double from Anthony Villa to the wall in right-center scored Taylor. Justin Yurchak followed with a single lined into center that made it 8-4.
Both sides plated a pair of runs in the 7th. After Helena had trimmed the lead to 8-6 in the top of the inning, Max Dutto started a two-out rally in the home half with a soft single to left-center. Dutto scored on a Logan Taylor triple to left-center. And, Anthony Villa pushed the lead to 10-6 with an RBI single to right. Helena scored one in the 9th for the game’s final margin.
Great Falls outhit Helena 16-to-12. Justin Yurchak posted a career high four hits and was just a double shy of the cycle. Yurchak reached all five times and drove in two with two runs scored. Anthony Villa had three hits with four RBIs. Tracy Hadley went 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Logan Taylor finished with two hits and three runs. Tate Blackman had a pair of doubles with two runs. For the Brewers, Nicolas Pierre went 3-for-4 with a triple and a run.
Brandon Agar picked up the win on the mound. Agar (5-1) worked five innings and gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits with a season-high six strikeouts and three walks. Alec Bettinger suffered the loss. Bettinger (3-2) went four innings and yielded six earned runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and three walks.
Great Falls closes out its brief two-game home series with Helena Saturday night. First pitch at Centene Stadium is scheduled for 7 o’clock. The Voyagers play at Helena Sunday and Monday. For 2017 ticketing and promotional information, call 406-452-5311 or visit www.gfvoyagers.com.