(Billings Mustangs release)
BILLINGS – The Billings Mustangs (13-18, 31-37-1) earned their second shutout victory of the season on Saturday, winning 2-0 over the Helena Brewers (11-20, 26-43) in front of 717 at Kindrick Legion Field.
Both starters would provide quality outings as Packy Naughton and Alec Bettinger faced off for the second time in a week. Naughton tossed six shutout innings, allowing just four hits and striking out six. Bettinger made it through seven shutout innings while neither starter received a decision.
The first and only runs of the game were delivered by Billings in the top of the eighth inning off Helena reliever Nelson Hernandez (5-4). Montrell Marshall was walked with one out for the first runner of the inning and was replaced by Zeke White as a pinch-runner. White stole second for his eighth swipe of the season to put a runner in scoring position for the first time Saturday for Billings. He scored on Jeter Downs’ two-out RBI single, a hit which began a string of three consecutive two-out hits. Stuart Fairchild also added in an RBI single in the inning to score Downs. Fairchild finished 3-for-4 with an RBI to lead all hitters.
Tyler Buffett (4-2) also provided three innings of scoreless relief for Billings, including a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth to punctuate the win. The best opportunity for the Brewers came in the bottom of the eighth when they moved men to the corners with one out before Buffett drew a double play off the bat of Gabriel Garcia to end the inning. It was the second shutout of the year for Billings after not recording a single shutout victory in 2016.
The Mustangs can now look for the sweep in the brief two-game series Sunday at Kindrick Legion Field. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m.