(Billings Mustangs release)
GREAT FALLS – The Billings Mustangs (15-18, 33-37-1) needed just three hits on Monday to earn a 2-1 win over the Great Falls Voyagers (16-17, 31-40) in front of 711 at Centene Stadium.
There would be no scoring in the game until the sixth inning as both starters would impress. Lincoln Henzman went four shutout innings in the start for Great Falls, but Jhon De Jesus (2-4) was the star of the night. The Billings righty went six scoreless innings to set himself a new season-high in innings pitched. He would allow four hits, walk one and tie his career-high with eight strikeouts. It was the third time in his career De Jesus has been able to strike out eight in a game.
The Mustangs were finally able to break through for runs against reliever Fernando Gallegos (2-3) in the sixth. Montrell Marshall was walked to start the frame before Mark Kolozsvary was hit by a pitch. It was the first batter Gallegos has hit in two years of professional baseball. After a sacrifice from Jeter Downs advanced both runners, Miles Gordon singled both Marshall and Kolozsvary in for the lone runs of the game for Billings.
It would prove to be enough as the Voyagers managed just one run on their seven hits. Lucas Benenati struck out the side in the eighth before Connor Ryan earned his eighth save in as many opportunities. Great Falls did get the tying run to third in the ninth after a Franklin Reyes double, but Justin Yurchak would ground out to second to end the game.
The Mustangs have now won three straight games while the Voyagers have dropped their last five contests to put Billings just one game out of first place in the Pioneer League North Division in the second half.
The Mustangs and Voyagers will conclude their two-game series on Tuesday at Centene Stadium in Great Falls. It will be the final time the two teams will face off in 2017. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m.