MISSOULA – Dylan Chalmers and Brendon Hill did most of the work for the Missoula Mavericks on Tuesday night. The rest of their teammates did just enough to hand the Mavs two more conference wins over the Great Falls Chargers and improve Missoula’s winning streak to four games.
The Mavs won the first game 3-1 behind a complete-game performance from Chalmers. He gave up only six hits over seven innings. Then Missoula hung on for a 4-3 victory in Game 2, with Hill also allowing six hits over seven innings for another complete game.
Great Falls wasted a couple strong pitching performances of its own. Nolan Croskrey gave up only five hits and walked three while pitching all of Game 1. Derrick Spring allowed only four hits and a single earned run but took the tough loss after five and two thirds innings in the nightcap.
The Chargers got on the board first to start the evening at Lindborg-Cregg Field. After a leadoff double and bunt single, Cal Cromwell singled in a run to make it 1-0. Great Falls had runners on first and second with nobody out at that point, but Chalmers got out of the jam. Great Falls also put runners on the corners in the fourth without scoring, but the Chargers didn’t get a base-runner over the final three innings. Chalmers retired the final eight batters he faced.
Even with the great pitching performance, the Mavs were staring down a tough loss until the offense finally came through in the bottom of the fifth. Clayton Franke laid down a sacrifice bunt that allowed Sam Bucy to score from third and tie the game. Then with two outs, James Martin and Tradd Richardson each added RBI singles to take the lead, and ultimately give the Mavericks the win.
In Game 2, the Mavs used another three-run inning to take a lead they never gave up. Richardson clubbed a two-out double that scored a pair in the bottom of the third. Dane Fraser followed with a triple four pitches later to make it 3-0.
Great Falls finally got on the board in the fifth. Braden Hirst led off with a triple, and Kael Richards knocked him in with a single. Cromwell added a two-out RBI single later in the frame to cut the lead to 3-2.
Missoula added a much-needed insurance run with another two-out rally in the sixth. Franke was hit by a pitch, advanced to second on a Martin walk, and scored on a Brendan Buchanan single.
Missoula’s defense almost cost Hill the victory in the seventh. Back-to-back errors put runners on second and third with nobody out, but Hill got three straight flyouts, allowing only one run to score on a sac fly and stranding the tying runner on second base.
Missoula now steps out of conference play for the rest of the week. The Mavericks head to a tournament in Lewiston, Idaho starting on Thursday. Great Falls will next host Bozeman in another conference doubleheader at 1 p.m. Sunday.