(Billings Mustangs release)
HELENA – The Helena Brewers (5-3) denied the Billings Mustangs (3-5) their first series win of the season, winning 3-2 in walk-off fashion in front of 546 at Kinidrick Legion Field.
Helena opened the game with a run in the first, the seventh time in eight games the Mustangs have surrendered a first-inning run. Yeison Coca reached on a wild pitch after striking out, stole two bases and scored on a grounder to first. Coca stole three bags in the game to launch him into the Pioneer League lead in steals.
Luis Alecis set himself a new season-high in strikeouts in the start. The righty allowed just one run in five innings. He would not receive a decision.
The Mustangs tied the game in the top of the third on their second double of the game. After Francis Azcona led off the inning with a walk, Manzanero smashed a double to left-center to make it a 1-1 game.
Billings then took their only lead of the afternoon in the sixth on Urwin Juaquin’s RBI single to score Robert Boselli III, who singled earlier in the inning for his first professional hit.
Helena was able to immediately tie the game up in the bottom of the same inning with a grounder from Pablo Abreu that scored Chad McClanahan. It would be the only multi-hit inning for either side as they both collected two hits in the sixth.
Connor Ryan tossed two perfect innings of relief for Billings, keeping the game even through the seventh and eighth.
The Mustangs saw their best opportunity to re-claim the lead in the top of the ninth inning. Reshard Munroe would pinch-hit and single to left to lead off the frame. Munroe is now on a six-game hitting streak and has 11 hits in 21 at-bats in that time. After Francis Azcona bunted Munroe to second, the next two batters would go down on fly-outs to strand the go-ahead run at second.
After a one-out walk in the bottom of the ninth, Yeison Coca delivered an RBI double to center to score Jesus Lujano all the way from first and give the Brewers the series win.
The Mustangs finish their first road trip of the season 2-4. They now return to Billings for a five-game homestand beginning with a three-game series against the Great Falls Voyagers. First pitch on Monday at Dehler Park is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.