(Mustangs media release)
BILLINGS – The Helena Brewers (12-9) forced a rubber match with a 6-1 win over the Billings Mustangs (7-14) in front of 2,553 at Dehler Park.
The matchup would be the first time that either starting pitcher had seen their opponent. For Ricardo Smith (0-4) it would last five innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and adding in one strikeout. He has gone at least four innings in each of his first four starts.
The Brewers opened the scoring in the top of the third inning with an RBI grounder from Chad McClanahan to score Jesus Lujano who had walked to lead off. It would be the only walk issued by the Billings pitching staff Thursday.
Helena extended that lead with two more runs in the fifth on four hits including two triples. LG Castillo hit his second triple of the season to lead off the inning and scored on Yeison Coca’s Pioneer League-best fourth triple two batters later.
The Mustangs produced their only run in the sixth on consecutive singles to open. Cash Case, making his Pioneer League debut knocked a single off Blake Lillis (2-1) who would not make it out of the inning. Case finished the night 2-for-4 and was hit by a pitch. Mariel Bautista would be the lone man to cross the plate, coming home on Bren Spillane’s RBI single up the middle.
The Brewers put the game away with three more runs in the eighth on three hits while aided by three Mustangs errors. There would be six combined errors committed in the game. Je’Von Ward and Nick Egnatuk each collected their second hit of the game along with an RBI in the frame.
The Mustangs and Brewers will face off in a decisive game three to finish their series Friday at Dehler Park. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.