(Editor’s note: Missoula Osprey release)
MISSOULA – The Missoula Osprey (21-24, 2-5) fell in a close game as the Helena Brewers (22-23, 5-2) defeated the Osprey 6-3 Wednesday at Ogren Park Allegiance Field.
It did not take long for the Missoula offense to jump on Helena starter Blake Lillis as Alek Thomas singled in his first at-bat with Missoula. With two outs, Zack Shannon clubbed his eighth home run on the season to push the Osprey in front 2-0. Shannon is now tied for the most home runs among active players in the league with Zach Almond.
Helena struck back in the top of the second with two runs as Bryan Connell singled and Pablo Abreu scored on the play due to an Osprey error. Jesus Lujano then singled home the game-tying run to make it a 2-2 game. The Brewers took the lead in the top of the fourth as Abreu drilled his fifth home run of the season to centerfield.
Lillis then settled in for the Brewers from the second inning on, allowing three base runners until the eighth. Brandon Leyton led off the inning with a solo home run for Missoula to tie the game. It is Leyton’s second homer in as many days. Jesus Munoz walked to put the go-ahead runner on for Missoula, but Joey Matulovich (2-1) replaced Lillis and finished off the eighth win no more runs allowed.
With a tie game heading into the ninth, Missoula sent Bryan Menendez (1-1) to the mound. With two outs, the Milwaukee Brewers first round pick, Brice Turang, singled to spark a two-out rally. Yeison Coca followed him with a single, as did David Fry to score Turang and give the Brewers a 4-3 lead. Chad McClanahan then doubled home two runs to push the lead to 6-3.
Almond walked to begin the bottom of the ninth while Eddie Hernandez reached on an error to bring the tying man to the plate. However, Matulovich struck out the final batter of the game to preserve the 6-3 Helena victory.
Missoula hosts Helena Thursday for a 7:05 pm first pitch at Ogren Park Allegiance Field. The Selway Armory Pregame Show begins at 6:45 pm on 102.9 ESPN Missoula and the MiLB First Pitch App.