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Billings Mustangs hold off Helena Brewers Saturday to keep division lead

Posted at 2:34 PM, Aug 05, 2018

(Brewers media release)

Helena – A night after winning a slugfest, the Brewers offense Saturday against Billings staked themselves to two different leads, but failed to capitalize further in several situations. Billings took a one run lead in the seventh after trailing going into the inning. The Mustangs got two key insurance runs in the ninth, winning 7-4 and evening the series at a game apiece. Helena is now two games back of Billings for first place in the Northern division.

The Brewers got the first run of the game in the third, as Brice Turang’s leadoff single scored on a double from Chad McClanahan. However, Billings took the lead in the top of the fourth, as a one out walk to Dylan Harris scored on a two run homer from Drew Mount, giving the Mustangs a 2-1 lead.

Helena though tied the game at two in bottom of the frame, as back to back one out singles from Jesus Lujano and Luis Avila put runners at the corner for Je’Von Ward. Ricky Salinas threw a wild pitch, scoring Lujano from third and moving Avila up to second. Helena left Avila at second as the next two batters were retired.

Billings took the lead again in the sixth, as Harris singled with one out. A pickoff error from Tate Budnick moved Harris to second, and Mount’s ground out sent Harris to third. Juan Martinez then singled Harris home, giving the Mustangs the 3-2.

Yet Helena came right back and retook the lead on the bottom of the sixth. Lujano singled with one out, and on a hit and run call Avila moved Lujano to third. The throw to third advanced Avila to second, which proved critical as Ward singled up the middle, scoring both and giving Helena the 4-3. Ward got to second, but was left there.

Zeek White tied the game at four in the seventh with a leadoff homer, and Mariel Bautista doubled with one out, ending the night for Budnick. Logan Gillaspie entered and punched out Pable Manzanero, but a wild pitch in the at bat moved Bautista to third. Bren Spillane then hit a dribbler up the third base line that teetered and barely stayed fair, scoring Bautista to put Billings back in front.

Helena wasted an opportunity to tie the game in the eighth, as Pablo Abreu got to second with one out but was left on base. Billings scored two in the ninth, as a bases loaded error with two out on a Mount grounder plated two more runs. The Brewers got the tying run to the plate with one out, but a double play ended the game.

The Brewers and Mustangs play the rubber game of the series tomorrow at 1:05 PM, with Justin Bullock making the start for Helena. It is a Bark In The Park Sunday presented by Sky High Kennel, with all dogs allowed in the ballpark.