(Mustangs media release)
BILLINGS – The Billings Mustangs (13-4, 28-27) forced a rubber match with a 6-4 win over the Idaho Falls Chukars (8-9, 29-26) in front of 2,304 at Dehler Park on Tuesday.
The Mustangs would score four of their six runs over the first three innings off starter Jonathan Bowlan (1-4). Cash Case led off the first with a single and scored immediately on Jay Schuyler’s RBI double to right. Mariel Bautista hit in Schuyler on a grounder to third for his first of three RBI on the night to make it a 2-0 Mustangs lead.
That lead was extended in the second when Juan Martinez hit his second home run in the last three days; this one a solo shot off Bowlan. Martinez finished his night 2-for-3 with a double, home run and a walk.
Ricardo Smith (1-4) earned his first win of the season going five innings in the start for the Mustangs, allowing three runs on seven hits. He struck out four and did not issue a walk.
Three Mustangs pitchers combined to strike out six and not walk a man while the Chukars struggled with control, walking seven in the game.
While the Mustangs were out-hit by four, four of their six hits were for extra bases made up of two doubles and two homers.
Leading by just one into the sixth, Mariel Bautista extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a two-run blast off reliever Nathan Webb. Bautista has extended his hitting streak the last three nights with an extra-base hit. It was his sixth home run of the season.
Connor Ryan threw two innings of shutout relief while Ryan Dunne earned the two-inning save for his second save in his last three appearances.
With the win, the Mustangs have clinched a winning record in this seven-game home stand and have forced a rubber match Wednesday night in the finale of their three-game series with Idaho Falls. First pitch at Dehler Park is set for 7:05 p.m.