(Mustangs media release)
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – The Billings Mustangs (15-7, 30-30) dropped their series opener to the Idaho Falls Chukars (11-11, 32-28) 7-4 in front of 3,264 at Melaleuca Field on Monday night.
In their first trip to Idaho Falls this season, the Mustangs did take an early lead. Pabel Manzanero hit a two-run home run in the fourth, his second home run in as many days. It was his first of two extra-base hits in the game.
Ricardo Smith (1-5) retired the first 11 batters of the game in the start for Billings, taking a perfect game into the fourth inning and a no-hitter into the fifth. The Chukars then poured out four hits for three runs in the fifth. Andres Martin tripled in two and was singled in himself by Nate Eaton. Smith set a new season-high with six innings pitched.
The Chukars managed to score in each of their last four innings at the plate after not having a hit in their first four. Angel Medina had the only multi-hit night for the Chukars, going 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI.
The Mustangs made a late push, pulling back within one in the eighth. Drew Mount singled in Carlos Rivero before Manzanero doubled in Satchel McElroy. Mount had his fourth consecutive multi-hit game, finishing 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI.
Manzanero led the way offensively with a 2-for-4 performance with a double and a home run. He is now tied with Mount for the team lead with eight homers.
The Chukars added some insurance with two more runs in the bottom of the eighth. A walk and a wild pitch would help put them back up 7-4 heading to the ninth.
The Mustangs are now 1-3 on the year against the Chukars after falling in a three-game series back at Dehler Park.
Billings and Idaho Falls will face off in game two of their four-game on Tuesday at Melaleuca Field. First pitch is set for 7:15 p.m.