(Mustangs media release)
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – The Billings Mustangs (16-7, 31-30) held off a late Idaho Falls Chukars (11-12, 32-39) rally to win 5-4 in front of 3,269 on Tuesday at Melaleuca Field.
Neither team was able to find a hit in the first two innings as both starting pitchers opened the game with strong performances. James Marinan (3-1) matched his professional high with six innings of work in the win. The righty gave up just two runs on six hits and struck out five.
The Mustangs got on the board first with a pair of runs in the third. Drew Mount singled in two off Kris Bubic (2-2) for the first of two hits on the night and his second of four reaches. Mount has now tallied multiple hits in five straight games.
Idaho Falls responded with runs in each of the next two innings to tie the game at 2-2. Chase Vallot hit a solo home run, his fifth of the year, to make it an even game in the fourth. It was the first home run given up in professional baseball by Marinan.
The Mustangs would lead the rest of the way after that tie. Mount singled in another run in the fifth. He finished 2-for-3 with two walks and three RBI. Mount is now two RBI off the Pioneer League-lead with 49 on the season.
Andrew McDonald set a new season-high with five strikeouts in two innings of relief.
Satchel McElroy scored two runs in a 3-for-3 night, setting a new season-high in hits for the outfielder.
Both teams would plate two runs in the eighth with the Chukars making two late runs at the Mustangs’ lead. The Chukars would have the tying run in scoring position in both the eighth and ninth innings.
After three walked aboard, Idaho Falls had the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. With the winning run at second, Jose Caraballo grounded out to end the game and give Ryan Dunne his team-best fourth save.
The Mustangs and Chukars will face off in game three of their four-game series Wednesday at Melaleuca Field. First pitch is set for 7:15 p.m.