(Editor’s Note: Billings Mustangs Press Release)
IDAHO FALLS – The Billings Mustangs (16-9, 31-32) dropped their second straight game to the Idaho Falls Chukars (13-12, 34-39), falling 2-1 in front of 2,799 at Melaleuca Field on Thursday.
Ricky Salinas delivered his best start of the year for Billings, throwing a season-high six and one-third innings of work. Salinas just faced two batters over the minimum, allowing one run on two hits and striking out a season-high nine batters. Between the second and the seventh innings, Salinas retired 15 straight.
The Chukars got their only hit of the first six innings in the second from Reed Rohlman. Rohlman drove a solo home run to right to make it a 1-0 Idaho Falls lead early.
After the homer from Rohlman, Salinas retired 15 consecutive batters into the seventh inning. He would retire 19 of his first 20 batters faced before giving up a check-swing single to end his night.
Connor Mayes was equally impressive for Idaho Falls on the mound. The righty went six shutout innings with no decision. He would allow seven hits and strike out four.
Mariel Bautista, making his first start since Aug. 14, came up with the game-tying solo home run in the top of the eighth to make it a 1-1 score. Bautista went 3-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to a team-high 14 games.
The Chukars responded by taking the lead right back in the eighth. Nick Hutchins led off with a single and was doubled in immediately on Hunter Strong’s shot to right.
The Mustangs got a single to lead off the ninth from Drew Mount, representing the tying run, but a double play followed to shut down the rally before it could get going.
Billings would out-hit Idaho Falls 9-4 in the game.
The Mustangs finish the season 2-5 against the Chukars, dropping three of four in the series. They have wrapped up their seven-game road trip going 3-4.
The Mustangs return home on Friday to begin a three-game series against the Helena Brewers. First pitch at Dehler Park is set for 7:05 p.m.