(Billings Mustangs release)
BILLINGS – The Billings Mustangs (17-10, 32-33) snapped their three-game losing streak on Saturday with a 3-2 victory over the Helena Brewers (14-13, 31-34) at Dehler Park.
It was once again a battle of sharp starting pitching with three scoreless innings to open on either side. Ricardo Smith (2-5) retired 10 of the first 11 hitters he saw, taking a shutout into the fifth. Smith finished with five innings of work under his belt, striking out five and allowing just two runs.
The Mustangs gained a 3-0 lead in the fourth on four hits. Justin Bullock (1-5) had not allowed a hit into the fourth before giving up four consecutive hits to the middle of the Mustangs’ order. Drew Mount singled in a run and Dylan Harris doubled in two right behind him. Mariel Bautista also singled in the inning to extend his hitting streak to 16 games. It is the longest streak for a Mustang since the 18-gamer of Blake Trahan in 2015.
The Brewers responded to the three-run deficit immediately with both of their runs in the fifth. LG Castillo doubled and scored later on a sacrifice and Jesus Lujano would single in the second run. Pablo Abreu, making a critical mistake on the bases, did not take off on a single with two outs and stranded the tying run at third in the inning.
That is where the scoring ended for both sides as Ryan Campbell and Eddy Demurias combined for four shutout innings of relief. Demurias earned his third save of the season, pitching in the final two innings for Billings.
The Mustangs have now guaranteed at worst a split of the season series with the Brewers, taking an 8-7 record against them into their final meeting of the season.
The two teams will face off in a rubber match on Sunday. First pitch at Dehler Park is set for 1:05 p.m.