(Mustangs media release)
GREAT FALLS – The Billings Mustangs (22-13, 37-36) clinched a berth in the 2018 Pioneer League playoffs with a 7-3 win over the Great Falls Voyagers (12-22, 34-38) in front of 783 at Centene Stadium on Monday.
Billings nabbed an early lead with two runs in the top of the third off reliever Davis Martin. Reniel Ozuna walked to lead off the inning. A throwing error and a wild pitch helped bring him in before Jay Schuyler flew a sacrifice to right to score Dylan Harris.
Great Falls pushed back with three runs in the bottom of the third to take their only lead of the game. Gunnar Troutwine hit a solo home run, his second homer of the year, to open the scoring. A throwing error then scored two with two outs later in the frame.
The Mustangs would not let the deficit last long as they tied things back up right away in the fourth. Juan Martinez singled and scored on the second error of the game for the Voyagers. Great Falls would commit three errors in the game.
The Mustangs’ bullpen once again provided shutout relief. Ryan Campbell threw 1.2 innings without a hit, striking out two. Ryan Dunne set a new season-high with three innings of work, not allowing a hit and striking out three. The Voyagers did not have a hit after the fifth inning.
In a 3-3 tie, the game entered the eighth inning before Billings put nine to the plate in the frame. Ozuna had his first hit in the Pioneer League and it was a big one, a two-RBI single to right to score Drew Mount and Satchel McElroy.
Armed with a 7-3 advantage, Dunne (2-0) faced the minimum in his three innings on the hill.
This is the fourth playoff berth in the last five years for the Mustangs. Their last trip to the postseason ended in a run to the championship series in 2016 against the Orem Owlz.
The best-of-three Pioneer League North Divisional Series will open at Dehler Park on Friday, Sept. 7, with a 7:05 p.m. first pitch against the Voyagers. Games two and three will be played in Great Falls.
The Mustangs now return home to finish off their regular season with three games at Dehler Park against the Great Falls Voyagers. First pitch on Tuesday is set for 7:05 p.m.