(Mustangs media release)
BILLINGS – The Billings Mustangs (23-13, 38-36) took their second consecutive game over the Great Falls Voyagers (12-23, 34-39) with a 6-4 win in front of 2,109 at Dehler Park on Tuesday.
Billings got all of their scoring done early, notching all six runs in the first three innings.
Five runs crossed the plate in the second on five hits off Great Falls starter Jason Bilous (0-4). Victor Ruiz singled in a run in the inning and Satchel McElroy picked up two RBI on his single to center. McElroy finished 2-for-4 with two steals and two RBI in his third multi-hit game of the season.
A throwing error in the third allowed Ruiz to advanced two bases and make the Mustangs’ lead 6-0 after three.
Matt Pidich (1-2) made his first professional start in his 20th appearance of the year for Billings. The righty tossed a season-high five innings, retiring the first 10 batters he saw in the game. He would match his season-best of six strikeouts while giving up just two runs on two hits. It would also be the first professional win of Pidich’s career.
Great Falls tried to push back by scoring the final four runs of the game after falling into an early six-run hole. Amado Nunez singled in two runs in the fourth for his first of two hits. Nunez went 2-for-4 with two RBI.
Travis Moniot hit his first professional home run in the seventh, a two-run shot to right, to pull the Voyagers within two, but that is where the scoring ended.
Jesse Stallings earned his second consecutive save by throwing a perfect ninth inning.
With the win, the Mustangs have guaranteed the best record of either half for a Pioneer League North Division team, moving to 23-13 in the second half to best the 22-16 first-half mark of the Voyagers.
The Mustangs and Voyagers will play in game two of their three-game series Wednesday at Dehler Park. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.
The 2018 Pioneer League playoffs will begin with a best-of-three North Divisional series between the Mustangs and Voyagers. Game one will be played at Dehler Park in Billings on Friday, Sept. 7, with a 7:05 p.m. start time.