BILLINGS – The Billings Mustangs (0-4) were dealt their fourth straight loss to start the season on Tuesday, falling in extra innings for the second straight game, this time to the Great Falls Voyagers (2-2) 8-7 in 11 innings in front of 2,262 at Dehler Park.
Justin McGregor provided five solid innings in his first start of the season for the Mustangs, allowing just two runs and striking out three. He would leave in position for the win, but Billings was unable to hold an early lead.
Reniel Ozuna flew the first home run of the season for the Mustangs to right-center in the bottom of the second inning, a solo shot for his second extra-base hit of the year.
Trailing 2-1 going to the bottom of the fourth inning, TJ Hopkins doubled in a pair with the bases loaded to give Billings their first lead of the game at 3-2. That advantage held into the sixth inning when the Voyagers scored three runs on one hit and three walks. Jakob Goldfarb led off with a double while three free passes and an error helped bring in the Voyagers’ three runs to make it a 5-3 Great Falls lead.
The Mustangs picked up runs in both the eighth and ninth to keep their hopes alive on Tuesday night. Hopkins scored on a Jonathan Willems RBI single in the ninth to tie the game, but the winning run would be left at third.
Both sides committed multiple errors in extras with the Mustangs making three of their five errors in the game after the ninth.
After getting one run in during the 11th, the tying run was stranded at second as Karan Patel (1-0) retired the last three batters he saw to allow Great Falls to hold on.
Hopkins was 2-for-5 at the plate for the Mustangs with a double, run and two RBI in his first multi-hit game of professional baseball.
Eric Yang made his pro debut for Billings. The catcher out of UC Santa Barbara scored on a walk in the fourth in an 0-for-3 performance.
Ozuna was 1-for-3 with the home run, two runs scored and two walks to reach three times in five plate appearances.
The Mustangs will look to even the series on Wednesday in the second game of the three-game set. First pitch at Dehler Park on June 19 is set for 6:35 p.m. MDT.