(Editor’s note: Mustangs media release)
BILLINGS — The Billings Mustangs (8-14) were dealt their fourth extra-innings loss of the season on Sunday, falling 9-6 to the Missoula Osprey (12-10) in 10 innings in front of 2,213.
Missoula got on the board in the second with a three-run home run from Carson Maxwell. It was his first extra-base hit of the season in 12 games.
Miguel Medrano was held to his shortest outing of the year, throwing 1 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on three hits, walking two and striking out two.
Billings tied the game at 3-3 in the fourth on a two-RBI double from Matt Lloyd followed by the game-tying single by Reniel Ozuna to left.
The Mustangs held multiple two-run leads, their final one coming after the solo home run of James Free to right in the seventh. Free finished a triple shy of the cycle, going 3-for-4 with a homer and double in his first professional multi-hit game. It was additionally his first pro home run.
Alberto Gonzalez III set career-highs in innings and strikeouts in a stellar relief performance. The right-hander threw 3 1/3 innings, not allowing a run or hit, walking one and striking out six with no decision.
After the Osprey tied the game at 6-6 with two runs in the eighth, Free led off the bottom of the ninth with a double to left to immediately put the winning run in scoring position with nobody out. Mailon Arroyo (1-1) struck out three consecutive batters to follow to leave the run aboard and send the game to extra innings.
Down to their last strike in the top of the 10th without a run across yet, Missoula got an RBI single from Francis Martinez backed by the second home run of the day from Kevin Watson to take a three-run lead.
Arroyo again retired the side in order in the bottom of the 10th to deal the Mustangs their fourth loss in extra innings this season in as many games.
The Mustangs and Osprey will face off in the rubber match of their three-game series Monday at Dehler Park. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. MDT in the series finale.