(Editor’s note: Mustangs media release)
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — The Billings Mustangs (12-19) dropped their third straight game to the Grand Junction Rockies (17-14) on Wednesday, falling 9-4 in front of 1,905 at Suplizio Field.
Grand Junction scored in the bottom of the first inning for the fourth straight game against the Mustangs. It would be the first time the Rockies didn’t pick up multiple runs in the first. Julio Carreras led off with a soft single to right field on the first pitch of the inning. After advancing to second on a grounder, Carreras took two bases on a slow roller out in front of the plate. Noticing both catcher Eric Yang and pitcher Nick Lodolo leaving home uncovered, Carreras made the dart home after the throw to first and slid in just ahead of the throw back home to give the Rockies a 1-0 lead in the first.
Lodolo (0-1) threw a season-high 2 2/3 innings in the start for the Mustangs. He allowed one run on three hits, did not issue a walk and tied his season-high with five strikeouts. He has now struck out 21 this season with no walks in his 11 1/3 innings of combined work.
The Rockies stretched out their lead in a big way in the bottom of the fifth with five runs. The first six batters of the inning would reach and Grand Junction had four extra-base hits in the frame. Colin Simpson and Todd Isaacs each had triples in the inning and both would be a hit away from the cycle after the sixth. Simpson was left a single shy of the cycle while Isaacs was in need of a home run in their respective four-hit nights. Simpson picked up his second home run of the game in his final at-bat later in the eighth.
The Mustangs first scored in the sixth when Cash Case was walked with the bases loaded. It was one of three walks issued in the inning by the Rockies’ defense. Anderson Amarista (2-2) was knocked out of the game in the inning. He went 5 1/3 innings in the start, giving up one run on five hits, walking two and striking out one to earn the win.
Billings got another run across in the seventh to score for the second consecutive inning. Nate Scantlin led off with a double down the left field line and scored on James Free’s RBI single to right. Scantlin went 2-for-5 with two doubles and a run scored.
For the third straight night, the Mustangs posted runs in the ninth. Free and Eric Yang scored on Jonathan Willems’ two-out single up the middle to bring Billings within five. Free finished 4-for-4 with a double, two runs, RBI and a walk while Yang was 3-for-4 with a run and was hit by a pitch. Free becomes just the second Mustang this year to have at least four hits in a game.
Billings finishes their eight-game road trip 3-5 after going 1-3 in Grand Junction.
The Mustangs now return home to begin a stretch of six games at Dehler Park. Their three-game series against the Idaho Falls Chukars opens up Friday, July 19. First pitch is set for 6:40 p.m. MDT at Dehler Park.