(Billings Mustangs release)
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - The Billings Mustangs (15-6, 30-9) secured the series win over the Idaho Falls Chukars (6-15, 27-31) on Monday with a 4-2 victory in front of 3,733 at Melaleuca Field.
Runs in each of the first two innings got the Mustangs off to a hot start as they lead the entirety of the game. James Free scored in the top of the first after reaching on a two-out walk and scoring later on a wild pitch. The Mustangs then rattled off four hits for two runs in the second. Jonathan Willems tripled to left-center to score one while Valentin Martinez had an RBI single for his first run batted in of the season, making it a 3-0 Mustangs lead. Willems finished the game 2-for-3 with a double, triple, run, RBI and walk.
After Free was walked to lead off the fifth, he would score his second run of the game when Victor Ruiz doubled down the left field line, pushing the lead to 4-0 for Billings. The double for Ruiz was his team-leading 11th of the season.
Noah Davis impressed in his fifth start of the year for the Mustangs, throwing five shutout innings. Davis (1-1) surrendered just two hits, walked one and struck out a season-high eight batters, doubling his previous high for 2019.
On just the third hit of the game for Idaho Falls in the bottom of the sixth, Brady McConnell sailed a solo home run to center get the Chukars on the board. It was the fourth homer of the year for McConnell.
Trailing 4-1 going to the bottom of the ninth, the Chukars would not go down without a fight. The first three batters of the inning would pick up hits, capped by the RBI double of Juan Carlos Negret. That double put men at second and third with no outs and the tying run at second base. Jake Stevenson then struck out three straight batters to end the game and pick up his fifth save of the season, the third-most saves in the Pioneer League.
The Mustangs took three of four games in the series and have won seven of their last eight games.
The Mustangs now return home to begin a six-game homestand with a two-game series against the Great Falls Voyagers. First pitch on Tuesday, Aug. 20, is set for 6:35 p.m. MDT at Dehler Park.