The Missoula Osprey learned a lesson in a loss this week that they applied in their biggest offensive eruption of the season on Friday night. It was a simple message: line drives do the job.
D-backs prospect Fernery Ozuna drove in a career-high seven runs and fell a double shy of the cycle as the Osprey scored 18 times between the seventh and eighth innings en route to a 22-5 drubbing of Helena.
"It's good when you see guys taking good swings," Missoula hitting coach Vince Harrison said. "We just try to preach to work on your approach and take good swings. The big thing tonight is we didn't get caught up in the situation of the game. Tonight, guys just battled and had good ABs with two strikes and guys on base. We hit a bunch of line drives, which is one of the things we've been stressing. Line drives work."
That last sentence is an understatement when viewed through the prism of Friday's assault. Missoula had more extra-base hits (nine) than Helena had total hits (eight), and the Osprey went 15-for-26 with runners in scoring position. Between the seventh and eighth, they sent 25 batters to the plate.
"A couple nights ago in Billings, I think we had seven lineouts," Harrison said. "I think, for the guys, it was an eye-opener. We ended up losing that game, but at the end of the day, they felt better about their swings and not so much about the results."
Trevor Mitsui doubled home a pair in the seventh, while Ozuna tripled home two runs. An inning later, Ozuna blasted a grand slam in a 10-run outburst. The 18-year-old leadoff man finished 3-for-7 and bested his previous career high by four RBIs.
"He's ready to hit all the time," Harrison said. "When you give him opportunities with people on base and factor that in with how he's ready to hit, he took some good swings in situations tonight when he had guys on base."
Every member of the Osprey lineup had at least one hit, with Justin Williams leading the way with four to go with three RBIs.
"It worked out tonight where, when we share the wealth and a lot of guys have good swings, we don't preach results," Harrison said. "We preach approach. Sometimes a good approach will lead to good results like it did tonight."
Missoula starter Brad Keller (1-4) allowed two runs on four hits while matching four walks with four strikeouts over five innings.
The Osprey got to Helena's Devin Williams (2-5) for four runs -- three earned -- on five hits and a walk over five innings. He struck out four.