Great Falls, MT-A five-run third inning Friday night at Centene Stadium put the Voyagers in a hole they would never recover from in suffering a 6-1 season-opening loss to Missoula.
Great Falls (0-1) lost a season-opener for the first time in the last three years. The Osprey (1-0) scored six runs spanning the second and third innings to fuel the victory.
The Voyagers started the scoring with a single tally in the bottom of the first. Kelvin Maldonado lined a one-out single to left but ended up at third as the left fielder misplayed the ball into a two-base error. Maldonado then scored the only run of the night for Great Falls on a groundout to second by Luis Mieses.
Missoula tied the game with a mark in the second before taking the lead for good with a five-run, four-hit third inning. The Osprey batted around and scored all five runs with two outs in the frame. Jose Reyes reached base with a one-out double. Tristen Carranza coaxed a two-out walk. Axel Andueza and Liover Peguero produced back-to-back RBI singles. And, David Sanchez capped the scoring with a bases-loaded double lined up the left side that drove in all three.
Osprey starter Wilfry Cruz handcuffed the Voyagers over five solid innings to earn the win. Cruz (1-0) allowed one unearned run on just two hits with five strikeouts and no walks. In defeat, Sean Thompson (0-1) surrendered six earned runs on six hits with four strikeouts and two walks. The Great Falls bullpen worked six-and-a-third hitless and scoreless innings. Felix Mercedes struck out one and walked three in two-and-a-third. Rigo Fernandez struck out four in two innings. And, Jack Maynard fanned three over two innings.
At the plate for Missoula, Liover Peguero registered two hits with two runs and an RBI. The Osprey went 3-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Great Falls was outhit 6-to-4 and stranded five base runners over the final three innings, including two each in the eighth and ninth. The Voyagers finished 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.
Great Falls plays game two of its three-game weekend series against Missoula Saturday night. First pitch at Centene Stadium is scheduled for 7 p.m. For season tickets and promotional information, call 406-452-5311 or visit www.gfvoyagers.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.