Billings, MT-The Voyagers bullpen did not allow a run over the final five frames Tuesday night, but a five-run second for Billings was enough to produce a 6-4 series-opening win for the Mustangs at Dehler Park.
Great Falls (34-39, 12-23) dropped to 7-7 in the season series against the Mustangs with two regular season games remaining. The Voyagers fell to 12-24 on the road. Billings (38-36, 23-13) improved to 21-15 at home this season.
Billings batted around in the second and used five base hits and a walk to take an early 5-0 lead. After back-to-back singles by Leonardo Seminati and Reniel Ozuna, Victor Ruiz brought in the game's first run with an RBI single to center. Jonathan Willems loaded the bases with an infield single. Miguel Hernandez walked with the bases loaded to drive in the second run. An RBI groundout from Urwin Juaquin made it 3-0. And, a two-run single to center by Satchel McElroy capped the inning.
The Mustangs plated a single run in the third for a 6-0 cushion before the Voyagers finally dented the scoreboard with two in the fourth. Logan Sowers coaxed a one-out walk. Bryce Bush followed with a single to center. The center fielder bobbled the ball on the base hit and allowed Sowers and Bush to move up to second and third. Amado Nunez then delivered a two-run single on the ground into center and it was 6-2. That extended Nunez's hitting streak to 13, which matches the longest by a Voyager this season.
After the Voyagers left the bases loaded in the sixth, they scored twice in the seventh for the game's final margin. Micah Coffey reached base with a leadoff, line drive single to left. With one out, Travis Moniot launched a high drive deep up the right field side for a two-run home run that traveled over 400 feet. It was Moniot's first round tripper as a professional.
Billings outhit Great Falls 7-to-6. Satchel McElroy and Leonardo Seminati each collected two base hits for the Mustangs. Amado Nunez posted two hits with two RBIs for the Voyagers.
Matt Pidich earned the win in his first professional start. Pidich (1-2) lasted five innings and gave up two earned runs on two hits with six strikeouts and one walk. Jason Bilous took the loss. Bilous (0-4) worked two and allowed five earned runs on five hits with three strikeouts and one walk. Jesse Stallings notched his second save with three ground ball outs in the ninth.
Great Falls plays the middle game of its final regular-season series Wednesday night. Game two at Dehler Park is scheduled for 7:05. The divisional playoff series begins with game one in Billings Friday night. Game two is set for Saturday night in Great Falls. For 2018 playoff 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.