Billings, MT-The Voyagers received a quality start but failed to muster enough offense as the Mustangs completed a three-game sweep with a 3-2 victory Thursday night at Dehler Park.
Great Falls (34-41, 12-25) finished 7-9 in the season series with Billings. Eight of the 16 regular season meetings were decided by three runs or fewer. The Voyagers dropped to 12-26 on the road, and have lost six straight road games to close out the season. The Mustangs (40-36, 25-13) improved to 23-15 at home this season, and end the regular season on a four-game winning streak overall.
The Voyagers started the scoring for a second consecutive night. Romy Gonzalez led off the game with a double off the wall in deep left-center. A one-out single to center by Amado Nunez drove in Gonzalez. The base hit gave Nunez the team's longest hitting streak of the season at 14 games.
Great Falls made it 2-0 with another single tally in the third. Lenyn Sosa led off with a base hit to left. A two-out walk of Logan Sowers kept the inning alive. Bryan Connell then lined a single to center that scored Sosa.
Billings finally broke through for a run in the bottom of the fifth. Satchel McElroy reached with a one-out bunt single to second. Carlos Rivero followed with a single to right-center that moved McElroy from first to third. A sacrifice fly to center by Bren Spillane allowed McElroy to tag and score.
The Mustangs took their only lead of the night with the game's final two runs in the seventh. Satchel McElroy led off the frame with a base hit to right. A ground ball to second off the bat of Carlos Rivero was bobbled and both runners were safe. After a strikeout, back-to-back RBI singles to right by Jay Schuyler and Mariel Bautista gave Billings a 3-2 lead.
On the mound, Connor Curlis picked up the win in relief. Curlis (3-0) worked three-and-a-third scoreless and hitless innings with six strikeouts and no walks. Chris Comito posted his second quality start of the season while taking the loss. Comito (4-7) lasted a season-high seven innings and gave up three runs (two earned) on eight hits with seven strikeouts and one walk. Edward Escoboza notched his first save of the season with two strikeouts and one hit allowed.
Both sides collected nine hits in the game. Mariel Bautista, Dylan Harris, and Satchel McElroy all picked up two hits for the Mustangs. Bautista extended his league-best hitting streak to 25 games. Romy Gonzalez and Amado Nunez each posted two hits for the Voyagers. Nunez claimed the Pioneer League batting title this season with a .357 average. It marks the first Great Falls hitter to claim the honor since Tony Cabrera accomplished the feat back in 1973 for the Great Falls Giants.
Great Falls opens its Pioneer League divisional round playoff series with game one in Billings Friday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 at Dehler Park. 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.