For a second straight night, the Helena Brewers (27-47, 12-24) jumped out to an early lead only to see the Billings Mustangs (35-38, 17-19) charge back in an 8-3 defeat on Thursday night at Dehler Park.
With one out in the top of the second, Brewers catcher Alex Guenette reached on an error by Mustangs third baseman Jake Turnbull. Franly Mallen walked and two batters later, Jose Gomez singled in a run, giving the Brewers a 1-0 lead. Nicolas Pierre then bounced a ball up the middle that deflected off the second base bag, allowing Mallen to score without a throw to make it 2-0 Helena.
Starter Alec Bettinger ran into trouble in the third inning. The Mustangs forced Bettinger to work deep in counts, and tagged him for two runs on a walk and two doubles, tying the game 2-2.
Helena had a chance to retake the lead in the top of the fourth. Jay Feliciano singled to start the inning and Guenette walked before both runners were sacrificed over by Mallen. Nick Roscetti bounced a ball to third, but Turnbull was able to leap and snag the ball, throwing home to cut down Feliciano for the second out. Gomez struck out looking, leaving two men on base. Helena would not manage a hit the rest of the game.
Billings went ahead for good in the bottom of the fifth by scoring five runs, sending 10 men to the plate. Nadir Ljatifi singled but was cancelled out on a fielder's choice from Miles Gordon. Wallace stepped to the plate and homered to right field, his first of the season, to give Billings a 4-2 lead. Reliever Brandon Texiera (0-2) walked the next two batters and surrendered a double to Mark Kolozsvary, scoring two more runs for the Mustangs. Billings added their final two runs of the inning on a sacrifice fly and a single.
Helena continues their series against the Mustangs on Friday night at 7:05 PM. The Brewers are scheduled to send RHP Michael Petersen (1-3, 6.96) to the mound against Mustangs RHP Luis Alecies (6-6, 4.84). The game can be heard on the TuneIn App, the MiLB First Pitch App or online at helenabrewers.net.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.