BILLINGS, MT - On a warm Friday night in Billings, the Helena Brewers and the Billings Mustangs were locked in an old fashioned pitchers duel, with neither team scoring a run through nine innings. The Brewers took advantage of the new MiLB extra inning tie breaker, as Nick Egnatuk, who started the top of the tenth inning, scored on a two out double from Eddie Silva. Billings loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the tenth, but Peter Strzelecki came in and forced a 1-2-3 double play, ending the game and giving the Brewers the win. Helena is now 2-0 in extra innings.
Helena starter Wilfred Salaman and Billings starter Luis Alecis went blow for blow over the first seven innings. Salaman threw seven shutout innings, allowing only four hits, and Alecis surrendered just one hit, striking out a career high nine in seven innings. Salaman was aided by three double play grounders, while Alecis retired 12 of the last 13 he faced.
In the eight, Eddie Silva doubled against reliever Matt Pidich with one out, and got to third on a ground out from Jose Sibrian. Andy Cox entered and walked Jesus Lujano, but then forced Yeison Coca to ground out to third.
Chad Whitmer (W,1-0) pitched a perfect eighth, but Dylan Harris singled to lead off the ninth against him. With one out he stole second, but Whitmer bore down, punching out Reshard Munroe and getting Pabel Manzanero to ground out to short, stranding the winning run at 2nd and forcing extra innings.
In MiLB, a runner starts on second to begin the tenth, and reliever Dauri Moreta (L, 0-1) got the first two batters he faced in the inning. Silva then came up, and delivered again, sending a ringing double into the left field corner, scoring Nick Egnatuk to give the Brewers the first lead of the game.
Billings began the bottom of the tenth with the same situation, but got the winning run to first with nobody out on a leadoff bloop single from Drew Mount. Because the ball had a chance to get caught in left field, Francis Azcona had to stay at second. Whitmer then struck out Bren Spillane on a payoff pitch, but then walked Jay Schuyler to load the bases, moving the winning run to second.
Brewers manager Nestor Corredor was ejected for the second time in a week for arguing balls in strikes in the ninth, so acting manager Liu Rodriguez went to the bullpen for Peter Strzelecki. Jake Turnbull stepped in, and on the second pitch of the at bat, Turnbull grounded a ball right back to the mound. Strzelecki picked it up and flipped home for the first out, and Jose Sibrian quickly zipped the ball to first for the double play, ending the game and giving Helena the 1-0 win.
Tomorrow the Brewers play a doubleheader against the Great Falls Voyagers in Great Falls. Blake Lillis and Victor Castaneda with start games one and two respectively for Helena, while Great Falls counters with Jonathan Stiever and Matt Portland. First pitch of the first game is at 6:00 PM.
Your Brewers return home for a two game series against Great Falls Monday July 2nd and Tuesday July 3rd. On the 2nd, it a=is an AARP Montana Boomer Bogo Monday, and if you show up to the box office and ask about the Boomer Bogo, you will get a buy one get one free general admission ticket. On Tuesday, July 3rd, all general admission tickets at the gate will be just $3. For more information visit the homepage of helenabrewers.net.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.