Jason Morozowski capped a perfect night at the plate by becoming the first Missoula player to hit for the cycle in the Pioneer League playoffs. In doing so, he helped the Rookie-level Osprey stave off elimination in the Pioneer League semifinals with a 7-5 win over Billings on Thursday.
After tripling in the first, doubling in the third and singling in the fifth, the D-backs 13th rounder was reminded that he was on the verge of history, with just the elusive long ball standing in his way.
"I always seem to come up maybe one knock short," Morozowski said about past attempts at the milestone. "Usually, the big home run was a problem. This is the first one that I can remember. It really didn't even cross my mind until a teammate brought it to my attention. I was just trying to go out there and do anything I could to help us win tonight, to give us another shot tomorrow."
He tripled to right field in the first. When he doubled to center in the third, he was thrown out trying for his second triple of the night. In the fifth, he singled to center and helped key a three-run rally by advancing twice on wild pitches and scoring the game-tying run.
Leading off the bottom of the seventh, with the Osprey up, 7-6, the Mount Olive College product got hold of an offering by righty Sarkis Ohanian and deposited it over the right-field wall to complete the feat. But it didn't strike him until he was about half way around the bags.
"I was just filled with joy because we gave up a run in the top half of that inning," said Morozowski. "The fact that we answered back ... then once I hit second base, it kind of just crossed my mind like, 'Wow, I just accomplished the cycle for the first time in my career.'"
Missoula trailed three times in the game, but managed a quick response each time and never relinquished the lead after going up in the fifth, 6-4.
"If you talk to the people that have watched us all year long, that one thing that they would definitely tell you about us, we never quit, we never give up." the Osprey right fielder said. "I feel like we strive in situations when the pressure is really on. Tonight was a perfect example of that. Nobody ever lost their composure or panicked. We just went out and played our game and everything fell into place."
Missoula will host the rubber match of the series Friday, and Morozowski believes the momentum of the Game 2 win and his accomplishment puts the Osprey in a good position to close it out.
"Tomorrow is going to be a great game," he said. "I think that we have a real nice chance of moving on to the next round."
In other Pioneer League playoff action:
Orem 6, Idaho Falls 5
Jared Walsh cranked two solo home runs as the Owlz evened the best-of-3 series at a game apiece. Jared Foster tied the game with a ninth-inning double and Angel Genao beat out a double-play attempt with the bases loaded in the walk-off win. The decisive third game will be played Friday in Orem. Box score
Craig Forde is a contributor to MiLB.com
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.