Triple play caps Osprey comeback

Erase nine-run deficit, score on three wild pitches in eighth

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By Zack Cox / Special to | August 11, 2012 9:53 PM ET

Given what preceded it, it was appropriate that the Missoula Osprey capped Saturday night's 11-10 win over the Billings Mustangs by completing a triple play.

"As long as I've been in baseball, I think once or twice I've seen a team come back from 9-0, so that in itself is a pretty great accomplishment," Missoula manager Andy Green said. "As for the game-ending triple play, I have never even seen that happen, not something that anyone could ever expect."

Trailing 9-0 in the fifth inning, Green's team scored three runs in the fifth, two in the sixth, three in the seventh and three in the eighth.

Missoula did not get a hit in the decisive eighth as Mustangs relievers Nolan Becker and Erik Miller combined for four walks, a hit batter and four wild pitches.

"We just said we have to fight," Green said of the message to his players after falling behind early. "When we put that three-spot up in the fifth inning, we just said we have go out there and do it again; and we did, three or four times.

"We definitely got some help with the wild pitches, but down at the end of a game like this is a very pressure-filled situation. And I'm proud of the way we handled that pressure."

Missoula's first lead of the night was put in immediate jeopardy as Billings' Jeff Gelalich and Matt Lentz opened the ninth with singles. Pinch-hitter Beau Amaral showed bunt more than once before swinging at a two-strike pitch from Vince Spilker. Third baseman Jake Lamb fielded the ground ball, stepped on the bag and started an around-the-horn triple play.

It was the fourth triple play in team history and the first since June 23, 2008.

The Mustangs wasted no time grabbing the lead on solo homers by Brandon Dailey and Seth Mejias-Brean, who finished 4-for-5 with a pair of longballs and three RBIs. Tempers flared during Billings' four-run third as Missoula starter Chris Pack was ejected for hitting Jesse Winkler with a pitch. It was the first of three beanballs in the game, and the Mustangs responded by reeling off four straight hits.

Missoula began to claw back in the fifth, scoring three times, despite getting just one hit. Adam McConnell delivered an RBI single in the sixth and the Osprey tacked on a run on another wild pitch before Tyler Bream launched a three-run homer in the seventh to shave the deficit to 10-8.

After tossing two scoreless innings for the win, Chase Stevens (2-2) tweeted, "I was just a part of the best baseball game ever!"

Zack Cox is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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