The Missoula Osprey fought from behind Sunday afternoon, defeating the Billings Mustangs in 10 innings, 9-6. Six runs in the final four innings helped push the Osprey in front, highlighted by two homers from RF Kevin Watson, and a three-run shot by 3B Carson Maxwell, his first of the year. The Osprey win coupled with Idaho Falls losing both ends of a doubleheader in Great Falls means that the 2 nd place Osprey have moved to within 2 games of the 1 st place Chukars. Idaho Falls sat 7 games up and looked to be running away with the division's 1 st half title. However, the Osprey have closed 5 games on the Chukars in a little less than a week to make it interesting with three weeks left in the half.
Sunday afternoon in Billings, the Osprey hopped out to an early 3-0 lead in the 2nd, when 3B Carson Maxwell scored three on his first homer of the season in Missoula. However, Billings would later answer with three runs in the 4th, and two more added in the 5th . The Osprey tied the game in the 8th on an RBI double by CF Dom Canzone and a wild pitch setting up extra innings. Osprey DH Francis Martinez singled home 2B Cam Coursey to put the Osprey up in the 10th while Watson's 2 nd homerun of the game gave them insurance and the 9-6 final.
One of the stars of the game was Osprey RHP reliever Mailon Arroyo who entered the 9th with no outs and a Billings baserunner at second, only to go on and hold the Mustangs scoreless in the final two innings. Arroyo struck out four, earning his first win of the season.
All Osprey batters reached base safely, with seven recording at least a hit. The Missoula win made it five of their last six, dating back to the first of July.
Strong pitching came in waves for Missoula against an offensively-talented Mustangs' lineup. RHP and starter Dustin Lacaze would retire his first nine batters faced, an unscathed performance through his first three innings. A difficult 4th and 5th would see five combined runs cross home, bringing in fellow RHP Nick Marchese. The righty gave up his lone hit on a James Free solo-homer in the 7th to give Billings a 2-run lead. LHP Oliver Rosario followed Marchese with 1.1 IP, giving up two hits with two strikeouts. Rosario ended up needing the assistance from Arroyo in the 9th with Mailon would striking out the side to end the ninth, and force the extra frame in Billings. The right-hander closed the door in the 10th with one of his four strikeouts.
Missoula continues a strong start to July, winning four of their last five. The series will wrap up with Monday night's rubber match starting at 6:35pm in Billings. After the game, the Osprey return home for an off day to celebrate the MLB All Star Game before opening a homestand Wednesday night at 7:05.
The following home stand begins on July 10 with eight games in eight days, when Orem and Ogden comes to town for two four game series. This homestand is full of great promotions including DRNC Bobblehead night Friday, Brewmaster's Brewfest in Jack's Pub Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and Jack's Pub Happy Hour on Friday night beginning at 4:00pm.
All Osprey game tickets can be purchased at the MSO Hub Box Office, located at 140 North Higgins in Downtown Missoula, online at MissoulaOsprey.com and by phone (406) 543-3300.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.