The Missoula Osprey (28-21, 8-3) won their sixth game in a row Friday night, twice defeating Orem (15-34, 2-9), 3-1 and 1-0, at UCCU Ballpark. A Billings loss at home to Rocky Mountain puts the Osprey first in the North Division, sitting a game in front of the Mustangs.
The first game on Friday night was a continuation of Thursday night's postponement, beginning in the top of the 3rd, with the Owlz leading 1-0. Right-hander Austin Pope began the 3rd on the mound, tossing two innings of shutout baseball, striking out five batters.
Fellow righty Pedro Zorrilla (W, 3-1) kept the Owlz off the scoreboard from the 5th through the 8th, allowing no runs, hits, or walks, while striking out five. Osprey pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts.
Missoula found all three of their runs in the top of the 6th. 2B Cam Coursey led the inning off with a base hit, and C Axel Andueza immediately scored him on an RBI double. RF Tristen Carranza joined in with an RBI base hit.
Carranza reached second on a Spencer Brickhouse groundout, and eventually scored on a throwing error from Owlz pitcher Jose Natera. The throw to second reached center field, and Carranza, while heading to third, never stopped, and continued home. The throw from D'Shawn Knowles from center was off-line, making Carranza the third run of the inning.
RHP Mitchell Stumpo earned his first save as an Osprey, shutting the Owlz down in the 9th with a strikeout.
In the second game, which only lasting seven innings, both teams finished with no earned runs. In the 3rd inning, and shortstop Jose Reyes at first, Osprey catcher Luvin Valbuena singled to left field. Reyes rounded second, and aggressively attempted for third. The throw from Orem left-fielder Jose Verrier bounced away from third, and Reyes scored.
The pitching was just as strong, with right-hander Alex Valdez (W, 1-0) making his Osprey debut. Valdez threw five innings, allowing no runs on one hit, striking out four.
The four-game series continues Saturday night in Orem, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm. The Owlz and O's series ends on Sunday, with a 4:05 pm start.
The Osprey return to Ogren Park at Allegiance Field on Friday, August 16, against the Great Falls Voyagers for Jacks Pub Happy Hour, with $2 Mystery Beer on tap, and $3 micro brews from 4-7.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.