GREAT FALLS, MONT. - Riding back-to-back losses into Saturday night's regular-season finale, the Missoula Osprey (19-19, 38-38) exploded at the plate in the process of routing the Great Falls Voyagers (34-42, 19-19) by a final score of 14-3 at Centene Stadium to clinch a share of the North Division second-half title.
The Osprey struck first in the second inning on an RBI single from Jose Caballero against Great Falls starter Lincoln Henzman. The run was the only that Henzman allowed, but the right-hander was eventually saddled with the loss after pitching 3.1 innings of quality work.
Leading 1-0 entering the fourth, the Osprey lineup erupted against the Great Falls bullpen. Juan Araujo led off with a walk that was followed by four consecutive singles. A pair of fielding errors by the Voyagers coupled with a double from Eduardo Diaz helped the Osprey plate five runs in the fourth to seize a 6-0 lead.
With a substantial lead at his back, Osprey starter Edgar Martinez settled into a productive rhythm, pitching five scoreless innings before running into trouble in the sixth. In the process of earning his third win of the season, Martinez finished 5.1 innings in which he surrendered three runs (all earned) on 10 hits, striking out a career-high six without issuing a walk.
Three Great Falls runs in the bottom of the sixth cut Missoula's lead to 6-3, but the Osprey offered an immediate response, plating a trio of their own in the top of the seventh. Missoula loaded the bases with one out before consecutive singles by Joel Novas and Gabriel Maciel drove in runs. Keshawn Lynch added a bases-loaded walk to widen the margin to 9-3.
In the final two innings, the Osprey added five additional runs, including four in the ninth, to push the score to its final mark of 14-3. Owning 19 hits collectively, the Osprey were paced by Dominic Miroglio's first career four-hit game in addition to three-hit nights for Terence Connelly, Jose Caballero, and Eduardo Diaz. Connelly and Novas each drove in two runs, while Caballero added a season-high-tying three runs batted in.
With the victory, the Osprey clinched a share of the second-half North Division title, making the 2017 club the first in franchise history to win at least a share of both halves. They'll have home field advantage throughout the Pioneer League Playoffs.
The Osprey return to action on Sunday evening for Game 1 of the Pioneer League North Division Playoffs against the Great Falls Voyagers at Centene Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. with coverage beginning with the Mission Paint Pregame Show on 102.9 ESPN Missoula at 5:45 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.