W: Roegner (2-3)
L: Jordan (1-6)
S: Cross (10)
BILLINGS, Montana - The Billings Mustangs (16-19, 39-34) dropped their series opener 8-6 to the Helena Brewers (13-21, 28-44) in front of 412 at Kindrick Legion Field.
Wellington Romero made his Pioneer League debut on Tuesday, going three innings in the start. He would allow just one run on three hits and strike out one. Romero was called up from the Arizona League in the beginning of September.
Helena took a 1-0 lead in the second after Ronnie Gideon doubled to lead off the inning and scored two batters later on a grounder to short. Gideon finished the game 2-for-3 with three runs scored.
Billings opened up a healthy lead over the next two innings, scoring five runs in the third and one in the fourth. T.J. Friedl came up with his first of two RBI doubles on the night and Montrell Marshall, Taylor Trammell and Hector Vargas contributed RBI singles for the five-run frame. Friedl was 2-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI in the loss.
The Mustangs lead topped out at 6-1 after the fourth, but the Brewers would mount a late comeback. Helena scored seven runs over a three inning period to take a definitive 8-6 advantage. Caleb Whalen hit his first professional homerun and added three RBI to lead the way. He and former collegiate teammate, Cooper Hummel, were responsible for five of Helena's RBI in the game.
Colton Cross earned his 10th save in as many appearances by pitching a hit-less ninth.
The Mustangs look to even the series and force a rubber match Wednesday at Kindrick Legion field. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.
Great Falls has clinched the second half playoff berth in the Pioneer League Northern Division. The Mustangs will travel to Centene Stadium in Great Falls for game one of the divisional series with games two and three being hosted here at Dehler Park immediately following the conclusion of the regular season. Tickets are now on sale by phone at 406-252-1241, online at billingsmustangs.com, or in person at the Mustangs box office.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.