BILLINGS, Montana - The Billings Mustangs (0-1) were unable to get their offense going on Wednesday as they fell 3-0 to the Orem Owlz (1-0) in the first game of the Pioneer League Championship Series at Dehler Park.
Sam Pastrone (1-0) pitched six perfect innings in the start for Orem. He would strike out 7 batters and set a new season-high for himself in innings pitched.
The Owlz collected their first run of the night in the top of the second inning off Ian Kahaloa (1-1). Nick Flair led off the inning with a single, the first hit of the night for either side. He was then replaced on the bases by Jack Kruger who reached on a fielder's choice. Kruger stole second and advanced to third on a fielding error. A curveball that bounced away from home allowed him enough time to come in and score the first run of the game on a wild pitch.
The Mustangs committed three errors Wednesday after not committing a single defensive mistake in the Divisional Series against the Great Falls Voyagers.
Orem added a run in the fourth when Zach Gibbons led off with a double and scored after a throw to second on Nick Flair's steal. Gibbons and Flair combined for five of the eight Orem hits on the night, three of which belonged to Flair. He finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base.
The lone hit of the game for the Mustangs came in the first at-bat after Pastrone's exit. T.J. Frield would bunt for a single down the third base line off Greg Belton to lead off the seventh inning. A Michael Beltre two-out walk would follow to put the tying run aboard, but both men would be stranded.
Ashur Tolliver, who pitched in the Majors for the Baltimore Orioles earlier this year, would pitch the eighth inning and Tyler Warmoth earned the save with a clean ninth.
The Mustangs must now win two straight games to clinch their 12th Pioneer League Championship while the Owlz need to win just one of the two remaining games.
Game two of the Pioneer League Championship Series will take place Friday night at Brent Brown Ballpark in Utah. The matchup will pit two 18-year-old lefty starters against each other; Wennington Romero for the Mustangs and Jose Suarez for the Owlz. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.