BILLINGS, Montana - The Billings Mustangs (14-11) put an end to their three-game losing streak with a 7-1 win over the Grand Junction Rockies (10-15) on Friday in front of 3,341 at Dehler Park.
Packy Naughton (1-1) was electric in his third start in professional baseball. The lefty from Virginia Tech shined in a six-inning shutout performance which included a season-best six strikeouts against just two hits in his longest outing of the year.
The Mustangs took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third. J.D. Williams scored in the frame which would not include a hit. Williams was hit by a pitch, stole second, advanced to third on an error, and eventually scored on a grounder to short. That run would end a streak of 20 consecutive innings in which the Mustangs would not hold a lead over the Rockies to begin the series.
That lead expanded to 2-0 when Alejo Lopez doubled in the fourth and scored immediately after on the RBI double of Andy Sugilio. Both hits came with two outs while Lopez' double has put him on an 11-game hitting streak. Sugilio finished 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI.
The Rockies managed their lone run in the top of the seventh on an Alan Trejo homerun, his second of the year.
Billings came up with five insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth to pad their lead and give Connor Ryan plenty of room to collect his second save of the season. Ryan walked the first batter he saw before retiring six straight in two shutout innings to finish the game.
The Mustangs will now host the Orem Owlz in a four-game series at Dehler Park. First pitch on Saturday is set for 6:05 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.