GREAT FALLS, MONT. - In a game shockingly similar to Thursday night's defeat at home, the Missoula Osprey (18-19, 37-37) rallied for five consecutive runs to pull within a run of the Great Falls Voyagers (34-41, 19-18), but eventually fell short in 10-8 loss on Friday night at Centene Stadium. With the victory, Great Falls clinched the second playoff berth from the North Division, cementing an Osprey-Voyagers matchup in the first round.
The Osprey jumped to an early lead in the first inning, scoring on a ground ball double by Juan Araujo that plated Eddie Hernandez from second. The double was the first of two hits for Araujo. In the bottom half of the inning, the Voyagers responded with a pair of runs off Osprey starting pitcher Jimmy Johnson, sinking Missoula to an early one-run deficit. The Voyagers then added an individual run in the second and three more tallies in the third to take a 6-1 advantage over the Osprey, knocking Johnson from the game without recording in out in the third inning.
En route to taking his second loss of the season, Johnson pitched two-plus innings, surrendering five runs (all earned) on six hits and a season-high four walks, while striking out one. The last of the runs charged to Johnson scored after he had exited the ballgame. Reliever Yeison Santana allowed the only runner he inherited to score, completing Johnson's stat line after his exit.
In the top of the fourth, Terence Connelly roped a one-out triple into the right field corner before scoring on a groundout by Brandon Leyton. With two men out in the inning, Ernie De La Trinidad stroked his fifth home run of the season, a solo blast, to pull Missoula within 6-3.
One inning later, however, the Voyagers rallied for three additional runs against Santana to widen their lead to six runs, opening a similarly commanding advantage to that of Thursday night in Missoula. In three innings of work, Santana was charged with four runs (two earned) on five hits and a walk, while striking out three.
Following a quiet sixth from both teams, the Osprey surged for four runs in the top of the seventh, leveraging back-to-back errors into two runs. Later in the inning, the Osprey kickstarted their rally with two out and the bases empty thanks to consecutive singles from Gavin Stupienski and Brandon Leyton, followed by a two-run triple from William Gorman to pull Missoula within 9-7. Leyton added a solo home run in the eighth to narrow the difference to just one, but the Voyagers plated an insurance tally in the eighth on consecutive doubles to widen the score to its final margin of 10-8.
The Osprey return to action on Saturday night, finishing a two-game series in Great Falls against the Voyagers to conclude the regular-season schedule. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. with coverage beginning on 102.9 ESPN Missoula at 6:45 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.