Osprey Explode in First, Fly Away With Third Straight

Seven-run first and strong pitching performance lead O's to sweep

By Missoula Osprey | September 3, 2017 11:43 PM ET

GREAT FALLS, MONT. - The Missoula Osprey (16-16, 35-35) scored seven runs in the top of the first inning to seize control of the game from its onset, eventually downing the Great Falls Voyagers (16-16, 31-39) by a final score of 9-2 at Centene Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Facing Great Falls ace Kyle Von Ruden, the Osprey raced out of the starting blocks, as the first seven batters reached base consecutively to begin the ballgame. Gabriel Maciel doubled to lead off and was followed by back-to-back walks by Eduardo Diaz and Keshawn Lynch to load the bases. William Gorman then lined a single off the thigh of Von Ruden to score the first run of the game. Joel Novas added an RBI single followed by a two-run double from Terence Connelly for his fifth and sixth RBIs of the series. Missoula added three final runs in the inning on RBI singles by Dominic Miroglio and Maciel, while Gavin Stupienski notched a run-scoring sacrifice fly.

With a 7-0 lead before setting foot on the mound for the first time, right-hander Cole Stapler was afforded the freedom to work loosely despite lacking his typical pinpoint control. In four innings, Stapler allowed only one run on a run-scoring groundout in the second inning. The Louisiana native surrendered just two hits, but struck out only one batter and issued multiple walks for only the second time this year.

Novas pushed the Osprey to their final run total with RBI singles in the fourth and eighth innings, completing a three-hit, three-RBI game for the third baseman. Novas was one of five Osprey batters to record multiple hits. Novas, Miroglio, and Maciel each posted three-hit days.

After Stapler's exit, right-hander Jimmy Johnson worked three hitless innings in which he surrendered just a pair of walks and struck out two. Johnson earned his third victory of the season and second in his last two appearances. The Voyagers struck for a solo home run in the ninth to push the score to its final margin of 9-2, falling to the Osprey for the sixth time in their last seven meetings. Missoula has now won 11 of its last 15 games, including three straight.

The Osprey return to action on Monday evening in Helena, as they open a brief two-game set with the Brewers at Kindrick Legion Field. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. with coverage beginning on 102.9 ESPN Missoula at 3:45 p.m.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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