Great Falls, MT-The Voyagers dropped game one of the Pioneer League divisional round playoff series with a 7-3 loss to Billings Friday night at Centene Stadium.
Great Falls (0-1) had won 11 straight at home to finish the regular season. The Voyagers also had won six consecutive against Billings (1-0) until the playoff-opening defeat. The Mustangs struck first with a single run in the first. T.J. Friedl singled to right on a line drive to start the game. He reached third on an errant pick-off throw to first. Jose Siri then grounded a broken bat infield single halfway up the first base line for a 1-0 lead.
Billings opened it up with a four-run third. All of the Mustangs runs in the inning scored with two outs. T.J. Friedl reached on a base hit to center. After Jose Siri struck out, Taylor Trammell singled to left for the second run of the game. Michael Beltre immediately followed with an RBI triple to left-center that hopped up against the wall. The next batter, John Sansone, whalloped a three-run home run high and deep to left for a 5-0 cushion. The Mustangs used a Friedl two-out, solo home run in the fourth to grab a 6-0 lead. They tacked on one more in the seventh.
The Voyagers only runs of the night came across in the bottom of the ninth with one swing of the bat. Jameson Fisher led off the frame with a line drive single to right-center. Brady Conlan then singled to left-center on a liner. Corey Zangari came up to pinch hit and clubbed an opposite field home run to right-center for the game's final margin. Zangari homered seven times during the regular season with Great Falls. He had eight dingers with Kannapolis.
The Mustangs received a strong outing on the mound from Ian Kahaloa. Kahaloa (1-0) earned the win after he worked seven scoreless innings and scattered four hits with a season-high 10 strikeouts and only one walk. Aron McRee suffered the loss for Great Falls. McRee (0-1) lasted four innings and yielded six runs (five earned) on ten hits (2 HR) with three strikeouts and no walks.
Billings outhit Great Falls 13-to-8. The Voyagers committed two errors on the night. T.J. Friedl, Jose Siri, and Taylor Trammell all collected three hits for the Mustangs. Friedl scored three runs. Trammell drove in two. For Great Falls, Joel Booker and Brady Conlan each had two hits.
Great Falls now faces elimination at Billings with game two set for Saturday night. First pitch at Dehler Park is at 6:05 p.m. The Voyagers radio broadcast will air on KINX 102.7 FM. Pregame coverage starts at 5:45. Listen online at www.gfvoyagers.com under the multimedia tab and listen live.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.