August 31, 2017 - Pioneer League (PL) - Missoula Osprey
The Missoula Osprey (32-34 | 13-15) raced back from a five-run deficit to score eight consecutive runs and beat the Billings Mustangs (29-36-1 | 11-17) by a final score of 9-7 at Ogren Park at Allegiance Field on Wednesday night.
After a scoreless first inning, the Osprey lunged ahead in the home half of the second to snare the first lead of the game. With one man out, Joel Novas singled on a ground ball over second base before moving to second on an opposite-field base hit by Francis Martinez. Novas advanced to third on a fielder's choice from Jose Caballero, putting runners on first and third with two men out. Billings starter Jhon De Jesus then fired the ball to the backstop, allowing Novas to score on a wild pitch and offering Missoula an early 1-0 lead.
The Mustangs responded in the third on a solo homer by Nadir Ljatifi. The next inning, Billings plated four additional runs, three of which scored on Ljatifi's second homer of the night. In the fifth, the Mustangs pushed their lead to its widest margin of 6-1, scoring on a two-out Osprey error. Largely quiet through four innings, the Osprey exploded to begin the home half of the fifth by stringing together three consecutive singles from Martinez, Terence Connelly, and Brandon Leyton. With the bases loaded and none out, outfielder Gabriel Maciel lofted a two-run double to left field. De Jesus then committed consecutive wild pitches to score Leyton and Maciel. With the bases clear and two out, singles by Andy Yerzy and Juan Araujo rekindled the rally, punctuated by two final runs scored on a Billings throwing error. After sending 10 men to the plate and scoring six runs, the Osprey carried a 7-6 lead into the sixth inning.
Two innings after their explosion at the plate, Missoula added a pair of insurance runs in the form of a solo
homer from Yerzy, his eleventh of the season, and a run-scoring single by Novas.
Holding a 9-6 lead, relievers Casey Kulina and Abraham Almonte combined to finish the come-from-behind
win, blemished only by a solo homer in the ninth to pull the score to its final margin of 9-7. Despite
surrendering a run, Almonte earned his league-leading eleventh save in twelve chances.