The Voyagers fell behind early before a late comeback fizzled in a 5-4 loss to the Brewers on Sunday afternoon at Kindrick Legion Field.
With the win, Helena (3-0) ensured a series victory with the finale coming up on Monday. The Brewers used a two-run second to help set the tone. Cooper Hummel started the rally with a one-out double into the left field corner. Two batters later, Franly Mallen singled to left for the first run. Mallen later reached second on a wild pitch and made it 2-0 on a ground ball error at first. Helena took a 3-0 lead with a single run in the fourth. Demi Orimoloye led off with a double and later scored on a sacrifice fly to right off the bat of Caleb Whalen.
Great Falls (0-3) first run of the day came in the sixth. Jameson Fisher walked to lead off the inning. Fisher advanced to second on a balk and scored with a one-out RBI single from Aaron Schnurbusch. The Voyagers cut the deficit to one with a seventh inning tally. Jake Jarvis reached on an error at first. Mitch Roman followed with a line drive base hit to center. Alex Call then drove in Jarvis with a base knock to left.
The Brewers pushed the lead back to 4-2 with a run in the bottom of the seventh. Franly Mallen led off with a single. With one out, 2nd round draft pick Lucas Erceg singled to center for his first professional hit. The next batter, Gilbert Lara, was hit by a pitch. Juan Ortiz then lined a base hit to center that plated Mallen.
In the eighth, the Voyagers knocked the lead back to one. Aaron Schnurbusch started the inning with a walk. Brady Conlan singled sharply to left-center. Jackson Glines, appearing in his first game of the season, used a fielder's choice to drive in Schnurbusch for a 4-3 game. In the bottom of the inning, Helena crawled ahead by two again. Demi Orimoloye reached on an infield error and later stole second on a pick-off attempt that went awry. He took third on a bad throw from first to second. Orimoloye scored on a fielder's choice by Caleb Whalen.
The Voyagers did not go silently in the top of the ninth. Alex Call led off with a single to left. With two outs, Aaron Schnurbusch lined a base hit to left. Brady Conlan stayed hot at the plate with an opposite field RBI single to right. With two men on, pinch hitter Anthony Villa flied out to right-center to end the game.
Great Falls stranded 11 base runners to push its total to 28 left on through the first three games. The Voyagers outhit Helena 12-to-9 but committed three errors on the day. Aaron Schnurbusch and Brady Conlan each had three hits and one RBI. Alex Call and Jameson Fisher both collected two hits. For the Brewers, Franly Mallen led the charge with a 3-for-4 day, one RBI, and two runs scored.
Voyagers starting pitcher Adam Panayotovich had the longest outing for Great Falls so far. Panayotovich (0-1) took the loss but lasted six innings. He gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits with two strikeouts and no walks. Michael Petersen posted the win in relief for Helena. Petersen (1-0) worked two-and-two-thirds and allowed one earned run on three hits with two strikeouts and two walks. Rodrigo Benoit earned his first save. Benoit pitched two innings and yielded two earned runs on five hits with three strikeouts and one walk.
Great Falls concludes its season-opening four-game series at Helena Monday night at 7:05. The Voyagers six-game road trip to start the season continues with a two-game set at Missoula Tuesday and Wednesday next week. The home opener is scheduled for June 23rd at Centene Stadium against Helena. For ticket information, visit www.gfvoyagers.com or call 406-452-5311.
Courtesy Great Falls Voyagers