The Voyagers moved within one game of first-place Billings following a dramatic 5-4 victory over the Mustangs Friday night at Centene Stadium.
Great Falls (11-10) swept the two-game series and finished its second home stand of the season with a record of 3-2. After three scoreless innings to start the night, the Voyagers scored three times in the fourth to take the lead. Aaron Schnurbusch started the rally with a one-out double on a line drive into the left field corner. Schnurbusch reached third on a wild pitch. After Corey Zangari walked, Nate Nolan crushed a double deep to center that hopped up against the wall and scored both base runners for a 2-0 lead. Nolan later took third on another wild pitch and then scored on a squeeze bunt up the first base line by Sam Dexter.
Billings (12-9) finally answered back in the seventh. Taylor Trammell tripled to the gap in left-center leading off the inning. Montrell Marshall drove in Trammell for the first run on a double that bounced up the third base line. With two outs, Hector Vargas doubled deep to the wall in left-center and it was 3-2. Mitch Trees tied the game with a bloop single to right that scored Vargas.
The Voyagers pulled back ahead for good in the eighth. With one out, Anthony Villa was hit by a pitch. The next batter, Aaron Schnurbusch, whacked his first professional home run the opposite way deep to left-center for a 5-3 advantage. It was Schnurbusch’s third extra-base hit of the game.
The Mustangs mounted a late charge in the top of the ninth. John Sansone reached with a one-out single. Colby Wright followed with a walk. Hector Vargas loaded the bases on a ground ball error at short. Great Falls made a pitching change and Alejo Lopez came up as a pinch hitter. With the bases loaded, Lopez sent a drive up the left field line. The ball appeared foul but was initially called fair. After several minutes discussing the play, the umpires ruled it was a foul ball. Billings manager Rey Martinez and hitting coach Joe Thurston were eventually ejected for arguing the call. After play resumed, Lopez brought in a run with a ground out to third. With two outs, Miles Gordon walked to load the bases again. Satchel McElroy flied out to left to end the night.
Jake Elliott posted the win in relief for Great Falls. Elliott (2-1) worked one-and-two-thirds and allowed an unearned run on two hits with four strikeouts and one walk. Patrick Riehl suffered the loss for the Mustangs. Riehl (2-1) pitched two-and-a-third in relief and gave up two earned runs on two hits with three strikeouts. Michael Horejsei posted his second save of the season after obtaining the final two outs in the ninth.
Billings outhit the Voyagers 10-to-6. For Great Falls, Aaron Schnurbusch finished 3-for-4 with two doubles and the homer. Taylor Trammell went 3-for-4 with a triple and two singles for the Mustangs.
Great Falls hits the road for three at Missoula Saturday through Monday before returning for a seven-game home stand starting July 13th. For ticket and promotional information, visit www.gfvoyagers.com or call 406-452-5311.
Courtesy: Great Falls Voyagers