Mustangs Win Home Opener on Walk Off Balk - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Mustangs Win Home Opener on Walk Off Balk

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The Billings Mustangs (1-0) won 5-4 in walk-off fashion on Monday night over the Missoula Osprey (0-1) in front of 4,017 at Dehler Park.

Max Wotell would get the nod in the opening day start for the Mustangs. Wotell, who was obtained in the Jay Bruce trade from the New York Mets, made three appearances last season in the Pioneer League.

The Osprey would strike first with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. Gabriel Maciel was walked aboard and scored immediately on the two-run homerun of Andy Yerzy. Despite the two runs in the first, the top of the Osprey order would go a combined 1-for-10 in the game with two strikeouts. 

The Mustangs immediately responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the first. Andy Sugilio hit his first homerun since 2015, a two-run blast that scored Miles Gordon who doubled earlier in the inning, to even the score at 2-2. Sugilio led both sides with a three-hit performance, going 3-for-4 with 2 RBI and a run.

Billings secured their first lead of the night in the bottom of the third on a sacrifice fly from Montrell Marshall that allowed Satchel McElroy to score. That lead was extended with another sacrifice fly in the sixth, this time off the bat of Alejo Lopez to score Morgan Lofstrom. Lofstrom was 2-for-3 with a double, walk and a run scored in the win.

Max Wotell settled down nicely after the homerun in the first. He would not allow another run the rest of his outing and only one more hit. He finished the night having thrown six innings, giving up two hits, two runs, walking three and striking out two. He also retired the final eight batters he saw. He would leave in position for the win, but would not receive a decision.

Holding a 4-2 lead going to the seventh, the Mustangs' defense allowed their last two runs of the game. Alfredo Mena (1-0) gave up a leadoff single to Juan Araujo and walked Luis Lara to follow. Both would score in the inning on a wild pitch and an RBI single, respectively.

Like Wotell, following a tough first inning of work Mena responded well and allowed just one runner aboard the rest of his outing, including a 1-2-3 ninth.

Tied at 4-4 going to the bottom of the ninth inning, the Mustangs would need just three men to come to the plate to seal the win. Carlos Rivero led off with an infield single, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. With a man at third and one out, Miles Gordon stepped to the plate but would never finish his at-bat. Missoula pitcher Yeison Santana was called for a balk that would score Rivero and give the Mustangs the 5-4 win. 

Game two of the four-game series will take place Tuesday at Dehler Park in Billings. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.