MISSOULA – Alex Blandino hit a tie-breaking double in the top of the ninth and the Billings Mustangs tacked on four more runs to defeat the Missoula Osprey 7-2 in the Pioneer League on Wednesday night at Ogren Park at Allegiance Field.
The Mustangs snapped a five-game winning streak for Missoula (9-8), which fell into a first-place tie with Great Falls atop the North Division. At 8-8, Billings is a half-game behind.
Mustangs starter Tyler Mahle bounced back from a rough outing, one in which he gave up 10 hits and eight runs in 2 1/3 innings. He shut out Missoula for five innings, allowing four hits and walking two while striking out four. Mahle left the game leading 2-0, but Dane McFarland tied the score in the bottom of the seventh with a two-run home run off Fabian Roman (1-2).
McFarland finished the game 3-for-4.
Cory Thompson hit a one-out double in the ninth to get the rally started for the Mustangs. Blandino followed with his double, and his second RBI of the game, and Kevin Franklin got an RBI when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. In his first appearance with the Mustangs, Jose Duarte followed with an RBI single and Nick Benedetto completed the scoring by driving in two runs when the Osprey couldn’t handle his pop fly behind second base.
Game three of the four-game series is Thursday night.