Three-Run Third Sends Helena Brewers to 4-2 Victory
The Helena Brewers have been off to a bit of a rough patch to start the Pioneer League season, entering Monday night’s play at 1-6. The pitching staff has struggled early on, but Nelson Hernandez delivered six solid innings against the Billings Mustangs, and the Brewers used a three-run third to lead the team to a 4-2 victory. Jayson Rose tossed two-scoreless innings for his first save and Brent Diaz had two doubles and scored two-runs in the victory.
Billings took the lead in the top of the first against Hernandez. Miles Gordon led off the game with a double and moved to third on a ground out. Stuart Fairchild followed by grounding out as well, plating Gordon and it was 1-0 Mustangs.
Tyler Mondile started for Billings and he kept the Brewers off the board in the first, but Helena tied the score in the bottom of the second. Payton Henry led off the inning with a single and moved to third when Brent Diaz doubled down the line in left. Chad McClanahan walked to load the bases and there was still no one out. Next up was Franly Mallen, who grounded back to Mondile. He fired home for the first out, and Mitch Trees threw to first for the double-play. It looked like the Billings starter was going out of the inning unscathed, but Yerald Martinez tied the score when he beat out a ground ball for a single to score Diaz and tie the game.
In the top of the third, the Mustangs retook the lead. Gordon singled with one out and moved to second on a ground out. He scored when Fairchild lined a base hit into right to make it 4-2.
In the third, Helena took the lead. With one down, Dallas Carroll lined a single just over the second baseman’s head. Henry followed by grounding a ball down to the third baseman, but his throw to second was wild and both runners were safe. Diaz followed with his second double of the day, scoring Carroll before McClanahan struck out. With runners at second and third and two down, Mallen delivered a clutch single into center to score both runners and give the Brewers the 4-2 lead.
From there, there pitching staffs took over. Neither team would score after the third inning. Nelson Hernandez (1-0) departed after 6-innings, allowing 8-hits and 2-earned runs while striking out 4. Dylan File tossed a scoreless seventh inning for the Brewers. In the eighth, Jayson Rose came on and he would toss two-perfect innings for his first save of the season.
Brent Diaz finished 2-4 with 2-runs scored and 2-doubles. Nic Pierre was 1-3 with a double and a walk. For Billings, Miles Gordon was 2-4 with 2-runs scored and a double.
The Helena Brewers welcome Great Falls to town on Tuesday night. Adam Panayotovich (0-0, 1.50 will go against Michael Peterson (0-0, 0.00). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier