BILLINGS — The Billings Mustangs are coming on strong as the Pioneer League baseball season enters the homestretch.
Playing in front of 3,138 at Dehler Park, Billings defeated Idaho Falls 12-1 to complete a four-game sweep of the Chukars.
The Mustangs scored twice in the bottom of the 10th late Saturday night to down the Chukars 6-5.
The North Division-leading Mustangs (20-7, 35-30) have won 12 of their last 14 games. The 11-run win was the largest of the season for Billings and it was the team's second four-game sweep of the season.
Idaho Falls, the first-half division winner, is now 7-20 in the second half and 28-36 overall.
The Billings Mustangs' game against the Idaho Falls Chukars at Dehler Park in Billings on Sunday, August 25, 2019.
Billings now leads second-place Missoula (15-12) by five games. The Osprey were swept by Great Falls on Sunday, losing 4-2 and 10-1.
Leadoff batter and Mustangs center fielder Quin Cotton was 3 for 5 with two runs and two RBIs. Victor Ruiz, Leonardo Seminati and Quincy McAfee all had two hits for Billings. Included in McAfee's total was his eighth double of the season. Ruiz also drove in two runs.
Four Billings pitchers limited Idaho Falls to three hits. Billings starting pitcher Jose Salvador made his PL debut and retired the first nine batters. Salvador worked four innings and gave up one run on two hits, while walking one and fanning six. Ryan Dunne came in for Salvador and tossed 2 2/3 innings to earn the victory and improve to 5-3. Dunne allowed one hit and did not give up a run or a walk while striking out three. Jeffry Nino followed Dunne and struck out all four batters he faced. Johnnie Schneider pitched the ninth to close the game for Billings.
Jose Marquez batted 2 for 4, including a double, with a run for Idaho Falls.
On Saturday, TJ Hopkins doubled to right to score Cotton with the winning run. Earlier in the frame, Reniel Ozuna hit an RBI single for Billings.
Kember Nacero gave Idaho Falls a 5-4 advantage with an RBI single in the top of the 10th.
Seminati was 3 for 5 with an RBI for the Ponies.
Clay Dungan batted 3 for 5 with an RBI and two runs scored for the Chukars.
Billings has a day off on Monday before embarking on its last road trip of the regular season. The Mustangs will visit Missoula for a three-game set beginning on Tuesday. Billings will then travel to Great Falls for four games beginning on Friday. On Tuesday, Sept. 3, Billings is off before it hosts a four-game series with Missoula to conclude the regular season.