Osprey Preview: Game #17
Who: Missoula Osprey (7–9) vs. Great Falls Voyagers (7–9)
Where: Centene Stadium — Great Falls, MT
When: 7:00 P.M. (MT) first pitch
How To Listen: ESPN 102.9 FM | MiLB First Pitch App| MiLB.com
Since adopting their current moniker and home in 1999, the Missoula Osprey have faced the Great Falls franchise in the Pioneer League 301 times, owning an all-time mark of 142–159 against them. In Missoula, the Osprey have played roughly .500 baseball against Great Falls, posting a record of 74–76. In Great Falls, however, Missoula has struggled both historically and recently. In 150 all-time meetings in Great Falls, the Osprey are only 142–159 and have lost six straight, including all three in 2017.
Despite leading for much of the evening, the Missoula Osprey (7–9) failed to generate enough scoring to withstand a late surge from the Great Falls Voyagers (7–9), as they scuffled to a 7–3 loss at Centene Stadium on Tuesday night.
Missoula pushed across the first run of the night after racing out of the gates in the top of the first inning. Outfielder Gabriel Maciel doubled to lead off the ballgame, coming across to score two batters later on an RBI groundout by designated hitter Luis Lara. Four innings later, the Osprey added a second run on a pop fly single by outfielder Eduardo Diaz, dropping in shallow center field to score Francis Martinez.
Through the first four innings, Osprey starting pitcher Luis Madero effectively stranded base runners to string together a quartet of scoreless frames. With a 2–0 lead entering the bottom of the fifth, however, Madero’s evening was derailed when Great Falls notched back-to-back singles from Nick Nolan and Ricardo Mota to begin the inning. An infield single and a fielder’s choice combined to plate a pair of runs for the Voyagers, tying the game.
Madero trotted out for the sixth, but was promptly chased from the game after Great Falls logged a flurry of base hits, amounting to three runs, pushing the Osprey deficit to 5–2. For the first time in 2017, Madero was saddled with a loss. He lasted five and one-third innings, surrendering five runs (all earned) on nine hits and one walk, while striking out a pair.
The Osprey fought back for one final run in the top of the seventh inning on an RBI single by Brandon Leyton, but failed to offer further resistance. Great Falls added two runs in the bottom of the seventh to widen their lead to five runs, settling the score at its final mark of 7–3.
After stumbling at the plate on Tuesday night, Missoula climbs back atop the horse in an attempt at snapping their six-game losing streak at Centene Stadium. Missoula struggled last night in the process of scoring three runs on just six hits and a mark of 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Tonight, the O’s hand the ball to left-hander Franklyn Soriano (0–1, 3.86 ERA) for his fourth start of the season and second against Great Falls.
In his one prior meeting with the Voyagers, the 21-year-old Soriano struggled through three innings in which he surrendered a season-high 10 base runners on eight hits and two walks. Fortunately for Missoula, Soriano limited the damage to only three runs, but still was saddled with the loss in an 8–3 defeat at Centene Stadium.
Last week, Soriano toed the rubber at Ogren Park at Allegiance Field for the first time and looked masterful in an outstanding 5.1 inning performance, allowing only one run on five its and one walk, while striking out a season-high four batters. Soriano exited the game against Billings with the score locked 1–1, but watched as Missoula reeled off seven consecutive runs to close the game with an 8–1 win. Tonight, Soriano looks to suppress a lineup from Great Falls that struggled immensely during the club’s seven-game losing streak that was broken last night.
Great Falls will counter with right-hander Fernando Gallegos (0–1, 9.35 ERA), who is in line for his fourth appearance and second start of the year. Gallegos, an undrafted free agent, struggled against Missoula in his one head-to-head meeting with the Osprey on June 23. On the 23rd, Gallegos pitched 2.2 innings out of the bullpen, surrendering three runs on two hits and two walks.
A win in Great Falls tonight would either move the Osprey into third place by themselves or into a second-place tie with the Helena Brewers. Helena plays at Billings tonight after knocking off the first-place Mustangs yesterday afternoon.
NOTES: Keshawn Lynch is 4th in the Pioneer League with a batting average of .452… Luis Lara is tied for 5th in the PL with 15 RBI… Following the announcement of the 2017 MLB All-Star teams, the Osprey are the only team in the Pioneer League with three alumni selected. Paul Goldschmidt (D-backs), Jake Lamb (D-backs), and Ender Inciarte (Braves) will represent the National League.