The Voyagers were a juggernaut in the 2nd half, rolling to 15 straight wins up until their last couple games of the regular season. But whether it’s the major leagues or the rookie leagues, playoff baseball is a whole new ballgame, and Great Falls was dominated in a 7-3 loss to open their postseason.
Aron McRee, who won the Pioneer League Pitcher of the Year award and led that league in ERA, struggled from the get-go. He allowed a single run in the first inning, but the flood gates opened in the third as he watched four Mustangs cross the plate. In the end, he allowed 6 runs (5 earned) on 10 hits (two of which left the park) in 4 innings of work. That’s more runs than the usually steady McRee had allowed in his last 4 starts combined over 22.1 IP.
Fernando Gallegos, Lane Hobbs and Ryan Hinchley tossed a combined five innings of 1-run ball in a bid to keep Great Falls in it, but the offense couldn’t crack the scoreboard until their last at-bat. Corey Zangari, who hadn’t played in the last week of regular season games as he nursed a minor injury, hit a pinch-hit 3-run opposite field blast in the bottom of the 9th to make it interesting. Brady Conlan and Joel Booker each had 2-4 days at the plate, but most of the rest of the lineup couldn’t solve Billings’ Ian Kahaloa, who struck out 10 in his 7 innings of shutout ball. Zangari’s home run was the only extra base hit for Great Falls on the night.
This best-of-three series now moves to Billings for the next game, and hopefully for the Voyagers, one more after that. Bernardo Flores will start for Great Falls, hoping bring back some of that 2nd half magic.
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Filed under: Daily Game Recaps