MISSOULA — Slugger Spencer Brickhouse enjoyed his best night as a professional and the Missoula Osprey continued their assault on the Pioneer League North's No. 1 spot on Wednesday.
Seemingly out of the race several weeks ago, the second-place O's find themselves well within striking distance with 14 games remaining in the first half. That with the help of a 7-1 win over the Orem Owlz in front of 1,732 fans at Ogren-Allegiance Park.
Brickhouse smacked his first professional home run and finished 3 for 4 with five RBIs. Missoula, who trailed first-place Idaho Falls by just three games prior to Wednesday, moved to 13-11.
"It feels amazing," said Brickhouse, whose team outhit Orem, 9-4. "To go out there and get a win. You know, hats off to Patrick McGuff, who pitched a helluva game. And it's always good to go out there and get the bats rolling."
Orem (8-16) jumped to an early lead when Jeremiah Jackson ripped a solo home run off McGuff (3-1) in the first. It was one of only two hits surrendered by Missoula's starter, who picked up the win with seven strikeouts in seven innings of duty.
The Osprey took the lead for good in the bottom half. Jose Reyes hit a leadoff single and Brickhouse came through with a two-out, two-RBI home run to center field off starter Emilker Guzman.
Missoula added an insurance run in the third. No. 9 hitter Luvin Valbuena led off with a double down the third base line and scored on an Axel Andueza sacrifice fly.
Tristen Carranza's solo home run gave the hosts a 4-1 lead in the seventh. Then came more Brickhouse heroics in the eighth as he ripped a bases-loaded double over the center fielder's head that scored three runs.
Ryan Fritze pitched the eighth inning and Landon Whitson the ninth. Fritze struck out two batters and Whitson fanned all three that he faced.
The teams will be back in action Thursday night in Missoula.