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Power surge: Billings blasts four homers in win over Birds
Osprey second baseman Rafael Hilario gets the out at second base on Alex Buchholz of Billings, but couldn't complete the double play Wednesday night in Missoula.
Photo by MICHAEL GALLACHER/Missoulian

The Billings Mustangs picked up where they left off Wednesday, hammering the Missoula Osprey pitching staff for their second Pioneer League win in as many nights.

A homer-happy Billings scored a 10-3 victory in front of 2,016 fans at Missoula's Ogren-Allegiance Park. The Mustangs finished with 15 hits, including four home runs. They had 16 hits in Tuesday's 6-5 win on Opening Night.

"They can definitely hit," said Osprey third baseman Kyle Greene. "They had a couple of big innings each game and ours weren't exactly lively, but they were close games until we gave up the big inning."

A five-run sixth inning helped Billings break the game wide open. Mike Konstanty hit a two-run home run off Missoula reliever Jesse Orosco Jr. to give the Mustangs a 9-3 lead. This came two batters after the Mustangs' Neftali Soto deposited a three-run homer into the Clark Fork River beyond the left field fence. The O's trailed just 4-3 when the sixth began.

Soto, Billings' third baseman, went 3-for-4 with two homers and four runs batted in. His first home run was a solo shot, which gave the Ponies a 2-1 lead in the third inning. Tony Brown added a two-run dinger to put Billings up 4-1 in the fifth.

"This is a good park for those," said Greene of the homers. "They were hit well."

The Mustangs (2-0) were also set up by a pair of mistakes by the Osprey defense, both coming in the sixth inning when Orosco relieved Missoula starter Randy Rodriguez, and couldn't keep the game close. A throwing error by Greene and a walk set the stage for Soto's second home run. A dropped fly ball in deep center field preceded Konstanty's home run.

Billings, which made no errors in the field, closes out its three-game series with the Osprey (0-2) on Thursday at 7:05 p.m.

Missoula's offense was again a little sluggish. The O's managed a pair of runs in the fifth on fielder's choice RBIs, but they had just one more hit (7) than in Tuesday's opener.

"There's a lot of new guys that are trying to get in a groove," said Greene, who went 1-for-3 with a run scored and a RBI on Wednesday, "but it'll come around. I'm sure."

Greene's RBI single tied the game at 1-1 in the second. Designated hitter Nelson Gomez doubled with one out to start the inning.

Outfielder Isaias Ascencio went 2-for-4 with a triple, a double and a run scored to lead Missoula offensively.

Mustangs starter Oscar Castro pitched six innings to get the win. He allowed all three Missoula runs on four hits, with five strikeouts. Steve Otterness, Brandon Rice and Randall Linebaugh each pitched a scoreless inning of relief.

Rodriguez (0-1) was pelted for four runs on eight hits in five innings of work. He struck out three. Orosco, the son of the former major league journeyman with the same name, pitched to 10 batters in the sixth. The O's used both their left-handers, Keny Sosa and Bayron Zepeda in the final three innings.

Osprey shortstop Reynaldo Navarro, who began the 2007 season in Missoula with a 10-game hitting streak, recorded his first hit of the season in the fifth inning. The O's leadoff hitter also stole his first base.

Notes: Arizona's second-round draft pick, RHP Bryan Shaw, was assigned to the Osprey on Wednesday. Š Missoula 2B Rafael Hilario went 0-for-2, a day after going 3-for-3 in the opener.

BILLINGS MISSOULA

ab r h bi ab r h bi

Bartles dh 6 1 1 0 Navarro ss 4 0 1 0

Soto 3b 5 2 3 4 Diaz cf 4 0 0 0

Stiffler cf 4 2 2 1 Stone lf 4 0 1 0

Konstnty 1b 4 1 2 2 White 1b 4 0 1 0

Brown lf 5 1 2 2 Gomez dh 4 1 1 0

Stovall rf 5 1 2 0 Greene 3b 3 1 1 1

Buchhlz 2b 5 0 3 0 Ascencio rf 4 1 2 0

Widemn c 4 1 0 0 Perez c 2 0 0 1

Rojas ss 4 1 0 1 Corniel c 1 0 0 0

Hilario 2b 2 0 0 1

Elmore 2b 2 0 0 0

Totals 42 1015 10 Totals 34 3 7 3

Billings 011 025 100 - 10

Missoula 010 020 000 - 3

E-Diaz; Green. DP-Billings 0, Missoula 1. LOB-Billings 10, Missoula 6. 2B-Stiffler; Gomez; Asencio. 3B-Asencio. HR-Soto. SB-Navarro.

IP H R ER BB SO

Billings

Castro 6 4 3 3 1 5

Otternes 1 0 0 0 1 1

Rice 1 2 0 0 0 0

Lindbaugh 1 1 0 0 0 2

Missoula

Rodriguez 5 8 4 4 2 3

Orosco 1 5 5 0 1 0

Sosa 2 2 1 1 1 2

Zepeda 1 0 0 0 0 0

HBP-Konstanty. WP- Rpdriguez.

Umpires-Greg Stanzak, home; Jason Hutchings, first.

T - 2:24

A - 2,016

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