The Missoula Osprey were all but out of it after the first inning of Game 3 of the Pioneer League North Division series, after the Great Falls Voyagers batted around and scored five times in the inning.
Not many people would have predicted the events that would follow.
The Osprey bullpen were able to pick up starter Chase Anderson, who failed to make it out of the second inning. Keith Cantwell threw 3 1/3 solid innings of relief, with Scott Allen and Ryan Robowski combining to pitch 4 1/3 shutout innings, allowing just two hits between them. Allen picked up the victory, because after trailing 5-0 and 7-2, the Osprey scored four times in the top of the fifth inning, and added a seven-run sixth on their way to a 16-7 win.
David Nick and Chris Owings had four hits each, while Paul Goldschmidt had three hits and four RBI to pace the Osprey 20-hit attack. Goldschmidt had set a Missoula record in the regular season with both 27 doubles and 18homers. Those 18 dingers also tied him for the Pioneer League lead. Goldschmidt continued his hot hitting from the end of the regular season, when he batted .439/.489/.805 with three homers and 11 RBI in September.
16th-overall pick Bobby Borchering homered, doubled, and drove in three runs, while shortstop David Narodowski added a two-run tater to the Missoula output. Owings and Ramon Castillo, who also had a pair of hits, each drove in two runs.
The Osprey went 9-for-17 with runners in scoring position, a welcome change
from their 1-for-10 mark that wasted strong pitching efforts from Charles Brewer
and Patrick Schuster in the Game 2 loss. The pitching was also excellent
in Game 1, as Mike Belfiore, Diogenes Rosario, and Adam Worthington did not
allow an earned run over 11 innings of work. It was the defense that let
them down in the 9th, as a fielding error by shortstop Chris Owings extended the
inning and allowed the Voyagers to tie the score at two apiece. Owings
atoned for the error by doubling to lead off the 11th and later scoring on
Borchering's walkoff single to end Game 1.
With the series win, the Osprey have secured a berth in the Pioneer League Championship series opposite Orem. The Owlz swept Ogden in two games to advance from the South. This will prove to be the Osprey's greatest challenge yet, as the Owlz swept the seven-game regular season series between the two clubs, outscoring Missoula 55-23. Orem was a remarkable 31-7 in the second half of the season and 51-25 overall, both marks easily pacing the rest of the Pioneer League.
The Osprey have announced that Miguel Pena will get the start in Game 1 of the Pioneer League Championship series at home on Wednesday. Mike Belfiore will pitch Game 2 and Charles Brewer would start Game 3, if necessary, at Ogren Park Allegiance Field on Friday and Saturday.
Enrique Burgos, who won the Pioneer League Pitcher of the Week Award for the final week of the season by going 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA in September, is conspicuously absent from the postseason rotation. Over his final five starts of the season, Burgos had been very consistent, taking all but one start into the fifth inning, and allowing just four earned runs (six total) in his final 26.1 innings pitched, posting a 3-0 record, 29 strikeouts, and a 1.37 ERA during that span. His ERA for the season is a robust 6.26, however, and the D-backs want to keep his innings total at 64.2 before he pitches in the Instructional League later this month.
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