MISSOULA — Mark Timmins struck out five over six innings while Nick Cicci broke a 1-all tie with a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth to give the Missoula Paddleheads all the runs they would need as they cruised to an 11-1 thumping of the Great Falls Voyagers in a Pioneer League North Division meeting Saturday night at Ogren Park's Allegiance Field.
With their second straight loss to the Paddleheads (19-9), the Voyagers (17-12) remain in third place, 2 1/2 games behind Missoula. They also didn't gain any ground on the Idaho Falls Chukars (17-11) after the No. 2 team in the division dropped a 4-3 decision to Glacier (12-16, fifth place). Billings also wasn't helped after the Mustangs lost both ends of their twin bill with Boise by scores of 8-3 and 8-6, with the second game going eight innings.
Cicci's big fly in the fifth came with Keaton Greenwalt aboard after Michael Deeb doubled home Collin Runge in the fourth to tie the contest at a run apiece. Missoula got their first tally on an RBI single by Jayson Newman in the last of the first.
For the Voyagers, it snowballed from the fifth inning on and not in a good way, either: Missoula piled on four more runs in than fifth inning as Brandon Riley, Lamar Sparks and Jayson Newman stroked run-scoring singles with Nick Gatewood's sacrifice fly capped the inning.
Cicci collected his third RBI of the night in the eighth with an RBI single, then Riley pushed another runner home with a safety before Newman, the Paddleheads' hero after homering twice, driving five runs in, and pitching a strong ninth for the save, cracked a two-run safety to cap the scoring.
Timmins (1-1) gave up just an earned run on four hits while punching out five. Nathan Alexander pitched two, fanning four and allowing a hit and two but nothing else, and Dan Swain finished things off by walking one before striking out the side in the ninth.
Tyler Naumann (0-2) got roughed up in his 4 1/3 innings, giving up seven earned on nine hits and three strikeouts.
The series finale between the two clubs was played Sunday afternoon in Missoula. The Voyagers will have two days off (Monday and Tuesday) before opening a six-game Fourth of July weekend series against the Glacier Range Riders Wednesday at Centene Stadium.
This article originally appeared on Great Falls Tribune: Missoula Paddleheads beat Voyagers in Pioneer League game