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A topsy-turvy game Tuesday evening got away from the Bozeman Bucks in a hurry.

A series of Bozeman errors in the top of the fifth inning opened the door for the visiting Great Falls Chargers to erase a one-run deficit and tack on several more runs before ultimately claiming a 14-4 victory at Heroes Park.

The Bucks led 4-3 entering the frame and then found themselves on the wrong side of a scoring outburst. Bozeman’s hitters went down in order in the bottom half of the fifth, ending the game by run rule.

“That was a tough inning for sure,” Bucks manager Garrett Schultz said. “We didn’t play great before that, but I thought we were competing. We were definitely in the ball game, and the wheels kind of fell off there in the fifth.”

The Chargers managed to chase Bozeman (22-31-1) starting pitcher Brady Higgs from the game by recording a hit by pitch and three singles, along with two Bucks errors, before Bozeman earned an out. He exited the game with the score 8-4. Preston Fliehman relieved him and walked his first two hitters, forcing in another run. The third error of the frame followed and cleared the previously loaded bases, making it 12-4. Two more base hits brought in the final two runs of the game, creating the 10-run margin.

Higgs was charged with nine runs (five earned) on six hits in his four innings on the mound. He struck out one and walked two. Fliehman allowed five runs (none earned) on two hits and the two walks. He also struck out one. Six Bozeman errors did most of the damage.

“I think defensively we just kind of fell apart after a couple errors,” Bucks second baseman Corbin Holzer said. “It all table-tops on each other.”

Holzer hit a home run to lead off the fourth inning and tie the game at 3-3. Later in the frame, Andrew Western singled and Luke Rizzo was safe on an error by the Chargers, resulting in a brief 4-3 advantage.

“We started off strong,” Holzer said. “The bats were going, but the wind was killing the ball. … (The home run) was a huge momentum builder and a step in the right direction.”

For the moment, that sequence followed the trends of the earlier innings when the teams traded the lead, but nobody took a strong hold on it.

Both teams scored one run in the first inning — Great Falls on an RBI groundout from Trigg Mapes, and Bozeman on a Fliehman single.

After a clean second inning both ways, Bozeman took its first lead in the third inning on a sacrifice fly from Logan Pailthorpe that brought Western home.

The Chargers went back ahead thanks to a sacrifice fly and run-scoring single in the top of the fourth, setting the stage for Holzer’s home run in the next half inning and all the chaos that followed in the fifth.

“Great Falls is a good team. They’ve played everybody in the conference tough,” Schultz said. “We knew they’d give us a challenge. … We definitely got into an inning where mistakes compounded.”

The Bucks have a game in Laramie, Wyoming on Wednesday and then begin play at a tournament in Colorado on Thursday.

“I hope we play clean defense. I hope our guys are picking each other up and making competitive baseball important,” Schultz said. “Our team is fully capable of competing with anybody out there. We know that. But it’s putting together a complete ball game and supporting our teammates.”

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Parker Cotton can be reached at pcotton@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2670. Follow him on Twitter @ByParkerCotton. 

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