Largest Crowd of 2019 Witness Vibes Walk-Off in Dramatic Fashion against Raptors
Colorado Springs, COLORADO - Series openers have been rather harsh on the Vibes, but tonight, UCHealth Park felt plenty of good vibrations. The Vibes captured their first series opener since July 30th, walking off with a 7-6 victory on Saturday night in Colorado Springs. The largest crowd in UCHealth Park's history-7,048-all witnessed the fourth walk-off in the Vibes' inaugural season. Joe Gray Jr.-the Brewers' No. 10 prospect-belted his first homerun of the season at the perfect time with the game-winner for the Vibes tonight. Gray Jr. sent a 3-2 fastball over the left field fence and sent the Vibes faithful into hysteria.
It was an ideal pitcher's matchup with the Vibes sending All-Star Karsen Lindell to the bump and the Raptors countering with Yeison Cespedes. Lindell stayed true to form in his second start since the all-star break. The right-hander tossed five innings allowing just two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out four. He got massive help on defense as well; highlighted by second baseman Nick Egnatuk. With runners on the corners, Egnatuk charged a slowly hit ground ball behind the pitcher's mound to throw out Raptors shortstop Zac Ching at first base to preserve the shutout and end the third inning.
The Vibes offense would bounce back from the shutout loss on Thursday night producing the seven runs on 13 hits; eight of them for extra bases. The underlying offensive highlight came from left fielder Carlos Rodriguez, who pushed his hitting streak to a team-best nine games with a second-inning single to right.
After scoring just four runs in their final two games of the roadtrip, the offense matched that run total in just the second inning. Catcher Nick Kahle led off the inning with a double off the left field wall, and right fielder Micah Bello followed with a single to right to put runners on the corners for first baseman Ernesto Martinez Jr. He would scorch a baseball into the right-centerfield gap to drive home both Kahle and Bello on a two-run triple. Martinez Jr. would come across home plate on a Cam Devanney grounder to the shortstop. Designated Hitter Michael Wilson added the fourth and final run of the inning when he turned on a 2-0 pitch and sent it soaring over the right field fence for his fifth homerun of the season.
The Raptors would respond in the top of the fifth inning. With one out and a runner on, designated hitter Jorbit Vivas sent a pitch over the fence in right for his first homerun in just his seventh game with Ogden. Heading into the bottom of the fifth, the Vibes still led 4-2.
With two outs and third baseman Bryan Torres at second, Kahle caught a bit of luck on a grounder that went off the glove of Brandon Lewis at first base. The ball trickled into the outfield and allowed Torres to come home and push the lead to 5-2.
No game with the Raptors is a simple task however. The Raptors came within one in the top of the seventh after back-to-back leadoff singles from second baseman Jeremy Arocho and catcher Cesar Mendoza. Arocho would score on a sacrifice fly to deep center by Vivas. Mendoza advanced to third. Mendoza would come home on a wild pitch shortly after by Brady Schanuel to trim the deficit to one.
The Vibes would add insurance in the bottom of the eighth. After Devanney reached safely on an error through the shortstop's legs, Egnatuk would drive him home on a single to right to make it 6-4. Again though, no game with the Raptors is a simple task.
The Raptors tied the game in the top of the ninth with an RBI-single by Mendoza, followed by an RBI single by Ching two batters later.
As the leadoff man in the bottom of the ninth, Gray Jr. played the role of hero, and ended the game in outstanding fashion with a walkoff bomb.
The Vibes are home for their second-to-last homestand of 2019, set to wrap up on 8/24. The Vibes will host the Ogden Raptors for a four-game set followed by a four-game series against the Orem Owlz before the team heads out on their final road trip of the year on 8/26. For all information on the Vibes, follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @vibesbaseball and visit the team's website at www.vibesbaseball.com.
Tomorrow's Preview: The Vibes continue their eight-game homestand with the second game of a four-game series against the Ogden Raptors, with first pitch set for 1:30 p.m. The Raptors are slated to start righty Jeronimo Castro (3-0, 2.92) against Vibes right-hander Michele Vassalotti (4-4, 6.19). The game will be available on MiLB.TV as well as the MiLB TuneIn app.
Bad Luck Begue: In Thursday night's series finale against the Great Falls Voyagers, despite throwing five strong innings, allowing just one run on five hits with no walks and a pair of strikeouts, starter Brock Begue ended up taking the loss in the 1-0 shutout to fall to 1-4 on the season. Begue has now found himself on the unfortunate losing end of the Vibes' last three shutout losses, suffering the 1-0 loss on 8/15 in Great Falls against the Voyagers, suffering another 1-0 loss back in Game One of a doubleheader against the Ogden Raptors in the Springs on 8/2 (falling to 1-3 on the season at the time), and taking the loss in the 12-0 blowout shutout back on 7/15 in the Springs against the Voyagers again (with Begue falling to 0-1 on the season at the time).
Torres Swipes: Bryan Torres stole his 14th and 15th bags of the season on 8/13 and 8/14 to move him into sole possession of second place (as of 8/17) in the Pioneer League in steals, behind only Eddy Diaz of the Grand Junction Rockies who leads the league with 20. As of 8/17, Torres led all of the Rocky Mountain squad in not just steals, but also batting average (.288), hits (49), doubles (10), RBI (23), and on-base percentage (.372).
Rodriguez Streaking: Since joining the Vibes on 7/25, Carlos Rodriguez has become an offensive mainstay for the team, posting not just one but two four-hit games (8/8 @ BIL & 8/14 @ GTF), becoming the first and only Vibes player with two four-hit games. Coming into this homestand, Rodriguez had an active eight-game hitting streak which tied the longest for any Vibes hitter this season. He extended that to a Vibes-best nine games on Saturday night with a single. In those nine games, Rodriguez had multiple hits in three of them for 16 total hits including a triple, a walk, a stolen base, and five runs. Through his first 18 games, Rodriguez had hits in all but two of them, starting his tenure with the Vibes with a four-game hitting streak, then going 0-for-4 on 7/30, then having a three-game hitting streak before going 0-for-4 on 8/3, before launching into his current hitting streak.
Trouble Getting Started: With the loss to Great Falls last Monday night in game one of that four-game series, the Vibes fell to a dismal 4-13 record in game one's this season. However, with the walkoff win on Saturday night in game one of the four-game series against the Raptors, the Vibes improve to 5-13 with a win in game one over Ogden.
Vibes vs. Pioneer Northern Review: The Thursday night contest against the Great Falls Voyagers marked the final time the Vibes would face a Northern Division opponent in the regular season. The Vibes finished 7-9 against their two opponents, 4-4 against the Billings Mustangs and 3-5 against the Great Falls Voyagers.
Dominant Hitting: The Vibes offense showed up in a big way on Tuesday night against the Voyagers with 15 total hits, which tied the Vibes season-high in hits, which came way back on 6/16 in the third game of the season in Orem against the Owlz. Every Vibes hitter collected at least one hit on the night, with two Vibes hitters collecting two (Avalo and Kahle) and another two getting three hits on the night (Gray Jr. and Sano).
...and Even More Dominant Pitching: On Tuesday night the Vibes pitching staff pitched arguably their best game of the year. Starter Carlos Luna collected his second quality start of the season, throwing six scoreless innings while only allowing two hits and one walk while striking out 11 Voyagers batters, which not only marks the most strikeouts by a Vibes pitcher ever, but also ties a career high for Luna, who struck out 11 back on 6/20/15 against the DSL Red Sox 2. Brady Schanuel struck out six in relief to raise his season total to 61, which leads the entire Vibes staff, and Taylor Floyd closed out the ninth inning adding a strikeout of his own to bring the Vibes' total on the night to 18 punchouts. That unseated the previous high of strikeouts in a game for the Rocky Mountain staff (16), which had been accomplished twice this season with the last occurrence coming on 7/26 in Grand Junction against the Rockies.
Penultimate Homestand: The Vibes are currently in the midst of their second-to-last homestand of 2019, set to culminate on 8/24. Their final road trip is set to begin on 8/26 in Ogden and conclude on 9/2 in Grand Junction. The final homestand will run from 9/3-9/7, with all five of those final games being played against the Grand Junction Rockies prior to the 2019 season ending on 9/7.
Milligan Sighting!: Bryce Milligan made his professional debut with the Vibes on Monday night against the Great Falls Voyagers, throwing one shutout inning in relief, allowing a sole hit and striking out one batter.
This Week's Preview: The Vibes are home for their second-to-last homestand of 2019, set to wrap up on 8/24. The Vibes will host the Ogden Raptors for a four-game set followed by a four-game series against the Orem Owlz before the team heads out on their final road trip of the year on 8/26.
NEXT GAME: Sunday, August 18 @ 1:30 p.m. MT vs. Ogden Raptors @ UCHealth Park
RHP Jeronimo Castro (3-0, 2.92) vs. RHP Michele Vassalotti (4-4, 6.19) - Broadcast: MiLB TuneIn app
PROMOTION: Diamond Giveaway presented by McNulty Jewelers, 50-cent hot dog Sunday presented by Parker St. Claire Realty, and Bark in the Park sponsored by Pet Pantry
RMV TOP PERFORMERS
? Joe Gray Jr. (2-for-3, HR, R, RBI, 2 BB)
? Ernesto Martinez Jr.(2-for-3, R, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, BB)
? Karsen Lindell (5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 SO)
OGD TOP PERFORMERS
? Cesar Mendoza (3-for-3, 2 R, RBI, BB)
? Jeremy Arocho (2-for-3, 2 R, BB
? Jorbit Vivas (2-for-4, HR, R, 3 RBI)
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Pioneer League Stories from August 17, 2019
- Largest Crowd of 2019 Witness Vibes Walk-Off in Dramatic Fashion against Raptors - Rocky Mountain Vibes
- Win Streak Comes to Crashing Halt - Orem Owlz
- Osprey Lose Another Game Due to Field Conditions - Missoula PaddleHeads
- Voyagers Saturday Game Update - Great Falls Voyagers
- Eighth-Inning Rally Propels Mustangs to 7-5 Win - Billings Mustangs
- Enourmous Eighth Gives Billings Series Opener - Idaho Falls Chukars
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