Colorado Springs, COLORADO - The Billings Mustangs won their first-ever contest against the Rocky Mountain Vibes Wednesday night, 8-5. The Vibes attempted a ninth-inning rally, scoring three runs and loading the bases with two outs and the winning run at the plate, but the rally fell short as the Mustangs took game one.
After a scoreless first inning, Billings found their way onto the board in the top of the second via back to back singles. Edwin Yon singled for the Mustangs first hit of the game, a wild pitch moved him into scoring position, and an Eric Yang single brought him home to make it 1-0.
Rocky Mountain answered in the bottom half with a pair of runs to take their first lead of the series. Jess Williams hit a one-out double, with Nick Egnatuk singling him home to tie the game. Ernesto Martinez Jr. then hit an RBI double to plate Egnatuk and give the Vibes a one-run advantage.
Billings responded right away in the top half of the third, scoring another run to quickly tie the game. Reyny Reyes led off with a double, and Quin Cotton followed suit with a double of his own to tie the game at a pair of runs apiece.
Both pitching staffs began to settle in after that, with the next run not coming until the top of the seventh inning, when the Mustangs scored three to make it a 5-2 affair.
In the top of the eighth inning the Mustangs scored three more runs on a Leonardo Seminati 3-run homer to extend their lead to six runs.
Down to their last three outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Vibes got the lead runner aboard via a Luis Avalo hit-by-pitch. With one out, Avalo reached second on a balk. Martinez Jr. then drew a walk to put two on. Antonio Piñero followed up with an RBI single to make it 8-3, with Martinez Jr. coming home on a sacrifice fly for out number two to reduce Billings' lead to four runs. Nick Kahle kept the rally alive with a single to put runners on the corners, causing a Billings pitching change. Bryan Torres then singled home Piñero to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Micah Bello, who drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases. A flyout to center ended the rally, however, as the Mustangs took game one 8-5.
The Rocky Mountain Vibes are in the midst of an eight-game homestand, beginning with a four-game set against the Billings Mustangs set to run through Saturday, with game two tomorrow night. First pitch is set for 6:40 p.m. The game will be available on MiLB.TV as well as on the MiLB TuneIn app. 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 first-ever series against the Billings Mustangs tomorrow with game two of a four-game series set to run through Saturday. The Vibes are slated to start righty Carlos Luna (1-1, 4.71) against Billings' fellow right-hander Carlos Carreno (0-2, 7.71). The game will be available on MiLB.TV as well as on the MiLB TuneIn app, with first pitch scheduled for 6:40 p.m. MT.
Game One Woes: With the loss to Grand Junction last Tuesday night, the loss to Ogden last Thursday night in game one of that series, and now the loss to Billings in game one Wednesday night, the Vibes fall to 1-8 in first games of a series this season.
History with Billings: With the beginning of a new series between the Rocky Mountain Vibes and the Billings Mustangs, here are a few historical notes. The Billings Mustangs have been a Cincinnati Reds affiliate in the Pioneer League since 1974, one of the longest active affiliations in all of Minor League Baseball. During the Triple-A era of Colorado Springs Sky Sox from 1988-2018, the Sky Sox never faced an opponent that was affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds in a regular season game, even though the teams have met in recent years in Spring Training in Arizona. The last time a Colorado Springs minor league baseball team played in a regular season game against an opponent as a Cincinnati Reds affiliate dates back to September 8th, 1958, when the Sky Sox beat the Albuquerque Dukes, 9-5, at Memorial Park in Colorado Springs. (The Sky Sox won 12 of the 21 games head to head that season against the Dukes, 9-2 in Colorado Springs, while 3-7 at Tingley Field In Albuquerque. That was the only season Cincinnati was an affiliate in the Single-A Western League, during the Sky Sox tenure in that league from 1950-1958.) Over the years, during the Triple-A era of Sky Sox baseball, there were 11 players that played Rookie ball in Billings as a Reds affiliate, then eventually played in Colorado Springs for the Sky Sox. The list: Chris Jones (Outfielder), Billings 1984-1985 & Sky Sox 1993-1994; Marty Brown (Infielder), Billings 1985 & Sky Sox 1991; Reggie Jefferson (Infielder), Billings 1987 & Sky Sox 1991-1992; Ed Taubensee (Catcher), Billings 1987 & Sky Sox 1991; Chris Sexton (Infielder), Billings 1993 & Sky Sox 1997-1999; Pat Watkins (Outfielder), Billings 1993 & Sky Sox 1999; Robert Averette (Pitcher), Billings 1997 & Sky Sox 2001; John Koronka (Pitcher), Billings 1998-1999 & Sky Sox 2008; Paul Janish (Infielder), Billings 2004 & Sky Sox 2014; Josh Roenicke (Pitcher), Billings 2006 & Sky Sox 2011, 2014-2015; Jeremy Horst (Pitcher), Billings 2007 & Sky Sox 2015. Robert Averette is the only one of those 11 players that never played a game in the majors. Also, recently retired Hernan Iribarren joined Billings as their bench coach. Iribarren played in 195 games with the Sky Sox in the 2012-2013 seasons, batting .306, with 3 HR and 72 RBI.
All-Star Alums: Below is a list of Colorado Springs alums that were involved in the MLB All-Star Game festivities in Cleveland: D.J. LeMahieu (N.Y. Yankees) 0-for-2, Nolan Arenado (Colorado) 0-for-2, Charlie Blackmon (Colorado) 1-for-2, solo HR, Brandon Woodruff (Milwaukee) 2/3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB. Josh Hader (Milwaukee) was selected, but was replaced by Woodruff. Terry Francona (Cleveland) was an American League coach in the MLB All-Star Game, Jim Thome (Cleveland) served as A.L. Manager in the Futures Game, Charlie Manuel (Cleveland) and Ever Magallanes (Chicago White Sox) served as A.L. coaches in the Futures Game, while Carlos Baerga (Cleveland) and Alvaro Espinoza (San Francisco) served as N.L. coaches in the Futures Game.
Nash-ty: Vibes' starter Nash Walters (1-0, 1.31) continues to dominate in 2019. In five starts, including picking up his first win of the season against the Grand Junction Rockies on July 3rd, Walters has maintained a team-leading 1.31 ERA in 20 2/3 innings pitched with just 13 hits allowed and 21 strikeouts.
Best and Worst Innings (through 7/7): After giving up 11 runs in the third inning on Sunday, that brought the total number of runs given up by Vibes pitchers in the third frame this season up to 23 through July 7. The next worst inning for Vibes hurlers at that point was the eighth inning with 22 runs, for both the third and eighth frames combining for 45 of Rocky Mountain's 144 runs given up this season. Conversely, Vibes hitters' best innings up through July 7th were the fourth and sixth innings, with 20 runs and 27 runs scored, respectively, out of Rocky Mountain's total 119 runs by that point.
Ogden's 11-run Third Inning: Sunday night's 19-8 loss against Ogden included an 11-run 3rd inning from the Ogden Raptors, a new season-high, passing the previous mark of 6 set back on June 25. The last time an opponent scored 11 runs in any inning against a Colorado Springs team was Sacramento, scoring 13 runs in the top of the 7th in Colorado Springs on May 11th, 2017. The last time an opponent scored 11 runs in the third inning was Iowa, who scored 12 runs in the top of the 3rd in Colorado Springs on August 24th, 2001. In the 31 years of Triple-A baseball, the Sky Sox never gave up 11 runs in one inning in any road game. In two instances, the Sky Sox gave up two 10-run innings at Cashman Field in Las Vegas. Those two instances: August 24th, 1995 (10-run bottom 4th in a 16-5 loss), and June 10th, 2010 (10-run bottom 5th in a 12-7 loss). The last time a Colorado Springs team gave up 17 runs or more in a road game came on August 3rd, 2013, when the Oklahoma City RedHawks (then a Houston Astros affiliate) beat the Sky Sox (Rockies affiliate), 24-5 at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City. That loss was the largest margin of defeat in a road game for the Sky Sox, and the most runs allowed in a road game. Here's the list of all road games where an opponent scored 19 runs or more in a road game (modern era, since 1950): Single-A era (1950-1958) - Lone instance: April 18th, 1954 at Bears Stadium in Denver (Denver Bears 21, Sky Sox 13). Triple-A era (1988-2018) - In Salt Lake, May 4th, 1996 (Salt Lake Buzz 19, Sky Sox 4); In Salt Lake, May 5th, 1996 (Salt Lake Buzz 20, Sky Sox 4); In Edmonton, April 24th, 1997 (Edmonton Trappers 19, Sky Sox 1); In Calgary, July 26th, 1997 (Calgary Cannons 22, Sky Sox 9); In Sacramento, June 23rd, 2013 (Sacramento River Cats 20, Sky Sox 4); In Oklahoma City, August 3rd, 2013 (Oklahoma City RedHawks 24, Sky Sox 5).
Quick Work: The Vibes hosted the Rockies for a quick two-game set on 6/30 and 7/1, with both games taking a grand total of four hours and 34 minutes. The 6/30 contest proved to be the Vibes' shortest game of the year at two hours and 27 minutes, only to be unseated the next night on 7/1 in the series finale that only lasted two hours and seven minutes.
June Recap: The Vibes finished June with a 6-9 record, going 2-7 at home and 4-2 on the road in the inaugural month of the 2019 season. The team batted .251 in those 15 games while collecting 86 runs on 132 hits with 32 doubles, eight triples, 11 home runs, 75 RBI, 48 walks, 142 strikeouts, 17 stolen bases (11 caught stealing), and a .323/.405/.727 line. On the pitching side, the Vibes staff posted a 5.89 ERA through 133 innings with four saves in six opportunities, allowing 108 runs (87 earned) on 126 hits, 23 of which were homers, giving up a league-leading 108 walks while striking out 152 batters.
This Week's Preview: The Vibes are home to host the Billings Mustangs and the Great Falls Voyagers for the first time ever for four games apiece. The Billings series is set to wrap on Saturday and the Great Falls series is set to run from Sunday to Wednesday, with the Vibes going back on the road to face Ogden on the 19th.
NEXT GAME: Thursday, July 11 @ 6:40 p.m. MT vs. Billings Mustangs @ UCHealth Park
RHP Carlos Carreno (0-2, 7.71) vs. RHP Carlos Luna (1-1, 4.71) - Broadcast: MiLB TuneIn app
PROMOTION: $3 Thirsty Thursday - Red Leg Brewing - Howitzers