Colorado Springs, COLORADO - The Billings Mustangs came out on top for the second night in a row over the Rocky Mountain Vibes, winning the Thursday night contest 6-1. The Vibes' one run came via a Micah Bello solo homer in the bottom of the third inning, marking a team-best fifth home run in 2019.
For the second night in a row, the Billings Mustangs scored first. Once again, they scored a sole run in the top of the second to go up 1-0, just as they did last night in game one of this series. In the top of the third, the Mustangs scored a sole run again to double their lead.
In the bottom half of the frame, Bello got the Vibes on the board with a team-leading fifth home run with no one on to make it 2-1. After hitting his first four homers in the first six games of the season, including a two-homer, five-RBI performance on June 16 in Orem against the Owlz, Bello went 17 games before adding on home run number five.
The Mustangs scored a sole run for the third inning in a row in the top of the fourth to make it 3-1, re-extending their lead over Rocky Mountain to two runs.
The fifth frame proved to be the first scoreless one since the first, with Billings going back to work in the top of the sixth. The Mustangs doubled their score with three more runs to go up 6-1 on the Vibes.
Thursday night turned out to be a tough one for the home team, as they collected just one run on four hits with two errors on the night, dropping their second straight game to the Mustangs, 6-1.
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 three 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 three of a four-game series set to run through Saturday. The Vibes are slated to start righty Michele Vassalotti (2-3, 6.85) against Billings' southpaw and first-round draft pick (seventh overall) Nick Lodolo (0-0, 0.00). 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.
Bello Bombs: Micah Bello hit a team-leading fifth home run on Thursday night. After hitting his first four homers in the first six games of the season, including a two-homer, five-RBI performance on June 16 in Orem against the Owlz, Bello went 17 games before adding on home run number five.
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.
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).
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: Friday, July 12 @ 6:40 p.m. MT vs. Billings Mustangs @ UCHealth Park
LHP Nick Lodolo (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Michele Vassalotti (2-3, 6.85) - Broadcast: MiLB TuneIn app
PROMOTION: Friday Night Fireworks presented by T-Mobile
RMV TOP PERFORMERS
Cristian Sierra (3.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO)
Micah Bello (1-for-3, HR, R, RBI)
Antonio Piñero (2-for-4, 2B)
BIL TOP PERFORMERS
Reyny Reyes (2-for-4, 2 RBI)
Carlos Carreno (W, 6.0 IP, 3 H, R, BB, 6 SO)
Frainger Aranguren (2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB)