Colo. Springs, COLORADO - After a rain delay pushed the game start back, the Rocky Mountain Vibes went to work on the Grand Junction Rockies, beating them 7-2 to take a two-games-to-one series advantage.
Prior to Thursday night, the longest home delay the Vibes had so far this season was an hour-and-20-minute delay on August 20, when the Ogden Raptors were in town. Thursday night, the Vibes and the Rockies sat through an hour-and-24-minute pregame delay due to rain, with first pitch not coming until 8:04 p.m.
When the game did commence at last, the Vibes scored first, in the bottom of the second inning. Luis Avalo hit his 11th double of the year on the first pitch he saw, coming home on the very next pitch on an Arbert Cipion triple. On the very next pitch after that, Luis Avila hit a sacrifice fly to right to plate Cipion and put the Vibes up 2-0.
The Rocky Mountain offense scored twice more in the bottom of the next inning to take a 4-0 lead over Grand Junction. Carlos Rodriguez hit a one-out single, before Bryan Torres hit an RBI double to bring him in, advancing to third himself on the throw to the plate, and then coming all the way home on a Rockies error to put Rocky Mountain up by four runs.
For the third inning in a row, the Vibes scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth. Avila led off with a single, moving up on a wild pitch. Joe Gray Jr. then singled to move Avila up to third, and Gabe Holt hit into a fielder's choice that allowed Avila to score. Rodriguez then singled to load the bases, and a Rockies wild pitch brought Gray Jr. home to extend the Vibes' lead to 6-0.
The Vibes scored yet again in the bottom of the fifth. Cipion drew a one-out walk, but was replaced on first by Avila when Avila hit into a force out. Gray Jr. walked to push Avila into scoring position, and Holt singled him home to give the Vibes a 7-0 lead.
The Rockies finally broke up the shutout in the eighth inning, scoring twice to make it a 7-2 affair.
That score would hold as the Vibes took a 2-1 series lead over Grand Junction.
The Vibes are back home for the final five-game homestand of the year against the Rockies to close out the 2019 regular season. 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 final homestand of the year with the fourth game of a five-game series against the Grand Junction Rockies, with first pitch set for 6:40 p.m. The Rockies starter is yet to be announced, but he'll be facing off against right-hander Nash Walters (1-2, 3.40) for the Vibes. The game will be available on MiLB.TV as well as the MiLB TuneIn app.
Wait for Iiiiiiiiit: Prior to Thursday night, the longest home delay the Vibes had so far this season was an hour-and-20-minute delay on August 20, when the Ogden Raptors were in town. Thursday night, the Vibes and the Rockies sat through an hour-and-24-minute pregame delay due to rain, with first pitch not coming until 8:04 p.m.
Five-Game Skid: The Vibes fell into a five-game skid after a 7-5 loss to Grand Junction Tuesday night in Colorado Springs. During that span, Rocky Mountain has hit for a .240 team average in 170 at-bats including 11 doubles and home runs each. The cast has also driven in 19 runs and struck out 44 times with a slash line of .279/.500.779. On the pitching side, the staff has posted a 6.37 ERA in 41 innings pitched. The Vibes have yielded 36 runs (29 earned) on 43 hits while setting down 50 batters. The cast hold a WHIP of 1.66 and a .274 BAA.
Birthday Boy: Steve Pastora had his 25th birthday on Tuesday, and celebrated with an excellent relief appearance. Pastora threw 2.1 scoreless, hitless innings, walking two and striking out four Grand Junction batters.
Juuuuust a Bit Inside: The inside-the-park homer by Arbert Cipion Tuesday night was the first-ever inside-the-park homer hit by a Vibes player. During the Triple-A era, the last Sky Sox player to hit an inside-the-park home run was Mauricio Dubon on July 5th, 2017 in Game Two of a doubleheader, a solo homer in the bottom of the 3rd inning, against Nashville's Dalton Sawyer, here at Security Service Field (now UCHealth Park). The Sky Sox won that game, 13-6. Ironically, in Game One of that same doubleheader on July 5th, 2017, Nate Orf hit a two-run inside-the-park homer against Nashville's Corey Walter, also in the bottom of the third inning. The Sky Sox won that game, 10-6. Funny enough, EXACTLY twenty-five years earlier, on September 3rd, 1994, the Sky Sox hit TWO inside-the-park homers here at Sky Sox Stadium (now UCHealth Park) against the Phoenix Firebirds. Stu Cole hit a three-run inside-the-park homer in the bottom of the fifth inning off Phoenix pitcher Dan Carlson, then Fabio Gomez hit a two-run, pinch-hit, inside-the-park homer in the sixth inning, also off Carlson. However, the Phoenix Firebirds won that game, 15-9.
An Historic Home Run Inning: The back-to-back homers by Cam Devanney and Edwin Sano Monday afternoon, followed by Nick Egnatuk and Gabe Holt homering back-to-back, marks the second and third time this season where Vibes players hit back-to-back homers. The other instance came earlier in the last road trip in Ogden on August 26th, in the third inning by Ernesto Martinez Jr. and Carlos Rodriguez, off Ogden pitcher Alfredo Tavarez. The five home runs hit by the Vibes in the seventh inning surpasses the single-inning record during the Triple-A Sky Sox era (1988-2018). The Triple-A Sky Sox record was four homers in one inning, done three times, all at Security Service Field (now UCHealth Park) in Colorado Springs. The three instances where the Sky Sox had four homers in one inning: June 7th, 2007 in the bottom of the 6th inning against the Tacoma Rainiers, July 26th, 2007 in the bottom of the second inning against the Iowa Cubs, and on May 13th, 2011 in the bottom of the third inning against the Iowa Cubs. The Triple-A era Sky Sox never had a four-homer inning on the road during their 31-year run.
Mile-High Slug Fest: Monday afternoon's contest with the Rockies included 11 home runs highlighted by the Vibes' five homer seventh inning. Three players hit a pair of homers in the game, Cam Devanney and Edwin Sanó for the Vibes and Brenton Doyle for Grand Junction. The Vibes were able to pull within three after the explosive seventh, but fell 13-8 in the shootout.
No Playoff Baseball: The loss Monday afternoon to the Grand Junction Rockies eliminated the Vibes from playoff contention. The Vibes needed to win their final six games for an opportunity a wild-card team in the playoffs. The regular season will conclude on September 7 after the completion of a five-game series with the Rockies.
Oh, So Close: The Vibes fell 4-3 Sunday night to Grand Junction, marking the second straight night Rocky Mountain had lost by one. The two losses were almost mirror images of each other. In Saturday night's game, the Rockies jumped out to a four-run lead before the Vibes pulled within one in the sixth. The Vibes weren't able to sneak out the win, falling 5-4. Grand Junction raced to another four-run lead Sunday night with runs in four of the first five frames. Rocky Mountain once again clawed their way back, plating three in the sixth to pull within in one.
Luna's Season-End Honor: Right-hander Carlos Luna was named to the 2019 Pioneer League Season-End All-Stars Sunday night, joining a 16-man crew selected by the league office. Luna has been every bit dominant since the August 6 All-Star Game. The righty has posted a 2.66 ERA in 20 1/3 innings thrown, collecting a 2-1 record in that span. In his four starts, Luna has permitted 18 hits and four walks while allowing just six runs and striking out 28 batters.
This Week's Preview: The Vibes 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.
NEXT GAME: Friday, September 6 @ 6:40 p.m. MT vs. Grand Junction Rockies @ UCHealth Park
TBD vs. RHP Nash Walters (1-2, 3.40) - Broadcast: MiLB TuneIn app
PROMOTION: Faith Night with Friday Night Fireworks presented by Thrivent Financial
RMV TOP PERFORMERS
Karsen Lindell (W, 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 SO)
Carlos Rodriguez (3-for-4, R)
Arbert Cipion (2-for-3, 3B, R, RBI, BB)
GJR TOP PERFORMERS
Bladimir Restituyo (1-for-4, 2B, SB)
Ever Moya (1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO)
Colin Simpson (2-for-4, R, BB)