Colorado Springs, COLORADO - The Rocky Mountain Vibes earned the first home victory in team history in loud, walk-off fashion over the Orem Owlz Friday night, 5-4. After being down 4-1 going into the eighth inning, the Vibes scored three runs in the top of the eighth to tie the game before Antonio Piñero hit a two-out, walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth to deliver a 5-4 victory and the Vibes' first-ever home win at UCHealth Park.
Nash Walters had his third start of the season for the Vibes Friday night, and it proved to be another strong one. He retired the first six Orem batters he faced, not allowing a hit until the third inning. Adrian Rondon singled to lead off the third, before Walters collected two more strikeouts, allowed a walk, and then struck out a third to get out of the inning.
The first score of the game didn't come until the bottom of the fourth inning, when the Vibes took the first lead of the contest. Despite two quick groundouts, Edwin Sanó followed up with a double, and on the very next pitch Jess Williams lined an RBI single to plate Sanó and make it a 1-0 game.
The Owlz answered right away in the next half-inning, scoring twice in the top of the fifth to take their first lead of the evening. Rondon led off with a double, followed by a Mario Sanjur single to put two on with no outs. A wild pitch allowed Rondon to score and tie the game, and two at-bats later D'Shawn Knowles singled to bring home Sanjur to make it 2-1.
The Owlz went on to score in three consecutive innings, scoring one run in each the top of the sixth and the top of the seventh frames to give Orem a 4-1 lead, before a light drizzle set in around the onset of the eighth inning.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, with the rain starting to let up, Ernesto Martinez Jr. led off by reaching on the Owlz' first error of the game, with Michael Wilson drawing a one-out walk to put two on. Micah Bello then tripled to score both and reduce Orem's lead to just one run. In the next at-bat Bryan Torres kept the offense rolling with his fifth double of the season to score Bello easily from third and tie the ballgame at four runs apiece.
José Alberro came into the game on the mound for the Vibes at the top of the ninth, allowing just one baserunner via walk while collecting two strikeouts and one forceout to send the tied game into the bottom of the ninth, setting the Vibes up for their first-ever walkoff victory.
With one out on the board, Nick Egnatuk was hit-by-pitch to put the winning run on first, and a passed ball put him on second and into scoring position. With two outs, Piñero hit a team-leading eighth double to score Egnatuk easily and deliver the Vibes' first home win and first walkoff win in team history.
The Rocky Mountain Vibes continue their opening homestand against the Orem Owlz tomorrow, with first pitch set for 6:00 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 10-game homestand with the third and final game of a three-game series against the Orem Owlz. Vibes southpaw Brock Begue (0-0, 4.50) is set to start for Rocky Mountain, against Orem's fellow southpaw Yoel De Leon (0-1, 9.00).
It's a Walk-Off!: The Vibes collected the first home victory, first come-from-behind victory, and first walk-off in team history at UCHealth Park on Friday night over the Orem Owlz. After being down 4-1 going into the eighth inning, the Vibes scored three runs in the top of the eighth to tie the game before Antonio Piñero hit a two-out, walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth to deliver a 5-4 victory and the Vibes' first-ever home win at UCHealth Park.
Leading the League: The Vibes issued eight walks in the series opener against Orem on Thursday night, increasing their total on the season to 99, which leads the entire Pioneer League. The staff immediately behind them in the Pioneer League in bases on balls issued is Orem, who issued none on Thursday evening with their total remaining at 73.
Offense on Display: From 1988 to 2018, there were exactly 100 games at UCHealth Park where both teams scored 10 runs or more in a game, with Tuesday night marking #101 and the first of the Vibes era with the 11-10 loss to Ogden.
MONSTER Inning: The last time a Colorado Springs team scored nine runs or more in the bottom of the sixth inning prior to Tuesday night-when the Vibes scored nine runs-was 6/11/2013 when the Sky Sox were playing the Salt Lake Bees and the Sky Sox scored 10 runs in that frame, with the Sky Sox winning that game 15-9.
First Vibes Ejection: In the sixth inning Tuesday night, Vibes manager Néstor Corredor was ejected for arguing an out call at home plate, becoming the first member of the Vibes to ever be ejected.
Opening Weekend Recap: The opening weekend for the Vibes didn't go according to plan. In a three-game series with the Grand Junction Rockies, the Vibes were dealt their first series sweep of the season. The offense cooled off dramatically, hitting just .224 with an on-base percentage of .290 as a unit in the series. As a staff, they compiled an ERA of 6.33 with 31 strikeouts in 27 innings. Their troubles on the mound stemmed from 23 base on balls in the series and a 1.81 staff WHIP.
Fun fact: On Saturday, Miami Marlins (and former Sky Sox) catcher Wilkin Castillo got his first hit and RBI in the majors since June 20th, 2009 (ten years and two days), in the Marlins' 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. Back in 2009, while with the Cincinnati Reds, Castillo suffered a season-ending torn right labrum in a game against the Chicago White Sox, and had not made it back to the majors until Saturday. Castillo's long trek back to the Majors included Triple-A stops in Louisville, Gwinnett, Colorado Springs, Indianapolis, Buffalo, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and New Orleans, along with several stints in Double-A, the Mexican League, and independent baseball with the Long Island Ducks. Castillo played in 74 games with the Sky Sox in the 2012 season, under the Rockies affiliation, batting .253, with four HR and 34 RBI.
Leg it Out: Julio Carreras of the GJ Rockies legged out an inside-the-park home run in the very first inning last Friday night in the Vibes first-ever home game. The last inside-the-park homer hit here at UCHealth Park was turned by Brian Anderson of the New Orleans Baby Cakes, on August 11th, 2017 in the 10th inning off Sky Sox pitcher Tyler Cravy. New Orleans won 6-4 in 10 innings.
This Week's Preview: The Vibes are back in Colorado Springs to face the Orem Owlz in a three-game series set to wrap on Saturday. After that the Vibes will play a two-game set against the Grand Junction Rockies before heading back out on the road on July 2.
NEXT GAME: Saturday, June 29 @ 6:00 p.m. MT vs. Orem Owlz @ UCHealth Park
LHP Yoel De Leon (0-1, 9.00) vs. LHP Brock Begue (0-0, 4.50) - Broadcast: MiLB TuneIn app
PROMOTION: Star Wars Night with fireworks, characters, and lightsaber giveaway presented by AFCEA
RMV TOP PERFORMERS
Antonio Piñero (1-for-5, 2B, RBI, BB)
Micah Bello (2-for-3, 2B, 3B, 2 RBI, R, BB)
José Alberro (W, 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 SO)
ORM TOP PERFORMERS
Adrian Rondon (3-for-3, 2 2B, RBI, R)
Jose Verrier (2-for-4, 2B, BB)
Ryan Smith (H, 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 SO)