Voyagers’ three-run sixth inning dooms Vibes
The picture of a victory became a mirage. Despite strong at-bats and solid early work on the mound, the Vibes failed to finish off the Voyagers, falling 5-3 at Centene Stadium on Wednesday night.
With 10 outs to go, the game slipped through the Vibes’ fingers. Runners were at the corners with one out after a double to center and a walk. Reliever Paxton Schultz crept close to escaping after setting down Sam Abbott on strikes. Instead, the Voyagers pulled within one on an RBI-single to right, marking the end of Schultz’ outing. Cristían Sierra entered looking to stop the bleeding. Sierra’s first pitch went wide, moving the runners to second and third. Jonathan Allen delivered the knockout blow two pitches later, lining a two RBI-single into right to give the Voyagers a 4-3 lead.
An unfortunate sequence of plays with two outs pushed the Voyagers in front in the third. Cabera Weaver lifted a high flyball that Vibes centerfielder Carlos Rodriguez tracked to the wall. The swirling wind killed the ball as it fell for a triple. The next batter hit a groundball deep in the hole forcing shortstop Cam Devanney to eat the throw, allowing Weaver to score.
The Vibes offense refused to let the Voyagers hold the lead for long. Rodriguez made his way around the bags with a one-out triple to right followed by an overthrow from the cut-off man Joshua Rivera, allowing the lefty to scoot home. Devanney then circled the bases. The 15th Round Draft Pick from Elon University belted a solo shot to right, his first in a Vibes uniform.
The Vibes extended their lead in the sixth. An RBI-double to right by Bryan Torres pushed the Vibes lead to two. It was Torres’ 10th double of the season.
Great Falls added insurance in the seventh. Weaver belted his second triple of the night and was ushered home on an RBI-single.
Starter and All-Star Nash Walters tossed four innings in the loss. The righty allowed a run on three hits with two strikeouts. Walters showed command of his arsenal, throwing 37 strikes in 52 pitches.
The bullpen struggled to follow Walters’ outing, allowing three runs in four innings. Schultz suffered in the loss in 1 2/3 innings of work. Schultz allowed three hits, three runs (all earned), and a walk with a strikeout. The righty from Utah Valley University watched his ERA inflate from 1.93 to 4.09. Sierra collected four outs in his outing, allowing a run on three hits with a strikeout. Right-hander Dylan Prohoroff tossed a scoreless eighth while setting down two in the inning.
Baserunners weren’t the issue. The Vibes offense posted 11 hits, including four for extra bases. The struggles stemmed from timely hitting. The Vibes finished 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base.
The Vibes finish their second leg of eight-game road trip with the series finale of the four-game series against the Great Falls Voyagers.
NEXT GAME: Thursday, August 15 @ 7:00 p.m. MT vs. Great Falls Voyagers @ Centene Stadium at Legion Park