Geoff Safford, Media Relations Assistant
The Sonoma Stompers (7-4) won an absolute thriller on Saturday night over the Pittsburg Diamonds (5-6) by a score of 9-7. The game featured 27 hits combined from both teams, and the lead changed hands three times in the game. Juan Espinosa (2-0) got the win out of the bullpen, and Garret Granitz (0-1) took the loss.
The Stompers got on the board in the third inning thanks to a two out rally put together by Derrick Fox and Sam DiMatteo. With two outs and runners at the corners, Fox took off for second and drew a throw, which allowed DiMatteo to race home for his team's first run. The Stompers added another run in the fourth thanks to a Mason Morioka RBI single to give Sonoma a 2-1 lead. Then things really started to get wacky from the fifth to the seventh.
Pittsburg battled back in the fifth and sixth innings and seemed to have control of the game. They chased Sean Conroy in the fifth thanks to a Mike Taylor two-run homer which gave the Diamonds the lead. Taylor Thurber replaced Conroy, and while Thurber had been one of the most effective pitchers for Sonoma out of the bullpen this season, he ran into trouble in the sixth.
The Diamonds put three runs on the board in the sixth off Thurber as they smacked the ball all over the ballpark. Thomas Shull hit a home run to right to get the inning started and that was followed up with RBI singles by Sammy Ayala and Rich Mejia to give Pittsburg a 6-3 lead. Thurber allowed a season high four runs in only 1 2/3 innings. However, the Stompers were able to battle back in a big way.
In the very next half inning, Sonoma put together a four run rally that had a little bit of everything. The inning began with a walk to DiMatteo, and after a single by Derrick Fox, the Stompers were off to the races. Both runners came in to score on an RBI base hit by Caleb Bryson, cutting the deficit to 6-5. After Daniel Baptista reached on a walk, Ethan Szabo reached on an infield single to second the brought home Bryson, and with there being two outs, Baptista raced all the way around from second to score the go-ahead run with some great instinct on the base paths to give Sonoma the lead back at 7-6.
The Diamonds would not go down without a fight though as they tied the game in the bottom half of the seventh on an RBI double by David Kiriakos to knot the game at 7.
Sonoma’s offense did have one final bullet left in the chamber in the eighth, and used it to score twice more to put the game away for good. Daniel Baptista got credit for an RBI on a fielder’s choice to score Eddie Mora-Loera, and the Stompers added another run on an error as DiMatteo scored to make it 9-7.
On a night where the Stompers struggled to find success on the mound for most of the game, Juan Espinosa pitched sensationally in crunch time. Espinosa threw 2 2/3 scoreless and struck out four to lead Sonoma to a win. Espinosa’s slider was filthy, and frustrated the Diamonds lineup that enjoyed great success up to that point.
Sonoma can go for their fourth straight series win in the rubber match on Sunday afternoon. Oliver Garcia will make his third start for the Stompers and will face the Diamonds for the first time this season. Garcia at times has been a strikeout machine, and will look to give Sonoma a chance to take the series on the road. First pitch is scheduled for noon tomorrow at City Park Field in Pittsburg. Listen to the action live on stompersbaseball.com and the TuneIn app.
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