Tim Livingston, Assistant GM - Baseball Operations & Media
After a somewhat tumultuous stop in Pittsburg to being their nine-game road trip, the Sonoma Stompers had to be happy to see the Vallejo Admirals Friday night. They had won seven of nine games against the last-place Admirals this year, including a sweep this past weekend in Sonoma.
Thanks to the team capitalizing on an early error and the league-leading power of Caleb Bryson, the Stompers once again had a big lead that held up in the end, as Sonoma held off a late Vallejo charge to take game one of their three game series at Wilson Park, 6-4.
While Thursday night's victory against the Diamonds was Sonoma's first come-from-behind win in 2016, Sonoma (12-9) used a familiar formula to even up their road trip record at 2-2. The Stompers got out to a 5-0 lead by the fifth inning, with Bryson's towering two-out three-run homer to left-center proving to be the game-clinching hit.
In the third, Sonoma got two unearned runs thanks to a throwing error by Vallejo's Gadiel Baez, as his low throw to first base got past Lydell Moseby, allowing Derrick Fox to reach and move to second. The play also pushed Yuki Yasuda to third base.
David Dinelli (2-3) then followed up with a wild pitch, plating Yasuda to put Sonoma on the board. Bryson followed with an RBI single past a diving Jackson Valera at third to make it 2-0 in favor of the visiting team.
Yet Vallejo (9-13), as they are wont to do, would not go away in the late innings. Of their nine wins this year, six of them have been come-from-behind wins, including one against the Stompers back on June 7, when they spoiled Sonoma's home opener with an extra inning win, 5-4.
They got it to that same score thanks to two runs in the fifth off Sean Conroy (2-1) and two more against Juan Espinosa in the seventh. even getting the tying run to third base with one out. But Espinosa settled down with a strikeout and a fly out to get out of the jam and preserve the lead.
After a scoreless eighth, Espinosa gave way to the hard-throwing Austin Delmotte, who needed only 11 pitches to notch his first save of the season and give Sonoma their fourth win in a row over the Admirals.
Conroy had his second consecutive quality start, both coming against the Admirals. He went six innings, allowing two runs on nine hits with two walks and six strikeouts.
Bryson's four RBIs gives him a league best 24 on the season, and if it weren't for Jackson Valera's continued dominance at the plate (.452 batting average after a 2 for 5 night), the slugging third baseman would be in contention for the Pacific Association's Triple Crown, as he's third in the league in hitting (.357) to go along with his gaudy power numbers. Matt Hibbert had his best night since returning to Sonoma, going 3 for 5 in the leadoff spot.
Sonoma remains in a first place tie with San Rafael and will send Oliver Garcia to the mound on Saturday in the second game of their series in Vallejo. First pitch is set for 5 p.m. with the broadcast beginning at 4:50 on the Stompers Radio Network.
Sonoma returns home on July 1st with a surprise event at People's Home Equity Ballpark that will change the course of baseball history. Fans can be a part of this event by purchasing their tickets online at StompersBaseball.com. For more information, call (707) 938-7277 or email the team at info@StompersBaseball.com.