Tim Livingston, Assistant GM, Media & Baseball Operations
Coming into this week, there was a simple message conveyed by manager Takashi Miyoshi: Win both series this week against the San Rafael Pacifics and cut their second half deficit down. Sonoma had entered the week down four games in the standings, and had lost nine of 12 against the Pacifics in 2016.
In the first four games of their week long matchup with San Rafael, they won just as many games as they had won all season against the two-time defending champs, putting them in a great position to go one step further and perhaps even tie them in the standings.
That dream went away with Saturday night's loss, but the original goal could still be accomplished with a win on Sunday. Pacifics starter Patrick Conroy would have none of that.
Five days after getting roughed up in a loss on Tuesday, the 2014 Pitcher of the Year bounced back with one of the better starts by a pitcher in the Pacific Association this year, as he threw a three-hit shutout to give San Rafael the weekend series while handing Sonoma a 2-0 loss.
The southpaw threw 113 pitches, including 80 for strikes, and only faced two batters over the minimum, inducing a double play to end the eighth inning after Eddie Mora-Loera reached with a single. Joel Carranza and Matt Hibbert had the other hits for Sonoma, who could never figure out Conroy after seeing him so well on Tuesday night. "Conroy had good stuff today," said Miyoshi, "I told them to be aggressive but he messed with their timing to keep them off-balance."
On the other end, Juan Espinosa was very good in his first start of the season, allowing only one earned run in his 7 1/3 innings. That run came home only after he walked the bases loaded in the eighth, when he ran out of gas after 124 pitches. Before that inning, he had retired 12 straight, but San Rafael took the lead in the first after a Daniel Baptista error and a Chase Tucker sacrifice fly.
With a .500 week against San Rafael, Sonoma still remains four games back of the Pacifics at 6-9, while San Rafael still leads the second half standings by two games over the surging Vallejo Admirals, who finished a perfect week with a weeklong sweep against the Pittsburg Diamonds.
Sonoma will now have another weeklong series, this time with the scuffling Pittsburg Diamonds. The first two games will take place at Peoples Home Equity Ballpark, beginning Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. Tickets are available online at StompersBaseball.com and can also be purchased at the box office beginning 30 minutes before first pitch. For more information, call (707) 938-7277 or email the team at info@StompersBaseball.com.