Geoff Safford, Media Relations Assistant
So many things went right for the Vallejo Admirals Saturday night. The Admirals jumped out to an early lead in the second inning with a three run rally and took advantage of some defensive miscues by the Stompers. They also came up big in the clutch scoring four runs in the game with two outs. But the Stompers would not go away and were right in the ballgame going into the seventh inning. Sometimes it does not have to be pretty for a team to get the job done, and Saturday night was a prime example of that for Sonoma.
The Stompers three-run rally in the seventh proved to be the difference in Sonoma’s 8-6 win over the Admirals. Sonoma has made a habit of scoring runs in bunches this season, but the seventh inning from Saturday's game was an inning that Sonoma scored in very unconventional ways to take the lead.
The Stompers scored two runs on two wild pitches and another on an RBI groundout by Daniel Baptista to bring in Yuki Yasuda to give the Stompers a 7-5 lead. It was not a moon shot home run by Caleb Bryson, or speedy base running that got the job done tonight. It was about Sonoma taking advantage of what Vallejo gave them. Sonoma started the inning by loading the bases with nobody out, and jumped all over the Admirals when they faltered.
The three run rally in the second inning off Stacy Piagno ultimately cost her a chance to go deeper in the game. The rally in the inning was partially fueled by a throwing error on a pickoff attempt by Piagno, and on a ball hit to right field that was misplayed by Cody Bishop. Defensive miscues have played huge roles in both starts made by Piagno. Piagno would only be charged with one earned run on the evening in two innings pitched.
Juan Espinosa continued his fantastic season out of the bullpen by closing out the game in the ninth inning. Espinosa made sure that no ninth inning drama would take place by striking out the side, earning his third save of the season in the process. The Miami native has not allowed an earned run in his last 6 2/3 innings pitched out of the bullpen, accumulating 10 strikeouts and only two walks in that stretch. Espinosa also has the lowest ERA of any bullpen pitcher on the team at 2.34.
Gregory Paulino also earned his third win of the season as he entered in long relief of Piagno in the third inning. Paulino allowed three runs on five hits while striking out six in 6 innings. Paulino tied Mike Jackson Jr., and Sean Conroy for the team lead in wins this season.
Sonoma (20-14) has some breathing space atop the Pacific Association for the first time during the first half. They have battled for positioning at the top with the San Rafael Pacifics for the majority of the first half. However, the Pacifics (18-17) have lost four of their last fives contests and have fallen 2 ½ games behind Sonoma in the Pacific Association with five left to play for the Stompers. The ‘magic number’ for Sonoma to clinch the first half pennant has all of a sudden become a small number at 3.
The Pacifics have been slumping at the wrong time while Sonoma has played some of their best baseball coming down the stretch as they have now won four in a row. Sonoma will look to win their fifth in a row against the Admirals Sunday evening in the series finale at People’s Home Equity Ballpark at Arnold Field. Sonoma has beaten the Admirals five straight times at home, and in eight of their last nine combined.
Tickets for future Stompers games are available on StompersBaseball.com. Stompers gear, and tickets are also available at The Fan Shop located at 234 West Napa Street in downtown Sonoma. Contact the Stompers front office at firstname.lastname@example.org.