Geoff Safford, Media Relations Assistant
Mason Morioka applauds his teammate’s power when they hit a home run in batting practice every day. It has become a pregame tradition and helps the Stompers let loose and have a little fun before a game. Some of that power from batting practice translated into the game for Morioka in the second inning.
With one run already in on a Daniel Baptista solo home run, Morioka came to the plate with Mark Hurley aboard at first with two outs and blasted a 1-2 pitch out to left for his fifth home run of the season to give the Stompers a three run advantage. Sonoma would tack on two more in the fifth and the bullpen finished the job in a 5-3 win Friday over the Diamonds. Morioka finished the game 2 for 4 with two driven in and Daniel Baptista had another good night at the plate, as well, finishing 3 for 5 with an RBI.
Taylor Thurber picked up his fourth win as a starter to improve to 5-5 on the year. The righty was solid in six innings allowing two earned runs and six hits. Some of the hits the Diamonds recorded were not hit that sharply. Two hits came on instances when Thurber actually broke the opposing hitter’s bat. He departed the game with his team up by two runs but the bullpen did a great job of letting the lead stand up.
Newly signed reliever Ryan Richardson and closer Jose Flores did the job in the final 2 2/3 innings to keep the Stompers out in front. Richardson faced the largest threat in the seventh when the Diamonds had runners at the corners and former American League MVP Jose Canseco at the plate with one out in the seventh. The veteran was able to get Canseco to ground into a double play to end the inning, mere hours after signing his contract with his new team. He threw 1 2/3 scoreless inning to bridge the gap to the dominant Sonoma closer.
Flores picked up his fourth save of the season, using a devastating slider to strikeout two batters on his way to a perfect ninth inning. Flores has absolutely flourished in his late inning role since being moved there last month. In 9 1/3 innings, Flores has allowed only 1 earned run and has struck out 14 batters.
Sonoma (32-26, 9-10 second half) has won three of the first four games this week against the Diamonds (26-32, 7-12) with two games left in the six game slate. Pittsburg began the second half 6-3 but has fallen on hard times the last two weeks as they have now lost 9 of their last 10 games. The Stompers have also gained ground on the second half leading San Rafael Pacifics (33-25, 12-7 second half) the last two nights. Things could get very interesting in the second half race down the stretch as the Stompers face San Rafael nine times in their final 18 games.
Tickets for upcoming Stompers home games are available on StompersBaseball.com. Fan merchandise, and tickets are also available inside the fan shop located at 234 West Napa Street in downtown Sonoma. For more information on the Stompers contact the Stompers at firstname.lastname@example.org.