Geoff Safford, Media Relations Assistant
Juan Espinosa made his second start of the season Saturday night in front of a big crowd at City Park Field. He had pitched extremely well in his first outing on July 31, and was looking forward to Saturday night's start even more than usual. Many Stompers players have taken notice to the arrival of Jose Canseco since he joined the Diamonds on Thursday, but facing Canseco had a special meaning for Espinosa.
“Just being on the same field with Canseco was an honor for me. Being a Miami native, Canseco was a hero of mine and someone I loved to watch play growing up,” said Espinosa. “Striking him out felt amazing, that will always be something I will remember,” said Espinosa. Espinosa struck out Canseco twice on the night with the second one coming to end the game and preserve an 8-3 win for the Stompers over the Diamonds. It was Espinosa’s first complete game as a professional.
The young right-hander was in complete control for the majority of the game. Espinosa retired 12 in a row in the later innings and cruised to his first win as a starter. He allowed only four hits and struck out six, as the only blips were two home runs by Mike Taylor, as the power hitter accounted for all of Pittsburg's offense on the night. Yet even with the homers by Taylor, Espinosa shone brightest on Saturday night.
“I think the most important thing for me tonight was that I was able to consistently throw strikes,” Espinosa said. “Even when I was behind in the count, I felt confident with all my pitches and knew I could throw any pitch at any time,” Espinosa said.
The Stompers offense has made a habit of scoring runs in bunches and that continued Saturday. Sonoma scored three times in the first, as Joel Carranza got the Stompers off to a good start right off the bat with a two-run double. Carranza continued his success at the plate this week and finished 2 for 5 with three driven in. The veteran is 7 for 15 with eight RBIs in his last three games. Mason Morioka also had a great night, finishing a perfect 3 for 3.
The most important inning for the Stompers offense may have been the ninth. They faced Garrett Granitz, a tough submarine-style pitcher, and found a way to manufacture four runs off of him. That gave the Stompers a more comfortable advantage and allowed Espinosa the opportunity to finish things off.
Sonoma (33-26, 10-10 second half) has already won four games this week against the Diamonds (25-34, 7-13 second half) and can finish off a sweep of Pittsburg on Sunday afternoon. Oliver Garcia is scheduled to get the start, and he'll lock horns with Canseco, who will get the start to show off his knuckleball. The Stompers will look to keep the pressure on the San Rafael Pacifics heading into a huge series starting Tuesday at People’s Home Equity Ballpark at Arnold Field. The Stompers trail San Rafael by three games in the second half standings.
Tickets for upcoming Stompers home games are available on StompersBaseball.com. Fan gear and tickets are also available at The Fan Shop located at 234 West Napa Street in downtown Sonoma. For more information about the team, contact the Stompers front office at email@example.com.