Sonoma Stompers Shatter Pittsburg Diamonds in Seventh, Win 9-4 to Secure Sweep

 Center fielder Matt Hibbert was explosive on offense in Sunday's 9-4 Sonoma Stompers win over the Pittsburg Diamonds at Peoples Home Equity Ballpark at Arnold Field. (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

Center fielder Matt Hibbert was explosive on offense in Sunday's 9-4 Sonoma Stompers win over the Pittsburg Diamonds at Peoples Home Equity Ballpark at Arnold Field. (James W. Toy III / Sonoma Stompers)

Hayley M. Slye / Director of Media Relations

SONOMA, Calif.– The Sonoma Stompers Professional Baseball Club, presented by Virginia Dare Winery, defeated the Pittsburg Diamonds 9-4 on Sunday to protect their one-game lead at the top of the Pacific Association.

In the sixth, the Stompers loaded the bases on two outs. Daniel Baptista came to the plate and launched a double, scoring two and giving the Stompers a 3-1 lead.

Sonoma followed suit in the seventh. 0 for 2 on the night and in danger of ending his 14-game hit streak, Brennan Metzger shot a single up the middle to score center fielder Matt Hibbert and extend his streak to 15.

Metzger’s knock ignited the Stompers offense, which strung together six runs in the frame. The explosive effort came after an eight-run eighth in Saturday night’s game.

“I feel like we just went back to our approach, making starting pitchers throw a lot of pitches early in the game and getting to the bullpen,” Hibbert said. “We’ve been pretty good all year once the pen’s in there.”

Hibbert also delivered on offense in the contest, going 5 for 5 and crossing the plate three times. On the mound, starter Juan Espinosa pitched seven strong innings, striking out five and allowing just one earned run.

“He just deals. He works fast, he keeps people off balance. He’s just smart. I feel like any time we have Espy on the mound we just have a good chance to win,” Hibbert said.

The Stompers were swept by the Vallejo Admirals to begin the week, but responded with their ninth sweep of the season against Pittsburg over the weekend. With Vallejo on a 5-1 run in their last six games, Sonoma has been unable to extend their lead to more than one game up in the Pacific Association Standings.

“It’s a brand new season, it really is,” Hibbert said. “Like (manager Takashi Miyoshi) says, we’ve got to keep up, we can’t stop grinding. We know we’re the team with the target on our backs.”

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