SONOMA, Calif.- The Sonoma Stompers opened their 2019 season at home against the fledgling Salina Stockade who, in their second game of the day, handed the Stompers a 9-5 opening night loss.
Ethan Gibbons got the nod from Manager Zack Pace, but came out erratic. After back-to-back walks on eight pitches to open the game, Gibbons got some help from his defense to end the inning on a 3-6-1 double play to get out of the jam.
In the top of the second, Gibbons did not have the same luck as Zane Gelphman took him deep on the second pitch of the at-bat to give the Stockade and early 1-0 lead.
Gibbons followed with a walk to Omar Artsen, then surrendered a 2-run home run to Salina catcher Eric Kozak, extending the Stockade lead to 3-0.
The Stompers responded with one of their own in the bottom of the third inning. With one out, Rayson Romero walked and Nick Gotta promptly followed with an RBI double to left center field to score Romero.
The gap closed to only a single run in the bottom of the fourth inning on a solo blast off the bat of Dondrei Hubbard, his first home run of the season, inching the Stompers closer. Making the score 3-2 after the fourth inning.
Gibbons lasted only four innings, allowing three runs on five hits while walking three and striking out three on 59 pitches. Zack Pace was then forced to make a change.
The first man out of the bullpen for Pace was south paw Brian Browning. Unfortunately, Browning lasted just 2/3 of an inning. The first batter he faced, Louis Martini, hit a solo home run. A pair of hits and a pair of errors forced a short outing for Browning, causing Zack Pace to bring in tall right-hander Pat Barnett who needed just three pitched to escape the jam in the top of the fifth, but not before the Stockade added four more runs (two earned) on Browning, extending the lead to 7-2.
The Stompers would not score again but the Stockade added two more runs, one in the eighth off of Barnett and one in the ninth off DJ Sharabi, to come out victorious 9-5.
The Stompers are back at Palooza Park at Arnold Field Sunday June 2ndagainst the Napa Silverados.