VALLEJO, Calif- The Sonoma Stompers got out to an early lead in Vallejo on Sunday afternoon but the Admirals, winners of 9 of their last 10, made a comeback but fell just short as the Stompers hung on to win.
Vallejo got on the board first in the bottom of the 2nd inning against Stompers right-hander Nick Barnese (6-1). Tilman Pugh reached on a 4-pitch walk and went to second when Barnese’s pickoff attempt went up the first base line. Later in the inning Matt Eurest hit a grounder to Nick Gotta who committed an error, leading to a 1-0 Vallejo lead.
Daniel Molinari led off the top of the 3rd inning with a walk and Pedro Barrios launched his 4th home run of the season to right-center field, giving the Stompers a 2-1 lead. Brent Gillespie joined in with a solo home run, his 12th, extending the lead 3-1.
Nick Kern led off the top of the 4thinning with a single and a sacrifice fly by Molinari drove Kern home, making it 4-1 Stompers.
Vallejo went to the bullpen early as John LaRossa entered the game and struggled in the top of the 5th. He loaded the bases by walking Gillespie, hitting Kern, and walking Rob DeAngelis. Matt Hibbert drove in a run with a walk to make it 5-1. LaRossa exited the game for left-hander Matt Terrones who immediately allowed a 2-run single to Molinari, extending the Stompers lead 7-1.
Vallejo answered with 2 in the bottom half of the 5th inning on an RBI single from O’Koyae Dickson who later also scored on a wild pitch, cutting into the lead 7-3.
Jacob Barfield hit his 17th homer of the season in the top of the 6thinning, extending the Stompers lead to 9-3.
Barnese lasted 5 innings, allowing 3 runs, 2 of them earned on 5 hits while striking out 4.
Vallejo scored a pair of run in the bottom of the 7th inning on a 2-run bomb by Nick Akins Sr. off Stomper reliever Lenny Gwizdala to make it 9-5.
Graylin Derke brought the Admirals closer with a 2-run bomb to right off Austin Orvis to make it a tight game going into the 9th.
Ryan Richardson (2-0) allowed a hit in the 9th but that was all, picking up his 9th save in 9 tries as the Stompers magic number to clinch 1st place in the Pacific Association is now just 2.
The Stompers are in Napa on Tuesday at 5:05.