4-2 Win Sets Up First Place Showdown With Pacifics

 Santos Saldivar threw seven more shutout innings on Sunday, lowering his ERA to 0.98 on the season.   James Toy III/Sonoma Stompers

Santos Saldivar threw seven more shutout innings on Sunday, lowering his ERA to 0.98 on the season.

James Toy III/Sonoma Stompers

Tim Livingston, Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations

The Sonoma Stompers were hoping for some separation from Pittsburg and San Rafael after their weeklong series with the Admirals. They knew that if they took care of business at home against last-place Vallejo that they would be in good shape going into the final three weeks of the season, where they faced those two teams a total of 15 times over their final 18 games.

This week brought an unexpected twist: San Rafael took five of six games against Pittsburg, including a sweep at Albert Park over the weekend. Sonoma's opponent over the next six games? That same Pacifics team.

With a 4-2 victory over Vallejo on Sunday, the Stompers also finished taking five of six games this past week, and that success sets up a showdown with a team that has been on fire over the past six weeks. The last time Sonoma matched up with the Pacifics, the Stompers won four games in a six game series, with Sean Conroy closing the game out in a fireman role and the now-departed Joel Carranza smacking four homers.

Sonoma's (13-8 2nd half, 39-19 overall) win on Sunday was once again paced by Santos Saldivar (2-1). The rookie right-hander threw another seven shutout innings against Vallejo (6-15, 19-41), extending his scoreless innings streak to 16. 15 of those innings came this week against the Admirals, as he struck out 16 batters and allowed only 16 baserunners.

On the season, Saldivar now has a 0.98 ERA in 27 1/3 innings, with 31 strikeouts and only 29 baserunners (22 hits, 7 walks). The Pasadena, Texas native has set himself up to be the ace of the starting rotation during the second half of the season, and will see the mound at least three more times this season as a starter if the current rotation holds up, with a chance at four times seeing as there are three more off days in the season.

Birthday boy Matt Hibbert had a two-hit day, as did TJ Gavlik and Brennan Metzger. It was the sawn song for Metzger with the Stompers, as the former Giants farmhand has been promoted to the Gary Southshore RailCats of the American Association. Sonoma will receive future considerations from the Railcats in exchange for Metzger, as Metzger becomes the third Stompers player this season to move up to a higher league in independent baseball.

The Stompers will have a day off on Monday before starting off their all-important three game series in San Rafael on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. with the radio broadcast beginning at 6:50 on StompersBaseball.com and the TuneIn mobile app.