Tim Livingston, Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations
In the strange world of independent baseball, there's always something waiting just around the corner that could make it stranger.
Take for example Friday night's second half opener between the Sonoma Stompers and the Vallejo Admirals. Simultaneously, it was a night both to remember and forget for the Stompers, as they took their worst loss of the season against the Admirals, 16-5. Yet at the same time, the team set a new franchise record with 20 hits on the evening.
The 20 hits eclipses the old record of 19 that was set on July 2 against San Rafael, when Sonoma exploded offensively in a 16-7 blowout win. The 11-run loss overtook Sonoma's 8-1 loss to the Pacifics back on July 5.
To begin to explain how a team could have 20 hits and score only five times, one can look at the idea of hit sequencing. Hit sequencing is how and when a team's hits come together. They normally come in bunches or spread out, sometimes not at all. However, a team really can't control how their hits are sequenced together. This is the basis for the term known as "cluster luck," which is a measure that shows how lucky or unlucky a team has been in sequencing their hits together.
To get 20 hits and only have five runs is a case of extremely bad luck. While the Admirals offense had 17 hits to produce their 16 runs, Sonoma (0-1 2nd half, 26-12 overall) couldn't string together hits in the correct order to produce their runs. Twice in the game did Sonoma have runners at 2nd and 3rd with nobody out and they didn't score. The run expectancy in that scenario is normally 1.92 runs on average. And it happened twice.
There's no previous record for a team scoring five runs or fewer with 20 hits in a regulation game. It has never happened before according to the Baseball-Reference Play Index (Which fans can subscribe to for $30/year using the coupon code, "BP"). If one were to include extra inning games, it has happened 20 times, but it has never happened in any nine-inning Major League game in the modern era.
Suffice to say, there might have been other games in professional baseball scattered around the last century where record keeping wasn't done as well and could claim something similar, but it's truly a unique baseball event. Regardless of that, the Stompers made two kinds of history on Friday night, continuing a 2015 season that has been full of historic events both good and bad. Thankfully for Sonoma, it's been mostly good.
In addition to the team history, individual history was made in the game when Mark Hurley went 5-for-5, becoming the first Stompers hitter ever to have five hits in a game. He extended his hitting streak to 13 games, the longest of any player this season for Sonoma, and raised his triple slash line to .347/.411/.490. He now leads the team in hitting and has seven multi-hit games in his last 11.
Also hitting well for the Stompers were Yuki Yasuda, Isaac Wenrich and Danny Baptista, who all went 3-for-5. Matt Hibbert added two hits, including his second leadoff home run of the season. Both homers have come during this week's play in Vallejo. All nine Stompers starters had at least one hit.
While the first half champs aren't off to the best start in 2015, Sonoma will get an opportunity to fight back on Saturday when they take on the Admirals in game two of their weekend series. Eric Schwieger will get the start for the Stompers. First pitch is set for 5:05 p.m., with the radio broadcast beginning at 4:50 p.m. on StompersBaseball.com and the TuneIn app for mobile devices.