Tim Livingston, Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations
How sweep it is, indeed.
After spotting the Pittsburg Diamonds a 9-2 lead in the early innings, the Sonoma Stompers roared back to tie the game in the eighth inning and won it in the 10th as Mark Hurley raced home on a wild pitch for a wild come-from-behind victory, 10-9, completing an opening series sweep.
The maddening comeback began in the fifth when Sonoma (3-0) sent 10 men to the plate and scored five times. The biggest jolt of the inning came off the bat of player-manager Fehlandt Lentini, who launched a three-run homer to left to cut the lead to 9-7.
From there, the Stompers took advantage of the inconsistency of the Diamonds battery. Justin Martinez (0-1) had four wild pitches in his three innings of work and miscommunicated with catcher Billy Gonzalez to the tune of two passed balls. Two of those wild pitches allowed runs to score, and both of those runs were scored by Hurley, with the final one costing Pittsburg (0-3) the game.
The Stompers had to come back because of a rough start for right-hander Gregory Paulino, who made his first start since having Tommy John surgery nearly two years ago. The former Oakland A's farmhand threw strikes, but they were hittable, as he gave up eight runs on eight hits in only 1.2 innings.
After Paulino was given an early exit, the Stompers bullpen came through big to keep Sonoma in the game. Save one run given up by Jon Rand, Jr. in the fourth, the Stompers relievers were untouchable. Former Santa Rosa Junior College standout Jerome Godsey threw three shutout innings following Rand before giving way to Sean Conroy (1-0) in the ninth. The sidearmer threw two shutout innings himself and turned an impressive 1-6-3 double play in the 10th on a Chris DeBiasi sacrifice bunt attempt.
The Stompers employed their first shifts of the regular season, all against left-handed hitters. Of their four total shifts, one ball found a hole to the right of second base and Diamonds first baseman Nick Oddo beat the shift with a perfect bunt down the third base line.
Offensively for Sonoma, Lentini led the way with his 2-for-5 night, including that big three-run shot. Daniel Baptista reached base four times while going 2-for-3. Kristian Gayday was 2-for-5 and scored three runs while TJ Gavlik went 3-for-6 in his first start of the season as the designated hitter. The exciting Yuki Yasuda went 2-for-2 as a late-inning replacement, as well.
As a team, the Stompers now have 40 hits in their first three games of the season and have a collective triple-slash line of .342/.430/.504, including five home runs. Even for a small sample size, the early offensive firepower is a good sign of things to come for a team that features a lot of pop up and down the lineup.
With their first home series in the books, the Stompers will look forward to a day off Thursday before beginning a six-game road trip Friday, starting with the first of three games against the Vallejo Admirals. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. with the audio broadcast beginning at 6:55 p.m. both on StompersBaseball.com and the TuneIn Radio app.