Stomp-Off: Video of Hurley's Homer
Tim Livingston, Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations
You could feel the weight being lifted off the collective backs of the Sonoma Stompers when the ball left Mark Hurley's bat in the final inning. Losses in seven out of their last nine games. Four straight losses, including three at home after winning their first 10 games in 2015 at Arnold Field.
All it took was one swing to put all that behind them.
Hurley's two-run homer off Pittsburg starter Jheyson Manzueta in the bottom of the ninth relieved all of Sonoma's recent ailments and gave the Stompers a 4-3 win over the Diamonds, breaking Pittsburg's six-game win streak and their own four-game losing streak.
Sonoma (21-10) took the lead in the seventh on a two-out, two-run double by Gered Mochizuki on a deep fly ball to center that Kahou Gaspar couldn't corral, giving Sonoma their first lead of the game.
But Pittsburg (14-18) came right back in the top of the eighth. Facing Jerome Godsey, Mike Taylor smashed a lined shot deep and out to left for his 10th home run to tie the game at 2-2. Godsey faced more trouble later in the inning as he loaded the bases and allowed Leo Rodriguez to hit a sacrifice fly to right, giving Pittsburg a 3-2 lead.
Yet the Stompers found something in the late innings that hadn't been there recently. San Rafael came back with two runs in the eighth to pull away from Sonoma back on June 29. The Pacifics had another late-game rally in Sunday's finale of a day/night doubleheader, and Tuesday night, the Diamonds pulled away with six in the ninth inning to spoil a great start by Sean Conroy.
It was the third #StompOff victory of the season for Sonoma, with Hurley being involved in the first one back on June 3 when he raced home on a wild pitch against the very same Pittsburg team in a 10-9, come-from-behind win to complete a sweep in the first series of 2015.
At the plate, Hurley had two hits, two runs scored, and those two RBIs on the game-winning home run. Isaac Wenrich also added two hits to raise his batting average to .301. T.J. Gavlik and Fehlandt Lentini each scored runs, as well.
Mike Jackson, Jr. pitched terrifically but ended up with a no-decision, as the Pittsburgh native had his best start yet as a Stomper. He went seven strong innings allowing six hits, one walk and only one earned run while striking out a season-high nine. The nine strikeouts are the third most by a Stompers starter this season. He now has a 3.16 ERA on the season and has struck out 32 batters in 37 innings.
Ryusuke Kikusawa (1-0) picked up the win in relief, as he retired the last four batters he faced in order to keep Sonoma within one. He entered the game with runners at second and third with two outs in the eighth and got Brandon Williams to fly out to end the Diamonds scoring run.
For Sonoma, it was the type of win they had been seeking for quite some time. The previously mentioned slides had brought them back closer to the pack in the Pacific Association with both San Rafael and Pittsburg playing well enough where the Stompers would have to work harder than ever to clinch their first half title.
With Wednesday's victory, the Stompers are still on pace to clinch the first half championship by week's end, and with some help from San Rafael like they got today, where the Pacifics gave up a lead with two outs in the ninth to reeling Vallejo, the hometown faithful at Arnold Field will have something to cheer about before the homestand ends on Sunday.
For now, the Stompers will enjoy the spoils before getting back to work Thursday evening in the rubber match of their three game series with the Diamonds. First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m. and Sonoma's Opening Night starter, Matt Walker, is the probable starter.
Tickets begin at just $4 and can be purchased online at StompersBaseball.com or at the Stompers Fan Shop, located at 234 W. Napa St. in beautiful downtown Sonoma. Tickets can also be purchased at the gates at Arnold Field before any home game. For more information, call the Stompers at (707) 938-7277 or email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.