Tim Livingston, Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations
Taking advantage of a throwing error by Erik Gonsalves with the bases loaded in the top of the eighth, the Vallejo Admirals batted around in the inning and scored five unanswered runs to take their series opener with the Sonoma Stompers at Arnold Field, 8-3.
With the score 3-3 coming into the eighth, the inning became an issue right away after a leadoff walk to Brad Young, who had walked only five times coming into Friday night's game for Vallejo (13-21). From there, Tyler Nordgren reached when his sacrifice bunt attempt was placed perfectly on the right side of the infield, and after Tony Uyeno's successful sacrifice bunt, the wheels fell off for Gonsalves (3-2).
He then hit #9 hitter Aaron Brill with a pitch to load the bases, and then Gadiel Baez singled through the hole on the right side to a drawn-in infield to give Vallejo the lead, 4-3. It was there that the error with Gonsalves occurred, where on a comebacker, he turned to second instinctively thinking of getting a double play instead of coming home, and then when he turned to throw home, he threw it into the dirt and it got past catcher Isaac Wenrich. Two runs came home on the throwing error to give Vallejo a 6-3 lead.
Jon Rand, Jr. came in to try and stop the bleeding, but P.J. Phillips singled to left field on the first pitch he saw to plate Baez and Jaylen Harris, putting the game away for the Admirals, who won for just the second time in 2015 against Sonoma. (21-11).
Matt Walker was able to keep the Admirals off balance for 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits and three walks. Offensively for Sonoma, Kristian Gayday hit his second home run of the season and Matt Hibbert added two hits and two RBIs. Mark Hurley scored two times, as well.
The Stompers held the lead twice in the early going thanks to Hibbert's RBI double and Gayday's home run, but Vallejo matched them with runs thanks to a sacrifice fly by former Stomper Glenn Walker and the home run by Young. After giving up the lead to Vallejo in the seventh on a wild pitch, Sonoma never led again.
Sonoma did get some good news after the game, as San Rafael lost at Pittsburg, 4-1, which cut the Stompers Magic Number to clinch the Pacific Association first half championship to three. Sonoma and San Rafael play one more time before the first half ends this upcoming Monday at Albert Park.
The two teams will face off again on Saturday in game two of their three game set, with the first pitch set for 5:05 p.m. Sonoma will be taking donations for Lego Africa that evening, as fans who bring a 1-gallon Ziploc bag full of used Lego pieces to the park will receive a free general admission ticket. The donations will benefit hundreds of students in need at schools across Africa who use them to build cognitive skills.
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 email@example.com.