Tim Livingston, Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations
Even with another big inning early in the game much like they did on Friday night against Pittsburg, Sonoma knew that the Diamonds were not going to go down without a fight.
Thankfully, the Stompers offense answered every Pittsburg outburst with one of their own, and when Paul Hvozdovic got Rich Mejia to fly out to right field to end the game, Sonoma had set a new franchise record for wins in a row. Saturday's 9-7 victory was the seventh straight win for the Stompers, breaking the record of six the team set during the first week of the season.
While it was a seven run inning on Friday night that got Sonoma (18-3) out to a lead they would never relinquish, Saturday night's five run third inning came after a leadoff home run from Pittsburg (7-16) as Brandon Williams took Stompers starter Mike Jackson, Jr. (2-1) deep in the bottom of the first to open the scoring.
Yet Sonoma found a way in the third to get to the sidearming southpaw Mike Miller (0-1) who was making his season debut with the Diamonds. Sonoma loaded the bases with two outs, and on a pitch to the left-handed hitting Gered Mochizuki, the Stompers shortstop lined a shot down the left field line just out of the reach of Williams for a bases clearing double to give Sonoma the lead.
The doubles kept coming as Joel Carranza and Isaac Wenrich each had one of their own, giving Sonoma all five runs with two outs and a great advantage for Jackson once he went back out for the third.
Pittsburg kept battling back, though, and when the two teams looked at the scoreboard come the sixth inning, it was tied at 5-5 and the Stompers were trying to figure out how to hold off the surging Diamonds.
The Stompers got those four runs back in the later innings to give themselves the lead once again, but two critical at-bats featuring Diamonds slugger Mike Taylor became nail-biting moments for the visiting squad. Facing Jerome Godsey in the seventh as the go-ahead run, Taylor kept fouling off pitches before taking a breaking ball on the outside corner for a called strike three to end the inning on the ninth pitch of the at-bat.
When Pittsburg got two more runs in the ninth off Paul Hvozdovic, the Diamonds couldn't have asked for a better situation when Taylor strode to the plate. Just like in the seventh, there were two runners on and he represented the winning run. Just like in the seventh, he fouled off pitches to stay alive against a tough lefty. Just like in the seventh, he went down looking, this time on a perfectly placed fastball on the inside corner that froze Taylor and sent him to the dugout with his third strikeout of the evening.
That led to Mejia's flyout to give Sonoma an unprecedented 18th win in 21 games in 2015, and much like it has been all year, the Stompers offense led the team to victory again. Carranza had three hits to extend a seven-game hitting streak, pushing his average north of .300 to .301. Wenrich had two doubles on the evening and has three in his last two games. Mochizuki had a season-high five RBIs and Sergio Miranda reached base four times and drove in a run.
The hard look at the Stompers offense shows that up and down the lineup, different parts of the order come through on different nights. Tonight, it was the guys in the heart of the order that did it, and when that part of the lineup is hot, the team has looked unbeatable.
On Sunday afternoon, Matt Walker will return to Pittsburg for the first time since his one-hitter back on June 17, where he took a no-hitter into the ninth before Mejia broke it up with a one-out single. The first pitch for tomorrow's game is set for 1:05 p.m., with the radio broadcast beginning at 12:50.