Tim Livingston, Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations
After facing adversity on Saturday and responding with a thrilling comeback win, the Stompers on Sunday looked more like the team that has run roughshod over the Pacific Association through the first three weeks of the season.
Beginning with Fehlandt Lentini's leadoff homer and ending with a five-run fourth inning that saw 10 batters come to the plate, the Sonoma Stompers rode their impressive offense to victory yet again on Father's Day with a 9-3 win over the Vallejo Admirals.
Lentini swung at the second pitch of the game off starter Scott Weinschenk (0-1) and hit it deep and out to left field to get Sonoma (13-3) out to the early lead, and from there, it was business as usual for the Stompers, who had yet another double-digit hitting day with 12.
While Lentini's blast, his third of the season, was most definitely the loudest hit of the day for the Stompers, left fielder Mark Hurley continued his tremendous run at the plate with a four-hit day and even reached a fifth time on an error by Vallejo (8-10) second baseman Michael Cerda. With six hits in the series, Hurley's batting average has climbed from .239 up to .313 since June 14.
In addition to big days from Lentini and Cerda, Gered Mochizuki and Danny Baptista had two hits each, with Mochizuki driving in three runs and Baptista raising his team-leading batting average to .369. He's now only one point behind Vallejo's PJ Phillips for the league lead in hitting.
The offense was reminiscent of the performances that have defined the incredible start of the 2015 season for the Stompers. This week saw the team's offense take a step back at points, but yet even with those setbacks, the team's overall performance has continued to be exceptional even in an offensively charged league.
Their triple slash line of .302/.386/.448 is still by far the best in the Pacific Association, with the team's .834 OPS 114 points ahead of second-place San Rafael. And while the offense has gotten most of the headlines by averaging 7.25 runs per game, the pitching has been up to task, as well.
Matt Walker (2-0) followed up the first ever complete game shutout in Stompers history on Tuesday with another quality start on Sunday afternoon, allowing three runs on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Walker leads all Stompers starters in ERA and innings pitched through the first three weeks.
The bullpen continued its sensational run, as well. Jon Rand, Jr.'s three innings of shutout work earned him yet another three-inning save, his second of the year. That's now a 1.29 ERA for the Stompers bullpen, as they've allowed only seven runs in 49 innings as a unit.
The team has a league-best 3.34 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP and a lot of it has been batted-ball based. The team has only 111 strikeouts as a team, by far the worst in the league, but they've also only walked 47 batters, yet another league-best mark. So while there is some luck involved, there's also some weak contact that is driving these results and keeping the Stompers at the front of the pack in the Pacific Association.
After an off day on Monday, the Stompers will welcome Vallejo to their home, Arnold Field, for the first of three games on Tuesday night with the first pitch set for 6:05 p.m. Tickets begin at just $4 and it will be a Big Bargain Tuesday with Rawhide Dogs costing fans only a $1 each.