Tim Livingston, Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations
It only took three hits, but with three solo home runs and a great all-around pitching performance from a trio of hurlers, the Sonoma Stompers won their fourth straight game against the Vallejo Admirals with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday.
Sonoma (25-11) didn't have much success from a quantity standpoint against Vallejo starter Tony Guerra (0-1), but the two hits they did get against him ended up being quality shots. In a scoreless game in the fourth inning, TJ Gavlik ended an eight-pitch at-bat with a solo homer to right, his second in as many games, to get the scoring going. Two batters later, Danny Baptista did the same to center field to make it 2-0.
Sonoma's third homer came in the seventh inning from Mark Hurley, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games and gave Sonoma a 3-0 lead. It was a 3-0 lead because of some tremendous work from Paul Hvozdovic, who started his first game of 2015 and looked stellar doing it.
Vallejo (13-25) couldn't get any hard contact against the left-hander from Shepherd University, who limited the Admirals to only four hits in his six innings of work. He struck four and hit a batter while facing only three batters over the minimum.
He then gave way to a newcomer for Sonoma in Santos Saldivar. The rookie from Southern University was signed earlier in the day and was the first man out of the bullpen as the Stompers looked to see what pieces they had heading into the second half of the season that begins on Friday.
If Wednesday night's outing was any indication, then the front office trio of Theo Fightmaster, Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller might have found a cornerstone piece for their second half run. Saldivar was basically untouchable in his two perfect innings of relief, as he struck out five of the six batters he faced with a fastball near 90 and an offspeed assortment that left Admirals hitters baffled.
Even with the one run Vallejo got after a P.J. Phillips double and a throwing error by Yuki Yasuda, it was apparent just how dominant the Stompers were Wednesday night. They limited mistakes both on the hill and defensively and even had two successful shifts, as both Joshua Wong and Brad Young bounced out to Gavlik at second base when he was positioned to the left side of the bag expecting each hitter to pull the ball. Gavlik barely had to move on both groundouts.
With Takashi Miyoshi at the helm, the Stompers are now 4-0 and have outscored the Admirals by 17 runs, pushing their league-leading run differential to +67 on the season. Part of it is that the Admirals have been the worst team in the Pacific Association so far, but the Stompers have also been quick to take advantage of any opportunity presented to them, which has been many against Vallejo.
Sonoma will continue their six game stretch at Wilson Park with the first half finale on Thursday evening. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. with the radio broadcast beginning at 6:50 p.m. on StompersBaseball.com and the TuneIn app.