By: Dave Grant
VALLEJO, Calif. – The Admirals were swept for the second consecutive series by the Sonoma Stompers after falling 8-4 in the series finale Thursday night at Wilson Park. Vallejo has now dropped eight of nine games overall this season versus Sonoma and slips to 5-13, while the Stompers improved to 14-4 and now lead the Admirals by nine games in the Pacific Association.
After the Stompers took a 2-0 lead early, Admirals designated hitter Nick Akins drilled his seventh home run of the season in the fourth to cut the deficit in half.
Sonoma extended the lead in the sixth inning, scoring four unearned runs after Admirals shortstop Eric Brown committed an error to open the inning.
Marcus Bradley and Eddie Mora-Loera came in to score for the Stompers in the seventh, extending the lead to 8-1.
Vallejo managed three runs in the eighth after an RBI double by Pedro Perez (pictured above) brought in Vladimir Gomez, Tillman Pugh drove in Perez with a single and after a stolen base and fly-out by Chevy Chase, Pugh scored on a sacrifice fly by Shawn Payne. It was as close as the Admirals would get, as Gerald Bautista doubled in the ninth but was stranded after Perez struck out.
Sonoma starter Juan Espinosa improved to 2-0 this season, twirling a two-hitter and striking out seven in a dominant effort. At one point, Espinosa retired nine consecutive Admirals from the fifth through the seventh innings.
Admirals starter Marquis Hutchinson walked five and struck out six, allowing five runs – only two earned – and fell to 1-2 this season.
The Admirals were outscored 39-23 in the three-game sweep and have been outscored 65-32 by the Stompers during the pair of three-game series sweeps.
The Admirals visit Pittsburg for a three-game series this weekend, with Friday’s opener set for 7 p.m. PT at Winter Chevrolet Stadium in Pittsburg. The Admirals pregame show begins at 6:45 p.m. with Dave Grant and Tim Fitzgerald.
NOTES: Admirals outfielder Chevy Clarke had his 14-game hit streak and 17-game on-base streak snapped after going 0-for-4 on Thursday night … Akins’ seventh home run of the season leads the Pacific Association … Graylin Derke extended his hit streak to three games after an 0-for-23 slump that lasted over a week … Shawn Payne had his nine-game hit streak ended on Thursday night after going 0-for-3.