By Vallejo Times Herald and Admirals Staff
The Vallejo Admirals defeated the San Rafael Pacifics on Friday night at Arnold Park. Just in the nick of time.
In what is believed to be the first-ever timed game, reliever Josh Evans of the Admirals struck out Garrett Gemgnani with the tying run on third and the winning run on second in the bottom of the ninth to win 9-8.
The game, which was scheduled to go 2 hours, 30 minutes, began at 7:11 p.m. with the first pitch. With the ninth inning starting just before the clock ran out on 150 minutes, the teams had to finish the last inning, even though the overall time had elapsed.
Rules during the game included a pitcher having to toss a new pitch every 20 seconds or else a ball would be called. If a hitter was not in the batters box every 20 seconds a strike would be called. Admirals starter Kida De La Cruz and San Rafael closer J.R. Bunda each surrendered a ball due to this rule. The Admirals Joe Hicks had a strike against him for taking too long to get in the batter’s box in the top of the ninth inning.
The pace-of-play rules did result in a 2 hour and 50 minute game even though it was a high scoring affair. There was no clock displayed however for between-inning and between-pitch situations like a shot clock or play clock.
Although the game had a clock, the Admirals (25-33, 9-8 in the second half) wasted no time building a lead as Joseph Hicks had a RBI single in the top of the first to make it 1-0.
San Rafael (33-25, 12-7) scored two runs in the bottom of the second to take a 2-1 lead, but the Admirals came right back with four runs in the top of the third, thanks to a three-run homer by Tim Williams, his sixth.
Williams finished the game with four hits and saw his average climb to .319 on the season.
The 5-2 lead didn’t last long, however, as Gemgnani hit a three-run homer of his own in the bottom half of the third to knot the game at 5-5.
The game remained tied until the top of the seventh when the Admirals scored four runs to take a 9-5 lead. The inning was highlighted by a three-run homer by Hicks that made the score 8-5. Later in the inning Gerald Bautista drove home Williams with an RBI double to make it a four-run lead.
Darian Sandford stole his league-leading 49th base.
Admirals starter Kida De La Cruz (3-2) pitched well enough to get the win, as he went six innings and gave up five earned runs and five hits while walking four and striking out nine.
The Pacifics scored three runs in the bottom half of the seventh to make it 9-8 and rallied in the ninth before Evans got the Admirals out of trouble to preserve the victory and earn the save.
The Admirals have won nine of their last 11 and are just two games back of San Rafael for first place in the second half.
The two teams will play a timed game again, this time at 1:05 p.m. at Wilson Park, on Sunday.