Temperatures dipped into the low 50’s on Friday night at Wilson Park but the Vallejo Admirals offense was scorching hot against Napa.
A six-run seventh inning by Vallejo propelled the team to a 13-6 win and a series sweep of the Napa Silverados in the club’s first-ever meetings.
Every single Admiral in the starting lineup reached base at least once and eight batters had hits as Vallejo banged out 14 in the victory. Vladimir Gomez and Graylin Derke each had three hits as they combined for six RBIs. Ryan Cooper also had four RBIs as he hit his first home run of the season.
The Admirals (10-4) scored 21 runs in two games against Napa after being shut out in the previous two games by Pittsburg. Vallejo remains a game ahead of San Rafael in the Pacific Association standings.
“Well I think it was more of a mental thing and we were trying to figure it out,” Gomez said about the offense turning around. “We figured it out and we hope to keep it rolling.”
The Admirals got on the board first in the second with four runs off Napa starter Angel Lara. With one out Gomez had an RBI double to right to make it 1-0. Moments later Cooper with a three-run homer to left to make it 4-0.
“We talked before the game about trying to hit the ball the other way and I tried to keep my hands back and I happened to get a good pitch to hit,” Cooper said. “I’m never one to say I hit no-doubters, but I had a pretty good feeling about it when I hit it.”
The Silverados finally got to Vallejo starting pitcher Michael Pope in the top of the fourth when Nick Kern doubled and then scored on an RBI single to left by Devon Ramirez that made the score 4-1.
Napa scored three more runs in the fifth to tie the game 4-4, with two of the runs coming on a no-doubt homer to right by T.C. Mark.
Moments after Mark’s homer, Nick Gotta singled and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ray Jones. He then scored to tie the game 4-4 when on his steal of third the ball went into left field on an error by Chris Fornaci at third.
Pope ended up pitching five innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits. He struck out four and walked none.
The Admirals recaptured the lead in the bottom of the sixth when the Admirals once again scored with the long ball. This time it was Brandon Fischer who homered, with a shot to right that made the score 5-4.
In the seventh inning, Vallejo’s offense erupted, as it sent nine batters to the plate. The Admirals started the rally by loading the bases off Napa reliever Drue Bravo when Rian Kiniry singled, David Kiriakos walked and Nick Akins Sr. singled.
Bravo was replaced by Billy Felo but he didn’t fare much better as Derke greeted him with a two-run double in the gap to left that made the score 7-4. The Admirals’ dAundray Van Slyke increased the lead to 9-4 as he singled on the 11th pitch of the at bat to drive in two more runs.
“Lately we had been a little over aggressive, chasing pitches we shouldn’t have been,” Cooper said. “Tonight we stayed within ourselves and we put a good barrel on the ball.”
Gomez then became the sixth straight Admiral to reach base when he doubled off the wall in left to drive home Van Slyke.
“I was trying tonight to find some good pitches to hit and drive up the middle and it worked out tonight,” Gomez said.
Gomez later scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Cooper that made it a seven-run lead.
The Silverados threatened in the eighth by having two runners on with one out, but Admirals reliever Luis Ramirez got the next two batters out on a line out and a strikeout. Ramirez pitched three scoreless innings for Vallejo.
“He threw great tonight,” Cooper, the Admirals catcher, said. “He located well and his breaking ball was sharp. He was a lot of fun to catch tonight.”
Vallejo is at home on Saturday against Martinez before going on the road Sunday to play Napa.