VALLEJO, Calif. – The Vallejo Admirals were on the wrong end of a pitching duel Saturday night, falling to the Sonoma Stompers 3-1 at Wilson Park. Both teams only managed three hits but a costly error in the fifth inning proved to be the difference in the game.
The contest looked to be anything but one of outstanding pitching at the start as Stompers center fielder Matt Hibbert hit a triple to lead off the game. Hibbert would then score on a passed ball while first baseman Daniel Baptista was at bat. Ironically, Baptista would be one of two strikeout victims in the top half of the first inning as Admirals’ starter Marquis Hutchinson only surrendered the one run at the start. The next three frames went smoothly for Hutchinson, recording 1-2-3 innings in each as the starter worked through a walk in the second inning and an error in the third.
Vallejo could not work through mishaps in the fifth inning though as Sonoma scored two unearned runs which were made possible by a fielding error. After walking Stompers’ third baseman Derrick Fox and then hitting catcher Mason Morioka, Hutchinson was able to get shortstop Chaz Meadows to pop out to him. However right fielder Mark Hurley was able to reach base on an error by Admirals second baseman Alian Silva, who couldn’t cleanly field a routine ground ball. With the bases loaded and two outs after a Hibbert fly out in infield foul territory, second baseman Yuki Yasuda came up to the plate and produced an RBI single driving in Fox from third base and Morioka from second. Hutchinson would retire the next Sonoma batter to end the inning but the damage had already been done.
In the sixth inning Hutchinson retired the first two batters before giving up a double to Fox and then walking the next two Stomper batters to once again load the bases for a second consecutive inning. It was here that Hutchinson left the game due to a sore elbow. Emmanuel Sanchez came on to record the third out of the inning and went on to pitch 2.1 innings in relief.
Meanwhile Stompers starter Mike Jackson Jr. shut down the Admirals all game, pitching a complete game, allowing only three hits and one run. That run came in the bottom of the sixth inning as Silva looked to redeem himself with a leadoff triple of his own. Darian Sandford then drove Silva in on an RBI ground out, putting Vallejo on the board. This was the only run the Sonoma pitcher would allow, striking out Admiral third baseman Gerald Bautista to end the sixth inning. For the game the Sonoma hurler would strikeout eight Vallejo batters and never labored during the contest.
Hector Ortiz would make a relief appearance for the Admirals in the top of the ninth inning holding the Stompers lead to two runs. However Jackson Jr. would finish the game off in the bottom half of the inning, retiring the Admirals in order. With the series now tied at one game apiece, Vallejo looks to secure a series victory to start the second half of the season tomorrow afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. at Wilson Park.