By: Dave Grant
SAN RAFAEL, Calif. –The Admirals had a 7-1 lead after two innings only to see San Rafael chip away at the deficit, tie the game in the eighth and walk-off the Admirals in the ninth to win 9-8 at Albert Park. San Rafael beat the Admirals for the ninth time in 13 tries this season and improved to 17-25 overall and 1-3 in the second half of Pacific Association play. The Admirals slipped to 13-30 overall and 1-3 in the second half.
Vallejo jumped out early after a double by David Kiriakos and a two-run home run by Tillman Pugh in the first. San Rafael answered back after a solo home run by Cameron Monger to lead off the bottom of the first for the Pacifics.
After San Rafael starter Lou Evans hit Chris Fornaci and Graylin Derke in the second, Vladimir Gomez hit his sixth home run of the season to give the Admirals a 5-1 lead.
Vallejo added to their lead with two more runs in the third after an RBI sacrifice fly from Ryan Rodriguez and run-scoring single from Gomez.
A solo home run from Juan Herrera brought the Pacifics to within five and a two-run homer by Zach Goldstein in the fifth brought San Rafael closer at 7-4.
Brent Gillespie smacked his third home run against the Admirals in the last two games with a two-run blast in the sixth inning that brought the Pacifics to within 7-6.
Vallejo answered back with a single run in the seventh after three consecutive singles with two outs. Rodriguez brought home Fornaci and a single by Gomez nearly scored Derke from second base, but San Rafael left-fielder Demetrius Moorer threw out Derke attempting to score from second.
With one out in the seventh, San Rafael put runners at first and second and a long flyout by Michael Rizzitello pushed Moorer to third. Moorer scored on a throwing error by Admirals catcher Mike Blanke to bring the Pacifics within 8-7, but Roman Gomez struck out Miles Williams to end the side.
Sammy Gervacio struck out Gillespie in the eighth, but Gillespie reached after a wild pitch. Gillespie scored the tying run after a double by Goldstein into left field, but Gervacio struck out Moorer with two runners on.
With the game tied at eight in the ninth, Nick Akins singled through the left side but was replaced by a pinch-runner after an apparent injury. Graylin Derke was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second with two out for the Admirals, but Ryan Rodriguez struck out.
In the bottom of the ninth, Gillespie drove in Taylor for the game-winning run off Gervacio. Garrett Granitz picked up the victory in relief for the Pacifics, as he improved to 1-2 this season. Gervacio suffered the loss for the Admirals as he fell to 1-3.
Hutchinson went 5.1 and allowed six earned runs on five hits with 11 strikeouts and only two walks. The Admirals right-hander struck out the side twice – in the second and fifth – and struck out at least one batter in every inning except the third.
San Rafael starter Lou Evans lasted only 2.1 innings and allowed six earned runs on five hits with three walks, two hit batters and one strikeout. James McReynolds struck out eight Admirals hitters in his 5.2 innings of relief.
The second game of the series is at 4:05 p.m. PT Saturday at Albert Park in San Rafael with right-hander Christopher De Leon (2-2, 6.42) scheduled to start for the Admirals and righty Nick DeBarr (1-3, 10.48) for the Pacifics.
The pregame show on the Admirals Baseball Network presented by Team Superstores begins at 3:45 p.m. with Tim Fitzgerald and Daniel Barrera.