The Sonoma Stompers squandered a strong start Sunday from Juan Espinosa and dropped a 4-0 decision to the Vallejo Admirals. It was the first time this year the Stompers had been shut out.
After a hot start to the season, the Stompers have lost back-to-back series.
Sonoma managed just three hits against Vallejo starter Marquis Hutchinson, who kept the Stompers scoreless in eight strong innings. Before loading the bases in the eighth, Eddie Mora-Loera’s two walks on the night were the Stompers’ most substantial offense while Hutchinson was on the mound.
With the bases loaded in the eighth, Isaac Wenrich hit a hard fly ball to deep left that landed in the glove of the Admirals’ left fielder. Mora-Loera made noise again in the ninth with a hard base hit to left, but nothing came of the effort.
On the Stompers’ side, Espinosa delivered his fourth strong start in a row, striking out eight in 8-1/3-innings, allowing only three first-inning runs and retiring the Admirals in order six times. At one point, Espinosa retired 16 in a row.
“I think it only feels like a losing skid because we’ve won so many games,” Mora-Loera said.
Saturday, the Stompers came up short in a 6-5 loss to the Admirals.
It was the first win for the Admirals this year at People’s Home Equity Ballpark at Arnold Field.
With the game tied at three headed to the eighth inning, Vallejo put a rally together against DJ Sharabi. Sharabi allowed a walk and two hits before departing with the bases loaded. Adam Ogburn allowed all three runs to come home in the inning as the Admirals took a 6-3 lead.
Vallejo also rallied for three in the fourth inning, taking a 3-2 lead. The biggest blow came on a two-RBI single by David Kiriakos.
Mora-Loera delivered in the eighth with a two-out, two-RBI single of his own to put the Stompers within one run, but it was all Sonoma would muster. Mora-Loera finished the game two-for-four with two RBIs.
Both Joel Carranza and Brennan Metzger homered in the loss. Carranza is now tied for second in the Pacific Association with eight home runs. Metzger’shot was his second home run in three games and extended his hitting streak to six games. He has a hit in nine of his last 11 contests.
Behind a strong performance Friday by starter Mike Jackson Jr., the Stompers took the opening game in the series, 5-1.
Jackson, who came in second in Pacific Association Pitcher of the Year voting last season, struck out nine in his six inning stint. He allowed just five hits in that span and shut out the Admirals, setting up the Stompers for success with a 5-0 lead.
“(Manager Takashi Miyoshi) talked to me and told me what was wrong in my last two starts,” Jackson said. “I made an adjustment, talked to him, talked to (catcher Isaac Wenrich), buckled down and got the job done.”
Jackson came into the game with a 14.25 earned run average in his last three starts and had allowed 16 runs on 24 hits in nine innings in his last two starts against Vallejo.
To back up Jackson’s outing, Metzger scored on a wild pitch and Masa Miyadera drew a bases-loaded walk for two runs in the fourth. Despite only managing one hit through four, the Stompers knocked three base hits in the fifth to take a 5-0 lead.