After residing in first place in the Pacific Association since opening day, the Sonoma Stompers fell into second place Wednesday after a 13-6 loss to the Vallejo Admirals.
It was the seventh straight time Vallejo beat the Stompers.
The two teams had identical 15-10 records in the second half of the season going into the contest, in which Vallejo cast a long shadow on the Stompers with 10 runs in the first frame.
Nick Akins Sr. was the primary offensive force for Vallejo, notching six runs batted in in the frame, including a grand slam. At the end of the nearly four-hour game, Akins and Chevy Clarke combined to drive in nine of the Admirals’ 13 runs.
The Admirals recorded twice as many hits as the Stompers out-hitting them 14-7.
Starter Ely Gallego made his first start as a Stomper on Wednesday after coming to the Pacific Association from the Pecos League this week. Gallego lasted just two innings before being replaced by another newly-minted Stomper, Zach Williams.
Williams allowed two more Admirals runs, but struck out five in two innings of work.
His effort was one of a handful of solid Stompers performances out of the bullpen. Stacy Piagno recorded another scoreless inning of work, her ninth in a row dating back to July 15, while Zach Wendorf struck out four and blanked the Admirals in two innings.
Vallejo scored all of their 13 runs in the first three innings as the Sonoma bullpen blanked the Admirals after that frame.
Tuesday, the Admirals whipped the Stompers, 12-3.
The Stompers struck first in the contest as Daniel Baptista drove in a run before starter Dominic Topoozian even reached the mound. In the first professional start of his career, Topoozian allowed five runs and struck out four in four innings of work.
The Stompers didn’t score again until the sixth. Isaac Wenrich gave the Stompers some hope in the frame, sending a two-run blast over the fence in right to cut the Admirals’ lead to seven. Wenrich and third baseman Scott David were both two-for-four on the night.
By the sixth, the Admirals had already amassed 10 runs. On the mound, the Admirals’ Brent Adheen pitched three scoreless innings and allowed just one Sonoma hit.
Despite the wave of runs, there were a few bright spots out of the Sonoma bullpen. Right-hander and newly minted Stomper Logan Gillaspie struck out the middle of the Admirals’ order in the seventh. Picked up from the Monterey Amberjacks of the Pecos League, it was Gillaspie’s first start in a Sonoma uniform.
Following Gillaspie’s strong debut, right-hander Piagno pitched a scoreless eighth.
The Admirals and Stompers played Thursday evening, results not available at presstime. The two teams will meet for a three-game series this weekend at Arnold Field. Game times Friday, Saturday and Sunday are 6 p.m. nightly.
After the weekend series, the Stompers only have nine games left on their schedule – all road games. They’re at San Rafael Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; at Vallejo on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 25-27; and finish the season at Pittsburg on Tuesday, Aug. 29, Wednesday, Aug. 30, and Thursday, Aug. 31.
If the Stompers win the second-half title, they win the league championship outright. If they don’t win the second-half title, there will be a one-game championship game.