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Sonoma’s 7-game streak leads to tie for first place

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The Sonoma Stompers shut out the San Rafael Pacifics Wednesday night, 6-0, for a big win that moved the team into a first-place tie with the Pacifics. The team’s seventh straight win came behind eight shutout innings from pitcher Tyler Sharp, his third eight-inning outing this year in four starts.

Through those eight Sharp was outstanding, carving through the Pacifics’ order all night long. The right-hander retired the first eight hitters he faced and later nine straight, including 20 of the first 24 San Rafael batters that came to the plate.

Once again, he limited the opposing offense in every aspect, giving up just five hits and one walk while striking out 11.

“That’s the goal, to do that every day,” Sharp said. “Staying in my routine and feeling good every day, that helps a lot.”

His ERA with the Stompers is just 0.30 over 29.1 innings, with 27 strikeouts and six walks. Combining Sharp’s stats with his outings earlier this season with the Napa Silverados, his team until June 30, the South Lake Tahoe native leads the Pacific Association in ERA at 2.19.

Sharp’s battery mate Wednesday was the newest Sonoma Stomper, Ryan Cooper. It was Cooper who teamed with Sharp in Napa and was receiver for Sharp’s best start with the Silverados.

“We started clicking right in the pregame,” Cooper said. “Talked about how we’re going to go after the guys, stuck with it today and it looked like it worked out pretty well. It was a lot of fun.”

Cooper reached base twice and scored a run, but did not get a hit in his first start in Sonoma. Five Stompers, however, did – Rob DeAngelis went three for five, and Kenny Meimerstorf got a pair with two runs batted in.

For the first six innings, Sonoma held on to a 2-0 lead thanks to a first-inning single from Meimerstorf that scored Miles Williams, and a passed ball in the fourth that scored Cooper.

Four walks and two hits in the seventh added insurance and three more hits in the eighth scored Marcus Bradley, more than enough cushion in the 6-0 win.

The shutout victory was the Stompers’ second in 2018, both in the previous eight days. It was also the first time the Pacifics had been shut out this season.

Wednesday’s victory followed an exciting Tuesday night game when, for the third straight time, the Stompers walked off on their opponents, beathing the Pacifics in a 7-6 battle.

The Stompers roared out to an early lead with three home runs and five runs over the first four innings. DeAngelis had the first round-tripper, a two-run shot in the first inning that scored Marcus Bradley, his second homer of the year.

Then, celebrating his 28th birthday, Daniel Baptista connected for a solo shot, his fourth home run of the year in the fourth inning. Then Mitchell Ho added his eighth, scoring Kevin Farley and giving the Stompers a 5-1 lead.

The Pacifics chipped away and drew even, and the regulation nine ended in a 6-6 tie.

When the Pacifics could not score in the ninth or 10th, thanks to two shutout innings from Jacob Cox, the Stompers won in the bottom of the 10th when Eddie Mora-Loera pinch hit with the bases loaded, reaching on a fielder’s choice that scored Kenny Meimerstorf and won the game.

“Everyone was grinding hard today,” Mora-Loera said. “They asked me to come in and try and get the job. With baseball being the way it is, sometimes it is hit hard and caught, sometimes you don’t hit it hard and win the game.”

Now, the Stompers sit atop the Pacific Association standings, nine games ahead of the Vallejo Admirals and tied with San Rafael at 37-17. They’ve won seven straight, nine of their last 10 and 20 of their last 24 games.

With momentum on their side, the navy and orange travel to Martinez for the final time this season for games Thursday and Friday against the Clippers, a team in the midst of their best stretch of 2018. First pitch for both games is at 6:30 p.m. from Joe DiMaggio Field at Waterfront Park.