Gingras Slams Door on Sonoma
San Rafael, CA - Again, thanks to the plague of walks infecting the Pacifics pitching staff of late, San Rafael suddenly lost their tenuous 3-1 lead in the seventh inning to the Sonoma Stompers on Friday night at Albert Park.
But in the bottom of the seventh, after Sonoma’s Jacob Cox ironically loaded the bases on three consecutive walks, catcher Ricky Gingras lofted a soaring fly just inside the right field foul pole for the Pacifics second game winning grand slam of the week.
“After I missed on two breaking balls I expected him to bury something away,” said a typically subdued Gingras after the game. “But he hung another one out over the plate and I jumped on it. I wasn’t sure if it would stay fair.”
Not to be outdone by Gingras’ late inning heroics, starting pitcher James McReynolds provided a critical element to the evening’s success. Commanding his fastball and keeping Sonoma hitters off balance with a steady diet of changeups, McReynolds dominated Sonoma’s powerful lineup for 6.2, allowing only 2 runs on 4 hits while striking out 7.
“McReynolds came up big and we had some clutch hits,” said manager Matt Kavanaugh following the game. “The walks are still a problem for us but we’re getting better on defense and still scoring runs.”
Jake Taylor put the Pacifics on the board in the bottom of the first off Sonoma starter Juan Espinosa, launching a fastball beyond the center field wall. The shot marked Taylor’s third home run of the season, giving the Pacifics an early 1-0 lead.
The Pacifics added another run off Espinosa in the bottom of the second, as Miles Williams laced a line drive down the left-field line for a leadoff double. On a 2-2 count, Ricky Gingras earned the first of his five RBIs for the night, launching a low inside change-up to right field to drive Williams home.
In the bottom of the sixth, Jake Taylor reached second on a costly throwing error by Eddie Mora-Loera. After Mike Rizzitello drew a walk to put two men on with no outs, Espinosa proceeded to hit Ricky Gingras on the foot, loading the bases with one out. As Jacob Cox stepped in for Sonoma, Aaron Brill drilled the ball to second baseman Scott David, who bobbled the ball before throwing it long to first. The play marked Brill’s first hit with the Pacifics, and drove Taylor home to up the Pacifics’ lead 3-1.
Scoreless through six, the Stompers Matt LoCoco reached second on a leadoff walk and a sacrifice bunt from Yuki Yasuda. After Taylor caught a pop-up blooper from Matt Hibbert to end McReynolds’ night at the mound.
But reliever Eric Thomas walked to David and Brennan Metzger’s 2-run double tied the game. After advancing to third on a wide throw to home from third-baseman Josh Eatherly, Metzger scored on wild pitch for the 4-3 Sonoma lead.
After walking Isaac Wenrich, Julian Esquibel came in for Thomas, who was charged with two runs and two walks from just three batters. Despite a first-pitch single from Eddie Mora-Loera and a walk to Marcus Bradley, Esquibel struck out Comstock, leaving three runners stranded and the Pacifics down just one run.
Down a run in the bottom of the seventh, Kyle Adie patiently drew a 10-pitch walk off Cox. Cox left the game after issuing walks to Rizzitello and Williams that loaded the bases with two outs. Ogburn took the mound to face Gingras, who had already logged a single and drawn two walks.
Gingras’ slam gave the Pacifics a a three-run lead, ending the eighth up 7-4.
Spencer Nielsen kept his three-game hitting streak alive with a rolling broken-bat leadoff single to left field off Sonoma reliever Andy De La Cruz. After stealing second, Nielsen came home on an RBI single from Demetrius Moorer for an 8-4 lead.
The Pacifics’ bullpen continued to be effective over the final two innings, with two strikeouts from Yohailys Millord in the eighth. Garret Granitz struck out the side in the ninth.
The night belonged to Gingras and McReynolds. With just two earned runs, four hits and seven strikeouts in his 6.2-inning outing, McReynolds reclaimed his title as the league’s strikeout leader, with 26 through 19 innings this season.
The Pacifics will look for their second win of the series on Saturday, June 17th at 5:05 P.M. The first 250 fans will receive “Best on Grass” t-shirts, presented by Scot Candell & Associates. For tickets visit PacificsBaseball.com.