Sox pitching golden in 8th shutout
After three consecutive white-knuckle games at All Seasons RV Stadium, the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox got a chance to relax with the Delta Toros in town for a non-series game.
Matt Kavanaugh and Matt Edgecombe each hit two-RBI doubles, Brett Nightingale was 3-for-3 with an RBI, and the Gold Sox finished the weekend with a 7-0 victory on a lazy, hot Sunday night.
“It was very comfortable. We were able to let off some steam,” Nightingale said. “We wanted to finish off the weekend with a victory, and we had it in our minds to play a good game.”
Yuba-Sutter will get a day off today before beginning another difficult week in Horizon Air Summer Series play.
The Gold Sox make a trip to Vacaville on Tuesday to face rival Solano at Travis Credit Union Park and host the Thunderbirds for the final time this season on Thursday. The Santa Maria Indians, who trail the Gold Sox (29-6) by 21/2 games in the McCullough Division, come in for three important games to finish the weekend.
“We have a big week, and we need to keep taking care of business to maintain that lead,” Gold Sox manager Brad Peek said.
The Toros may not have been as challenging as the Humboldt Crabs, who the Gold Sox split a two-game series with on Friday and Saturday, but the East Bay team did give a few Yuba-Sutter players the chance to work out some kinks.
Kavanaugh was 2-for-5, including his double, and entered the game in a nasty 2-for-22 slump.
“It was good to see that from him,” Peek said. “He's one those head-scratching type guys that you can't seem to figure out why they're not hitting. His pitch selection has been off and his timing has been off, but he has the foundation to be an excellent hitter. It's real positive to see him come on, because he's going to catch a lot of games coming up.”
Alex Zanini, who recently broke out of a 0-for-22 streak, collected two hits and is 7-for-his-last-16 (.438).
Gold Sox starter Matt Collins, who was out two weeks with a shoulder injury, got a chance to work up his strength, pitching four shutout innings, allowing just three hits while fanning four.
Michael Hall (3-0) got the opportunity to refine his pitch location and consistency in the zone and worked three innings of relief for the victory. He allowed one hit, struck out five and walked two.
Kody Keroher, who was out for a month with a shoulder injury, pitched two solid innings, allowing a hit and striking out one.
Toros starter Anthony Vega (0-3) pitched seven innings, allowing seven runs - six earned - on nine hits, while striking out nine and walking four.
“That pitcher was pretty good,” Peek said. “He was deceptively fast. He was a little guy, but he had good arm strength and the ball got in on guys quicker than they thought.”
The Gold Sox broke the game open with two runs in the third and three in the fourth, taking a 6-0 advantage.
Edgecombe put the Gold Sox ahead 3-0 with his double that landed just fair down the right-field line and rolled into the corner, scoring Nightingale, who singled, and Matt Suleski, who drew the first of his two walks.
Kavanaugh's double off the wall in right field, his second hit of the game, brought home Zanini and B.J. Collom. Kavanaugh later advanced to third on Nightingale's second hit, an infield single, and scored on an error, the Toros' second of the game.
Nightingale began his solid night with a run-scoring single to shallow left field in the first inning.
“I've been coming out to work with coach (Chris) Terry and make a few minor adjustments with my swing,” Nightingale said. “I tried putting it to use during games this week and I improved tremendously.”
Jeff Horn's fielder's choice ground ball with the bases loaded in the seventh scored Nightingale, putting the Gold Sox ahead by the decisive 7-0 margin.
Notes: Former Gold Sox pitcher Darren Sack is achieving great success in the California League playing for the San Jose Giants, the High Class-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, and could be on a fast track to AT&T Park. Sack is 4-0 with a 0.45 ERA and has allowed just two runs in 40 innings. He has held opponents to a .155 batting average. Sack was an 11th round pick of the Giants in 2004, pitching at Salem-Keizer that year and at Augusta in 2005 before making the jump to San Jose.