Bay bats doom Gold Sox
After pitching dominated the first two games of a Horizon Air Summer Series set between the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox and Monterey Bay Sox, the hitters came alive in Sunday's finale.
Unfortunately, the Gold Sox came out on the short end at All Seasons RV Stadium.
The Bay Sox broke a 5-5 tie with four runs in the top of the ninth inning, handing the Gold Sox (17-4, 14-4) their second straight loss, 9-5, for the first time this season and taking two of three key McCullough Division games, the first time this season the Gold sox have lost a series.
The teams combined for a season-high 35 hits, with the Gold Sox clubbing 17 and the Bay Sox collecting 15.
Reliable relief pitcher Chris Chavez (1-1) took his first loss in two innings, his worst appearance of the season. He entered with just a 0.86 ERA and four saves but allowed all four earned runs in the ninth on five hits.
“(Chavez) got the ball up a couple times, and they were hot hitting the ball, too,” Gold Sox manager Brad Peek said. When you leave the ball up, you're going to give up hits. I think his stuff was there, just not his location.”
The Gold Sox's offensive outburst was a good sign after struggling at the plate two straight nights. However, they stranded 14 runners in the finale, including leaving the bases loaded in the eighth.
Jeff Horn walked to open the eighth. Joél Torres collected his fifth single, and Etienne Materre was hit by reliever Eric Diaz, who earned the win.
Diaz then buckled down and baffled the next three hitters, fanning Doug Thennis, Bret Nightingale and A.J. Valentine to end the threat.
“We could have put it away a couple times but didn't come up with the big hit and didn't get it done,” Peek said. “I'm disappointed with the way we played today, yesterday and the day before, even though we won. The kids battled back, but I'm not happy.”
Matt Edgecombe cut the Bay Sox's lead to one run, 5-4, in the fifth inning with a two-RBI single into center field, bringing home Bret Nightingale and Jonny Norfolk.
Edgecombe then tied the game in the seventh after grounding out, bringing home Nightingale, who singled for the third time to reach base.
“A lot of guys did some good things, but there were a lot of instances where we could have done more,” Peek said.
Gold Sox starting pitcher Michael Hall got roughed up in his first start. The left-handed pitcher allowed five runs and six hits.
But the Gold Sox's staff then silenced the Bay Sox's hitters into the ninth inning, allowing just four hits.
Alberto Rolon, making his first appearance out of the bullpen, pitched three solid innings, allowing three hits, striking out four and walking one.
Tyler Pearson pitched two hitless innings, fanning three and walking one.
Chavez came on in the eighth and gave up a single before striking out the next two and getting the third out when Jonny Norfolk threw out Brian Trump attempting to steal.
But the ninth was a nightmare for Chavez.
He allowed two straight singles before getting an out, then allowed a two-RBI double to the gap in left-center by Noah Walker to break the tie.
A.J. Valentine's sixth double and team-leading 16th RBI of the season tied the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the first inning for the Gold Sox. Doug Thennis drove in Torres with a single in the four-hit first inning.
Torres hit a home run to left field on Saturday and nearly went yard again in the first, driving a ball off the top of the wall in left, setting the plate for Thennis.
Jonathan Dees broke out of a 0-for-12 slump with three hits, including a double down the line.
Notes: Nightingale will start on the mound Tuesday when the Gold Sox travel to Sacramento City College to face the Sacramento Legends in their second trip away from All Seasons RV Stadium this summer.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Justin Miller can be reached at 749-4796. You may e-mail him at email@example.com