Thunderbirds top Sox in Vacaville
Wednesday, August 3, 2005 - VACAVILLE - It has now become unexplainable why the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox cannot win at Travis Credit Union Park.
In three years as a summer collegiate team, the Gold Sox have defeated the Solano Thunderbirds just twice in Vacaville.
It was much of the same again Tuesday night as the Gold Sox dropped their seventh road game in eight chances, a narrow 2-0 loss to the Thunderbirds.
Gold Sox manager Brad Peek even tried throwing ace Tyler Pearson, but the Northern Colorado junior dropped his second consecutive start and missed out on a chance to set a Gold Sox record for wins in the heartbreaker.
Pearson, who pitched a complete-game two-hitter in a win over Solano last Thursday, made just one mistake, but it proved to be the biggest blow of the night.
Pearson (7-3) allowed two hits in the third inning, including an RBI-triple to Chris Negron, and the Solano Thunderbirds went on to win the pivotal Horizon Air Summer Series game.
“They hit two good pitches I threw, and they hit them hard,” Pearson said.
The win gave the Thunderbirds a two-game lead over the Gold Sox in the McCullough Division of the Summer Series. The Thunderbirds have three division games remaining on the season, including Thursday in Marysville, the Gold Sox' final division game of the year.
The Gold Sox still have a chance to at least tie the Thunderbirds for the division lead. Solano will host the Oakland Eagles today and visit the club Friday in its final division game.
“I'm an optimist,” Peek said. “We'll win Thursday, the Eagles will beat them twice and we'll be co-champs.”
The Gold Sox' only road win in eight chances came after an 8-7 victory over the Thunderbirds on June 28. Pearson started that game but was pulled after three innings, giving up four runs in the second. In his loss at Salinas last week, Pearson gave up three triples in a five-run third, but allowed just five hits in seven innings of work.
He had a similar performance Tuesday, working eight innings, allowing two runs - one earned - and just four hits. He retired eight straight at one point before allowing his first hit to Jonathan Santopadre in the third, a two-out single. Negron then followed with his RBI-triple.
Pearson later retired 10-straight until Drew Johnson broke it up with a single in the seventh. Pearson struck out 11 and walked one.
“Everything was working today. I hit my spots and got ahead of hitters,” Pearson said. “I mixed everything up for strike outs.”
Logan Murphy earned the win for Solano, pitching six innings, allowing five hits, striking out three and walking one. Jason Breckely finished the three innings, allowing two hits and walking a batter. He struck out three.
The Thunderbirds scored an insurance run in the eighth inning on an error by right fielder Greg Thomas with two outs. Matt Bowman doubled to the gap in right-center, and Nevin Ashley then hit a routine fly to right. Thomas camped under it, but the ball popped out of his glove, allowing Ashley to come home.
The Gold Sox had two good opportunities to score, in the first and eighth innings.
Jesse Rodgers, who had two hits on the night, hit the first of seven Gold Sox singles in the first inning. A.J. Valentine, who finished 3-for-4 and extended his hitting streak to seven games, moved Rodgers to second with his first single. But Rodgers would be left stranded.
The Gold Sox had runners at first and second with one out in the eighth and hard-hitting third baseman Doug Thennis at the plate. Peek sent the runners with two-strikes on Thennis. Thennis struck out, and the Thunderbirds threw down to third, forcing a stealing Rodgers to end the threat and inning.
“In the first inning, we had our 4 and 5 hitters up and just couldn't get a hit,” Peek said. “In the eighth, Thennis is a good as we've got, and I'd bet anything he would make contact. He swung through that fast ball and they get a double-play. If he hits a gapper, we are ahead at that point.” The Gold Sox out-hit the Thunderbirds 7-4, but the timely hits didn't come.
“Their hits came at the right time and ours didn't,” Peek said.