Despite losing their four and five hitters in the top of the fifth with a full speed collision, the San Rafael Pacifics offense was firing on all cylinders as they downed the Sonoma County Grapes 8-4 on Sunday at Albert Park to end the weekend series 2-1.
The Pacifics bats gave right-hander Jake Rasner a huge boost in the first, batting around the order and knocking in five runs off of five hits — including two home runs — and two walks. Johnny Woodard notched in his 18th RBI with a lofted shot to center field, rounding home Darrick Hale. Mikael Jova recorded his 26th RBI and fifth home run of the season with a shot over the left field wall.
In the top of the fifth, Jova and Chase Fontaine, both eying a fly ball, collided hard in right field. With two outs, Brandon Gregorich advanced to third in what would have been the inning-ending catch. The Pacifics held the Grapes at two runs, ending the inning with a healthy six run lead, 8-2.
The Pacifics continued their assault on the Grapes pitching staff, adding two runs in the second off of Fontaine’s 15th RBI of the season, and tacked on another in the third with Henry Calderon rounding the bases off a Woodard sacrifice fly.
Rasner, with 27 strikeouts in five games — and two on Sunday — kept the Grapes offense off the board until the fifth. His first strikeout didn’t come until the top of the fifth, when he sent the Grapes Colin Bryan packing with a ringing fastball.
“They were hitting the ball pretty well on me today. They put a lot of balls in play but I did my best to keep them low. They saw me on Tuesday and they were ready for me this time,” Rasner said. “Thankfully the guys behind me were making plays. They have been making plays all season and I just wanted to put them in a position where they could make more today.”
Rasner exited to a standing ovation from the crowd after 7 1/3 innings of work. The Pacifics pulled the designated hitter in the fifth, forcing Rasner to hit.
“These were my first two professional at bats. I have not swung a bat since high school ball, which was about eight years ago,” Rasner said. “They definitely felt a little weird, for sure.”
Grapes starting right hander Matt Gibbs made a quick exit, being pulled two outs into the game with the score 5-0 in favor of the Pacifics. He entered the afternoon with a 4.50 ERA.
Jova and Fontaine were both taken to the hospital for x-rays. Both came back negative, and are clear to play Tuesday.
The Pacifics are off Monday, but begin a four-game series with Maui Tuesday, July 3, at Albert Park in San Rafael.