J.P. HOWELL AND BULLPEN DOMINATE

Pacifics Hit 3 Homers, Defeat Stompers 7-2

12-year MLB veteran reliever J.P Howell took the hill for the second time in the 2018 season Saturday night against the Stompers, (5-4) looking to continue his reinvention as a starting pitcher after throwing 3 shutout innings in his first start for the Pacifics (6-3) last week...

Howell stretched out to 4 innings tonight and what a 4 innings they were, dominating Sonoma hitters with a dazzling array of unhittable change-ups and curveballs. Though surrendering only 2 hits and striking out 8i of the 15 batters he faced, more remarkably he induced 17 swing and misses out of the 63 pitches he threw.

“J.P. was lights out tonight,” said Pacifics Manager Matt Kavanaugh. “We know he’s got big league stuff so we expect it, but his change-up tonight was virtually unhittable, at any level. He had so much movement with it and it made his curveball that much harder to hit.” 

Against former Pacifics ace and two-time Pacific Association Pitcher of the year, Patrick Conroy (0-1, 10.80 ERA), the Pacifics opened the scoring in the 2nd inning  when Brent Gillespie came around to score on an RBI single by rookie Mike Staudinger, immediately followed by another RBI single by catcher Mark Lindsay to quickly put the Pacifics up 2-0. 

DonAndre Clark, continuing his impressive month of June, launched a 3-run homer to left center, his first of the year, inflating the lead to 5-0.

Matt Kavanaugh, turned to his renovated bullpen once Howell reached his predetermined pitch limit, sending in hard-throwing Dominican Angel Baeznwho counterbalanced his 93-mph fastball with a sharp breaking curveball continuing the long, frustrating day for Sonoma hitters. Baez (1-0, 4.26 ERA) delivered 3 strong innings, striking out 5, and allowing only 1 unearned run in the 5th making it a 5-1 ballgame.

Another rookie catching Kavanaugh’s attention has been Pacifics third baseman Zach Files who has played solidly at third base while hitting over .300 and unexpectedly leading the team in home runs thus far in the young season. Files collected his third homer in the 6th with a solo shot to left field, bringing the lead back up to 5.

Gillespie tacked on one more run in the 8th with a solo moonshot to right center, his 2nd home run of the season, and the third of the night for the Pacifics who entered Saturday last in the league in home runs with only 5. 

The back end of the Pacifics bullpen shut the door on Sonoma. Chris Mazza and Jose Casilla pitched the 8th and 9th innings, combining to allow 1 uneventful run in the 9th on a solo home run by Daniel Baptista. On the evening, the Pacifics pitching staff fanned 16 Stompers, and the Pacifics homered 3 times while gaining sole possession of 2nd place, 1 game behind Vallejo 

The Pacifics return home to Albert Park on Tuesday, June 12th to host the Stompers again, first pitch scheduled for 7:05. The first 250 fans on Tuesday will receive an official 2018 San Rafael Pacifics batting practice shirt with their, “Best Team on Grass” logo on the back sponsored by Scott Candell and Associates. Tuesday night is also Kids Get in Free Night presented by Northgate Acoustics. Tickets can be purchased at pacificsbaseball.com