VISALIA - It looked like the Rawhide would have to settle for two out of three games against the division leading Modesto Nuts when Jared Clark hammered a three-run homerun in the top of the 9th, his second of the game, off of D.J. Johnson to give the Nuts a 9-8 lead. However, the Rawhide had one more rally left in them and Mike Freeman hit a walk-off single for the second time in this series to give the 'Hide a 9-8 victory and a series sweep on Thursday night at Rawhide Ballpark.
The Rawhide only had two hits through the first five frames off of Nuts starter Christian Bergman. Fortunately, those two hits were solo shots from Yazy Arbelo (15) in the 2nd inning and Keon Broxton (14) in the 5th inning. Ray Hernandez struggled to find his command in the 3rd inning, as he walked four batters and gave up four earned runs. He was able to bounce back in the 5th inning and record a perfect 1-2-3 inning.
Trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the 6th, the Rawhide were able to put together a two out rally to tie the game. Mike Freeman hit a line drive single to center field which brought up Jon Griffin. Griffin then homered to deep left center field to bring the score to 4-4. His homerun might have been the longest homerun hit at Rawhide Ballpark all season. It would have easily made it out of any park in the country.
Modesto took back the lead in the top of the 7th inning when Jared Clark hit a solo shot to left field.
The Rawhide responded immediately in the bottom of the frame. Carter Bell led off the inning with a walk and two batters later, Ender Inciarte doubled on a line drive to left field to plate a run. Garrett Weber and Griffin each delivered RBI hits in the inning to chase reliever Chad Rose from the game and give the Rawhide a 7-6 lead.
D.J. Johnson (W, 2-2) came in for the save in the top of the 9th, but Delta Cleary Jr. and Kyle Parker were able to find some holes in the infield and reach on a pair of seeing-eye ground ball singles. Jared Clark came to the plate with two outs and delivered the three-run shot that landed on the top of the barn in right field to give the Nuts an 8-7 lead.
Isaiah Froneberger (L, 5-3) came in for the save, but gave up a lead off single to Raoul Torrez and then committed a fielding error when Ender Inciarte laid down a sacrifice bunt up the first base line. Weber then successfully sacrificed both runners into scoring position to set it up for Mike Freeman once again. Freeman did not disappoint, as he hit a looper into left field that landed just fair down the third base line, allowing Torrez and Inciarte to score.
With the win, the Rawhide are now back in a first place tie with Modesto for the second half division lead. The Rawhide will welcome the last place Stockton Ports into town for a three game set starting on Friday night at 7 pm at Rawhide ballpark.