The Bakersfield Blaze opened a three-game series in Visalia in rough fashion, falling behind early and failing to mount a comeback in a 4-0 defeat.
Rhadames Quezada (L, 0-1) got the start, and struggled, issuing five walks in the first inning, and immediately putting the Blaze in a 3-0 hole.
Bakersfield had its one chance in the second inning, loading the bases on a single and two walks, but after a meeting with his pitching coach, Visalia starter Andrew Barbosa (W, 1-0) locked in, retiring the next three batters without allowing a run.
The Rawhide added a run in the bottom half on another walk, the 6th allowed by Quezada, a single, and an error. In the third, Quezada walked the leadoff man, and his night was done. The seven walks by a starter sets a new season high, and the 2.0-inning stint was a season low in the early going.
From there, it was all pitching. The Blaze bullpen trio of Carlos Gonzalez, Mike Dennhardt and Brooks Pinckard worked 6.0 solid, shutout innings, striking out six, while Visalia leaned on Barbosa through the 6th inning, and four members of the pen worked the final three innings without event. The bullpen for the Blaze has now worked at least 3.1 innings in every game this season, with tonight's six frames marking a season high.
The loss drops the Blaze to 0-5 to start the year, and the team will look to bounce back on Tuesday at 7pm behind southpaw Tanner Robles. Be sure to listen to the contest LIVE on BakersfieldBlaze.com as Dan Besbris calls all the action - the pregame show begins at 6:50pm.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.