VISALIA - The Rawhide seemed to have everything going right for them. Starting pitcher Cody Wheeler had all of his pitches working, and the offense was tacking on runs in the middle innings. But the Bakersfield Blaze would get the best of the Rawhide bullpen, as the 'Hide fell 7-4 on Thursday night at Rawhide Ballpark.
Cody Wheeler was excellent in his 10th start of the season for the Rawhide. He pitched 6.0 innings, allowing only one run on a solo shot by Juan Duran in the 5th inning, striking out six and walking two. He retired 12 of the first 13 batters he faced.
The offense plated a runner in the 3rd, 4th and 5th innings to give themselves a 3-1 lead. All signs pointed in the right direction for a second win in a row.
However, the Blaze bats roughed up the Rawhide bullpen in the late innings. Tyler Green issued two straight walks to put runners on with one out. Patrick Schuster (L, 0-1) was uncharacteristically wild, falling behind two straight batters 3-0, giving up a single to Juan Perez and a long three-run homerun to Juan Silva, giving the Blaze the lead for good.
The Blaze would hit back-to-back homers to start the 8th inning off Kaleb Fleck to provide the final score of 7-4.
Jake Johnson (W, 3-2) ended up being the winning pitcher, pitching the 6th and 7th innings while allowing one run.
The Rawhide will look to right the ship Friday night at 7 pm for game 2 of the series. Stick around after the game for another awesome fireworks show!