The Bakersfield Blaze snapped a six game losing skid with brute force in Visalia, crushing four homers and scoring six late runs en route to a 7-4 win over the host Rawhide at Recreation Park.
James Allen got the starting nod for the Blaze, and despite not having his best stuff, James kept the Blaze in the ballgame. In the 3rd inning, the Rawhide broke through for the game's first run, when Evan Marzilli blooped a double down the leftfield line, and two outs later was collected on a Kevin Medrano base hit.
Visalia added another in the 4th, when Jon Griffin doubled and Tom Belza scored him just four pitches later.
The Blaze got on the board in the top of the 5th inning off Rawhide starter Cody Wheeler when Juan Duran launched a solo shot to left, a majestic blast that cut the Blaze deficit to just 2-1.
That was all the Blaze would muster off Wheeler.
Meanwhile, Visalia added another in the 5th, again coming up with a key two-out base hit, this time off the bat of Gerson Montilla, and Visalia went back up 3-1.
The bullpens, however, proved the difference. A slumping Blaze bullpen got back on track on this evening, with Jacob Johnson pitching a scoreless 6th before a pivotal 7th.
In the top half, the Rawhide turned it over to Tyler Green, and after a strikeout, Green followed with a hit batter and walk to David Vidal and Yovan Gonzalez. The Rawhide went back to the pen for Patrick Schuster to face the Blaze lefthanded bats, but the move did not pay off, as Juan Perez singled to center to score Vidal, and Juan Silva followed with a key three-run bomb to put the Blaze on top, 5-3.
The Rawhide scratched across an unearned run in the bottom half, but the Blaze came right back with two in the 8th, as Steve Selsky and Kyle Waldrop drove back-to-back shots to rightfield off Kaleb Fleck, and the Blaze went ahead, 7-4.
From there, Pat Doyle cruised, facing six batters between the 8th and 9th, and setting down all six with two strikeouts, for the save.
The win snaps a six game losing streak for Bakersfield, and improves the team's second half record to 2-6, with three more to come in Visalia against the Rawhide.
The Friday evening game will feature Mike Dennhardt going for the Blaze, and Rob Coe for the host Rawhide, with first pitch at 7:05pm.
The game can be heard live on internet and radio, as Dan Besbris brings the call at BakersfieldBlaze.com through the Gameday Audio link, and locally in Kern County on SmartTalk AM-1230 as the Friday Night Game of the Week.