San Bernardino, CA: The Visalia Rawhide tallied 16 hits on Wednesday night at San Manuel Stadium and took the first game of a four-game series against Inland Empire 8-6. The Rawhide used a five-run seventh inning against the 66ers to take the lead and drop Inland Empire to 23-44 on the year.
Trailing 1-0 heading into the home-half of the third, the Sixers got things going when catcher Nick O'Loughlin singled to lead off the frame. The hit was the first as a professional for the Upland, CA native out of Cal Poly Pomona. It was followed by Riley Good's sharp single to left. A sacrifice bunt moved both runners up. Sherman Johnson then smoked a triple to right to knock in the pair. It was his sixth three-bagger of the year and ran his team-best RBI total to 36. Mark Shannon then hit a sac-fly to score Johnson and make it 3-1 Inland Empire. Johnson finished the game with the triple, a single and his 11th stolen base.
Inland Empire added two runs in the fourth on Riley Good's two-run double to make it 5-2. It was Good's eighth mulit-hit game of the season for the 66ers.
The Rawhide (35-32) kept chipping away at the lead. They made it 5-3 heading into the sixth but the Sixers answered back on an RBI ground out by Joe Weik that scored Cal Towey who had hit his 10th double of the year and moved to third on a pickoff gone awry. At this point the IE led 6-3 but had lived on the edge as the Rawhide had 10 hits through the first five frames off starter Dan Tobik (who earned a no-decision).
Inland Empire's luck ran out in the seventh when the Rawhide smacked five consecutive hits off reliever Chris O'Grady (0-2). With two outs in the frame, Visalia catcher Ronnie Freeman drilled bases clearing three-run triple off Sixers' righty Eduard Santos to break through and give the Rawhide the 8-6 lead. That was the final score as the big frame eventually made a winner out of Rawhide starter Brandon Sinnery (7-4).
All-Star Chris Drury was 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and walks in the win for the Rawhide. Visalia had six doubles in the game. Shortstop Raul Navarro had a three-hit night as well. Enrique Burgos picked up his 12th save in 12 chances with a scoreless ninth.
The teams continue the series on Thursday at 7:05 pm on Zombie Apocalypse Night at San Manuel Stadium. Details regarding the promotion and listen to the game live feature can each be found at 66ers.com.