San Bernardino, CA- The Inland Empire 66ers came out on top 3-1 in an excellent pitching duel over the Visalia Rawhide at San Manuel Stadium on Friday night. It was the Sixers second straight win over Visalia as IE pitching punched out 15 Rawhide batters a night after fanning 14 men.
Inland Empire trailed 1-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. IE starter Mike Clevinger and reliever Tyler DeLoach had allowed just the single run on four hits and the Sixers offense rewarded their effort. With two outs, Alex Allbritton singled off Visalia (35-34) starter Braden Shipley (0-1). The Diamondbacks 2013 first-round pick had dominated to that point. He had struck out nine batters and shut the 66ers down. That all changed when Andrew Ray slammed a Shipley offering out to left center field to stun Visalia and give the Sixers a 2-1 lead. Ray, who had singled in the fifth, notched his first multi-hit game in 2014 on Friday.
The 66ers (25-44) would tack on another run in the inning against Shipley when Sherman Johnson walked. Mark Shannon would eventually single in Johnson to make it 3-1. Shannon finished the night with a double along with that single and raised his average to .302 on the campaign.
That was the way it stayed as Jairo Diaz slammed the door in the ninth for the second straight night and earned his fourth save of the year in the process. The righty from Puerta La Cruz, VZ allowed a bunt single to Raul Navarro but struck out the side to nail down the win. Tyler DeLoach earned the win for IE and improved to 5-2 on the season with 3.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB and 2 K's.
The 66ers and Rawhide close out the first half of the Cal League schedule on Saturday night at San Manuel Stadium. Mark Sappington will start for Inland Empire on his own bobblehead giveaway night. First pitch is slated for 7:05 pm and can be heard live at 6:50 pm on 66ers.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.