VISALIA - Daniel Watts was roughed up in the 1st inning by the Stockton Ports, giving up seven runs to put the Rawhide in an early hole. It looked like it would be a blowout from the start. As it turns out, it was a blowout, but the Rawhide were on the better end of it, as Visalia beat Stockton 21-8 on Sunday night at Rawhide Ballpark. Visalia tallied a single-game record 23 hits, outscoring Stockton 21-1 after the 1st inning.
The Ports bursted onto the scene with a flurry of hits and walks in the 1st inning to make things look gloomy for the Rawhide. B.A. Vollmuth, Antonio Lamas, and Phil Pohl all had RBI hits to get their rally started. Dusty Robinson capped off the scoring barrage with a three-run home run to left field to put the Rawhide in an early 7-0 hole.
Stockton threatend to pile on more in the 2nd inning, loading the bases before the Rawhide could record an out. But Watts got Vollmuth to fly out to shallow right and struck out Lamas and Pohl to prevent any further damage. Watts pitched just 2.1 innings and allowed eight earned runs. Despite the rugged scoreline, Watts has to be credited with keeping the Ports off the board in the 2nd inning.
After the first frame was completed, Rawhide broadcaster Donny Baarns said, "It may sound cliche, but the Rawhide need to look to just chip away at this Stockton lead." The Rawhide chipped away and then some starting with a four run rally in the 2nd inning.
David Peralta hit a two-run home run to get the Rawhide on the board. Sean Jamieson and Gerson Montilla followed with RBI-base knocks to make it a three-run game.
Evan Marzilli and Jamieson continued the comeback in the 4th inning with an RBI-triple and sacrifice fly respectively. Montilla hit a solo shot to make it a one-run deficit at 8-7.
Then came the big two-out rally in the bottom of the 5th inning. Marzilli got it started with an RBI-double to tie it. Two batters later, Montilla laced a two-RBI single to right to give the Rawhide the permanent lead. Jake Lamb rounded out the rally with a two-RBI double. It was the first of two innings the Rawhide would bat around the lineup.
The 'Hide would do it again in the 7th inning, sending 10 men to the plate as part of a five-run rally. Marzilli capped it off with an RBI-double. Marzilli had perhaps the most impressive performance of all the Rawhide batters, going 5-for-6 with a single, three doubles and a triple, falling just a home run short of the illusive cycle.
It was a night in which every single Rawhide batter recorded a hit. Visalia was kept off the scoreboard in just two frames, putting up five crooked numbers. Montilla was 3-for-6 with a home run and four RBI, extending his hitting streak to eight games. Ronnie Freeman was also impressive, going 3-for-5 with a run scored. Jake Lamb was also 3-for-6 with two RBI and two runs scored.
Visalia forced Stockton to use seven pitchers, including position player Wade Kirkland in the 8th inning.
The unsung hero was the winning pitcher Conrad Flynn (W, 6-6) who tossed 3.2 innings of scoreless relief, which allowed the Rawhide to stage the epic comeback.
With the win, the Rawhide increase their wild card lead over Stockton to four games. Visalia will have the day off tomorrow before hosting the Modesto Nuts for an important three-game series at Rawhide Ballpark starting on Tuesday night at 7:00 pm.
Josh Jackson is the Media Relations Manager for the Visalia Rawhide.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.