VISALIA, CA - Bo Takahashi gave up a solo home run to Ruddy Giron on the second pitch of the game, giving the Rawhide an early deficit and giving Takahashi a turning point. The young right-hander responded by inducing a pop-out from Edwin Moreno. Takahashi went on to hold the Storm to just the one run over six strong innings while striking out a career-best ten hitters en route to his sixth win of the season.
Takahashi (W, 6-6) went on to strike out the side in order in the second inning and struck out at least one hitter in every inning he pitched, surpassing his previous career-high of eight strikeouts that he'd tied twice this season. He scattered seven hits over the outing, walked only one, and gave Visalia (55-50, 19-16) their third straight quality start.
Takahashi ended a streak of four straight losing decisions, having not won a game in the second half prior to tonight. His previous win came in an eight-inning gem against San Jose on June 15.
The Rawhide scored on Jake Esch (L, 1-4) thanks to a throwing error in the bottom of the first inning to tie the game. Ben DeLuzio led off the frame by getting hit by the second pitch he saw. He then stole second and moved to third when Giron missed the throw from Austin Allen. DeLuzio scored when Matt McPhearson ripped a single to right to tie the game at 1 and extend McPhearson's hitting streak to 11 games.
Lake Elsinore (48-56/13-22) got an overall strong start from Esch, who tied his career-high by striking out nine hitters over 5.2 innings. He set down eight consecutive Rawhide hitters between the second and fourth innings before striking out the side in order in the fifth. But the Rawhide got to Esch to the tune of three runs in the sixth inning thanks to a two-run double by Matt Jones and a RBI double from Henry Castillo.
The Rawhide tacked on one more run in the eighth on a Daniel Lockhart single and the Storm scored another run in the ninth when Wilfri De La Cruz sliced a leadoff double to right and came around on subsequent groundouts from Taylor Kohlwey and Giron.
Visalia is now five games above the .500 mark for the third time this year, and has won three consecutive games, four of their past five, and seven of their last nine. With Modesto trailing Stockton by seven runs at the time of this writing, the Rawhide have the potential to move into a tie for first place in the California League North second half standings.
Visalia will look for the series win against Lake Elsinore tomorrow evening, with first pitch at 7:00 on Heart Beat Night. Visalia will send RHP Nick Baker (1-1, 4.11) to the hill while the Storm will start San Diego Padres #15 prospect RHP Jacob Nix (3-3, 4.68). Tickets are still available on Rawdhiebaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.