VISALIA, CA - It was clear from the onset that Jon Duplantier had something special tonight. Last year's third-round pick for Arizona struck out the side to begin the ballgame, and he never let up. The right-hander worked with great pace and struck out a career-best nine hitters over seven shutout innings, the deepest he's taken a shutout in his young career. He did not walk a batter for Visalia (53-50/18-16) as the Rawhide cruised to a 3-0 win.
Duplantier (W, 4-0) scattered seven hits and has now won each of his past four starts. He worked around a leadoff bloop double by Taylor Kohlwey in the sixth inning and then, with two outs in the seventh, saw Jason Morozowski and Daniel Lockhart combine to gun down Austin Allen trying to score from first on a double. Duplantier also used the double play ball well, inducing two of them to help work out of jams early in the ballgame. He worked only one perfect inning, the first, but wove in and out of traffic through the rest of the night and did not allow a runner to reach second until Kohlwey in the sixth.
Duplantier was recently named Arizona's second-ranked prospect in MLB.com's midseason rankings update and he lived up to the billing. Including his All-Star first half with low-A Kane County, he is 10-1 with a 1.53 ERA with 105 strikeouts in 94 innings.
Lake Elsinore (48-56/13-21) had chances to score in the eighth and ninth innings against Yoan Lopez (SV, 1), who allowed two runners to reach in each inning. But Lopez ended up striking out six hitters over the two frames to earn his first save of the season with Visalia, and the second of his career.
The Rawhide offense did just enough against Logan Allen (L, 1-3) to win, scoring a pair of runs in the second inning on a throwing error by Storm second baseman Chris Baker and by an RBI single from Daniel Lockhart. Visalia tacked on insurance in the sixth when Matt McPhearson singled home Lockhart to extend his hitting streak to 10 games and give the Rawhide a 3-0 lead.
Jason Morozowski went 0-4 and saw his hitting streak come to an end at nine games.
The Rawhide have now won back-to-back games and have taken 11 of their last 14 since the Storm were in Visalia in early July. Including the final wins of that series, Visalia has won 13 of their past 16.
Visalia will continue the series with Lake Elsinore tomorrow evening, with first pitch at 7:00 on Red, White, & Due Part 2 Night. Visalia will send Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Bo Takahashi (5-6, 4.16) to the hill while the Storm will start RHP Jake Esch (1-3, 7.23). 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.