Michael Hermosillo launched Ivan Pineyro's fifth pitch of the ballgame deep to left that, off the bat, looked playable for Galli Cribbs. But Cribbs lost the ball in the setting sun and it sailed over his head, giving Hermosillo a leadoff double. On the next pitch, Zach Gibbons tripled on a sinking line-drive to center that Matt McPhearson made a sliding attempt for. But the ball landed just to the left of McPhearson's glove and rolled almost to the warning track. Hermosillo scored and Gibbons wound up on third with a triple. The Rawhide's luck stayed that way for most of the night, as Visalia (6-3) dropped their first home contest of the season, 4-1.
Inland Empire (3-6) would tack on three more runs in the first inning, highlighted by a two-run homer from Michael Barash.
Pineyro (0-1) worked through traffic the rest of the night, stranding two runners on base in the second, third, and fourth innings while keeping Inland Empire from scoring any more runs. Pineyro struck out nine batters, the second consecutive night in which a Vislaia starter punched out nine, but he also walked four and departed after 4.2 innings. Lefty Miguel Aguilar pitched 2.1 perfect innings in relief and Keegan Long pitched two scoreless innings, despite walking the bases loaded in the eighth.
Visalia mustered their only run of the night in the fifth inning, when Cribbs walked to start the inning and McPhearson singled to move Cribbs to third. McPhearson's single chased 66ers starter Luis Pena, who gave way to Winston Lavendier. Lavendier (1-0) induced a groundout to first from Sergio Alcantara, which plated Cribbs, and managed to strand McPhearson at third.
Lavendier would retire all six men that he faced, and gave way to Adam Hofacket for the seventh inning. Hofacket pitched two perfect innings and Sam Holland (SV, 1) pitched a clean ninth to secure the win for Inland Empire. The 66ers bullpen arms faced the minimum 15 batters in their five innings of relief, and retired all of them.
The Rawhide play the rubber match of their three-game homestand tomorrow evening on their first All-American Saturday of the season. Active and former Military members will receive discounted tickets behind home plate and the Rawhide will be serving discounted beer to fans who use their All-Star Game Boot Mug. The first 400 fans through the gates will also receive a free Rawhide Magnet Schedule courtesy of Central Valley Business Forms. Tickets and more information are available on rawhidebaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.