VISALIA, CA - For the first time on the current homestand, the Rawhide were able to strike first. Grant Heyman scored Jason Morozowski from second with a single to center in the bottom of the first inning, and the Rawhide were rolling. Visalia (43-46/7-12) kept the pressure on for the entire game and defeated the Lake Elsinore Storm (43-46/8-11) by an 8-3 score.
The Rawhide plated three more runs in the second, two in the fourth, and then added on to the lead with two runs in the seventh inning to put up eight runs after their season-best 12-run performance yesterday. Henry Castillo led the charge with a three hit night while driving in a run and scoring one. Matt McPhearson also put up a multi-hit game, singling with a swinging bunt up the first base line in third and driving home two with a double down the line in left in the seventh. Jason Morozowski drove home a pair with a two-run double in the third and Heyman drove home two, his second run coming with another swinging bunt single in the third inning.
Jacob Nix (L, 2-2) was on the hook for the first six runs of the day, five of which were earned, and Zech Lemond allowed McPhearson's double in the seventh.
McPhearson extended his hitting streak out to 14 games and Morozowski, who ended an 0-35 streak last week in Stockton, has now hit safely in each of his last eight games. Heyman ended his consecutive hits streak at eight at bats when he struck out in the fifth inning, falling two-shy of the California League record.
With an early lead, Jose Almonte (W, 6-7) was able to attack hitters, and he delivered a quality start. He gave up a solo homer to Austin Allen to lead off the second, yet proceeded to strike out the next three men in order. He gave up three straight hits to start the fifth inning, was helped when Heyman cut down a man trying to score from second, and then followed it up by hitting Chris Baker. But he induced an infield popup from Javier Guerra and a groundout from Edwin Moreno. He showed resiliency and won his first decision since June 18.
Almonte was lifted with two outs in the seventh inning with the Rawhide leading 6-3 and the tying run at the plate after he issued a walk to Guerra. Almonte finished with eight strikeouts, pushing his season total to 116, which leads the California League. He was tagged for three runs on five hits and walked one, which kept his ERA even at 4.02, placing him 11th in the league.
Cameron Gann finished the seventh and pitched a perfect eighth thanks to two outstanding defensive plays by McPhearson in center: one a sliding catch on a sinking line drive and another on a leaping catch on a ball hit over his head at the wall. Nick Baker pitched a scoreless ninth to send the Rawhide to their second straight win and a series split against Lake Elsinore.
The Rawhide will take a day off tomorrow before heading on the road for a four-game series in Modesto. First pitch for Wednesday night's matchup is slated for 7:05 PM and will feature a to-be-announced Rawhide starter and RHP Nick Neidert (8-3, 2.86) for the Nuts. The live radio broadcast will be available on rawhidebaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.