VISALIA, CA - Nick Neidert entered play tonight with the fourth-lowest ERA in the California League and, for the second time in his last three starts, pitched a quality outing against Visalia, this time tossing seven shutout innings to blank the Rawhide and lead Modesto to a 3-0 win.
Neidert (W, 8-3) allowed just four hits over his seven innings while striking out six and walking one, and only allowed a runner to reach second base twice over the course of the ballgame. He set down the Rawhide in order twice and faced the minimum three times thanks to a 5-4-3 double play in the fourth inning.
Nick Baker (L, 1-1) made a spot start for Visalia and fell behind early in the game as Braden Bishop hit a leadoff home run to put Modesto (49-36, 10-5) up 1-0 before the Rawhide had come to the plate. Baker would surrender two more runs in the third inning on RBI singles by Eric Filia and Luis Liberato, with Liberato's two-out blooper falling inches beyond the outstretched arms of Sergio Alcantara in shallow center field.
Baker gave way to Keegan Long after the fourth inning and Long, Austin Mason, and Cameron Gann proceeded to deliver five shutout bullpen innings. Long retired all six men that he faced, including striking out the side in order in the sixth inning, while mason set down the side in order in the seventh thanks to a diving catch by Daniel Lockhart in left field.
Visalia (41-44, 5-10) had rallies brewing in the fourth, eighth, and ninth innings with runners on base and less than two outs, but in all three instances the Rawhide grounded into double play balls that killed the rally and, in the eighth and ninth, the inning itself.
The Rawhide put the two leadoff runners on in the ninth inning when Alcantara doubled to left and Grant Heyman drew a walk. But Alcantara was cut down at third trying to advance on a wild pitch that stayed at catcher Arturo Nieto's feet and Marty Herum hit into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play.
Modesto has now won three of the four series against Visalia this year, and has won seven of the past eight meetings between the two teams, giving Visalia just a 3-10 record against the Nuts.
The Rawhide will start fresh tomorrow as they begin a four-game homestand against the Lake Elsinore Storm (A-Advanced, San Diego Padres). It will be matchup of two lefties tomorrow as Visalia will send Cody Reed (1-3, 3.66) to the hill against Thomas Dorminy (1-1, 4.61). First pitch is at 7:00 in another Firework Friday at Rawhide Ballpark and tickets are still available on rawhidebaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.