VISALIA, CA - In a series that has been defined by the home run, or the lack thereof for the Rawhide, one mistake proved to be the difference in the game. Justin Donatella was in the midst of a six-pitch battle with Tyler Ramirez, and on the seventh pitch he missed his spot. Ramirez hit a lined shot to left that had enough backspin to carry over the wall as the first run of the ballgame.
It was the only miss of the night for Donatella (L, 0-7), who went six strong innings while allowing only the one run on the homer with four hits against. He tied his season-high by striking out eight batters and walked only one. He worked only two perfect innings, but faced the minimum twice more, once by inducing an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play in the fifth. It was the third game in a row in which Donatella has allowed one or fewer runs, and he dropped his ERA to a season-low 4.66.
But for every quality pitch that Donatella made, Stockton's Evan Manarino (W, 4-2) was one step ahead. Manarino built off his shutout appearance against Lake Elsinore five days ago by delivering seven scoreless innings while allowing only six hits and striking out five.
The Rawhide threatened in almost every inning except the fourth and the seventh against Manarino. Visalia (23-25) put runners on base five times and runners in scoring positions in three innings, but the Rawhide were unable to put together a hit. Visalia went 0-4 with runners in scoring position tonight, giving them just four hits in 29 at bats in such situations over the series.
Cody Stull (SV, 1) pitched two perfect innings for Stockton (23-25) to pick up his first save in his Ports debut. Cameron Gann tossed two scoreless frames with two strikeouts and and J.R. Bradley allowed Ramirez's second homer of the night, a moonshot over the barn, in the top of the ninth.
Sergio Alcantara and Matt Jones put together two-hit nights for Visalia, but the clutch hits never came.
The Rawhide will hit the road for a four-game series in Lake Elsinore tomorrow. First pitch will be at 7:00 PM from the Diamond.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.