VISALIA, CA - For the second time this series, the Rawhide and the Ports were heading to extra innings after Visalia had come back to score. But tonight, Stockton grabbed the upper had early.
The Ports plated nine runs in the top of the tenth, using a walk, four straight hits, a Visalia error, then a single and a three-run homer while sending 11 men to the plate in the marathon frame. The game quickly went from a 2-2 pitcher's duel to an 11-2 rout.
Though Visalia would fight back for a run in the bottom of the tenth, the Rawhide fell 11-3.
The nine-run top of the tenth was the largest innings for Stockton (72-60/28-34) this season. It was also the worst inning for Visalia pitchers on the year, surpassing the seven runs scored by Lake Elsinore in one frame on July 7.
Jason Creasy (L, 0-1), who had pitched a perfect ninth, got one out in the tenth before the avalanche of runs started. Robby Sexton took over with one out and allowed two inherited runners to score while also giving up a pair of his own on a three-run homer by Collin Theroux.
Through the first nine innings, the game had been a pitcher's duel. Visalia (66-66/29-33) leaned once again on Connor Grey, who for the second straight outing dished six one-run innings, holding Stockton to just three hits while walking three and striking out three. The lone run came on a solo blast by Greg Deichmann.
Grey worked out of a jam in the fourth, leaving the bases loaded to keep the Rawhide down by one, and they struck back in the bottom of the sixth against Kyle Friedrichs when Jasrado Chisholm homered to left to tie the game at one.
Deichmann homered again off of Breckin Williams in the top of the seventh to put Stockton up 2-1. Then Visalia struck in the eighth when shortstop Edwin Diaz mishandled a grounder, allowing Adam Walton to score as the tying run. Trey Cochran-Gill (W, 1-1) finished off the eighth and retired the Rawhide in order in the ninth to set up Stockton's massive rally.
The Visalia offense totaled five hits tonight, with Chisholm and Camden Duzenack picking up the two RBI.
Stockton's victory combined with Modesto's comeback win over San Jose bring both the Ports and the Nuts within a game of the Rawhide for first place with eight games remaining in the regular season.
The Rawhide look for the series win tomorrow morning in the final home game of the regular season when they send RHP Cole Stapler (0-6, 4.74) to the hill against Ports RHP Xavier Altamirano (4-5, 6.38). First pitch is at 11:00 AM and tickets are available on rawhidebaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.