VISALIA, CA - Visalia took a 1-0 lead into the fifth but, for the second straight night, were undone in the frame as Rancho Cucamonga completed a comeback. The Quakes would add on consistently through the middle innings and cruised to a 9-1 win and a 2-0 series advantage.
The Quakes once again used the long ball to take the lead. Tonight, Rancho Cucamonga (5-1) took advantage of back-to-back Rawhide errors by Jasrado Chisholm and Drew Ellis in the fifth to load the bases with nobody out. Cole Bartlett struck out Omar Estevez for the first out of the inning to bring up Cody Thomas.
Bartlett worked the count full against Thomas before leaving a pitch over the plate. Thomas hit a grand slam to left-center, putting the Quakes up 4-1. Rancho struck for one more on a double play ball in the fifth and put the game out of reach when Cristian Santana, who led the league in home runs and RBI in the regular season, launched a three-run shot to left.
Visalia (3-4) would rally for a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth, but the rally fell short and the Rawhide lost 9-3. Rancho Cucamonga now leads two games to none in the best of five California League Championship Series.
Chisholm homered off of Major League rehabber Dennis Santana in the bottom of the first inning to put Visalia up early, but that was the only hit the Rawhide mustered off of him over two innings. Wills Montgomerie (W, 1-0) followed and was wild, walking four over 2.2 innings, but escaped a pair of jams while striking out six.
Matt Peacock started for the Rawhide and was solid over 3.2 innings, striking out eight hitters and holding the Quakes to only two hits. He was lifted in favor of Bartlett after an apparent injury. Erbert Gonzalez finished off the final two innings and struck out five hitters.
With their backs against the wall, Visalia will head to Rancho Cucamonga for up to three games starting on Friday night. Any Quakes win will secure a California League Championship for Rancho Cucamonga and extend Visalia's 40-year championship drought. The live radio broadcast will be available on rawhidebaseball.com.
The Visalia Rawhide are a professional baseball team in the Class A Advanced California League and are the only professional sports team in Tulare and Kings counties. The team has been an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks since 2007 and is entering their 72nd year of play in 2018. The Rawhide renovated their home at Recreation Ballpark in 2009 and have since become the largest gathering of individuals in Tulare County, having set an attendance record for the seventh time in the past eight seasons in 2017. In 2018, the Rawhide look to continue their reputation for hosting competitive baseball while providing affordable family entertainment. To be a part of the 2018 Visalia Rawhide season, please contact the Visalia Rawhide Ticket Office at 559.732.4433, visit us online at rawhidebaseball.com, or follow us on Facebook (TheRawhide), Instagram (@VisaliaRawhide), and Twitter (@VisaliaRawhide).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.