VISALIA, CA- The Visalia Rawhide (68-47, 22-23) shut out the Bakersfield Blaze (61-54, 24-21) 6-0 in the series opener behind rehabbing A.J Pollock's perfect night at the plate on Tuesday night at Rawhide Ballpark to close the gap in the North Division's second half race to two games.
DH A.J. Pollock led off the scoring with a solo home run down the right field line before adding a single, stolen base and a run in the sixth inning and an RBI double in the seventh inning. He finished three-for-three with a home run, a double, two RBIs, two runs and a walk in the 6-0 win.
RHP Justin Donatella (4-1, 2.48) logged five scoreless innings to pick up the win allowing only five hits and recording four strikeouts.
LHP Anthony Misiewicz (6-10, 4.48) allowed two hits, including the Pollock home run and he struck out four in the loss.
RHP Isaac Sanchez ran into trouble after a scoreless fourth and fifth. In the sixth RF Victor Reyes singled. Pollock followed with his single, moving Reyes to second base and 3B Marty Herum hit a ball to SS Drew Jackson. Jackson threw to second but Pollock beat the throw and the back end throw from 2B Gianfranco Wawoe went awry of first base allowing Reyes to score for a 2-0 Visalia lead. LHP Spencer Herrmann entered the game and 2B Henry Castillo wacked a two-run double to push the lead to 4-0 Rawhide.
Three straight hits in the seventh inning were the nails in the coffin for Visalia as CF Colin Bray singled to extend his hitting streak to 15 games. Victor Reyes followed with an RBI triple and Pollock knocked in Reyes with an RBI double for the 6-0 final.
The bullpen, in relief of Donatella, held Bakersfield off the scoreboard the rest of the way as the combination of RHP Myles Smith, LHP Andrew Chafin, RHP Drew Muren and RHP Bud Jeter all hung zeros.
Jeter put the exclamation point on the 6-0 shutout victory by striking out the side in the top of the ninth.
Tomorrow night is another 7:00 p.m. first pitch from Recreation Ballpark and on the mound for Visalia in Game Two will be LHP Alex Young (2-3, 3.77) for Visalia. Bakersfield will send LHP Tyler Pike (6-5, 3.88) to the mound for his sixth start against Visalia. Tomorrow night is another Win-Win Wednesday at the ballpark. If the Rawhide win all fans in attendance receive a free voucher for the next Wednesday home game on August 18th.