VISALIA, CA - The Lancaster Jethawks used three separate three-run rallies in the middle innings and a dominant pitching performance by Brandon Gold to cruise to a 9-3 win over Visalia.
Lancaster (10-9) had not garnered a baserunner through the first four innings against Riley Smith (L, 0-1). But a walk to Roberto Ramos to open the fifth prompted the JetHawks to open the floodgates. Lancaster scored six runs off Smith over the next two innings, highlighted by home runs from Max George and Willie Abreu, to take a 6-0 lead.
Keegan Long retired only one hitter in the seventh and allowed two runs before Robby Sexton was summoned from the bullpen with the bases loaded. Sexton allowed a single to Tyler Nevin to give Lancaster their ninth and final run of the night and struck out Abreu and Vince Fernandez to end the inning.
Visalia (11-8) didn't have any luck against Gold (W, 3-1), who held the Rawhide scoreless through a season-high seven innings while striking out four.
Visalia finally got the offense going in the ninth, when Pavin Smith scored Drew Ellis with a ground rule double and Dominic Miroglio brought home David Sopilka with a sacrifice fly to center. Adam Walton struck out swinging on a wild pitch and, on the play, Smith came home to score to make it 9-3.
Marcus Wilson contributed his fifth straight multi-hit game for the Rawhide and Pavin Smith extended his hitting streak to five games. Ramon Hernandez and Daulton Varsho each added a single for Visalia. Raymel Flores hit a two-out double in the fifth but was caught in a rundown between second and third trying to stretch the hit to a triple.
The six-run loss was the largest margin of defeat for the Rawhide this year and marks the second time in 2018 that they have lost a series opener at home. The win gives Lancaster their third straight victory for the first time this seasson.
The Rawhide will continue the series against Lancaster tomorrow afternoon, with reigning California League Pitcher of the Week RHP Connor Grey (3-0, 0.98) on the bump against Lancaster RHP Trey Killian (0-1, 11.12). First pitch is at 3:30 PM and tickets are still 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.