SAN BERNADINO, CA - Down to their final out, Stephen Smith extended the game for the Rawhide when he hit a scorching double into left-center field to score Luis Silverio from first. It brought the score to a 6-5 Inland Empire lead, the closest the game had been since the first inning.
But Steven Souza Jr., on rehab assignment from the Arizona Diamondbacks, struck out swinging to end the ballgame, leaving the tying run in scoring position.
Visalia (40-36/3-3) trailed by as many as five runs. Inland Empire scored four runs, three earned, against Connor Grey in the first inning added two more in the fifth to take a 6-1 lead.
Ramon Hernandez clubbed a three-run homer in the sixth to bring the Rawhide back within striking distance.
Souza had two hits in his first rehab appearance, driving home Smith in the first inning with a base hit and doubling into left in the third. Smith also put up a multi-hit game for the Rawhide.
Grey (L, 5-5) failed to get through the fifth for the third straight start, surrendering six runs, five earned, on nine hits while striking out three over 4.2 innings.
Simon Mathews (W, 1-2) delivered five solid innings for Inland Empire (37-39/4-2), holding the Rawhide to just one run on three hits while tying his career-high with eight strikeouts.
Eduardo Rivera (SV, 2) inherited a runner with two outs in the eighth and allowed the tying run into scoring position in the ninth, but held on by a thread to complete the save.
Robby Sexton and Miguel Aguilar each tossed scoreless innings and Tyler Mark picked up 1.1 innings of shutout relief.
The Rawhide will continue the four-game trip to Inland Empire tomorrow morning. RHP Tyler Keele (0-1, 5.25) will be on the hill for the Rawhide against LHP Nate Bertness (1-5, 5.43). First pitch is at 11 AM.
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.