MODESTO, CA - With a 0-0 tie heading into the ninth, it only took four pitches for Modesto to get the winning run on base.
Robby Sexton, on for his first inning of relief, allowed a leadoff single to Bryson Brigman on a line drive to right center. Manny Pazos followed and attempted a sacrifice bunt but pushed it right back to the mound. Sexton pounced on the ball and shifted to throw to second but he slung it wildly into center field, giving Brigman second base.
Two pitches later, Anthony Jimenez singled into right-center on a line. Marcus Wilson charged the ball and tried to grab it on a hop but failed to make a clean play, allowing Brigman to come to around and score to send Modesto (26-34) to their fifth walk-off win this season.
For the second time this season, Riley Smith and Darren McCaughan dueled deep into the game.
Smith lasted six shutout innings and wove his way in and out of traffic on the bases, stranding eight runners. He tied his career-best by striking out eight and walked three while holding the Nuts to four hits. It was Smith's second shut-down outing this year and dropped his season ERA to 3.74.
McCaughan countered with seven shutout innings and held the Rawhide to five hits while striking out five. He had to work out of trouble in the sixth inning when Stephen Smith and Marcus Wilson led off with singles, but the heart of the Visalia order failed to produce a run.
Visalia (31-29) combined to go hitless in nine at bats with runners in scoring position. They had the possible go-ahead run at third with less than two outs in both the sixth and eighth, but both times came up empty.
Seth Elledge (W, 3-0) walked Mark Karavitois in the ninth inning but stranded him at second. Sexton (L, 0-2) did not retire a batter in the bottom of the ninth. It marked the third time that Modesto has walked off on Visalia this year.
Stephen Smith singled in the sixth inning and made an outstanding diving catch in the bottom of the sixth with two runners on to rob Manuel Pazos of a hit and a RBI. Wilson put up two hits, a single and a double, and Daulton Varsho singled twice.
With the loss, the Stockton Ports now hold a seven-game lead over Visalia in the Cal League North with ten games remaining in the first half. Stockton's magic number now rests at four.
The Rawhide head to Stockton to begin a pivotal three-game series tomorrow against the Ports. First pitch is set for 7:10 PM and will feature RHP Connor Grey (4-3, 4.88) for Visalia against Stockton LHP Zack Erwin (5-3, 4.28). 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.