VISALIA, CA - After two pitcher's duels to open the series with Inland Empire, Visalia's bats woke up and provided nine runs on 11 hits to lead to a 9-1 win.
The Rawhide offense got to work immediately and scored two runs in each of the first three innings. Daulton Varsho opened scoring with a two-run blast that nearly left the stadium in the bottom of the first. It was Varsho's first home run in 18 days and his third of the season. Marcus Wilson hit a two-run single in the second and Manny Jefferson brought home two with a double in the third to stake the Rawhide to an early lead.
Visalia (15-9) added three more runs in the fifth inning on an RBI double by Dominic Miroglio and a run-scoring single by Mark Karaviotis. Jefferson grounded into a double play to score Miroglio.
Rawhide starter Riley Smith ran with the early offense and limited Inland Empire (10-14) to one run on seven hits over a season-high 6.2 innings. Smith worked out of jams in the first two innings, stranding a runner on third in the first and two runners on base in the second. Smith fell into a groove in the middle of the game and retired 11 of the final 13 men that he faced.
The lone 66ers run came on a solo homer from Jack Krueger in the third.
Smith (1-1) gave way to Austin Mason after Jordan Zimmerman reached on an infield single in the seventh and Mason promptly retired Brandon Sandoval on a groundout to short. Mason pitched a scoreless eighth and Miguel Aguilar tossed a perfect ninth to send the Rawhide to the win and their first series sweep of the season.
Visalia is now a season-best six games above the .500 mark and have won three games in a row for the second time in 2018. The loss sends Inland Empire to a season-worst four-game losing skid. Joe Gatto (L, 2-1) lasted into the fifth inning and lost his first decision in 2018.
Every hitter in the Rawhide lineup reached safely and eight of the nine Rawhide hitters recorded at least one hit. Varsho led the way with three hits, two RBIs, three runs scored, and finished a triple shy of the cycle. Miroglio added two hits and scored a pair of runs.
The Rawhide remain tied for first place with Stockton heading into an intra-division matchup in San Jose over the next four days.
The Rawhide will start the series at Municipal Stadium with RHP Connor Grey (4-0, 2.28) on the bump against San Jose RHP Raffi Vizcaino (1-2, 3.38). First pitch is at 6:30 PM tomorrow and the live radio broadcast will be 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.