STOCKTON, CA - Nick Baker took over in the bottom of the 12th inning as the sixth pitcher that Visalia had used in the game and it didn't take long for Stockton to start their game-winning rally. Skye Bolt led off with a single and was forced out on a fielder's choice at second off the bat of Brett Siddal. Siddal moved to second on a walk to Seth Brown, which brought up Mikey White, a former second-round draft pick who is in his second year with the Ports.
White torched the one-two offering from Baker (L, 1-3) into deep right center. Jason Morozowski and Fernery Ozuna converged from center and right respectively and, as Ozuna went into a slide to avoid Morozowski, neither came up with the ball. It hit the warning track once and hopped over the wall as a walk-off ground-rule double to send Visalia (68-67/32-33) to their second walk-off loss against Stockton (67-68/31-34) this year.
Visalia had taken a lead against Ports starter Logan Shore through a pitcher's duel between Shore and Rawhide starter Jon Duplantier. Morozowski singled with one out in the fifth to break a streak of 12 straight Visalia hitters retired by Shore to start a rally and Henry Castillo singled him home later in the inning to get the Rawhide on the board. Duplantier fired his fifth scoreless inning in the bottom of the fifth, which would be his last. Duplantier tied his career high by striking out nine hitters and held Stockton scoreless for his second straight shutdown start. He allowed tow hits and walked two.
But the first Rawhide lead was short-lived, as Wei-Chei Huang fell into two-out trouble when he lost command of the zone and allowed three consecutive hitters to reach on a walk, single, and walk respectively. With the bases loaded and two outs, Branden Cogswell hit a base hit to right center to plate two and put the Ports up 2-1.
Jorge Flores took back the lead for Visalia in the seventh off Shore when, with a two-strike count against him, Flores clobbered his fourth homer of the year into the Rawhide bullpen beyond the left field wall. But despite holding a late 3-2 lead, the Rawhide bullpen couldn't hold on.
Tommy Eveld struck out the side in order to bridge the gap to Yoan Lopez, who was called upon for a six-out save. But Lopez, who has dominated hitters throughout his time in the bullpen in Visalia, allowed a game-tying home run to Siddal to lead off the eighth inning. Lopez got the next three hitters in succession and pitched a scoreless ninth, but the damage was done and the game was heading to extras.
Kyle Friedrichs pitched four perfect innings of relief for Stockton and Nolan Blackwood (W, 1-5) kept the Rawhide off the board in the twelfth to earn his first victory of the year.
Visalia now holds a one-game lead over Stockton, San Jose, and Modesto in the second half standings with five games remaining as the Rawhide look for their fifth consecutive playoff berth.
Visalia will conclude the three-game series in Stockton tomorrow night. First pitch will be at 7:10 and will match up RHP Bo Takahashi (7-9, 4.50) for the Rawhide against RHP Brandon Bailey (1-1, 4.97) for Stockton. The Visalia radio broadcast will be available on Rawhidebaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.