STOCKTON, CA - After Zack Erwin dueled a combination of Matt Andriese and Jake Winston through five scoreless, Visalia's offense found their power stroke to give the Rawhide a lead for good in a 6-1 win.
Luis Alejandro Basabe led off the inning with a double to left and, after Camden Duzenack was plunked by Erwin, Jazz Chisholm launched the first pitch he saw over the grass burm in right field for a three-run homer.
Drew Ellis followed with a single to set up Daulton Varsho. After Varsho fought off four pitches, he launched a moonshot to right. As it arced above the light standards, the ball hooked and hooked towards the foul pole until it hit off of the top of the pole for a two-run homer.
Over the course of five batters, Visalia had taken a 5-0 lead, an advantage that proved to be more than enough for a Rawhide pitching staff that looked rejuvenated after a tough night in Modesto on Thursday. Pavin Smith led off the ninth with a solo homer to left-center for Visalia's final run.
After being optioned to Visalia from the Arizona Diamondbacks, Matt Andriese tossed the first 3.2 innings for the Rawhide, working past a pair of walks in the first before he locked in for the rest of his outing. He struck out all five hitters, all of whom came from the second inning on, and allowed only one more baserunner, a one-out double in the third.
Jake Winson (W, 1-0) picked up after Andriese departed and tossed 2.1 no-hit innings, walking two and striking out four. Carlos Bustamante (SV, 1) survived a Ports rally in the third and covered the final three innings of the game for Visalia (68-69/31-36).
Chisholm and Varsho both finished with two hits and a home run; Chisholm drove home three while Varsho brought home two. The Rawhide now have hit 113 home runs as a team this season, the most in a single year since they clubbed 154 homers in 2015.
Erwin (L, 8-11) retired two men in the sixth before he was lifted for Trey Cochran-Gill. He was responsible for the first five Rawhide runs while allowing eight hits and striking out six.
Visalia's win paired with a Modesto victory in San Jose moves both the Rawhide and the Nuts within a game of Stockton (76-61/32-35) for first place in the North Division second half standings. The only way that Visalia will miss the playoffs is if Modesto sweeps their series against San Jose and the Rawhide win at three games in their upcoming three-game set against Stockton. If both Visalia and Modesto sweep their respective series, a one-game play-in will take place on September 4 at Rawhide Ballpark. Any other combination of wins and losses will result in a Visalia playoff berth.
The series in Stockton continues tomorrow night when RHP Connor Grey (10-9, 4.78) takes the bump against Ports RHP Kyle Friedrichs (2-2, 3.52). First pitch is at 7:10 PM and 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.