STOCKTON, CA - It took Visalia four pitches to get on the board, and they never looked back from there. Adam Walton singled to left on the third offering by Ports starter Xavier Altamirano, then Jazz Chisholm launched the first pitch he saw over the berm seating section in right for his third home run in as many games, putting Visalia up 2-0.
Altamirano would struggle through the first, allowing four runs on four hits, including a sacrifice fly by Marcus Wilson and a run-scoring single by Renae Martinez.
Visalia (69-70/32-37) would tag Altamirano (L, 5-6) for seven runs over four innings, putting up seven hits against him while walking three times. The Rawhide would add on against the Ports bullpen, adding two more runs in the sixth on a two-run single Wilson and one more in the seventh on a Chisholm base knock.
Rawhide starter Cole Stapler took the lead and ran with it, turning in his best start in a Visalia uniform. Stapler (W, 1-7) retired the first eight men he faced and didn't allow a Ports run over six innings, striking out five. He set down the side in order four times and left the bases loaded in the third.
Stockton (77-62/33-36) mounted their lone offense in the ninth inning against Matt Brill, using a pair of walks, a pair of singles, and a throwing error by Hernandez to put up a two-run frame with two outs. But Santiago Chavez grounded out to third to end the threat and the game.
Chisholm finished with three hits, drove home three, and became the first Rawhide hitter to homer in three straight games this year. Hernandez's homer made him the first Visalia player to slug 20 home runs in a season since Daniel Palka and Kevin Cron did so in 2015. Wilson added two hits and brought home three and Anfernee Grier drove in a run with a double in the third as part of a two-hit night.
A win tomorrow night would force a tie atop the California League North Second Half standings. Due to tie-breaking procedures in the Cal League, this would crown the Rawhide as second half champions.
The Rawhide will host at least one playoff game, starting with a contest on Friday, September 7. Tickets will go on sale on Tuesday night and special Playoff Push Ticket Packages are on sale now through rawhidebaseball.com.
Visalia will conclude the regular season tomorrow night in their final tune-up for the postseason. First pitch is at 6:10 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.