VISALIA, CA - For the fourth straight night the Rawhide carried a nail-biting game into the late innings. And for the third time in the last four days the Visalia bullpen hung tough as the Rawhide beat Lake Elsinore 4-3.
Visalia struck first against all-star Reggie Lawson by plating three runs, two earned, against him in the bottom of the first inning. Following a two-base error by Edward Olivares to open the inning, Pavin Smith walked and Marcus Wilson doubled home a pair of runs to give the Rawhide an early lead.
Wilson moved to third on a passed ball on Marcus Greene Jr. and then scored on a wild pitch.
Rawhide starter Riley Smith settled into a rhythm in the middle innings, setting down six straight Storm hitters, and allowed only two baserunners through the fourth: one on a first-inning Olivares single and another on an error by Ramon Hernandez.
But Lake Elsinore (35-39/1-3) got to Smith and plated three runs in the fifth. After giving up a two-run homer to Brad Zunica and a run-scoring single by Greene Jr., Smith found his composure and retired the final two hitters of the inning to minimize the damage.
Smith (W, 4-3) worked through the sixth inning unhurt to earn a Quality Start, allowing three runs on four hits with seven strikeouts and a pair of walks.
Visalia (40-34/3-1) surged ahead in the sixth when, for the second time tonight, they took advantage of a Lake Elsinore error. Allen Córdoba slipped while attempting to throw out Camden Duzenack at first and then, with hard-throwing Gerardo Reyes taking over for David Bednar, Adam Walton and Raymel Flores hit back-to-back singles to score Duzenack and put Visalia on top 4-3.
Miguel Aguilar worked around a leadoff double in the seventh and Juinor Garcia pitched a scoreless eighth to set up Tommy Eveld for the ninth. Pitching for the third time in four days, Eveld (SV, 9) made quick work of the Storm and struck out a pair in a perfect frame.
Bednar (L, 2-3) was saddled with the loss despite only allowing an unearned run over 2.1 innings of relief. Lawson only lasted through the third after throwing nearly 40 pitches in the first inning.
The Rawhide accumulated ten hits for the second straight night and the third game in their last four. Nine different Visalia players recorded a hit tonight and Wilson, Drew Ellis, and Walton all added a pair of hits.
The Rawhide will hit the road for a four-game trip to Inland Empire tomorrow evening. RHP Emilio Vargas (6-1, 1.04) will take the hill for the Rawhide against 66ers RHP Sean Isaac (1-0, 3.74). First pitch will be at 7:05 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.