VISALIA, CA - After Lake Elsinore had rallied for three runs in the top of the fifth inning, the Storm held a 6-2 leading heading into the midway point of the game. Entering play, the Rawhide had not overcome any deficit larger than three runs this season.
Then the fifth inning happened.
Stephen Smith led off the frame by lining a base hit into center field and then Pavin Smith put Storm starter Emmanuel Ramirez on the ropes by crushing a gap-shot double to left center to plate Stephen Smith and bring Visalia to within three runs. The hits kept coming from there.
Marcus Wilson singled to score Smith. Mark Karaviotis blasted a double to left field to score Wilson. In a living, breathing example of the classic baseball axiom: the Rawhide were keeping the line moving.
Drew Ellis followed Karaviotis by singling on a grounder that popped over the head of shortstop Chris Baker, which chased Ramirez from the game in favor of Colby Blueberg. Camden Duzenack welcomed Blueberg to the game by hitting a sac fly on the first pitch he saw to tie up the game at six.
Dominic Miroglio followed with a double and Ramon Hernandez singled home a pair to cement the comeback and give the Rawhide an 8-6 lead.
The line kept moving to the bullpen. Austin Mason (W, 2-4), who had finished up the fifth for Connor Grey, tossed a shutout sixth that was punctuated by Miroglio throwing out Nate Easley trying to steal second.
Junior Garcia followed with a pair of shutout innings and passed the baton to All-Star closer Tommy Eveld. Eveld (SV, 7) survived a one-out double by Buddy Reed and struck out a pair to seal an 8-6 Rawhide win.
Visalia (38-33/1-0) set their largest comeback of the season by putting up one of their best innings of the year: falling one run shy of the seven-run inning they put on the board against Modesto on June 12. They did set a season high with seven hits in the fifth.
Rawhide starter Connor Grey did not make it out of the fifth for his second straight start, allowing six runs, three earned, on seven hits over 4.1 innings. He allowed a pair of home runs and struck out four. Ramirez (L, 3-2) suffered seven of the eight runs against the Storm and lost his first start since April 22.
Drew Ellis hit a two-run homer for the Rawhide and had two hits on the night. Hernandez led the way with three hits and a pair of RBI. Eight different Rawhide players recorded a hit and six different players drove in at least one run. Lake Elsinore (34-37/0-1) fell for the sixth time in their last eight games going back to June 11.
The Rawhide will continue the series tomorrow and will send RHP Kevin McCanna (4-2, 3.56) against Storm RHP Ronald Bolanos (2-4, 6.31). First pitch is at 7 PM and tickets are 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.