STOCKTON, CA - Tommy Eveld had Stockton on the ropes in the tenth with the Rawhide leading 5-4 and the Ports down to their final out. Then the game turned on a dime.
Luke Persico doubled down the left field line to tie the game at five and, four pitches later, Luis Barrera hit a chopper up the middle. Camden Duzenack made a diving attempt, but the ball squeaked by into center to score Persico and send the Ports to a 6-5 win.
Stockton (39-24) had led for the first five innings after building a 4-0 advantage over Rawhide starter Tyler Keele, who pitched to two hitters in the fifth and allowed four runs on seven hits. But Visalia clawed their way back to force extras on the long ball.
Camden Duzenack hit a solo shot off of Ports starter Evan Manarino in the sixth inning and Ryan Grotjohn slugged a game-tying, three-run homer in the seventh. It was the first homer of Grotjohn's professional career.
The score stayed knotted at four through nine as Wei-Chieh Huang dealt three shutout innings of relief and Eveld (L, 1-1) worked around a two-out error in the ninth.
Luis Lara provided an RBI single in the tenth to score Duzenack and put the Rawhide ahead, but Miguel Romero (W, 1-2) struck out Mark Karaviotis and Grotjohn to end the frame and stop the bleeding.
Visalia (33-30) has now played eight extra-inning contests and has lost seven.
Lara led the way for the Rawhide with three hits, a run driven in, and a run scored and Marcus Wilson added a pair of hits, including a double that collided with the top of the batter's eye in dead center.
Stockton's magic number for a first-half championship now rests at. The Ports still have not been swept this season.
Visalia will head home to begin their final home series of the first half, welcoming Modesto to Rawhide Ballpark for a four-game series. First pitch is at 6 PM and will match up RHP Kevin McCanna (4-1, 2.83) against Modesto LHP Colin Rodgers (1-2, 4.21). Tickets are still 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.