VISALIA, CA - Riley Smith turned in another strong start and the Rawhide offense put up a pair of solo home runs to close out the series against San Jose with a 3-1 win.
Smith (W, 8-5) found himself in a jam in the first, with runners on first and third with nobody out, but escaped without any damage by striking out a pair of Giants hitters. From there, he made only one mistake: a solo homer to Kelvin Beltre. Smith retired 11 of the final 12 batters he faced and finished with one run allowed on four hits over six innings with six strikeouts and one walk. He's struck out 145 hitters on the season, which leads the California League.
Jason Creasy performed a high wire act in the seventh inning, loading the bases with a 2-1 lead and escaping without any damage. He got San Jose (56-73/22-37) quietly in the eighth, setting the stage for Matt Brill in the ninth. Brill (SV, 5) walked a pair of Giants hitters to put the tying run base but he also struck out two, including catching Tanner Murphy looking to end the game.
The Rawhide offense was out-hit by the Giants, but Visalia got two big swings of the bat to push themselves out on top. Trailing 1-0 in the fourth, Marcus Wilson drilled the first pitch he saw from Domenic Mazza off the roof of the barn in right center to tie the game. Then in the fifth, Stephen Smith drew a hitter's count and blasted a moonshot off of Mazza to put Visalia (64-65/27-32) on top for good.
In the bottom of the eighth the Rawhide took advantage of a pair of Giants errors to get a runner in scoring position. Once Jazz Chisholm had stolen second and moved to third on the second miscue, Daulton Varsho hit against the shift and brought Chisholm home to put Visalia up 3-1.
Mazza (L, 3-4) suffered a tough-luck loss, allowing just the two runs on four hits while striking out a season-best ten hitters.
Wilson put up a double and the solo homer while Varsho added a pair of hits. Stephen Smith's homer was the only other Rwahide hit.
Combined with Modesto's loss, Visalia's magic number is down to ten to clinch a playoff berth this season. The Rawhide remain tied for first with Stockton with 11 games remaining.
The Rawhide next welcome Stockton to Rawhide Ballpark for a battle for first place in the Cal League North. Visalia will send RHP Matt Peacock (4-3, 3.30) to the bump against Ports RHP Wyatt Marks (1-0, 2.12). First pitch is at 7:00 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.