VISALIA, CA - San Jose Closer Rodolfo Martinez struggled with command out of the gates and walked two of the first three batters he faced. Trailing 5-3 in the ninth, the Rawhide had two on and one out and then Martinez threw a wild pitch to move the runners to second and third; the tying run was in scoring position.
Mark Karaviotis hit a grounder to third and Camden Duzenack broke for the plate. Wander Franco gloved the ball and gunned down Duzenack by plenty.
In a flash, Visalia was down to their final out with the tying run back at first base. Their last hope was Marcus Wilson.
Wilson, who had eight hits over the first three games of the series, fell behind with two strikes and hit a broken-bat grounder to first. Giants first baseman Gio Brusa fielded the roller and tossed to the covering Martinez, all but ending the game.
But Martinez missed the bag with his foot. Wilson reached as the possible winning run and the Rawhide had a second chance.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Stephen Smith hit a three-hop grounder at second, once again appearing to spell a loss for the 'Hide.
How about a third chance?
Kelvin Beltre bobbled the ball, allowing two runs to score on the play to tie the game at five. Wilson moved to second as the winning run for Pavin Smith.
Once again, the Rawhide found themselves one strike away from the end of the inning. But Smith fought off a pair of tough pitches, battling to stay alive. Then he hit a grounder through the vacated left side of the infield.
Wilson scored from second with ease and the Rawhide were 6-5 walk-off winners.
Visalia (44-38/7-5) led early in the game but fell behind when the Giants hit a power surge in the middle innings. San Jose combined for three home runs, solo shots from Gio Brusa and Joneshwy Fargas and a two-run blast by Heath Quinn, to build a 4-2 lead after six.
But the Rawhide slowly came back, plating a run in the seventh on a bases-loaded fielder's choice before the three-run rally in the ninth.
San Jose (39-43/5-7) added on when Brusa doubled against Tyler Mark in the eighth inning to score Jacob Heyward and put the Giants up 5-3. But Mark limited the damage by striking out Matt Winn and Tommy Eveld (W, 2-1) pitched a perfect ninth with one strikeout to set up the ninth-inning rally.
Duzenack led Visalia hitters with three hits, a run scored, and an RBI. Pavin Smith added a pair of singles and the game-winning RBI and Adam Walton doubled and scored a run as part of a two-hit night. Mark Karaviotis drove home two runs.
Tyler Keele was dominant in the early parts of the game, holding the Giants scoreless with just one hit through the first four innings. He left after six innings having allowed four runs on four hits with five strikeouts. He was on the mound for all three Giants home runs.
Martinez (BS, L, 3-6) did not allow an earned run. Giants starter Carlos Sano was solid through four, holding the Rawhide to a run on three hits with four strikeouts.
Visalia will start RHP Matt Peacock (1-0, 4.50) against Giants RHP Raffi Vizcaino (5-4, 4.35) in the rubber match of the series tomorrow. First pitch will be at 7 PM and 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.