VISALIA, CA - After allowing three runs over five innings his previous start, Bo Takahashi returned to dominant form and dealt a season-high six shutout innings to lead the Visalia Rawhide to a 5-1 win over Inland Empire.
Takahashi (W, 3-0) worked with runners on base in every inning except for the sixth but negotiated the traffic without harm, including the fourth inning when he stranded runners on the corners following a one-out triple. He struck out eight hitters and walked only one to win his second straight start.
Visalia (13-9) finally got its offense rolling in the bottom of the third off of Inland Empire starter Jason Alexander.
Marcus Wilson led off the inning with a blast to right-center that careened off the top edge of the wall and sent Wilson into second with a leadoff double. Daulton Varsho drew a one-out walk and Drew Ellis flipped a single down the line in left to score Wilson and give the Rawhide a 1-0 lead.
The wheels fell off there for Alexander (L, 0-2). Pavin Smith reached on a fielder's choice that erased Ellis from the bases and, with two outs, Adam Walton drew a walk to bring up Manny Jefferson with the bases loaded.
In his second at bat in a Rawhide uniform, Jefferson fell behind with two strikes and then slashed a line drive down the line in right that soared over the glove of the diving DJ Jenkins. The ball rattled into the corner and Jefferson sped around the bases to slide into third with a bases-clearing triple.
Wilson added another run for the Rawhide in the fifth on a solo home run to center, his second round-tripper in as many games.
Inland Empire (10-12) scored their only run of the game off of Tyler Mark in the top of the eighth, when Luis Rengifo led off the frame with an infield single and LA Angels third-ranked prospect Jahmai Jones tripled him home. But Mark proceeded to strike out the next three hitters in succession to strand Jones at third.
With Modesto's walk-off win over San Jose, the Rawhide are now in a three-way tie for first place with Stockton and the Giants.
Visalia continues the series with Inland Empire tomorrow evening. The Rawhide will send Emilio Vargas (1-0, 1.45) to the bump against a to-be-determined 66ers starter. First pitch is at 7:00 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.