VISALIA, CA- Visalia beat the Fresno Grizzlies 6-2 on Saturday night to put them just one win away from their first series win of the season, their third attempt in a row where they are leading the series 3-2 heading into the final game on Sunday. Doing it against their
VISALIA, CA- Visalia beat the Fresno Grizzlies 6-2 on Saturday night to put them just one win away from their first series win of the season, their third attempt in a row where they are leading the series 3-2 heading into the final game on Sunday. Doing it against their archrivals that play their home games just 40 miles away from Valley Strong Ballpark.
The pitching for the Rawhide was very strong, beginning with starter Kyle Backhus, who picked up the first win of his career in his fourth start for the team putting his record on the year at 1-0. He pitched five innings and gave up only two hits and two runs, although the runs were not credited to him as they were a result of some bloopers by Tim Tawa and Mason Berne in the top of the 3rd. Backhus also threw a career high six strikeouts.
Backhus was followed by Eric Mendez and Alex Valdez, who is the longest tenured reliever on the team as the others have either moved up to Hillsboro, down to AZL Diamondbacks or been put on IL. Together, they combined for four innings, six strikeouts, four hits and zero earned runs in what might have been a complete shutout if not for the error in the top of the third.
Two misplays led to two runs for Fresno, although only one of them was called an error while the other was more of a bad judgement call than an actual credited error. Mason Berne initially fielded the ground ball well and went to tag the runner instead of just stepping on first base which would have ended the inning. He ended up dropping the ball on the attempted tag and the runner was safe. Later in the inning, Tawa made a gold glove dive for a ground ball but chose to throw it to third base instead of home plate which led to another run.
Berne and Tawa made up for their fielding gaffes by each recording one hit with Tawa picking up an RBI as well. The difference maker in Saturday’s lineup was slugger Neyfy Castillo, who hit his 16th homerun on the year with two men on base, finishing the night with the homer, a double, a stolen base and three RBI. Ryan Bliss also made sure to make his mark on the game with three hits of his own with one RBI and reaching home plate twice. The other batter to record an RBI was Adrian Del Castillo.
Visalia goes for it’s first series win of the year on Sunday at 1 PM pacific time.