Rawhide snap a 9-game losing streak

Visalia’s bats were quiet in the six-game series against the San Jose Giants but the Rawhide pitched well for most of the series

VISALIA – The Rawhide defeated the Giants to snap Visalia’s nine-game losing streak and to avoid the sweep by San Jose. 

Visalia took the early lead in the final game of the six-game series on April 22 by scoring four runs in the fourth and never looked back. Rawhide starting pitcher Liam Norris gave up two runs off two hits and two walks in 4.2 innings pitched. He was one out away from securing the win but was taken out due to his pitch count of 67. Norris struck out a career high seven batters.

Seven of nine Visalia hitters in the line-up had a base hit and everyone reached base. Wilderd Patino and JJ D’Orazio were the only two players to have multiple hits. Patino had three singles and D’Orazio hit a single and a homerun.

The series began on April 19 when San Jose pelted Rawhide pitching for 10 runs but the game was much closer than the final 10-5 score. Visalia was down 5-1 in the fourth inning and scored four runs to tie up the game. Shane Muntz hit his second home run of the season and had an RBI double. Wildred Patino and Deyvison De Los Santos both drove in a run. The game remained tied at five until the Rawhide gave up five runs in the 10th inning and could not answer back. It is the second time the Rawhide have played extra innings this season.

Rawhide pitching staff walked seven batters and the Rawhide defense committed five errors. Eric Mendez remains the bright spot in the Visalia bullpen. He has not allowed a run to score in over six innings pitched over four appearances.

The closest game of the series was Game 3 on April 20 when both teams combined to break the Cal League strikeout record. It was a pitcher’s duel from the beginning and the pitching staffs combined for 38 strikeouts, which broke the record for strikeouts in nine innings. The previous record was 35 strikeouts in 2021 between Rancho Cucamonga and Inland Empire. Visalia only had one hit through the game while San Jose had six. San Jose’s sole run was unearned in the second inning in the 1-0 win for the Giants.

Rawhide pitchers were in rare form again on April 21 when they struck out 17 batters in a 5-2 loss. Christian Montes De Oca made his professional debut when he entered the game in the seventh inning to pitch. The 22-year-old right-hander pitched tow scoreless innings and struck out five batters. He was signed by the Diamondbacks last December.

The Rawhide bats stayed quiet with only two hits while the pitching staff stayed hot by striking out 17 Giants batters. Juan Batista hit his first homerun of the season to put the Rawhide on the board. The other Rawhide run scored off a throwing error by the second baseman in the fifth inning.

Visalia got on the scoreboard early in Game 4 but were unable to hold on for the win. Jordan Lawlar scored off Shane Muntz’s double to left field. Visalia starter, Joe Elbis, took his second loss after giving up five earned runs in the third inning. Rawhide relief pitchers, Listher Sosa and Eric Mendez, threw a combined five scoreless innings. Mendez still has not allowed an earned run this season through five appearances.

Game 5 extended the Rawhide’s losing streak to nine after a 10-2 drubbing from the Giants on April 23. 

With the win on Sunday, the Rawhide are 5-10 heading into this week’s matchup against the Quakes in Rancho Cucamonga. The series opened on April 26 and results were not available as of press time. The six-game series ends on Sunday, May 1 before opening another road series against the Inland Empire 66ers in San Bernardino next week.

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