BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - For the second time in the series, the Visalia Rawhide played sloppy baseball, and for the second time, the Bakersfield Blaze refused to let Visalia off the hook, plating three unearned runs while holding the Rawhide at bay in a 7-2 Goodwill Wednesday win at Sam Lynn Ballpark in Bakersfield.
The Rawhide struck first in the game, but most of the action after the 1st inning occurred in the home halves.
Shane Dyer (W, 6-4), a pillar of consistency burned by poor defense in his last start, got fine defense in this contest. After the Rawhide began the game by loading the bases with nobody out on a Kevin Medrano single, Gerson Montilla double, and Jake Lamb walk, Tom Belza hit a flyball to rightfield. Juan Duran, who can, at times, appear a bit timid in the outfield, made the catch, and fired a perfect strike to third base, nailing the middle runner, and though the Rawhide plated a run, they ended up settling for just a single tally.
That strong play would help turn the momentum. After Andrew Barbosa (L, 9-8) worked two scoreless frames to begin the contest, he, and the men behind him in the field got sloppy.
With one out in the 3rd, Julio Morillo singled and Junior Arias walked. A wild pitch moved them over, and Ryan Wright tied the game with a grounder.
The 4th inning would prove to be the decisive one. Kyle Waldrop began the scoring with a laser to right for his 21st homer of the year, putting the Blaze ahead at 2-1. The Rawhide crumbled after that shot. David Vidal singled to center, and after a pop-up, Morillo and Arias each reached on errors, scoring Vidal. Barbosa recorded the second out of the inning, and, perhaps, the third, but a passed ball on strike three allowed Juan Silverio to reach, loading the bases. Steve Selsky stepped to the dish, bashed a two-run single to center, and Barbosa's unlucky night was over, down 5-1.
The Blaze tacked on a run off Diogenes Rosario in the 5th on a Waldrop double, two walks, and an Arias groundout, and the Rawhide got their final run off Brooks Pinckard in the 7th on a Montilla double and Belza single.
Jimmy Moran and Pat Doyle finished the contest, wrapping up the easy 7-2 win. Dyer ended his night with six strong innings, and Waldrop posted his best game of the season, going 4-for-4.
The win is the third series victory in a row for the Blaze, and the team has now won 6 of their last 8 series, overall, while improving to 21-31 in the second half with a strong 24-day stretch of baseball.
The club has a day to enjoy the win, as the Blaze are off on Thursday before embarking on a 6-game road trip through Modesto and San Bernardino.
The game on Friday night is scheduled to begin at 7:05pm, with Jacob Johnson looking to continue his recent run, and Tyler Gagnon for the Nuts.
Fans can listen to Dan Besbris call the action live on the Friday Night Game of the Week at BakersfieldBlaze.com or locally on SmartTalk AM-1230. The Blaze pregame show begins at 6:55pm.
Information provided by the Bakersfield Blaze.