Rawhide Wins 15-Inning Marathon 5-4

It took the Visalia Rawhide 15 innings to edge the Modesto Nuts 5-4 Tuesday night. Neither team scored for eight straight innings until Ollie Linton Jr. scored the winning run in the top of the 15th.

Visalia starter Christian Beltre put together a solid start after getting pounded the previous two times that he took the bump. The big, crafty right-hander tossed five innings of three-run ball, allowing four hits, striking out five, and walking one along the way.

After Jorge Perez let one Nut cross the plate in the sixth, the Rawhide did not allow a run for the next nine innings of play. Perez pitched around a single and a double in the seventh thanks to Ed Easley gunning down Charles Blackmon as he attempted to steal second.

After that, Jordan Norberto, Jeff Dietz, and Leyson Septimo combined for eight more shutout frames, although for these, the Nuts would barely put up a fight. Their best threat came in the 13th off Jeff Dietz, who tossed four scoreless. Hector Gomez bunted for a base hit and stole second. Next, Dietz intentionally walked Jay Cox Jr. before inducing a weak popout from Radames Nazario. Septimo, who got the victory, allowed the only other hit the Nuts would manage over the final eight frames, but immediately erased that runner via a 3-6-3 twin killing. Norbeto was perfect in his two innings, striking out four.

The Visalia offense did not take advantage of enough opportunities early, which led to the free baseball. They only scored five runs despite collecting 13 hits and drawing six walks.

Finally in the 15th, the Rawhide scraped across the winning run. Ollie Linton hit his scecond double and third hit of the day to lead off the inning. Eli Rumler got him to thrid with his specialty: a ground ball to the right side. Taylor Harbin's single would prove to be the game-winning RBI in a victory the Rawhide sorely needed against what had been the second-place team in the Cal North Division. Visalia had lost their two previous games by a combined score of 18-7.

The Raw Facts

* This was Linton's third three-hit performance over his last 10 games. He is batting .341 over that span.

* The performances by Norbero, Dietz, and Septimo were rebounds, as they had each allowed one or more runs in their previous outing.

* Although Easley's lone caught stealing likely prevented a run, he allowed four successful stolen bases in the contest.

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