Grey Turns Summer Around In Visalia

Strong Nine-Game Stretch, Including Five Gems, Help Rawhide Qualify For Postseason

The Visalia Rawhide are going to be playing in the California League postseason.

Frewsburg graduate Connor Grey is one big reason why.

The 2016 St. Bonaventure University graduate pitching in his third professional season with the Arizona Diamondbacks organization has turned his summer around after seeing his earned run average balloon to as high as 5.65 following a loss to Modesto on July 11.

In his last 10 starts, including that loss, the 6-foot right-hander is 4-4 with a 3.22 ERA while striking out 61 and walking 14 in 58ª innings.

While the record is just .500, one of the losses and a pair of no-decisions can be attributed to a lack of run support.

On Aug. 21, Grey threw six innings of two-hit ball, striking out 11, walking two and allowing just one earned run in a 1-0 loss to San Jose. Grey gave up a leadoff double to the Giants’ Bryce Johnson in the top of the fifth inning and after getting two outs, gave up an RBI single to Tanner Murphy on an 0-2 pitch, which proved to be his demise that night.

Five days later, the 2012 Frewsburg graduate ran into similar luck. Grey went six innings, allowing three hits and one run while striking out three and walking three. He allowed a third-inning solo home run to Stockton’s Greg Deichmann on a 1-2 pitch and left with the score tied, 1-1, before the bullpens battled it out. The game eventually went to extra innings tied, 2-2, before the Ports scored nine runs on six hits, a walk and an error in the top of the 10th inning and won, 11-3.

Grey suffered a similar fate this past Saturday. He allowed a leadoff single to Stockton’s Viosergy Rosa in the bottom of the second inning before facing the minimum number of batters — 18 — over the final six innings of his appearance to leave with a 1-0 lead after seven innings. Grey struck out nine and walked just one, but two relievers each gave up a run over the final two innings as the Rawhide were handed another loss.

Visalia actually clinched a postseason berth after the game when San Jose’s walk-off victory over Modesto put the Rawhide into the playoffs with two games to go in the regular season.

Over his past five starts, Grey has allowed just four runs and struck out 36 over 31 innings, but has just a 2-1 record with a pair of no-decisions to show for it.

On the season, the 2016 20th-round draft pick has made every turn in the rotation, starting 27 games with a 10-9 record and a 4.54 ERA. Grey has struck out 131 in 140ª innings while walking 38. He is tied for the Class A Advanced league’s lead in wins, is second in games started and is fourth in strikeouts.

Visalia will open a best-of-five playoff series against the Ports on Wednesday night at 10:10 p.m. in Stockton, California. Game 2 will be at the same time and play Thursday night before the Rawhide host Game 3 and a possible Game 4 on Friday and Saturday. An if-necessary Game 5 would be Sunday, Sept. 9 at 9:10 p.m. in Stockton.