Wisconsin (57-73 overall, 23-37 second half) scored an unearned run in the top of the first inning on an error. The Rattlers added to their lead with another run in the third inning. A Kyle Dhanani RBI single to left knocked in Mike Brownstein with two outs for a 2-0 lead. But, it would not last.
The Cougars (70-61, 29-32) charged into the lead in the bottom of the third with three walks, a hit batsman, an infield single and an error. Rattlers starting pitcher Evan Frederickson got the first out of the inning, but walked the next three batters to load the bases. Frederickson got the second out with a strikeout, but Mike Spina was hit by a pitch to force in a run.
Franklin Hernandez was next and he sent a smash to the hole at short. Josh Prince made a diving backhanded stab, but his throw to first was wild and two runs scored. The play was ruled an RBI single and a throwing error to give the Cougars a 3-2 lead. But, it would not last.
John Delaney drew a leadoff walk and was at second base with two outs. Derrick McPhearson blooped in a single to right-center and Delaney scored the tying run.
The score remained tied until the bottom of the tenth inning. Brandon Ritchie, who had already tossed two perfect innings out of the bullpen, went back out for the tenth. He allowed back-to-back singles to Leyja and Leonardo Gil. A sacrifice bunt moved both runners up a base. Ritchie walked Spina intentionally to load the bases.
Wisconsin's infield and outfield moved in to try to cut down the run at the plate as Hernandez stepped in to the batter's box. Hernandez swung at the first pitch from Ritchie and popped the ball up to shallow right field. Brownstein, the second baseman, raced back and Pete Fatse, the right fielder, came in on the ball and the umpires ruled the infield fly rule in effect and Hernandez was out. But, Fatse could not make the catch.
Leyja alertly broke for the plate and scored the winning run.
Game two of the series is Saturday night. Cody Scarpetta (4-10, 3.39) is the scheduled starter for the Timber Rattlers. The Cougars will send Mathieu Leblanc-Porier (3-7, 4.84) to the mound. Game time is 6:00pm.