CEDAR RAPIDS, IA -
D'Vontrey Richardson showed the Cedar Rapids Kernels why he was named the
Midwest League's most recent Offensive Player of the Week.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers center fielder
went 3-for-5 with three doubles, a runs scored, and two RBI.
The two RBI came in the top of the ninth inning and gave Wisconsin a 6-5
lead over the Kernels. There were a
few nervous moments in the bottom of the ninth, but the Rattlers held on to
prevail at Perfect Game Field on Monday night.
The Rattlers (52-72 overall,
26-30 second half) jumped in front with a run in the first inning.
Richardson doubled to start the game.
Two outs later, Chris Dennis cashed in the opportunity with an RBI double
for a 1-0 lead.
The Kernels (74-49, 31-24) answered with an unearned run in the bottom of the second after an error on a grounder to second with two outs let the tying run score from third.
Wisconsin loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the third inning, but Kehrer got a strikeout and a 5-4-3 double play to end the threat.
The Kernels took the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Rattlers starting pitcher Damon Krestalude struck out the first two batters of the inning. Then, Michael Wing doubled. Justin Bass followed with a single to drive in Bass and the Kernels were up 2-1.
Cedar Rapids added a pair of runs in the fifth inning. Matt Long drove in a run with a fielder's choice. Later in the frame an RBI grounder off the bat of Casey Haerther made the score 4-1.
Khris Davis was hit by a pitch to start the Wisconsin sixth inning. Hunter Morris tripled in Davis. But, he was still at third with two outs. Kernels starter Tyler Kehrer uncorked a wild pitch to let Morris in to cut the Kernels advantage to 4-3.
Then, a two-out bloop double by Jon Karcich off the glove of right fielder Erik Miller scored Bass from first base and Cedar Rapids was up 5-3.
Wisconsin started their comeback in the top of the eighth inning. Hunter Morris lined a homer to left. The opposite field blast for the Wisconsin first baseman was his eighth of the season.
Johnny Hellweg came on to close down the Rattlers in the top of the ninth, but he walked Connor Lind to start the inning. Pinch hitter Kentrail Davis struck out, but Michael Marseco drew a walk to put two runners on base. That was when the reigning Midwest League Offensive Player of the Week made his presence known.
Richardson scalded a 3-1 pitch
from Hellweg to the gap in left-center field.
The ball quickly got out to the 407' sign and Lind and Marseco raced
home with the runs to put Wisconsin up 6-5.
Wisconsin closer Jon Pokorny walked the leadoff batter in the bottom of the ninth. A sacrifice bunt moved the tying run into scoring position. Then, Pokorny walked another batter to put the winning run on base.
Pokorny struck out Jeremy Cruz on a 2-2 off-sped pitch, but both runners took off on the pitch and would advance safely on a double steal to put a little more pressure on the Rattlers closer, especially with Kernels RBI leader Casey Haerther at the plate,
But, Pokorny, who had blown his last two save opportunities - including last Monday to Cedar Rapids at home, struck out Haerhter to end the game and close out Wisconsin's stirring comeback.
Eric Arnett, who came off the disabled list earlier on Monday, pitched two scoreless innings in relief to pick up his first Midwest League victory.
The final game of the four game
series between the Kernels and Rattlers is Tuesday night at Perfect Game Field.
Jake Odorizzi (6-3, 3.58) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the
Timber Rattlers. Cedar Rapids will
counter with Steven Locke (7-6, 4.35). Game
time is 6:35pm. Tune in for the
play-by-play action on AM1280, WNAM starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show
Hunter Morris (8th, 0 on in 8th inning, off Mike Kenney, 1 out)
WP: Eric Arnett (1-9)
LP: Johnny Hellweg (1-4)
SAVE: Jon Pokorny (16)