Robbie Anston started the ball game by drawing a leadoff walk from Wisconsin starting pitcher Matt Miller. Anston stole second with one out, but still at base with two outs. Miller made a good pitch to Stefen Romero, but the LumberKings second baseman fought it off and blooped the ball into right field for an RBI single.
Clinton (44-65 overall, 20-19 second half) padded their lead in the fourth inning. Kevin Rivers doubled to start the winning. He took third on a grounder to the right side and scored on a wild pitch by Miller.
The LumberKings got an insurance run in the sixth. Anston doubled and Julio Morban followed with an RBI single for a 3-0 lead.
Wisconsin (54-55, 16-23) struggled to put together a rally against Clinton starting pitcher Roenis Elias through the first six innings. But, they got something cooking in the seventh.
Chad Stang, who had three hits in the game, doubled with one out and Nick Ramirez drew a walk to chase Elias from the game. One of the first pitches from reliever Jesse Nava was mishandled by catcher Carlton Tanabe for a passed ball to allow Ramirez to second base. Greg Hopkins grounded out to second to get Stang home and move Ramirez to third. But, Nava got the final out of the inning to keep Clinton up 3-1.
Elias allowed an unearned run on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts over 6-1/3 innings in his first Midwest League start.
Miller went seven innings and allowed three runs on four hits with six strikeouts for the Rattlers.
In the bottom of the eighth, Reggie Keen reached on a one out error and moved to second on a wild pitch. Nick Shaw extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single to center that got Keen to third base. Next was the key play of the game.
Jason Rogers sent a fly ball to shallow right-center that looked like it might drop for a run scoring single that would also move Shaw around to third with the tying run. But, Rivers charged and made a diving catch off the top of the grass for the second out. Keen tagged and scored, but Shaw had to retreat to first base.
Matt Bischoff replaced Nava on the mound and gave up a single to Joey Paciorek that send Shaw around to third, but Bischoff got the final out of the eighth and worked a 1-2-3 ninth to close out the game for Clinton.
The final game of the four game series is Friday night at 7:05pm. Charly Bashara (4-4, 5.12) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Rattlers. Taijuan Walker (4-5, 3.12) is set to start for the LumberKings.
Friday is Emergency Services Night at Time Warner Cable Field. Paramedics, firemen, police officers, and their families will receive $1 off reserved bleachers and box seating for Emergency Services Night.
Plus, the first 1,000 fans to attend this game will receive a baseball courtesy of Baycom.
Friday is also North Shore Bank Family Night. Children 12 and under eat free. After the postgame fireworks display, Fazoli's invites children 14 and under to participate in Kids Run the Bases.
If you can't make it out to the game, you may tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:45pm. Friday's game is also available on MiLB.tv.
WP: Roenis Elias (1-0)
LP: Matt Miller (4-6)
SAVE: Matt Bischoff (2)