Wisconsin (11-9) scored first with an unearned run in the bottom of the first. Dayton starting pitcher Stalin Gershon mishandled a grounder from Yadiel Rivera and rushed a throw to first. The errant toss allowed Max Walla to score from second for a 1-0 lead.
The Rattlers added to their lead with two runs in the third inning. Walla hustled his way into a one out double and one out later Jason Rogers drove in Walla with a single for his tenth RBI of the season. After Yadiel drew a walk, Brandon Macias doubled into the left field corner. The play looked like it would score both Rogers and Rivera, but the ball rolled under the fence for a ground rule double. Rogers scored, but Rivera had go back to third base. Still, the Rattlers led 3-0.
Dayton (10-10) rallied to tie the game with two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth. Rattlers starting pitcher Andy Moye walked the first two batters of the fourth inning. A sacrifice bunt moved both runners up a base. Steve Selsky doubled to drive in two.
In the fifth, the Dragons loaded the bases with no outs against Moye and Ryan Wright drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly. The fly ball was deep enough to move the runner at second to third and an error on the play sent the runner from first to second. The call went to Jacob Barnes in the Rattlers bullpen to keep the game tied.
Barnes got out of the inning with the game still even on a pair of line drives right at Rattlers infielders.
Wisconsin needed bullpen help again in the eighth inning. Barnes walked two batters with two outs. Seth Harvey entered the game and struck out Kyle Waldrop looking at a 3-2 pitch.
In the top of the ninth, Theo Bowe tripled with two outs, but was left stranded to set the stage for Hopkins.
The right hand hitter crushed a 1-1 pitch from Jimmy Moran high over the left field wall for a game winning homer. Wisconsin has three walkoff wins in eleven home games this season.
The Rattlers and Dragons meet in game two of the series on Thursday night. Matt Miller (0-3, 6.75) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Rattlers. Justice French (3-1, 2.91) is set to start for the Dragons. Game time is 6:35pm
Thursday night is a College Night and a Sluggers Sports Bar Thirsty Thursday presented by 95.9 KISS FM. For college night, students may take advantage of $1 reserved bleacher tickets just by showing their college ID when they purchase the ticket. As part of Thirsty Thursday, all fans can enjoy 16oz soda and beer for just $2. After the game, those in attendance can take their ticket stub to Sluggers Sports Bar - located in Super Bowl on Northland Avenue - to win Miller Lite drinks and prizes.
If you can't make it out to the ballpark, tune in on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:15pm. The game is also available on MiLB.TV.
Greg Hopkins (1st, 0 on in 9th inning off Jimmy Moran, 0 out)
WP: Seth Harvey (2-0)
LP: Jimmy Mora (1-2)