The Timber Rattlers (51-31 overall, 7-6 second half) grabbed the lead early. They had runners at the corners with no outs in the top of the second after a double by Ben McMahan and a single by Ramirez. Cameron Garfield grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to get the runner on third home.
But, the Kernels (35-48, 3-10) responded with four runs in the bottom of the second inning. Rattlers starting pitcher David Goforth retired the first batter, but walked the next two batters. Then, Zach Borenstein sent a grounder to first that was misplayed and a run scored to tie the game. Trevor Hairgrove singled to drive in the go ahead run. Kevin Moesquit followed with a two-run double and the Kernels led 4-1.
Cedar Rapids manager Jamie Burke was ejected before the second inning rally started. He was run from the game for arguing with the plate umpire about the strike zone after the second batter of the inning took a strike.
The Rattlers rallied in the top of the sixth inning. McMahan tripled with one out and Ramirez got him home with a double. Max Walla singled in a run with two outs and Wisconsin was within two runs.
But, the Kernels answered with a run in the bottom of the sixth to go back up by three. A two out double by Chevy Clarke knocked in a run for a 6-3.
Wisconsin loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh, but could only manage one run on an RBI grounder by McMahan and the Rattlers were within a pair of runs again.
Cedar Rapids had another answer when they scored a run in the bottom of the seventh on an RBI grounder by Zach Borenstein to make the score 7-3.
The Kernels went to 2012 draft pick RJ Alvarez for the eighth inning. The third round pick of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim had appeared in six games prior to Wednesday night. He had allowed no runs on three hits with a walk and eleven strikeouts in seven innings since joining the Kernels from Florida Atlantic University. He would not get out of the eighth.
Yadiel Rivera started the inning with a single. Walla followed with a walk. Carlos George was hit by a pitch and the Rattlers had the bases loaded with no outs for the second inning in a row.
Stang worked the count to 3-2 and lined a homer over the wall in left field for a grand slam and an 8-7 lead. The home run was the fourth of the season for Stang and his first since April 29.
Ramirez stepped in to the box two outs later with a runner at second base and put a ball into orbit for his seventh home run of the season and a 10-7 lead. Ramirez has seven home runs this season and has homered in two straight games.
Tommy Toledo took the mound in the bottom of the ninth inning with that 10-7 lead. The leadoff batter reached on an error, but the Rattlers closer retired the next two batters. Zach Wright, a 12th round pick of the Angels in the 2012 draft, cracked a two-run homer to left-center and the Kernels cut Wisconsin's lead to a single run.
Toledo would get the next batter to pop out to third base to end the game.
Game two of the series in Cedar Rapids is Thursday night. Kevin Shackelford (1-2, 4.89) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. The Kernels have Frank De Jiulio (3-2, 6.70) as their scheduled starter. Game time is 6:35pm. Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:15pm.
Chadwin Stang (4th, GRAND SLAM in 8th inning off RJ Alvarez, 0 out)
Nick Ramirez (7th, one on in 8th inning off RJ Alvarez, 2 out)
Zach Wright (5th, one on in 9th inning off Tommy Toledo, 2 out)
WP: Stephen Peterson (2-1)
LP: RJ Alvarez (0-1)
SAVE: Tommy Toledo (5)