Brandon Macias started the scoring with a solo home run in the first inning. Mitch Haniger was next and he doubled. A two-out RBI single by Ben McMahan put the Rattlers (51-32 overall, 7-7 second half) up 2-0.
But, the Kernels (36-48, 4-10) came back in the bottom of the first. Stamets hit a solo homer with one out. Alex Yarbrough was next and he tripled. A sacrifice fly by Gary Mitchell drove in Yarbrough with the tying run.
Stamets struck again in the bottom of the second. Cedar Rapids had a runner on and two outs when an error extended the inning to Stamets. The sixth round pick of the Angels from the 2012 draft made Wisconsin pay with an RBI single to put the Kernels up 3-2.
Yadiel Rivera tied the game with a solo home run in the top of the fourth. Rivera lifted a 3-1 pitch over the wall in left for his ninth home run of the year to even the game 3-3.
Stamets was a big part of the two-run Kernels rally in the bottom of the fourth inning. He reached on a two-out infield single that deflected off the glove of Rattlers starting pitcher Kevin Shackelford to put runners at first and third. Then, Stamets stole second base to get two runners in scoring position. Yarbrough came through with a two run single to left-center and the Kernels took a 5-3 lead.
Michael Strong took over on the mound for the Timber Rattlers in the bottom of the fifth inning and kept the Kernels in check. The lefty out of Oklahoma State allowed two hits and struck out eight over four scoreless innings.
But, the Kernels bullpen didn't crack after De Jiulio worked a scoreless fifth. Carmine Giardina struck out seven over three innings. Ty Kelley came on and retired the side in order in the ninth for his twelfth save.
The final game of the three game series is Friday night. Chad Thompson (3-2, 4.91) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Cedar Rapids has Michael Johnson (4-3, 5.24) as their scheduled starting pitcher. 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.
Brandon Macias (6th, 0 on in 1st inning off Frank De Jiulio, 1 out)
Yadiel Rivera (9th, 0 on in 4th inning off Frank De Jiulio, 1 out)
Eric Stamets (1st, none on in 1st inning off Kevin Shackelford, 1 out)
WP: Frank De Jiulio (4-2)
LP: Kevin Shackelford (1-3)
SAVE: Ty Kelley (12)