The Rattlers (55-36 overall, 11-11 second half) rallied with two outs in the top of the first inning to grab a lead. Brandon Macias was hit by a pitch for the sixteenth time this season to get on with two away. Ben McMahan drilled a double to the gap in left-center to send Macias all the way home from first base for a 1-0 lead.
In the second inning, Mike Garza scored from third on a wild pitch to extend the lead to 2-1.
Fort Wayne (43-49, 12-10) got a run in the bottom of the second inning. Duanel Jones singled to start the inning, moved to second on a wild pitch, and took third on a fly out to right. An RBI grounder by Lee Orr got Jones home and cut the Wisconsin lead to a run.
The teams traded runs in the fifth inning. Macias doubled to left-center and Max Walla raced home from first base for a 3-1 lead in the top of the frame. Fort Wayne came back in the bottom of the inning on a leadoff double by Kyle Gaedele, a sacrifice bunt by Felix Cabrera, and a sacrifice fly by Jankowsi for their run.
After that, Pierce shutdown the TinCaps through the eighth inning. The Fond du Lac Wisconsin native pitched a professional high eight innings, struck out four and left the game with a 3-2 lead. He scattered five hits and walked two.
Kevin Shackelford, who tossed three scoreless innings and picked up a win on Wednesday at Lake County, came on to pitch the ninth and gave up a leadoff double to Jones. Austin Hedges was next and his single to left put runners on the corners. Shackelford got ahead of Orr 0-2, but the TinCaps first baseman lined the next pitch through the middle of the diamond to drive Jones in with the tying run.
A sacrifice bunt by Gaedele moved the both runners into scoring position and Wisconsin responded with an intentional walk to load the bases to set up a double play. But, Jankowski smacked the first pitch of his at bat into right to knock in the game winning run.
Less than 24 hours earlier, the Timber Rattlers lost 7-6 in walkoff fashion in a 15 inning game at Lake County. The Timber Rattlers have won eight games on walkoff hits at home. But, including Saturday's game, opponents have eight walkoff wins over Wisconsin.
Game two of the series from Parkview Field is Sunday afternoon. David Goforth (5-4, 5.42) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Cody Hebner (6-4, 4.42) is set to start for the TinCaps. Game time is 2:05pm CDT. Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 1:45pm.
WP: Daniel Cropper (4-1)
LP: Kevin Shackelford (2-4)