Great Lakes (47-50 overall, 13-14 second half) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning. Darnell Sweeney singled to left to send Pedro Guerrero home from second base. Timber Rattlers starting pitcher Chad Pierce would retire the next twelve batters in a row and gave up one more hit over his seven innings of work. The Fond du Lac native walked one and struck out five.
The Rattlers (57-39, 13-14) tied the game with a run in the bottom of the sixth. Great Lakes starter Duke von Schamann left the game after Jonathan Lucroy's two out single moved Adrian Williams to second base. The Loons went to left-hander Danny Coulombe to face left-handed hitter Nick Ramirez. The Rattlers won this battle and Ramirez lined a 2-2 pitch to right and Williams beat the throw home with a dive into home plate.
The bullpens took over from there. Wisconsin reliever Michael Strong pitched four scoreless innings and struck out nine batters without allowing a walk. The Loons used five relievers after Coulombe and they strikeout sixteen.
At one point of the game - the final out of the eighth through the final out of the eleventh - three Great Lakes relievers (Juan Rodriguez, Matt Shelton, Mike Thomas) struck out ten Rattlers batters in a row.
Wisconsin had an opportunity to close out the game in the bottom of the twelfth inning. Greg Hopkins and Ben McMahan singled to start the frame against Thomas. But, Thomas escaped with popped up bunt and a pair of strikeouts.
The first two Loons were retired in the top of the thirteenth, but a four pitch walk put Pedro Guerrero on base. James Baldwin, who had been 0-for-4 with four strikeouts on the night, lined a double down the left field line to drive in Guerrero with the go-ahead run.
Chadwin Stang would reach on an error to start the bottom of the thirteenth inning, but Jose Dominguez recovered to get the last three outs and finish off the game.
Friday's game concluded a tight series between the teams. Two of the three games went to extra innings and all three games of the set between the Rattlers and Loons was decided by a single run.
The Timber Rattlers begin a three-game series with the Lansing Lugnuts Saturday night. Both teams won their respective divisions in the first half. The Lugnuts have the best record (63-33) and the Timber Rattlers have the second best record in the Midwest League this season. David Goforth (7-4, 5.11) is the scheduled starting pitcher for Wisconsin. Anthony DeScalfani (7-3, 3.26) is set to start for the Lugnuts. Game time is 6:35pm.
Lucroy went 1-for-3 on Friday night as he caught six innings in the second game of his minor league rehabilitation assignment from the Milwaukee Brewers. He is scheduled to be the designated hitter for all of Saturday's game against Lansing.
The band 1st Degree will perform a pre-game concert outside the stadium from 5:00pm to 6:30pm and the Timber Rattlers - in conjunction with Cumulus Broadcasting - are holding a Coats for Kids Drive. Donate a new or gently used coat or make a monetary donation in exchange for a Timber Rattlers hat or ticket voucher.
Saturday is also Christmas in July at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium. The first 1,000 fans to attend the game will receive a miniature baseball ornament from Bumper to Bumper and there will be Christmas music and decorations to get you into the holiday spirit. After the game, the Timber Rattlers will make you wish that Christmas happened more than once a year with a special FOX 11 fireworks display set to holiday tunes.
Plus, a Fly Away Saturday means that one lucky fan will win airfare for two from Funjet Vacations and Fox World Travel at this game!
WP: Mike Thomas (3-2)
LP: Tyler Cravy (1-4)
SAVE: Jose Dominguez (3)