Chad Thompson followed up back-to-back complete-game shutouts by recording a career-high 10 strikeouts over six innings Saturday as Wisconsin beat Clinton, 9-1, in Game 1 of its Midwest League semifinal series.
Thompson (1-0) gave up a run on four hits to send the Timber Rattlers home with a chance to wrap up the best-of-3 series on Sunday night.
After giving up a solo homer to Daniel Paolini in the first, the Brewers prospect allowed just one LumberKing to advance past first base. Ramon Morla roped a triple to right in the bottom of the fourth but was stranded at third.
"My slider was working very well for me," the second-year pro said. "I was able to slide my fastball to my glove-hand side on the far side of the plate. I got that [to work] pretty well and I was able to get a lot of outside [strike] calls."
The bullpen did not miss a beat after Thompson departed, with Stosh Wawrzasek and Santo Manzanillo limiting Clinton to a hit and two walks over the final three frames. They combined to fan six, bringing Wisconsin's total to 16 strikeouts on the night.
The Timber Rattlers have been almost unhittable in the postseason, yielding just one run over the last 30 innings and five in four playoff games.
"There's a lot of good chemistry between the guys," Thompson said, "a lot of good energy coming from this pitching staff."
While the Rattlers' three first-round games were relatively low-scoring, Saturday's win was not.
Wisconsin did all of its scoring in the fourth and fifth inning. Shortstop Yadiel Rivera proved the catalyst with a three-run homer in the fourth and Michael Garza went back-to-back with a solo shot. Rivera added an RBI single in the fifth.
LumberKings starter Rusty Shellhorn (0-1) allowed one hit through three innings before stumbling in the fourth and was charged with eight of the Timber Rattlers' nine runs.
In other Midwest League action:
Fort Wayne 4, Lake County 3
Yeison Asencio drove in the go-ahead run with a one-out single in the bottom of the eighth inning as the TinCaps took the opener of the other semifinal series.
Asencio also delivered an RBI double in Fort Wayne's three-run first inning.