GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers cracked a pair of home runs in a seven-run second inning on their way to a 7-4 win over the West Michigan Whitecaps Thursday night at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium. Chris McFarland and Jose Sermo each hit long homers in Wisconsin's big inning to lead the Rattlers to their second straight win.
McFarland started scoring for the Timber Rattlers (7-9). Victor Roache extended his hitting streak to four games with a leadoff single in the second. McFarland crushed a 2-0 pitch from Montreal Robertson over the wall in left for a two-run homer. Robertson gave up a walk, a double, and another walk with one out to let Wisconsin load the bases. Adam Giacalone scored from third on a wild pitch by Robertson. Then, Sermon launched a long home run to right-center. The three run dinger put the Rattlers up 6-0. Later in the inning, Orlando Arcia scored from second after a miscue on a grounder off the bat of Roache to put the Rattlers up 7-0.
West Michigan (8-10) got on the scoreboard against Wisconsin starting pitcher Eric Semmelhack in the top of the fifth. Zach Kirksey homered to right to lead off the inning. That would be the only mark against Semmelhack. He went five innings, scattered six hits, walked two, and struck out two before turning the game over to the bullpen.
Preston Gainey took the mound in the top of the sixth inning and worked two scoreless innings. But, the Whitecaps made it interesting in the top of the eighth. They loaded the bases with one out on a hit batsman, a double, and a walk. Jake Stewart drove in a run with a single. Then, Kirksey singled off the glove of a diving Adam Giacalone at first base and two more runs scored to make the score 7-4 and bring the potential game-tying run to the plate for West Michigan. But Gainey recorded a strikeout and a routine fly out to center to get out of the eighth.
Rodolfo Fernandez came on for the top of the ninth inning and pitched a 1-2-3 inning to close out the Whitecaps and to earn his first professional save.
The Timber Rattlers and Whitecaps continue their series on Friday night. Tyler Wagner (1-0, 4.09) is the scheduled starting pitcher for Wisconsin. Hudson Randall (1-2, 0.64) is set to start for West Michigan. Game time is 6:35pm.
Friday night is a North Shore Bank Family Night. Children 12 and under receive a voucher good for a free hotdog and soda. Children 14 and under may run the bases after the game courtesy of Molina Healthcare.
If you can't make it out to the stadium, tune for the debut broadcast of Timber Rattlers baseball on My NEW32's Sports Showdown. The game is also available on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:15pm.
Subscribers to MiLB.TV may also catch Friday's action.
Zach Kirksey (1st, 0 on in 5th inning off Eric Semmelhack, 0 out)
Chris McFarland (2nd, 1 on in 2nd inning off Montreal Robertson, 0 out)
Jose Sermo (2nd, 2 on in 2nd inning off Montreal Robertson, 2 out)
WP: Eric Semmelhack (1-0)
LP: Montreal Robertson (1-2)
SAVE: Rodolfo Fernandez (1)