GRAND CHUTE, WI - The West Michigan Whitecaps beat the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 5-1 on Friday night at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium. Jake Stewart hit a three-run home run in the first inning for the Whitecaps. Hudson Randall and a pair of West Michigan relievers made those early runs hold up to end Wisconsin's modest two-game winning streak.
Wisconsin starting pitcher Tyler Wagner retired the first two West Michigan batters of the game on ground outs. But, the next two batters reached on seeing-eye singles. Then, Stewart lined a home run to the West Michigan bullpen in left-center for a 3-0 lead. Those were the only runs that Wagner would give up on the evening. He pitched six innings allowed a total of five hits.
Randall was a puzzle the Timber Rattlers (7-10) could not solve until late in the game. Randall was scoreless through 6-2/3 innings and had allowed just three hits. Then, Clint Coulter tripled to the base of the wall in right-center. Adam Giacalone followed with an RBI single to get Wisconsin on the scoreboard. West Michigan reliever Brennan Smith came on to get the final out of the seventh to protect the 3-1 lead.
West Michigan (9-10) added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth. Mike Strong struck out Stewart to start the inning, but a wild pitch on strike three let Stewart reach first. Zach Kirksey followed with a triple to drive in Stewart. A two-out single by Austin Schotts drove in Kirksey for the final run of the game.
Wisconsin did put a pair of runners on base with walks in the bottom of the ninth against Jose Valdez, but the tying run never got to the plate for the Timber Rattlers.
Giacalone led the Timber Rattlers offense with a pair of hits and the only RBI in the game.
The final game of the three-game series is Saturday afternoon. Damien Magnifico (2-0, 2.57) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. West Michigan has Jordan John (0-2, 6.00) as their starter. Game time is 1:05pm.
Saturday is a Fly Away Saturday presented by Funjet Vacations and Fox World Travel. A lucky fan will win charter airfare for two at this game.
Saturday is Ladies' Day at the ballpark, too. Some of the prizes available to win are: A diamond pendant from Rogers and Holland Jewelry, a set of luggage from Fox World Travel, flowers from Memorial Florists, and gift cards from Fox River Mall. There will also be wine & cheese sampling and drink specials.
If you can't make it out to the stadium, tune in for the game on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 12:45pm. Saturday's game is also available to subscribers of MiLB.TV.
Jake Stewart (1st, 2 on in 1st inning off Tyler Wagner, 2 out)
WP: Hudson Randall (2-2)
LP: Tyler Wagner (1-1)