LANSING, MI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers didn't score any ninth inning runs in their first 23 games of the 2013 season. They scored five in the ninth inning on Friday night to force extra innings in a game against the Lasing Lugnuts at Jackson Field at Cooley Law School Stadium. Jose Sermo completed the comeback with a two-run triple in the tenth to give Wisconsin a stunning 10-8 victory over the Lugnuts.
Dwight Smith, Jr. started the Lansing (8-17) first inning with a double. He took third on a ground out. Christian Lopes knocked in Smith with another ground out for a 1-0 Lansing lead.
Lansing loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the third inning on a pair of walks and a bloop single. Rattlers starting pitcher Leonard Lorenzo limited the damage to one run. He got Dalton Pompey to ground into a 4-6-3 double play that scored the run from third. Lorenzo got the third out with a line out to first.
But, the Lugnuts scored two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. They had runners at second and third with one out. Gustavo Pierre singled to center to drive in the runner from third. The throw into the infield was wild and the runner from second, who had stopped at third, trotted in as the Rattlers defense chased the baseball.
Wisconsin (10-14) cut into the Lansing lead with two runs in the top of the fifth inning. Mike Garza doubled with one out. Alfredo Rodriguez plated Garza with a single. Later in the inning, Mitch Haniger sent Rodriguez home with an RBI single and the Rattlers were only down 4-2.
But, the Lugnuts pulled away with four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning off reliever Damien Magnifico. The first two batters reached on a walk and a hit-and-run single to put runners on the corners. A tough error on a difficult hop on second baseman Chris McFarland let the first run score and allowed the Lugnuts to put runners on second and third with no outs. Pierre followed with a two-run single for a 7-2 Lansing lead.
The final run of the Lugnuts sixth inning scored when Kellen Sweeney grounded into a force out at second with runners at the corners.
Wisconsin started their rally in the eighth. Parker Berberet doubled with one out against Lansing reliever Tucker Donahue. Garza collected his third hit of the game on a two-out RBI single to center. Rodriguez followed with another single, but Donahue got the final out to end the threat.
In the ninth, Haniger walked to start the inning. Victor Roache was next and he sent a sharp grounder to short that might have been a double play. But, the ball was mishandled for an error and Wisconsin had two on with no outs. Giacalone delivered an RBI single to make the score 8-4.
The Lugnuts got the first out of the inning when Donahue struck out Sermo, but Berberet followed with a towering flyball to left that hit the top of the wall for a double. Roache scored on the play and Giacalone could only take third due to the possibility that the ball could have been short of the wall and caught for an out.
Lansing went to Chuck Ghysels, their closer, after the double by Berberet. Chris McFarland greeted Ghysels with a bunt single that scored Giacalone to make the score 8-6. Garza followed with an RBI single to send in Berberet and get McFarland around to third base. Rodriguez tied the game with a sacrifice fly.
In the tenth inning, Haniger walked and stole second. Giacalone was up with one out and the Lugnuts elected to walk him intentionally to face Sermo.
Sermo, who was 0-for-8 with four strikeouts in his first eight plate appearances of the series, lined the first pitch he saw in the tenth inning into the right field corner for a two-run triple and a 10-8 Timber Rattlers lead.
Taylor Wall pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the tenth to nail down the Wisconsin's big comeback.
The Timber Rattlers continue their trip through Michigan with a series against the Great Lakes Loons on Saturday night in Midland. Austin Blaski (1-1, 2.04) is the scheduled starting pitcher for Wisconsin. Great Lakes, the Midwest League affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, has Carlos Frias (3-0, 1.14) as their scheduled starter. First pitch at Dow Diamond is scheduled for 6:05pm CDT.
Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 5:45pm. Saturday's game is also available on MiLB.TV.
WP: Damien Magnifico (3-0)
LP: Chuck Ghysels (0-1)
SAVE: Taylor Wall (2)