MIDLAND, MI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are starting to make a habit of this comeback thing. For the second night in a row, the Rattlers rallied late for a come from behind victory. On Saturday at Dow Diamond, the Rattlers were down 3-0 to the Great Lakes Loons heading into the seventh inning. The Rattlers scored one in the seventh, two in the eighth, and three in the ninth for a 6-4 victory.
The Loons (12-16) took the lead in the bottom of the second. Wisconsin starting pitcher Austin Blaski walked James Baldwin on four straight pitches to open the inning. A passed ball let Baldwin take second. A sacrifice bunt put Baldwin on third base. Corey Seager drove in Baldwin with ground out to second.
Wisconsin (11-14) had a few chances early in the game against Great Lakes starter Carlos Frias. Tyrone Taylor singled and stole second with two outs in the third. Mitch Haniger and Adam Giacalone singled in the fourth inning to put runners on the corners with one out. In the fifth, Orlando Arcia singled with one out and was at second with two outs. However, Frias escaped each time without allowing a run.
Great Lakes had one hit in the bottom of the fifth inning, but scored a pair of runs. Blaski walked Jesmuel Valentin, the number nine batter in the Loons lineup, with one out. Valentin stole second and took third on a grounder to the right side of the infield. Jeremy Rathjen sent a grounder to short that was misplayed for an error to let Valentin score. Rathjen would steal second and score on a single by Seager for a 3-0 lead.
Frias pitched a scoreless sixth inning and left the game with six strikeouts along with that 3-0 lead.
Wisconsin chipped away with a single run in the top of the seventh against the Loons bullpen. Taylor singled with two outs to drive in Clint Coulter from second base.
In the eighth, the Rattlers loaded the bases with one out against Arismendy Ozoria. Haniger walked and Victor Roache was hit by a pitch. Giacalone bunted the runners into scoring position and Jose Sermo drew a walk. That walk brought Scott Griggs, the fourth Loons pitcher of the night, out of the bullpen.
Griggs got the second out of the inning and was ahead of Chris McFarland 1-2. But, the Wisconsin designated hitter lined the next pitch to center to drive in the runs that tied the game 3-3.
Rodolfo Fernandez, who relieved Blaski to start the bottom of the sixth inning, pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning to keep the game tied.
Griggs struggled to start the top of the ninth as he walked Taylor. One out later he walked Haniger and hit Roache to load the bases. Giacalone was not bunting in this spot. He lined a 2-2 pitch from Griggs to right-center to knock in two runs and give the Rattlers the lead.
New London, Wisconsin native Jake Hermsen took over for Griggs and Jose Sermo greeted him with a sacrifice fly to score Roache for a 6-3 lead.
Taylor Wall came on in the ninth and gave up a two-out solo home run to Pat Stover. But, that was as close as the Loons would get. Wall earned his third save of the season when he got the final out of the game to nail down Wisconsin's first three-game winning streak of the season.
Fernandez was rewarded for his three scoreless frames with his first professional victory.
The Timber Rattlers had trailed Lansing 8-2 with two outs in the eighth inning on Friday night at Cooley law School Stadium, but rallied for a 10-8 win in ten innings.
Game two of the series is Sunday afternoon. Ryan Gibbard (1-1, 2.04) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. The Loons have Lyndsey Caughel (0-2, 1.29) as their scheduled starter. Game time is 2:05pm CDT. Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 1:45pm. Sunday's game is also available on MiLB.TV.
Pat Stover (1st, 0 on in 9th inning off Taylor Wall, 2 out)
WP: Rodolfo Fernandez (1-0)
LP: Scott Griggs (0-2)
SAVE: Taylor Wall (3)