GRAND CHUTE, WI - The big boppers on the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers roster hit a couple of big home runs to lead the team above .500. Mitch Haniger and Victor Roache both went deep as the Rattlers rallied for a 9-7 win over the Quad Cities River Bandits Tuesday night at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium. Haniger drove in three runs, but it was the two-run homer by Roache in the seventh inning that gave Wisconsin the lead for good.
Quad Cities (21-16) scored first. They got a run on a throwing error as the Rattlers were unsuccessful in turning a potential inning ending double play.
The Rattlers (18-17) sent eight men to the plate in the bottom of the first inning and scored four times. Haniger launched a two-run home run, his fourth dinger of the season, to left field to put Wisconsin up 2-1. Parker Berberet made it 4-1 with a two-run double later in the inning.
Then, the Bandits sent ten men to the plate in the top of the second inning and scored five runs for a 6-4 lead. The first run scored on an error after a double by Roberto Peña. There were two outs with runners at first and second when Carlos Correa sent a slow grounder near second. The flip to second for the inning ending force out was late as Teoscar Hernandez beat the play. That loaded the bases with two outs and the River Bandits made the most of the opportunity.
Rattlers starting pitcher Mike Strong walked Jesse Wierzbicki to force in a run. Terrell Joyce was next and his two-run double to right-center put Quad Cities up 5-4. An infield single by Rio Ruiz got Wierzbicki home and the lead was pushed to 6-4.
Wierzbicki added to the cushion with an RBI double in the top of the fourth inning and the River Bandits were up 7-4.
Jamaine Cotton, the River Bandits starting pitcher, settled in after the first inning and kept the Rattlers from scoring. He went five innings before turning the game over to Vincent Velasquez.
Wisconsin almost got to Velasquez in the sixth inning as Haniger walked and Roache singled to start the frame. But, the duo was left stranded when the inning ended.
The Rattlers rallied in the seventh. Orlando Arcia singled with one out and Taylor followed with a walk. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position. Michael Reed's grounder up the middle was enough to score Arcia. Taylor had to stop at third as Correa, the shortstop, made a nice play to keep the ball from getting into centerfield. Haniger was next and his sacrifice fly drove in Taylor to cut the Quad Cities lead to a run.
That brought Roache to the plate and the Rattlers slugger sent a towering fly ball to left that carried over the wall for a two-run home run and an 8-7 Timber Rattlers lead. The homer was the fourth of the season for Roache.
Chris McFarland tripled in the bottom of the eighth inning and scored on Mike Garza's fielder's choice for an insurance run to give Wisconsin a 9-7 lead.
Rattlers pitcher Tyler Wagner, who took over in the top of the sixth inning, pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to close out Quad Cities. Wagner allowed one hit and struck out five in four scoreless innings to earn his fourth win of the season.
The victory was the second straight for Wisconsin and moved the team over the .500 mark for the first time since they were 2-1 on April 6.
Game two of the series is Wednesday night. Leonard Lorenzo (1-2, 7.15) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Lance McCullers (0-3, 1.71) is set to start for the River Bandits. Game time is 6:35pm.
Wednesday night is a WIXX Bang for Your Buck Night with soda, beer, and hot dogs will be available for $1. It's also Halloween in May. Costume contests and plenty of spooky surprises will be on hand for the fans.
If you can't make it out to the ballpark, My NEW32's Sports Showdown will televise the game starting with the pregame show at 6:00pm. The game is also available on AM1280, WNAM and timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:15pm. Subscribers of MiLB.TV can catch the game that way, too.
Mitch Haniger (4th, 1 on in 1st inning off Jamine Cotton, 1 out)
Victor Roache (4th, 1 on in 7th inning off Vincent Velasquez, 2 out)
WP: Tyler Wagner (4-1)
LP: Vincent Velasquez (3-2)