GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers fought back all Saturday night long against the Burlington Bees at Community Field. But, Wendell Soto took advantage of some late Wisconsin lapses to drive in the winning run on a bases loaded single in the bottom of the eleventh. Burlington edged the Rattlers 6-5.
Burlington (14-24) scored twice in the bottom of the first inning. Sherman Johnson started the inning with a double. Kyle Johnson followed with a bunt single. The throw to first was wild and allowed the first Johnson to score and the second Johnson to take second base. Later in the inning, Michael Bolaski drove in Kyle Johnson with a sacrifice fly.
Orlando Arcia cut the Bees lead in half with a solo home run in the top of the third inning. The Rattlers shortstop tagged a 2-2 pitch from Aaron Newcomb for his first homer of the season.
But, Burlington answered with two runs in the bottom of the third. Soto singled, his first of three hits in the game, on a sinking line drive to center. Sherman Johnson was next and he doubled to deep center to drive in Soto to put the Bees up 4-1.
Eric Semmelhack, Wisconsin's starting pitcher, settled in after those two runs by the Bees. He did not allow another hit and retired the last nine batters he faced to keep his team within striking distance.
Alfredo Rodriguez got the Timber Rattlers (19-20) to within two runs in the top of the fifth inning. His RBI single scored Clint Coulter from second base.
Arcia struck again in the top of the seventh inning. He singled with two outs to knock in Adam Giacalone to get the Rattler to within a run.
But, Burlington scored in the bottom of the seventh inning. An RBI single by Soto off Preston Gainey pushed the Bees lead back to two runs.
Then, the Rattlers rallied to tie the game in the eighth. Mitch Haniger hit a titanic home run to left with one out off Cam Bedrosian. Haniger's homer, a solo shot, was his fifth of the season.
Adam Giacalone kept the inning going by drawing a walk with two outs in the inning. Pinch runner Jose Sermo took over at first base and scooted around to third on a single to right-center by Chris McFarland. Clint Coulter tied the game with a single to right that scored Sermo.
Arcia drew a leadoff walk in the top of the ninth inning against Bees reliever Curt Spomer. Tyrone Taylor moved Arcia to second with a sacrifice bunt, but Arcia was left stranded. The Rattlers would not get another base runner in the game.
The winning rally for the Bees started when Chevy Clarke's high popup on the infield was dropped for an error. Zac Livingston was trying to bunt Clarke into scoring position, but Gainey would issue a walk to put runners on first and second. Kevin Moesquit was next and he bunted back to the mound. Gainey went to second, but his throw was late and the Bees had the bases loaded with no outs.
Soto worked the count to 2-2 before he lined a clean single to right-center to drive in the winning run for the Bees.
Game three of the series is Sunday afternoon at Community Field. Tyler Wagner (4-1, 2.12) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Ryan Crowley (2-1, 2.64) is set to start for the Bees. Game time is 2:00pm.
Tune in for the play-by-play action on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 1:40pm.
Orlando Arcia (1st, 0 on in 3rd inning off Aaron Newcomb, 0 out)
Mitch Haniger (5th, 0 on in 8th inning off Cam Bedrosian, 1 out)
WP: Joe Krehbiel (2-3)
LP: Preston Gainey (1-4)