DAVENPORT, IA - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers seemed a bit angry that they had let a five run lead slip away at Modern Woodmen Park on Wednesday night. The Timber Rattlers led the Quad Cities River Bandits 5-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning. The Bandits would rally to tie the game 5-5, but Wisconsin pulled away with a decisive seven run eleventh inning for a 12-5 win.
Clint Coulter put the Timber Rattlers (20-21) up in the second inning. The Rattlers catcher launched a two-run home run with two outs in the top of the second. The home run was the third of the season for Coulter and his first since April 13.
The Timber Rattlers stretched out their lead with a run in the fifth and two in the sixth. Michael Reed tripled, his second three-base hit of the game, with two outs in the top of the fifth to drive in Alfredo Rodriguez. An error on a grounder off the bat of Coulter let Victor Roache score from third base with two outs in the sixth. Later in the sixth, Rodriguez singled to center and Coulter scored from second for a 5-0 lead.
The River Bandits (23-21) got to Blaski for a pair of runs in the sixth inning. Austin Elkins started the inning with a solo home run to right. Jordan Scott followed with a double. He stole third and scored on the play when the throw wound up in left field.
Those were the only two runs off Austin Blaski in the game. The right-hander went six innings, allowed five hits, walked one, and struck out two. He turned the 5-2 lead over to the bullpen.
Quad Cities got to within a run in the bottom of the eighth inning as Taylor Mangum walked the first two batters he faced. He gave up a single to load the bases with no outs. Closer Taylor Wall took over for Mangum at that point.
Carlos Correa greeted Wall with a single to center that scored a run. Pinch hitter Brian Blaski grounded into a force out at third to drive in the run that made it 5-4. Wall would get out of the inning with that one run lead intact.
But in the ninth, the Bandits would tie the game. Roberto Peña blooped in a single just fair down the right field line to start the inning. He was replaced by pinch runner Ryan Dineen, who moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. He was still at second with two outs. Then, Scott singled to center to drive in Dineen with the tying run.
Neither team scored in the tenth.
Tyrone Taylor, who entered the game as a pinch runner for Parker Berberet in the top of the eighth inning, started the Wisconsin eleventh with a walk. He stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. Coulter slammed a singled through the middle of the drawn in infield to drive in Taylor with the tie breaking run. The Rattlers were just getting warmed up in the frame.
Rodriguez followed with double into the left field corner. Coulter, who was running on the play, scored easily from first. That knocked River Bandits reliever John Neely out of the game.
Jose Sermo greeted Richard Rodriguez with an RBI double to right to make it 8-5. Sermo would be caught stealing and Rodriguez got the second out of the inning.
Then, Reed made a little history. The Rattlers right fielder tripled to right-center for his third three-bagger of the night. Reed became the first Timber Rattler and only the fourth player in Midwest League history to have three triples in a game. It's a feat that had not happened since Jason Smith did it for the Rockford Cubbies on September 2, 1998.
Mitch Haniger followed with an RBI double to drive in Reed. Victor Roache drew a walk. Adam Giacalone singled to drive in Haniger for a 10-5 lead. Taylor, the batter who started the inning, doubled to right to drive in both Roache and Giacalone and the Rattlers were up 12-5.
Blasik had to come in to get the final out of the inning.
Jono Armold, who had pitched a scoreless tenth, worked a scoreless eleventh to nail down the Rattlers extra inning victory. The win was the first of Armold's professional career.
Game two of the series is set for Thursday night at Modern Woodmen Park. Wisconsin has Jorge Lopez (0-3, 11.64) is their scheduled starting pitcher. Quad Cities plans to send Jamaine Cotton (0-0, 1.64) to the mound. Game time is 7:00pm. Tune in for the Miller Lite Pregame Show on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting at 6:40pm.
Clint Coulter (3rd, 1 on in 2nd inning off Jordan Jankowski, 2 out)
Austin Elkins (1st, 0 on in 6th inning off Austin Blaski, 0 out)
WP: Jono Armold (1-0)
LP: John Neely (1-3)