GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers homecoming was going great on Friday night at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium. The team had a 5-1 lead through five innings against the Peoria Chiefs in their first home game since May 16. But, the Chiefs scored ten runs over the final four innings to defeat the Rattlers 11-5.
Wisconsin (23-27) had an opportunity to take the lead in the bottom of the second against Chiefs starter Kyle Helisek. Victor Roache reached on catcher's interference and Adam Giacalone doubled to left to put runners on second and third with no outs. Helisek came back to strike out the next two batters and get a grounder to second to keep the game scoreless.
The Chiefs (28-24) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third. Adam Ehrlich doubled to start the inning, but was still at second with two outs. Jacob Wilson put Peoria in front with an RBI single that got through the infield.
The Rattlers had plenty of chances in the bottom of the fourth on cashed in for four runs to take the lead. Michael Reed started the inning with a single. Roache followed with a double down the third base line to score Reed with the tying run. Roache moved up to third on a grounder. Then, Parker Berberet was walked intentionally to set up a lefty-lefty match-up between Helisek and Max Walla.
Walla foiled the strategy with a single to right-center to score Roache and give the Rattlers a 2-1 lead.
Later in the fourth, Wisconsin had the bases loaded with two outs. Orlando Arcia singled to right-center to drive in two more runs for a 4-1 lead.
Roache padded the Rattlers lead to 5-1 with a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. The high fly to left carried out of the ballpark for Roache's sixth homer of the season.
Damien Magnifico, Wisconsin's starting pitcher, struck out six and allowed one run over five innings. He was in line for his sixth win of the season.
The Chiefs chipped away at the Wisconsin lead after Magnifico left the game. They scored a pair of unearned runs against Leonard Lorenzo in the top of the sixth inning. A single and an error put runners at second and third with one out. Charlie Tilson drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly. Ehrlich singled with two outs to drive in the second run of the frame.
Peoria had runners at second and third with one out in the top of the seventh. Patrick Wisdom grounded too short and the runner at second was tagged out in a rundown, but the runner from third scored to cut the Rattlers lead to one run.
Rodolfo Fernandez came on in the top of the eighth inning and could not hold off the Chiefs. A leadoff walk, an infield single, and a sacrifice bunt put runners at second and third for the Chiefs. Breyvic Valera had a 1-2 count against him and sent a slow roller to third. The throw to the plate was off target and the tying run scored.
Fernandez got the second out and had Wilson 0-2. Valera stole second on a 1-2 pitch. Then, Wilson singled to drive in two runs and the Chiefs were up 7-5.
Peoria put the game away with four unearned runs in the top of the ninth. There were two outs and nobody on for the Chiefs in the top of the ninth inning when an error allowed Kelly to reach again and extend the inning. Tilson followed with a single. Then, Ehrlich singled to drive in Kelly. Valera doubled to drive in Tilson. Ildemaro Vargas capped the inning with a two-run single and the Chiefs were up 11-5.
Roache went 2-for-2 with two runs, two RBI, and reached base four times in the game. He also took first on catcher's interference in the second and was hit by a pitch in the seventh inning.
Game two of the series is Saturday night. Austin Blaski (2-1, 1.67) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Joe Cuda (2-3, 5.80) is set to start for the Chiefs. Game time is 6:35pm.
Saturday is a Fly Away Saturday from Funjet Vacations and Fox World Travel. One lucky fan will win airfare for two from Funjet Vacations and Fox World Travel at this game as part of Fly Away Saturday. Stick around after the game for the first FOX 11 fireworks show of the season.
If you can't make it out to the stadium, tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:15pm. Saturday's game is also available to subscribers of MiLB.TV.
Victor Roache (6th, 0 on in 5th inning off Joe Scanio, 1 out)
WP: Thomas Lee (1-0)
LP: Rodolfo Fernandez (1-2)