BURLINGTON, IA - Victor Roache hit a big home run for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers against the Burlington Bees Saturday night at Community Field. But, it wasn't enough for the Timber Rattlers as they dropped a 4-3 decision to the Bees.
Burlington (54-78 overall, 28-39 second half) scored first. Exicardo Cayones drew a leadoff walk and stole second base. Chevy Clarke blooped a single down the line in left with one out and Cayones beat the throw home for a 1-0 lead.
Wisconsin (59-74, 30-38) loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the third inning. Dustin Houle singled, Max Walla walked, and Tyrone Taylor was hit by a pitch from starter Tyler DeLoache. Michael Reed drove in Houle with a sacrifice fly to tie the game. But, the Rattlers stranded Walla and Taylor when the inning ended.
Rattlers starting pitcher Tyler Wagner tossed five innings in his final appearance of the season. He allowed one run and struck out six. Wagner left the game with the score still tied.
Burlington greeted Rattlers reliever Harvey Martin with consecutive singles to start the bottom of the sixth. Then, Clarke bunted up the third base line on a sacrifice attempt. Martin fielded the ball cleanly, but fired wildly to first base. The ball sailed down the right field line to let the two runners on base cross home plate. Clarke ended up at third base. He would score moments later on a sacrifice fly by Garrett Cannizaro for a 4-1 lead.
The Rattlers struggled offensively in the after their run in the third inning. Houle doubled to start the fifth inning, but was stranded when reliever Robbie Powell came on to get the final out. Powell tossed two more scoreless innings before turning the game over to Andres Perez for the top of the eighth inning.
Perez recorded the first out of the eighth, but walked Alfredo Rodriguez on four pitches. He got ahead of Roache 1-2, but Perez left the next pitch where Roache could reach it. The Wisconsin designated hitter lined a home run over the wall in left-center field for his 22nd home run of the season to cut the Burlington lead to a single run.
The home run by Roache allowed him to tie Khris Davis for the franchise's single season home run record. Davis set the mark with 22 home runs in the 2010 season.
Parker Berberet continued the rally with a walk and that was all for Perez. Jake Boyd took over on the hill for Burlington and gave up a single to Orlando Arcia and a four-pitch walk to Mike Garza. Boyd's first pitch to Houle almost hit the Rattlers catcher to force in the tying run. Bees manager Jamie Burke came out to the mound after that pitch by Boyd and made another call to the bullpen. This one was for side-winding right-hander Kurt Spomer to enter the game.
Spomer got Houle to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to escape the eighth with Burlington's slim lead still intact.
Walla started the Wisconsin ninth inning with a chopper over the mound. Shortstop Angel Rosa made a nice play and a strong throw to first, but the ball was missed at first base for an error and Walla reached second base with the tying run on the play. Taylor dropped a sacrifice bunt that moved Walla to third with one away. Reed was next and his high chopper looked like it would get over the drawn in infield. But, Cannizaro made a leaping grab of the high bouncer, looked Walla back to third and threw a strike to first for the second out. Spomer got the final out on a grounder to short and the Bees held on to send Wisconsin to its fourth straight loss.
Game two of the series is Sunday afternoon at Community Field. Jorge Lopez (7-8, 5.38) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Ryan Crowley (10-7, 3.17) is set to start for the Bees. Game time is 2:00pm. Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or IHeartRadio starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 1:40pm.
Victor Roache (22nd, 1 on in 8th inning off Andres Perez, 1 out)
WP: Robbie Powell (3-1)
LP: Harvey Martin (2-5)
SAVE: Curt Spomer (6)