BURLINGTON, IA - Ryan Etsell barely outdueled Barrett Astin on Tuesday night at Community Field. Etsell allowed one run on six hits over six innings. Astin allowed two runs - one earned - on six hits over seven innings. The unearned run was the difference as Etsell's Burlingon Bees defeated Astin's Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 2-1.
Burlington (11-6) loaded the bases with three straight singles in the bottom of the fourth inning. Rattlers starting pitcher Barrett Astin got a foul pop out for the first out. Mark Shannon was next and he sent a slow grounder to second. Wisconsin got the runner at second, but Shannon barely beat the throw to first to deny the Rattlers an inning-ending double play and let the runner from third score for a 1-0 lead.
Eric Aguilera singled to start the bottom of the fourth inning. He didn't try to go to second, but the throw in from left field sailed on Jose Pena and wound up near the tarp behind first base. This error allowed Aguilera to take third base. Anthony Bemboom followed with a single and the Bees were up 2-0.
Wisconsin (9-8) got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth, but was left wondering what could have been.
Angel Ortega started the inning with a single. A balk by Etsell sent him to second. An infield single by Johnny Davis got Ortega to third base. Davis was running on a pitch to Francisco Castillo and the ball bounced a short distance behind Burlington catcher Stephen McGee. Ortega took off for home and scored without a play.
Castillo sent a flyball to shallow right for the first out and the speedy Davis challenged the arm of Ranyelmy Mendoza. Davis won the race to third, but overslid the base. He got up and - instead of trying to get back to third - lit out for the plate. He was caught in a rundown before eventually being tagged out.
Chris McFarland extended the inning with a single and stole second base with Clint Coulter at the plate. Coulter sent a grounder to the hole between short and third with McFarland racing for third. Burlington shortstop Erick Salcedo made the stop on the ball and - instead of throwing to first to try to get Coulter - ran at McFarland, who had rounded third too far. McFarland got caught in another rundown between third and home and was tagged out for the final out of the inning.
The Rattlers had an opportunity in the top of the eighth inning as Steve Halcomb walked to start the inning against Bees reliever Trevor Foss. Ortega sacrificed Halcomb to second base. Foss got the second out on a flyball to center. That brought Castillo to the plate. The Rattlers right fielder lined a 3-2 pitch from Foss to deep to right, but Mendoza raced back to make a leaping grab just shy of the warning track.
Bees closer Alan Busenitz worked around a two-out single by David Denson in the top of the ninth inning and struck out the side to record his fourth save of the season.
Clint Coulter led the Rattlers offense with two hits.
Astin pitched well, but took the loss. His seven innings set a single game high as a professional. He also struck out three without walking a batter. Astin has struck out thirteen and walked none in 22 innings pitched over four games for the Rattlers this season. But, he took the loss on Tuesday in Burlington and his record fell to 3-1.
The Bees have won the first two games of the four-game series. Dating back to the 2013 season Burlington has also won the last six meetings between these teams.
Game three of this series is scheduled for Wednesday night. Anthony Banda (0-2, 3.46) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Rattlers. Clint Sharp (0-1, 3.95) takes the mound for the Bees. Game time is 6:30pm. Tune in for the pregame show at 6:10 on AM1280, WNAM or IHeartRadio.
WP: Ryan Etsell (2-0)
LP: Barrett Astin (3-1)
SAVE: Alan Busenitz (4)