GENEVA, IL - Early offense and six scoreless innings from Taylor Williams put the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in position to win Saturday afternoon at Fifth Third Ballpark. But, the Kane County Cougars rallied for four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to deny the Rattlers a win. Yasiel Balaguert capped the comeback with a two-out, two-run single in Kane County's 5-4 win.
The Timber Rattlers (10-11) took advantage of a Kane County mistake to put the first runs of the game on the board. David Denson was at first with one out. Jose Pena sent a grounder to third for what might have been an inning ending double play. The throw to second was low and could not be handled and both runners were safe. Taylor Brennan drew a walk to load the bases. Rafael Neda sent a single to center to drive in both Denson and Pena for a 2-0 lead.
Wisconsin added to their lead with two more runs in the third inning. It was Brennan's turn to bat with the bases loaded and he smacked a single to left to score two runs for a 4-0 advantage.
That looked like more than enough for the Rattlers. Williams took the ball to start the game and allowed one hit over six innings. He walked one, struck out six, and turned that 4-0 lead over to the bullpen for the seventh inning.
Tyler Alexander got the first out after the stretch with a strikeout. The next two batters singled before Alexander got the second out with another K. Then, Cael Brockmeyer singled to right to knock in Kane County's first run.
Alexander pitched a scoreless eighth and went back out for the ninth.
David Bote was the first batter in the bottom of the ninth and he sent a grounder to third. Brennan fielded the ball cleanly, but threw wildly to first to allow Bote to reach. Alexander walked Danny Lockhart on a 3-2 pitch to put two on with no outs. Jordan Hankins was next and he singled to right to drive in Bote to pull the Cougars to within 4-2.
Wisconsin went to the bullpen and brought Harvey Martin on in relief of Alexander. Cael Brockmeyer was at the plate and on Martin's first pitch Lockhart strayed too far from second base. Neda threw from the plate down to second with Angel Ortega covering. Lockhart headed for third and Ortega's throw to Brennan was on target. But, Brennan missed the ball. Lockhart was at third and Hankins took second.
Martin did get Brockmeyer on a popout to short for the first out. But, he walked Trey Martin on four pitches to load the bases. Then, Jake Hannemann walked on four pitches to force in Lockhart and make the score 4-3.
Martin would get the second out when he struck out Carlos Penalver.
Balaguert, the eighth Cougar to bat in the inning, lined a 1-1 pitch from Martin down the left field line. Both Hankins and Trey Martin scored easily and the Cougars celebrated their walkoff win.
Kane County has won five straight games and holds the best record in the Midwest League at 16-6. The Timber Rattlers have gone 1-5 on the first six games of their seven game road trip.
The final game of the series - and of Wisconsin's road trip - is Sunday afternoon at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark. Barrett Astin (3-1, 1.23) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Kane County has named Jen-Ho Tseng (1-0, 2.93) as their starter for Sunday. Game time is 1:00pm. Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or IHeartRadio starting with the pregame show at 12:40pm.
WP: Nathan Dorris (2-1)
LP: Harvey Martin (1-1)