GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers had a 12-4 lead over the Clinton LumberKings after scoring seven runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on Saturday at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. Clinton closed the gap with a run in the sixth and six in the seventh and finished off the Rattlers with five runs in the ninth inning. Austin Wilson drove in six runs for the LumberKings in their 16-13 win.
Clinton (14-13) scored twice on three hits in the first inning. Ian Miller started the game with a single and stole second. Zach Shank, he second batter of the inning, singled to put runners on the corners. Jack Reinheimer followed with a single to drive in Miller and send Shank around to third base. Reinheimer stole second with Wilson at the plate. Then, Wilson knocked in Shank with a grounder to short.
Wisconsin's opponents have scored first in the first six games of this seven game homestand.
The Rattlers (12-16) answered in the bottom of the first by scoring a run without a hit. Clinton starting pitcher Edwin Diaz walked the first two batters of the inning. Omar Garcia started the inning and drew the first walk. He stole second and third. Michael Ratterree drew a walk and stole second. The throw to get Ratterree sailed into center and Garcia scored.
Clinton added to their lead in the top of the second inning on an RBI single by Lonnie Kauppila.
Wisconsin staged a two out rally in the bottom of the third inning. Garcia walked to lead off the inning, stole second, and stole third. He was still there with two outs. Taylor Brennan singled to drive him in and the Rattlers were down 3-2. David Denson would single and Chris McFarland came to the plate. McFarland launched a home run, his fourth of the season, to left. The three-run blast gave the Rattlers a 5-3 lead.
Wilson cut into Wisconsin's lead in the top of the fifth with a sacrifice fly against Wisconsin starting pitcher Barrett Astin.
Leoncio Munoz, Clinton's second pitcher, walked the first two Timber Rattlers batters he faced in the bottom of the fifth. Both Ratterree and Clint Coulter took their walks, but were still at first and second with two outs. The Rattler bats woke up to plate seven runs in the inning. McFarland singled to drive in Ratterree. Jose Pena doubled and that got Coulter and McFarland across the pay station. Steve Halcomb kept the inning going with a walk. Angel Ortega singled and that got Pena home. Garcia doubled to score Halcomb and knock Munoz out of the game with the Rattlers up 10-4.
Ratterree, in his second plate appearance of the inning, greeted reliever Blake Holovach with a two-run double off the wall in right field. That capped the scoring in the inning and the Rattlers were up 12-4.
Tyler Linehan entered the game in the top of the sixth inning and gave up a leadoff triple to Burt Reynolds. Christian Carmichael drove in Reynolds with a grounder to short. The Rattlers still led 12-5 after the sixth inning.
The LumberKings sent eleven men to the plate in the top of the seventh inning to make the score 12-11.
Shank walked to start the comeback. Reinheimer singled. Wilson doubled to drive in both runners. Tyler O'Neill singled and Wilson scored. Later in the inning, O'Neill scored on a grounder to third. The Rattlers lead was just 12-8, but the LumberKings had two outs and none on after O'Neill scored.
But, Carmichael singled, Kauppila walked, and Miller singled to drive in Carmichael. That hit drove Linehan out of the game and the Rattlers lead was down to 12-9. Harvey Martin took over for Linehan, but gave up an RBI single to Shank that scored Kauppila. Martin got the final out of the frame to keep the Rattlers up by a run.
Wisconsin added a run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Halcomb was on third and Garcia was on first with one out. Ratterree drove a foul popup down the right field line. Shank, the second baseman, made the catch with his back to the plate. Halcomb tagged and scored for a 13-11 edge.
Martin tossed a 1-2-3 top of the eighth and retired the first two batters he faced in the top of the ninth.
Kauppila, the #9 hitter in the Clinton lineup, started another two out rally when he singled up the middle on a 2-2 pitch. Miller also singled. Shank, who is 6-for-8 and has been on base nine times in the first two games of this series, drove in Kauppila with a single. That cut Wisconsin's lead to one run with runners on the corners and two outs.
Reinheimer hit a slicing fly ball down the right field line and it stayed fair. The ball bounced off the wall in the corner for a two-run triple and the LumberKings led 14-13. Reinheimer is 7-for-11 in the first two games of the series.
Wilson put an exclamation point on the inning by lining a home run down the line in left. His two-run shot made the score 16-14.
Rafael Pineda, Clinton's fourth pitcher of the afternoon, worked a scoreless eighth. He allowed a leadoff single to Pena in the bottom of the ninth, but Wisconsin could not rally. Pineda was the only pitcher for either team to not allow a run on Saturday afternoon.
The teams combined for 34 hits in the game. Clinton collected 21 while the Rattlers had 13. McFarland led the way for the Rattlers as he was 3-for-5 with four RBI and a couple of runs scored.
The final game of series - and Wisconsin's homestand - is Sunday afternoon. The Timber Rattlers send Tristan Archer (0-1, 1.93) to the mound as their starting pitcher. The LumberKings have named Rigoberto Garcia as their starting pitcher. Garcia will be making his 2014 debut tomorrow. Game time is 1:05pm.
Fans may play catch on the field from noon to 12:30pm on Sunday courtesy of Rasmussen College.
It's Brewers Sunday from the Rattlers and 107.5, The Fan. Wisconsin players and coaches will wear their Brewer-themed Sunday jerseys and Milwaukee legend Gorman Thomas will make a personal appearance at the ballpark. There are a limited number of VIP Packages (box seat ticket, a pregame meet & greet with Thomas, and one guaranteed autograph) for $35 from the Timber Rattlers. Thomas will also throw out a ceremonial first pitch and sign for fans on the third base concourse near the Festival Grill until the fifth inning.
Please see this link to read the autograph guidelines for the Gorman Thomas appearance.
All Timber Rattlers players will be available for a postgame autograph session on this busy Sunday afternoon.
If you can't make it out to the ballpark, the radio broadcast can be heard on AM1280, WNAM or IHeartRadio starting with the pregame show at 12:45pm. Sunday's game is also available to subscribers of MiLB.TV.
Austin Wilson (3rd, 1 on in 9th inning off Harvey Martin, 2 out)
Chris McFarland (4th, 2 on in 3rd inning off Edwin Diaz, 2 out)
WP: Rafael Pineda (2-2)
LP: Harvey Martin (2-2)