GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers gave their largest home crowd since 2008 a lot to cheer in a 12-8 victory over the Cedar Rapids Kernels Friday night at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. Wisconsin set a season high for hits in a game with fourteen to win their fourth straight game and they did it in front of 7,009 fans.
The Kernels (27-34) started the scoring with a run in the first inning. Chad Christensen lined a double off the top of the wall in left field to score Ryan Walker from second base for a 1-0 lead.
Wisconsin (29-31) loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the first inning against Kernels starter Ryan Eades. It appeared the Kernels would get out of the frame with the lead intact as Eades got a force play at the plate and a strikeout. Then, he hit Jose Pena to force in a run. Francisco Castillo followed with a two-run single to right-center and the Rattlers were up 3-1.
Rafael Neda added to the lead with an RBI single. Angel Ortega, the ninth man to bat in the inning, tripled to right to score both Castillo and Neda and Wisconsin had a 6-1 lead.
The Kernels would storm back to tie the game as they scored five runs on two hits in the top of the second. Timber Rattlers starting pitcher Zach Quintana hit the first batter and walked the next two to load the bases to start the inning. Quintana issued a free pass to Jonathan Murphy to force in a run and he was pulled from the game.
Walker greeted reliever Chris Razo with an RBI single. Christensen singled in another run with one out. Then, a wild pitch by Razo let in one more run. Bryan Haar's grounder to short scored the fifth run of the inning and that tied the game 6-6.
Wisconsin went back in front almost immediately in their half of the second. Michael Ratterree tripled to right with one out. Clint Coulter doubled to left to drive in the go ahead run. Coulter took third on an error and scored an RBI grounder by Pena. Castillo knocked in his third run of the game with a two-out single and Wisconsin was back up 9-6.
The Rattlers reached double digits in runs in the third inning. Johnny Davis singled with two out and stole second. Omar Garcia drove in Davis with a single that made it 10-6.
Christensen knocked in another run, his third of the game, with a single in the top of the fourth to cut into the Wisconsin lead.
Neda walked, Ortega singled, and Davis singled to load the bases with one out in the fifth. Garcia got Neda home with a sacrifice fly. An errant pickoff throw to first let Ortega score from third and the Rattlers were up 12-7.
Tristan Archer came out of the bullpen and only had one rough inning. He gave up a single to Walker, walked Engelb Vielma, and allowed a single to Christensen to load the bases. A walk to Garver forced in a run and made it 12-8. Archer regrouped and retired the final nine batters he faced to earn his third save of the season.
The last time the Timber Rattlers had a home crowd of over 7,000 was on August 2, 2008. They drew 7,190 to that game against the Great Lakes Loons.
Davis and Ortega each had three hits and Castillo drove in three runs to pace the Rattlers attack.
The Timber Rattlers have matched their season high winning streak of four straight games. But, the Rattlers stayed three games behind the Peoria Chiefs in the Western Division Wild Card race. Peoria won 1-0 at Beloit on Friday night. There are nine games remaining in the first half.
Wisconsin hits the road on Saturday to begin a three-game series with the Clinton LumberKings. Anthony Banda (1-5, 5.01) is the scheduled starting pitcher for Wisconsin. Eddie Campbell (4-3, 5.13) is set to start for the LumberKings. Game time is 6:30pm. Tune in for the radio broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or IHeartRadio starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:10pm.
WP: Chris Razo (1-0)
LP: Ryan Eades (3-7)
SAVE: Tristan Archer (3)