GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers squandered a big lead, but managed to defeat the Quad Cities River Bandits 9-8 on Saturday night at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. Taylor Brennan went 2-for-2 and drove in four runs for the Timber Rattlers, who won despite being outhit 9-6 in the game.
Wisconsin (47-44 overall, 11-11 second half) took advantage of three walks by Quad Cities starting pitcher Jandel Gustave in the bottom of the first inning to score three runs. Johnny Davis drew a walk to start the inning. Michael Ratterree and Clint Coulter each drew walks with one out to load the bases. Gustave got a strikeout for the second out of the inning, but threw a wild pitch to let Davis score. Taylor Brennan followed with a bloop single to right that drove in two runs for a 3-0 lead.
The Timber Rattlers added to their lead in the third inning. Ratterree drew a one out walk and Coulter singled to right on a hit-and-run to put runners on the corners. Brennan doubled to left to drive in two more runs. Then, Brennan stole third and scored when the throw sailed into left field and the Rattlers were up 6-0.
Quad Cities (47-44, 12-10) got their first run in the fourth inning. Chase McDonald singled to drive in Tyler White from second with one out, but was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double. Rattlers starter Anthony Banda escaped the inning without allowing more damage.
Chris McFarland and Michael Ratterree had back-to-back RBI singles in the bottom of the fourth inning to push the Wisconsin lead out to 8-1.
Banda walked Jake Rodriguez, the leadoff batter, in the top of the fifth, a passed ball sent him to second and an errant pickoff throw by Banda to second allowed Rodriguez to take third base. Brett Phillips and Thomas Lindauer had back-to-back RBI doubles with one out to make it 8-3 and drive Banda out of the game. Chris Razo came out of the bullpen and got the final two outs of the inning.
Razo went back out for the sixth and gave up a double to McDonald on a routine fly ball to medium right-center that dropped in for a hit. A passed ball with the next batter up sent McDonald to third, but Razo got the next two outs on strikeouts. Razo struck out James Ramsay to end the inning, but the ball eluded Coulter for his third passed ball of the game. The dropped third strike allowed McDonald to score and Ramsay to reach to keep the inning going.
Phillips doubled again to put runners on second and third with two outs. Razo threw a wild pitch to let Ramsay score. Then, an error on a grounder to second allowed Phillips to score and the Rattlers lead was down to 8-6.
Wisconsin had two on with no outs in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn't add any insurance. It would cost them.
Victor Diaz, who had tossed a scoreless seventh, walked Phillips with one out in the eighth. Two errors on one play off a grounder to third by Thomas Lindauer put runners at the corners with one out. Diaz struck out Ronnie Mitchell for the second out.
Tyler White worked the count to 3-2 against Diaz and lined a double to right-center. Phillips and Lindauer scored to tie the game 8-8.
Quad Cities brought in knuckleball pitcher Blaine Sims in the bottom of the eighth inning. McFarland reached on an error, the fifth of the night on the River Bandits, with one out. McFarland stole second and the River Bandits walked Ratterree intentionally. Paul Eshleman's grounder to second wasn't handled cleanly and all the River Bandits could get was the second out of the inning at first base.
McFarland scored the go-ahead run when a knuckler from Sims got back to the screen with Dustin DeMuth at the plate and the Rattlers were up 9-8.
Diaz didn't allow the River Bandits any chances in the ninth as he retired them 1-2-3 to close out the game.
Both defenses committed five errors. The five runs scored against Wisconsin's bullpen were unearned. There were five wild pitches - three by Bandits pitchers and two by Rattlers pitchers. The pitchers combined for 14 walks and 19 strikeouts in the game.
Quad Cities went 4-for-17 with runners in scoring position while the Rattlers were 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position.
Game three of the series is Sunday afternoon. Zach Quintana (2-4, 5.69) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Edison Frias (5-4, 5.92) is scheduled to start for the River Bandits. Game time is 1:05pm.
The Tour de France just started and you can get the feeling and get active on 'Bike to the Ballpark' Day presented by Affinity Health System. If you ride your bicycle to the game, you won't have to pay for parking and you will receive $1 off your ticket. Plus, the first 500 fans ages 2 and up to attend the game will receive a free bike helmet and Affinity will also be there to help get your helmet to fit properly with a professional helmet fitting.
Fans can play catch on-field courtesy of Rasmussen College before the game. Jim Slaton, the Milwaukee Brewers career leader in wins, innings pitched, and shutouts, will be at the game and available for autographs during the game. Follow the game closely as you play Potawatomi Baseball Bingo and be the first to yell, "BINGO!"
Timber Rattlers players and coaches will be wearing gold Rattlers jerseys based on the design of the Milwaukee Brewers and all Timber Rattlers players will be available for a postgame autograph session.
If you can't make it out to the ballpark, tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or IHeartRadio starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 12:45pm. Sunday's game is also available to subscribers of MiLB.TV.
WP: Victor Diaz (3-3)
LP: Blaine Sims (1-1)