EASTLAKE, OH - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers scored five runs in the first inning to grab an early lead that they never relinquished on Wednesday night at Classic Park. Wisconsin defeated the Lake County Captains 8-4 to win their third straight game.
The Rattlers (53-47 overall, 17-14 second half) pounced on the Captains right away. Leadoff hitter Johnny Davis started the game with a walk. Chris McFarland extended his hitting streak to six games with a bunt single. The duo pulled a double steal with Michael Ratterree at the plate and Davis scored when the throw to third sailed into left field.
Ratterree would draw a walk after McFarland have moved to third on a wild pitch. Ratterree would wind up at second on a wild pitch with David Denson at bat. Denson cashed in both runners with a single to center to give the Rattlers a 3-0 lead four batters into the game.
Later in the first, Taylor Brennan was on second and Omar Garcia was at first with two outs. Jose Pena lined a double into the corner in left to drive in both runners for a 5-0 lead.
The Captains (42-59, 15-16) got a run in the bottom of the first inning on a solo home run by Clint Frazier.
Wisconsin starting pitcher Preston Gainey retired the next seven batters he faced, but allowed two-out singles to Claudio Bautista and Frazier in the bottom of the third. Gainey appeared to get out of the inning on a ground out by Mike Pappi. However, catcher's interference was called on the play and the Captains had the bases loaded. Nellie Rodriguez drilled a single to left to drive in a pair of runs and Wisconsin's lead was cut to 5-3.
Pena added to the Rattlers lead in the top of the fourth with a long, solo home run to left to make the score 6-3.
The Timber Rattlers kept adding on in the inning. Davis and McFarland each singled to put runners on the corners with one out. McFarland stole second on a pitch that struck out Ratterree, but the throw went to third to try and get Davis. The throw was wild again and Davis scored to make it 7-3. Denson drove in his third run of the game when his single off the glove of the first baseman allowed McFarland to score.
Wisconsin's 8-3 lead was tested in the bottom of the fourth inning as Gainey gave up a single and back-to-back walks to load the bases. A wild pitch by Gainey let one run score and move the other runners up to second and third. Ivan Castillo appeared to pull the Captains back to within three runs with a sacrifice fly to left-center. But, the runner at third was ruled to have left early and was doubled off third base. Gainey escaped the fourth with no more damage and pitched a scoreless fifth.
Seth Harvey took over the mound duties for the Rattlers in the sixth and pitched two scoreless innings before turning over the 8-4 lead to Luke Curtis in the top of the eighth.
Curtis closed out the game with a perfect eighth and a 1-2-3 ninth.
Game two of the series is scheduled for Thursday morning at Classic Park. Anthony Banda (4-6, 4.27) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. The Captains will counter with Luis Lugo (5-7, 5.55). Game time is 10:00am CDT. Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or IHeartRadio starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 9:40am.
Jose Pena (7th, 0 on in 4th inning off Dace Kime, 0 out)
Clint Frazier (11th, 0 on in 1st inning off Preston Gainey, 1 out)
WP: Preston Gainey (3-6)
LP: Dace Kime (5-12)