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Kane County heartbreak05/30/2011 5:52 PM ET
By Chris Mehring / Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
GENEVA, IL - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers grabbed a 4-1 lead with three runs in the top of the eleventh inning on Sunday afternoon at Elfstrom Stadium. But, the Kane County Cougars scored four times in the bottom of the eleventh to defeat the Rattlers 5-4.
Cheslor Cuthbert put Kane County (23-28) in front in the bottom of the first inning with a two-out bloop single to center that scored Alex Llanos from second base.
Wisconsin (27-24) had trouble against Kane County starter Leondy Perez. The right-hander held Wisconsin to one hit through six innings. Yet, the Rattlers managed to tie the game with a run in the sixth inning without the benefit of a hit.
Reggie Keen walked to start the sixth. A sacrifice bunt by Nick Shaw moved Keen into scoring position for Cody Hawn and Mike Walker. But the Rattlers big bats were not needed. Perez whirled and fired an errant pickoff throw to second base before he threw a pitch to Hawn.
Keen headed for third as the ball trickled into center. Kane County centerfielder Alex Llanos thought he had a play on Keen at third base, but his throw was high. The ball deflected off the glove of Cuthbert at third and wound up in the stands. That allowed Keen to score the tying run.
Wisconsin had a great chance to take the lead in the top of the ninth inning as they loaded the bases on three straight one out singles by Chris Dennis, Greg Hopkins, and Robbie Garvey. But, Kane County reliever Chase Boruff got Tony Pechek to ground into an inning ending double play.
Wisconsin appeared to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the tenth inning. Keen was at third and Shaw was at first with one out and Hawn was at the plate. Boruff looked to have missed low and inside o a pitch to Hawn and the ball skipped to the backstop. Keen scored without a play. But, after a discussion between the umpires, it was ruled that Hawn was hit by a pitch. Keen was sent back to third and the run was taken off the board.
The Rattlers still had the bases loaded with one out in the tenth, but Walker grounded into an inning ending double play.
Wisconsin made no mistake about scoring in the top of the eleventh. Chris Dennis doubled to start the inning. Greg Hopkins bunted Dennis over to third. Robbie Garvey lined a single to left. Dennis had to hold up to see if the ball would drop in for a hit. Then, Dennis just beat the throw home. Wisconsin tacked on two more runs in the inning on a double by Tony Pechek and an RBI grounder by Keen.
Rattlers closer Greg Holle, who pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the tenth, could not close it out in the bottom of the eleventh. The inning started with a single . Holle got the first out of the inning on a grounder. But, that was it.
Lance Adams followed with a single to put runners at first and third. Orlando Calixte doubled to right-center to drive in a pair of runs. Geulin Beltre singled back through the middle to drive in Calixte with the tying run.
Brian Garman came on to relieve Holle and gave up a single. A slow roller to short was turned into an out at first but the runners had moved up to second and third. Wisconsin elected to walk Alex Llanos, who had three hits in the game, intentionally to face Jake Kuebler, a .143 hitter on the season.
Garman missed low on a 3-2 pitch to force in the winning run.
The Timber Rattlers continue their 13-day road trip on Tuesday by starting a series against the Bowling Green Hot Rods in Kentucky. Wisconsin has Brooks Hall (1-0, 4.00) as the scheduled starting pitcher. Bowling Green will counter with CJ Riefenhauser (3-5, 2.92). Game time is 7:05pm from Bowling Green Ballpark. Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or www.timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:45pm.
WP: Matt Mitchell (3-1)