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Wisconsin rallies to keep playoff hopes alive06/15/2011 12:05 AM ET
By Chris Mehring / Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
PEORIA, IL - The Peoria Chiefs got a grand slam as part of a five run third inning to build a 5-1 lead over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers on Tuesday night at O'Brien Field. But, the Rattlers rallied for eleven unanswered runs and picked up a 12-5 win over their division rivals. Austin Ross struck out a professional career high eleven opposing batters for the win while Mike Walker countered the Peoria grand slam with one of his own.
Reggie Keen gave the Rattlers (34-30) a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly in the top of the third. But that was just the warmup act.
Ross got the first two outs in the bottom of the third inning, but the Chiefs loaded the bases on an infield single, a walk, and a dropped third strike. Ross walked Greg Rohan to force in the tying run. Rohan had been at the plate waiting on a 2-2 pitch from the Rattlers starting pitcher, but the count was moved to 3-2 when an automatic ball was given for Ross going to his mouth with his pitching hand while on the rubber. Ross just missed on the 3-2 pitch to let in the run that tied the game.
At that point, Rattlers pitching coach Chris Hook headed to the mound to talk with Ross, but a conversation with the plate umpire ensued and Hook was ejected from the game.
Two pitches later Richard Jones lined an 0-1 pitch over the wall in left for a grand slam and the Chiefs (33-31) had a 5-1 lead.
The Rattlers hitters came right back in the top of the fourth. Mike Brownstein, who had just joined the team earlier in the day, stepped up with two on and two out. Brownstein cracked a 3-2 pitch over the wall in left for his first professional home run to cut Peoria's lead to 5-4.
Walker singled in the tying run in the top of the fifth. After a walk to Chris Dennis loaded the bases, Tony Pechek singled in a pair of runs and the Rattlers were up 7-5.
Ross worked around a one out single in the bottom of the fifth inning by retiring the other three Chiefs hitters in the frame. Ross picked up his sixth win of the season, but walked four and gave up five hits to go along with his eleven strikeout performance.
Cody Hawn, who had three hits on the night, doubled in TJ Mittelstaedt with two outs in the top of the sixth and the Rattlers went up 8-5.
Walker put the game out of reach in the top of the eighth inning. The Rattlers had loaded the bases with two outs. Mittelstaedt singled against reliever Alvaro Sosa to drive him from the game. Larry Suarez entered the game and walked Hawn. Greg Hopkins reached on an error to load the bases. Walker unloaded them.
The Rattlers leader in home runs sent a towering fly to deep right for a grand slam and a 12-5 Rattlers lead. The five RBI in the game gives Walker 46 on the season.
Tyler Cravy pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh innings out of the Wisconsin bullpen. Eric Marzec pitched the final two innings to nail down the win for the Rattlers.
The Timber Rattlers remain two games behind Quad Cities for the first half Western Division Wild Card. Quad Cities defeated Clinton 5-0 at Clinton on Tuesday night.
The Timber Rattlers have six games remaining in the first half. Quad Cities has five left in the half.
Wisconsin has a doubleheader on Wednesday at Peoria. Game one starts at 5:00pm. Tyler Thornburg (6-0, 1.61) is the scheduled game one starter for the Rattlers. Dan Britt (3-2, 3-2, 4.81) was the probable starter in game two for Wisconsin. Peoria is countering with Angel Guzman (0-0, 0.00) in game one and Cam Greathouse (4-4, 3.69) in game two.
Tune in for the broadcast of both games on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 4:40pm.
WP: Austin Ross (6-3)