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West Michigan tops Rattlers in extra innings07/14/2011 1:12 AM ET
By Chris Mehring / Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
GRAND CHUTE, WI - Clay Jones hit a grand slam in the top of the twelfth inning to put the West Michigan Whitecaps in front of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Wednesday at Time Warner Cable Field. West Michigan held on for a 7-5 win and sent the Timber Rattlers to their fifth straight loss.
West Michigan (43-45 overall, 11-8 second half) got on the board first with a two out rally in the top of the first inning. Rattlers starting pitcher Matt Miller retired the first two batters of the inning. But, a walk and a single put runners at the corners. James Robbins singled to drive in a run for a 1-0 lead.
The Rattlers (46-43) responded in the bottom of the second inning. Mike Walker singled. Then, Cody Hawn drove a two-run homer to left to give the Rattlers a 2-1 lead. Hawn's homer also extended his hitting streak to 13 games.
West Michigan went back in front with a pair of solo homers. Hernan Perez hit a leadoff home run in the top of the third. Rob Brantly went deep with one out in the fifth for a 3-2 lead.
TJ Mittelstaedt cracked a two-out solo homer in the bottom of the fifth inning to tie the game 3-3.
The game remained tied until the top of the twelfth. Wisconsin reliever Stosh Wawrzasek entered the game and gave up a leadoff single to Luis Castillo. He was 0-2 on Perez when he committed a balk. The signals between Wawrzasek and catcher Joey Paciorek appeared to be crossed. As Wawrzasek was into his delivery, Paciorek popped out for a pitchout. That appeared to surprise Wawrzasek and he held on to the ball as he completed his delivery. The balk was called and Castillo took second.
Perez blooped a double into shallow center field, but Perez only took third base on the play. Wawrzasek walked Brantly to load the bases with no outs.
The Rattlers right-hander came back to strikeout the next two batters. The count ran full on Jones. The 3-2 pitch was hit to the West Michigan bullpen in left-center for a grand slam and a 7-3 Whitecaps lead.
The first two Wisconsin batters to hit in the bottom of the twelfth inning were retired by Patrick Cooper. Then, Nick Shaw hit a ground rule double. Cooper, who had pitched 3-2/3 innings in relief, was replaced by West Michigan closer Bruce Rondon in a non-save situation.
Reggie Keen singled in Shaw. After Keen went to second on defensive indifference, Mittelstaedt singled to knock in Keen and the Rattlers were within 7-5. Franklin Romero followed with a single to right and the winning run came to the plate.
But, Rondon struck out Mike Walker to end the game.
Wisconsin is 1-7 in extra innings this season.
The Timber Rattlers and Whitecaps play game two of the series on Thursday night. Maverick Lasker (0-2, 6.89) is the scheduled starting pitcher for Wisconsin. West Michigan has Kyle Ryan (4-7, 3.65) as their scheduled starter. Game time is 7:05pm.
Thursday is Military Appreciation Night at Time Warner Cable Field. Fans who show a Military ID will receive free admission to the game. Sgt. Slaughter will be on hand for a first pitch, autographs, and to lead the seventh inning stretch. As part of the evening, the players will wear special patriotic caps that will be available through a silent auction during the game. Proceeds will go to the Disabled American Veterans.
The first 500 fans will receive a magnet from Lamers Bus Lines featuring former Rattler and current MLB All-Star Asdrubal Cabrera.
Thursday is also a Thirsty Thursday with 22 ounce Pepsi products and 16 ounce Miller products are available for $2.
If you can't make it out to the ballpark, tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:45pm.
WP: Patrick Cooper (4-5)