BURLINGTON, Iowa - The Burlington Bees (33-37 overall, 1-0 second half) capitalized on great pitching and used aggressive base running to win 2-to-1 over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (44-26, 0-1). They attempted a squeeze play in the eighth, but instead scored on a wild pitch to take a 2-to-1 lead late the first game of the second half.
The Bees couldn't have stolen a game in the late innings without a stellar performance from the pitching staff. Max Perlman (1-3) made his third start of the season and match his season-high of five innings pitched for the third consecutive outing. The tall right-hander tossed dealt with a tight, but consistent strike zone and battled through all five innings. He only allowed one run on a sacrifice fly by Brandon Macias that scored Yadiel Rivera in the top of the third.
Overall Perlman only allowed two hits, two walks, an earned run, and struck out two batters en route to a no-decision. The Harvard grad also lowered his team leading ERA to an impressive 2.73 mark in 18 appearances this season.
The Bees managed to score in bottom of the sixth after loading the bases with no outs. Unfortunately Rashun Dixon grounded into a double play, but Eliezer Mesa scored on the play to tie the game 1-to-1 after six innings. Despite Wisconsin's starter, Matt Miller (5-5) owning an 0-3 record with 7.20 ERA against the Bees this season, the Bees' offense struggled to connect against the tall righty and actually struck out eight times.
The Bees turned to Jose Macias who started the season in the rotation, but amassed a 2.05 ERA in seven starts before entering the bullpen. Macias pitched 2.2 innings and only allowed two hits while striking out four members of the Timber Rattlers' lineup.
Despite not acquiring one RBI in the game, the Bees still managed to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth. Mesa lined a one-out single into centerfield. Mesa immediately took off for second base and earned more than just his 11th stolen base of the season after the catcher's throw bounced into centerfield.
Bees manager Aaron Nieckula wasted no time in ordering a squeeze attempt. Sean Jamieson tried to bunt the ball, but didn't connect on the wild pitch from Tyler Cravy. Because Mesa was running on the pitch, the Bees were able to score despite the ball not travelling far from Wisconsin's catcher, Tyler Roberts.
Jeff Urlaub (5-4) retired a batter in the eighth and preserved the win in the top of the ninth by striking out the side. In fact, Urlaub struck out all four batters he faced and earned his fifth win.
The Bees play game two with the Timber Rattlers on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. Those in attendance can enjoy Friends and Family Night at the park, as well Oakland A's night, which will feature the Bees wear A's uniforms. For information on Bees baseball call (319) 754-5705 or visit www.gobees.com.