MIDLAND, Mich. - Up until the bottom of the 9th inning, there weren't many fireworks to speak of. But the Great Lakes Loons plated three runs to come back from the brink before leaving the bases loaded to end the game as they fell to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 5-3 on Friday night at Dow Diamond.
With the loss, the Loons have now lost eight games in a row which is the longest of the season. The Loons last lost eight straight on May 2-10, 2013, a streak that coincidentally included a series sweep at the hands of Wisconsin in Midland.
The visitors jumped on Loons starter A.J. Alexy (L, 2-4) plating four runs thanks to a single and two doubles, one of which cleared the bases off the bat of Tucker Neuhaus. It was just the third time in 17 starts that Alexy has allowed more than two runs. The young right-hander went four innings allowing five runs on four hits, but it was four walks that didn't help his pitch count.
Both teams combined for just eight hits in the game and the Loons (8-14, 44-47) only needed one in the 9th to score three runs. Brendon Davis and Oneil Cruz each walked with one out to put a runner in scoring position. Then a single by Cristian Santana pushed a run across. After a throwing error plated a second run it was a sacrifice fly by Gavin Lux that inserted some real hope throughout the crowd. Saige Jenco walked to load the bases, but Cody Thomas popped out to end the threat.
Josh Pennington got the start for Wisconsin (10-12, 36-54) but only last three innings. Carlos Herrera (W, 1-0) followed with four no-hit innings, but did issue four walks. Great Lakes did get to Miguel Sanchez, but Colton Cross (SV, 1) got the final two outs of the ballgame to preserve the sweep.
There was a silver lining for the Loons as Vinny Santarsiero and Nolan Long combined to throw innings of scoreless relief allowing just one hit and one walk with seven strikes.
The Loons will look to get back on track as the Beloit Snappers visit Midland for their bi-yearly trip beginning Saturday night. It will be Christmas in July at the stadium with a Fireworks Loontacular presented by Chemical Bank planned for after the game.
The Great Lakes Loons are the 2016 Midwest League Champions and have been a Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2007. Dow Diamond, home of the Loons, also houses ESPN 100.9-FM and the Michigan Baseball Foundation. For tickets and more information about the Loons, call 989-837-BALL or visit Loons.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.