GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Cedar Rapids Kernels defeated the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 3-2 in ten innings on Friday night at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium. Trevor Hairgrove's run scoring fielder's choice knocked in the go ahead run and Cedar Rapids held off a late rally in the bottom of the tenth to avoid being swept by the Rattlers in the three game series.
Wisconsin (74-55 overall, 30-30 second half) broke the scoreless tie in the fifth inning. Greg Hopkins singled to start the inning. Mike Garza lined a double to left-center with one out and Hopkins raced home to put the Rattlers up 1-0.
Rattlers starting pitcher Chad Thompson allowed two hits over five scoreless innings. Then, Santo Manzanillo worked two perfect innings to maintain the 1-0 lead.
Eric Semmelhack come on in the top of the eighth inning and walked the leadoff batter. Gary Mitchell followed with a homer to center and the Kernels (49-81, 17-43) were up 2-1.
Wisconsin rallied to tie the game with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Cameron Garfield reached second on a dropped fly ball and was replaced by pinch runner Lance Roenicke. Nick Ramirez slammed a single off the glove of a diving Mitchell at first base and Roenicke scored the tying run.
The Rattlers had an opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the ninth. Yadiel Rivera doubled to start the inning and was bunted to third base. But, RJ Alvarez, who gave up the run in the bottom of the eighth, got a pair of strikeouts to send the game to extra innings.
Semmelhack got the first out of the tenth. Then, a bloop double to left by Mitchell and a bloop single to right by Abel Baker put runners at the corners with one out. Semmlehack jammed Hairgrove on an 0-1 pitch and got a weak grounder up the first baseline. Ramirez thought he fielded the ball in foul territory, but the ball was ruled fair by the plate umpire. Ramirez threw to second for the force out, but Hairgrove beat the throw to first to deny the Rattlers an inning ending double play. Mitchell scored on the play and the Kernels were up 3-2.
Nick Mutz retired the first two Rattlers in the bottom of the tenth. Then, Rafael Neda sent a sinking line drive to center. The ball hit in front of Workman, who slipped and fell. The ball rolled to the wall and Neda streaked around to third base for a triple. The Kernels elected to walk Nick Ramirez intentionally and Mutz would get the final out of the game on a grounder to third.
The Timber Rattlers begin a brief four game road trip on Saturday night with game one of a series against the Peoria Chiefs. Jacob Barnes (4-5, 3.61) is the scheduled starting pitcher for Wisconsin. Joe Zeller (2-4, 3.61) is set to start for the Chiefs. Game time at Peoria Chiefs Stadium is 6:30pm. Tune in for the action on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:10pm.
Gary Mitchell (14th, 1 on in 8th inning off Eric Semmelhack, 0 out)
WP: RJ Alvarez (2-2)
LP: Eric Semmelhack (2-3)
SAVE: Nick Mutz (1)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.