GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers were sailing along with a 2-0 lead in the sixth inning Thursday night at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium. But, the calm waters turned extremely choppy as the Great Lakes Loons scored three unearned runs in the top of the sixth and went on to defeat the Rattlers 4-3.
Wisconsin (57-38 overall, 13-13 second half) went in front early. Chadwin Stang tripled with one out in the bottom of the third inning. Brandon Macias followed with a single through the drawn-in infield to score Stang for a 1-0 lead. The RBI was the 48th of the season for Macias.
Yadiel Rivera knocked in another Wisconsin run in the fourth inning. Ben McMahan drew a two-out walk and Cameron Garfield followed with a single to extend the inning. Rivera would drop in a single down the right field line for a 2-0 lead.
Rattlers starting pitcher Matt Miller cruised through the first 5-1/3 innings, but ran into trouble as the Wisconsin defense committed three errors in the frame. The first error occurred after Miller struck out Darnell Sweeney. The ball bounced away from catcher Rafael Neda and a throw to first was needed for the second out. But, Neda threw wildly to allow Sweeney to reach. Jesus Arredondo trickled a hit-and-run single through the left side of the infield to put runners at the corners.
Miller got the second out of the inning on a pop out to shallow left, but the third out was elusive.
O'Koyea Dickson sent a sinking line drive to left that skipped to the wall for a single, and error, and two runs scored to tie the game. Dickson, who took second base on the play would score as Scott Schebler singled to left on the next pitch and the Loons had a 3-2 lead.
An odd play in the top of the seventh gave the Loons (46-50, 12-14) a 4-2 lead. James Baldwin singled and stole second. He was on second with one out when Joe Winker sent a deep fly ball to right field. Outfielder Ben McMahan made the catch against the wall, but stumbled a bit. As McMahan tried to get his footing, the speedy Baldwin raced for the plate and would score from second on the sacrifice fly for a 4-2 lead.
Wisconsin rallied in the bottom of the seventh inning as Lance Roenicke singled and Stang doubled to put runners on second and third with no outs. Macias sent a grounder past the mound that looked like it was headed for center. But, Arredondo made a diving stop and threw to first in time to get Macias. Roenicke scored on the play, but Stang could only take third base on the play. He would be stranded when the inning ended.
Roenicke would reach on a one out single in the bottom of the ninth inning, but the Loons held off the Rattlers with a pair of strikeouts to end the game.
Game three of the series is Friday night. Fond du Lac native Chad Pierce (3-3, 3.86) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. The Loons will counter with Duke von Schamann (2-0, 2.53) as their starting pitcher. Game time is 7:05pm.
Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy started Thursday's game at catcher and went 2-for-3 with a double. He left, as scheduled, after the bottom of the fifth inning. He will return to the Rattlers starting lineup on Friday for game two of his scheduled four game rehabilitation assignment. Box seats and reserved bleacher seats are sold out for Friday and Saturday night. General admission grass seats remain for both Friday and Saturday.
The first 1,000 fans to enter Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium for the game on Friday will receive a poster of Timber Rattlers outfielder Mitch Haniger. This is poster number seven in a series of ten that are being given away this season.
Taco Bell will have t-shirts and special in-game offers as they host hundreds of kids and family members from the Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay, too.
Plus, it's a North Shore Bank Family night and children 12 and under eat free. After the game, sit back for a great fireworks display. Children 14 and under may participate in Kids Run the Bases presented by Jernegan's Health Mart after the fireworks.
If you can't make it out to the ballpark, tune in for the game broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:45pm. The game is also available to subscribers of MiLB.TV.
WP: Greg Wilborn (1-0)
LP: Matt Miller (7-7)
SAVE: Steven Rodriguez (1)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.