CLINTON, IA - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers beat the Clinton LumberKings 7-5 on Saturday night to do something that they have not done since 2003. By beating Clinton on a cool, windy, and rainy evening at Alliant Energy Field, Wisconsin extended their current winning streak to seven games. The last time a Rattlers team won seven straight was May 25-June 7 of 2003 when that edition of the Rattlers won nine straight games.
Mike Walker put the Rattlers (18-15) up in the first inning. Walker's two-out, two-run double painted the left field line to score Nick Shaw and Cody Hawn.
Tony Pechek helped the Rattlers pad their lead in the fifth inning. TJ Mittelstaedt drew a leadoff walk. Then, Pechek lined a pitch to the gap in right-center. MIttelstaedt scored easily and the Rattlers catcher hustled around to third base for his first professional triple. Pechek wasn't done hustling either. He scored later in the frame on a wild pitch for a 4-0 lead.
But, Clinton (9-28) rallied against Rattlers starting pitcher Matt Miller. Shaver Hansen doubled in a run in the fifth. In the sixth, Carlos Ramirez reached on an error to start the inning. Tim Morrris launched the next pitch over the wall in right for a two-run homer to make the score 4-3.
Eric Marzec relieved Miller and retired the next three LumberKings batters to keep Wisconsin in front.
Wisconsin loaded the bases in the top of the seventh inning on singles by Mittelstaedt and Pechek. Yadiel Rivera attempted to sacrifice the runners up, but his bunt was fielded by Clinton catcher Steven Baron, who threw to third. But, Stefen Romero dropped the ball as he tried to back up and find the bag.
Shaw was next, but his grounder to third turned into a force at home for the first out. Greg Hopkins was next and he grounded the ball to Morris at first. Morris threw wildly to the plate and Pechek scored. Rivera tried to score on the play, but a wicked carom brought the ball back to Baron who tagged Rivera for the second out.
Cody Hawn was next and his grounder to second was booted by Shaver Hansen. Hansen tried to flip the ball underhanded to first base to get Hawn, but the ball slipped out of his hand and barely made it halfway to first. That allowed both Shawn and Hopkins to score for a 7-3 lead.
Marzec and Brian Garman kept the LumberKings off the scoreboard through the eighth inning. But, the rain came down harder just before the bottom of the ninth inning started and that made the task a bit tougher for Stosh Wawrzasek.
The Rattlers reliever had two on with one out when Baron sent a one-hopper to Shaw at second. But, the ball splashed into a puddle and Shaw couldn't come up with the ball clean. Instead of an game-ending double play, a force at second got the second out and left runners at the corners.
A wild pitch by Wawrzasek allowed the runner from third to score and Baron to take second. Then, Hansen singled to drive in Baron and the score was 7-5.
Thomas Keeling relieved Wawrzasek to face Carlos Hernandez, the tying run. Keeling got him to ground slowly back to the mound. Keeling made sure he kept his feet in the slippery conditions and made a good throw to first to close out the game.
The LumberKings have lost eight straight games.
Wisconsin is three games over the .500 mark for the first time since they were 3-0 to start the 2009 season.
The Timber Rattlers and the LumberKings play the final game of the series on Sunday afternoon at Alliant Energy Field. Charly Bashara (2-1, 3.18) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Rattlers. Clinton will send Taijuan Walker (0-2, 9.95) to the mound. Game time is 2:00pm. Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 1:40pm.
Tim Morris (3rd, 1 on in 6th inning, off Matt Miller, 0 out)
WP: Matt Miller (2-3)
LP: Forrest Snow (1-5)
SAVE: Thomas Keeling (2)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.