LANSING, MI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers had the team with the best record in the Midwest League down, but could not keep them there. The Lansing Lugnuts rallied to beat the Rattlers 6-5 in 12 innings on Jackson Field at Cooley Law School Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
Wisconsin (48-47 overall, 10-15 second half) grabbed a very early lead. One out into the first inning, Reggie Keen tripled high off the wall in left-center. Mike Walker lined the next pitch over the wall in right-center for a two-run home run. Jason Rogers was next and his drive to right-center also cleared the wall for a home run.
Greg Hopkins continued the attack with a ringing double off the wall in left field. Joey Paciorek singled to send Hopkins to third base. Chad Stang's RBI fielder's choice sent Hopkins home for a 4-0 lead.
Lansing (54-38, 16-9) got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third inning. They loaded the bases with one out. Rattlers starting pitcher Matt Miller got the second out, but Marcus Knecht blooped in a single to left-center and drove in a pair of runs. Knecht was thrown out at second as he tried to stretch his hit into a double.
The Lugnuts continued to cut into Wisconsin's lead. They scored again in the fourth inning on an RBI grounder by Eli Boike and the Rattlers lead was just 4-3.
Miller kept Wisconsin in front by putting up zeroes in the fifth and sixth innings. The right-hander went six innings, struck out five, and was in line for his fourth win of the season.
But, the Lugnuts tied the game in the bottom of the seventh. Michael Crouse hit a two-run homer off reliever Stosh Wawrzasek with one out. Crouse's twelfth homer of the season made the score 5-5.
The game stayed tied until the twelfth. Greg Holle came on to pitch and gave up a single to Michael Crouse to start the inning. Crouse stole second and third with no outs to get into prime scoring position with the winning run.
The Rattlers walked the next two batters intentionally to load the bases for a potential force play at the plate. Wisconsin got the play that they wanted, but not the result.
Holle got ahead of Knecht 0-2 and got him to send a high chopper to Brownstein at second base. Brownstein was in on the grass and had to leap to grab the ball. Once he came down, he threw home for the force play, but Crouse was ruled safe and the Lugnuts picked up the win.
The series in Lansing continues on Thursday night. The Timber Rattlers have Maverick Lasker (1-2, 4.76) as their scheduled starting pitcher. The Lugnuts have Andrew Leibel (1-0, 1.50) as their scheduled starter. Game time is 6:05pm CDT/7:05pm EDT. Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 5:45pm.
Mike Walker (16th, 1 on in 1st inning, off Sean Nolin, 1 out)
Jason Rogers (2nd, 0 on in 1st inning, off Sean Nolin, 1 out)
Michael Crouse (12th, 1 on in 7th inning, off Stosh Wawrzasek, 1 out)
WP: Tyler Powell (2-1)
LP: Greg Holle (0-3)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.