GRAND CHUTE, WI - TJ Mittelstaedt's leadoff homer in the bottom of the seventh inning provided the winning margin for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers on Friday night. Wisconsin topped the Burlington Bees 4-3 at Time Warner Cable Field to secure their third consecutive win.
The Rattlers (22-18) scored a run in the bottom of the first inning against Burlington starter Blake Hassebrock. Reggie Keen reached on an error to start the inning. He stole second. Then, Mittelstaedt drew a walk. One out later, Keen broke for third early and Hassebrock stepped off the pitching rubber to throw directly to third. However, his throw was wild and Keen scored easily for a 1-0 lead.
Hassebrock walked four in the inning, but the Rattlers could not convert another run in the frame.
Burlington (29-11) tied the game against Timber Rattlers starter Charly Bashara in the second on a two-out RBI single by AJ Kirby-Jones.
But, the Rattlers took the lead again with single runs in the second and the third. Mittelstaedt singled in Nick Shaw with two outs in the second. Then, Franklin Romero beat out a potential inning-ending double play to let Mike Walker score from third for a 3-1 advantage.
But, the Bees evened the game again with an RBI double by Yorby Cabrera in the fifth and a solo homer to left-center by Wade Kirkland in the sixth.
The Bees, who entered Friday's game with the best record in the Midwest League, looked poised to take the lead in the top of the seventh against reliever Tyler Cravy as the first two batters reached on singles. Cravy recovered and struck out the next three batters to keep the game tied heading to the seventh inning stretch.
The game did not remain tied long. Mittelstaedt deposited a 1-0 pitch from Bees reliever Pedro Vidal on the deck in right field and the Rattlers went up 4-3.
Cravy worked a scoreless eighth inning. Then, Greg Holle recorded his tenth save of the season with a perfect ninth inning.
The teams continue their series on Saturday evening with a pair of seven inning games. Game one of the twinbill is set to start at 5:05pm. There will be a 30 minute break between the end of game one and the start of game two. The Timber Rattlers had tentatively named Brooks Hall as their starting pitcher in game one and the game two starter had yet to be announced. If Hall does start game one, it will be the Midwest League debut for the 4th round pick of the Brewers from the 2009 draft. Burlington has announced Josh Bowman (4-0, 3.16) and Nate Long (2-0, 3.24) as their starters for game one and game two.
If you can't make it out to the ballpark, tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com for the Miller Lite Pregame Show starting at 4:45pm.
Wade Kirkland (2nd, 0 on in 6th inning, off Charly Bashara, 0 out)
TJ Mittelstaedt (3rd, 0 on in 7th inning, off Pedro Vidal, 0 out)
WP: Tyler Cravy (3-1)
LP: Pedro Vidal (1-1)
SAVE: Greg Holle (10)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.