GRAND CHUTE, WI - Jimmy Nelson bounced back from a couple of rough outings to toss a gem on Sunday afternoon at Time Warner Cable Field to beat the Fort Wayne TinCaps. Rattlers hitters Greg Hopkins and Nick Shaw stayed on their hot streaks and Greg Holle put out a late fire to help the team to a 4-1 win.
Wisconsin (33-30) got on the board in the bottom of the first inning. Shaw singled with one out in the first to move his hitting streak to ten games. Shaw scored from third with two outs when third baseman Jake Blackwood booted a grounder off the bat of Mike Walker to let the runner from third score.
Nelson walked a pair of TinCaps with one out in the fourth, but struck out the next two batters to maintain the lead.
Fort Wayne (28-34) staged another threat in the sixth inning on back-to-back singles by the first two batters in the inning. NeIson got Jake Blackwood to popout. The, Nelson was on the tail-end of a spectacular 3-6-1 double play to end the inning with the Rattlers still up 1-0.
Reggie Keen started the bottom of the sixth with a triple. Nick Shaw sent him home with a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 Wisconsin lead.
Fort Wayne attempted to mount another rally in the seventh inning. Nelson struck out the leadoff batter, but a wild pitch allowed him to reach. The next two batters singled to load the bases with no outs. Chris Bisson was at the plate when Nelson uncorked a wild pitch to allow a run to score.
But, Nelson came back to strike out Bisson. Nelson struck out the next two batters looking to record four strikeouts in an inning and keep the Rattlers up 2-1. Nelson finished his game with eight strikeouts to set a new professional high for punchouts in a game.
However, the TinCaps weren't done with the threats. They loaded the bases against Wisconsin reliever Stosh Wawrzasek on a pair of walks and a hit batsman with no outs in the eighth. The call went out for closer Greg Holle.
Holle got the first out on a force play at the plate. He fielded a slow tapper in front on the plate and flipped the ball from his glove to the glove of catcher Tyler Roberts. The next batter sent a slow chopper to third. Hopkins came home with the throw, but short-hopped Roberts. The Rattlers catcher made the scoop and held the plate for the force out. Holle capped the inning with a strikeout and the Rattlers kept the 2-1 lead.
The Timber Rattlers offense padded their lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth. Hopkins, who had extended his hitting streak to twelve games earlier in the game, singled to drive in a run. Mike Walker drew a bases loaded walk to force in a run and give the Rattlers a 4-1 lead.
Holle worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his fourteenth save in 14 save opportunities on the season.
The Timber Rattlers are off on Monday. They will start a 6-day, 7-game road trip to end the first half in Peoria on Tuesday. Game time is 7:00pm with Austin Ross (5-3, 2.93) as the scheduled starting pitcher for the Rattlers at O'Brien Field. Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:40pm.
WP: Jimmy Nelson (2-6)
LP: Mark Hardy (3-5)
SAVE: Greg Holle (14)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.