PEORIA, IL - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers got out to a fast start Thursday night at O'Brien Field. But, the Peoria Chiefs rallied twice to tie the game and eventually beat the Rattlers 5-4 with a run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The Timber Rattlers (60-62 overall, 22-30 second half) took advantage of wildness on the part of Peoria starting pitcher Luis Liria in the first inning. TJ Mittelstaedt and Nick Shaw drew walks to start the game. Cody Hawn doubled to left to score Mittelstaedt for a 1-0 lead. Greg Hopkins drew a walk to load the bases. Then, Nick Ramirez and Brandon Macias had consecutive RBI ground outs to score the final two runs of the inning.
Peoria (54-68, 21-31) came back with two runs on four hits in the bottom of the second inning. Jesus Morelli beat out an infield single with two outs and runners at the corners to drive in the first run. Ben Klafczynski followed with an RBI single to make the score 3-2.
The Chiefs tied the game in the fourth. Micha Gibbs doubled to right-center with runners on first and second. The runner from second scored, but Reggie Keen and Brandon Macias relayed the ball to the plate in time to get the runner trying to score from first.
Wisconsin retook the lead in the top of the seventh. Franklin Romero, Jr. reached second on a error with one out. A wild pitch put Romero on third. Mittelstaedt cashed in the run with a line single to right and the Rattlers led 4-3.
But, Peoria came back in the bottom of the seventh. A two-out RBI single by Jones scored Anthony Giansanti from second to tie the game 4-4.
In the bottom of the ninth, Brian Garman walked Arismendy Alcantara to start the inning. Rubi Silva was next and his attempted bunt turned into a drag bunt that wound up in short right for a single that sent Alcantara around to third with the winning run. Wisconsin walked the next batter to load the bases for Jones.
Wisconsin set up their defense with five infielders as they brought Mittelstaedt in from left field. Jones would send a grounder to Macias at second and the throw home got Alcantara.
The defense rest to their more traditional position after getting the first out. Then, Dustin Geiger lined a 1-0 pitch from Garman down the line in left to sent Silva home with the winning run.
The final game of the series is Friday night at O'Brien Field. Eric Arnett (0-1, 4.50) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Peoria has Frank Del Valle (2-2, 3.38) as their scheduled starter. Game time is 6:30pm.
Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:10pm.
WP: Roderik Pichardo (1-0)
LP: Brian Garman (3-3)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.