GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers needed a win on Thursday night to extend their season. What the Rattlers got was something special. Chad Pierce tossed a complete game, three-hit shutout to lead Wisconsin past the Burlington Bees 4-0 at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium. The Rattlers offense scored four runs in the first two innings and Pierce took over from there.
Wisconsin evened the best-of-three series with the Bees at 1-1 with the victory. The Rattlers and Bees will meet in Game Three on Friday night at 6:35pm. The winner will move on to the Western Division Finals. The loser will be done for the 2012 season.
The Rattlers jumped on Bees starting pitcher AJ Cole with three consecutive two-out RBI hits in the bottom of the first inning. Brandon Macias took advantage of a dropped foul pop and reached on a single. He took second on a sacrifice bunt and third on a wild pitch. Nick Ramirez blooped in a single to left field to drive in Macias with the go ahead run.
A passed ball allowed Ramirez to take second base. Cameron Garfield knocked in Ramirez with a ground rule double to right-center. Yadiel Rivera continued the onslaught with a single to left that scored Garfield from second for a 3-0 lead.
Wisconsin made it 4-0 in the second inning. Rafael Neda walked to start the inning. A wild pitch moved him to second base and a single by Macias put runners on first and third with one out. Chadwin Stang sent a slow grounder to short. The throw to second forced Macias, but Stang beat the throw to first to allow Neda to score for a 4-0 lead.
Pierce cruised through the game. The only time he faced a batter with a runner in scoring position was in the second inning. He retired Royce Consigli on a fly ball to center with runners on the corners and two outs.
The Fond du Lac, Wisconsin native was backed up by solid to spectacular defense. Both Ben McMahan and Max Walla made sliding catches in the first inning, Macias made a diving grab of a hot grounder in the fourth and turned it into an inning ending force out. Centerfielder Chadwin Stang ran down several fly balls in the gaps.
Pierce even got into the defensive act after a leadoff single by Aaron Shipman in the top of the sixth. The Rattlers right-hander speared a hard grounder right back at him off the bat of Sam Roberts and turned it into a 1-6-3 double play. He walked two and struck out three in the game.
The 9-inning complete-game shutout by Pierce was the first by a Rattlers pitcher since Tyler Thornburg tossed a two-hitter at Kane County on May 29, 2011. The last 9-ininng complete game shutout by a Rattlers pitcher in the playoffs was by Cha Seung Baek, who pitched a 6-hitters at Beloit on September 8, 2000.
Wisconsin will send David Goforth (10-8, 4.66) to the mound as their starting pitcher on Friday night. Burlington has named Drew Granier (11-10, 3.21) as their Game Three starting pitcher. Game time is 6:35pm.
The Timber Rattlers will have a bonus Bang for Your Buck Night with soda, hotdogs, and beer for $1 on Friday night. Plus, Friday is also a College Night. Reserved bleacher seats are just $1 with a College ID.
Friday is a bonus North Shore Bank Family Night. Kids 12 and under eat free and Kids 14 and under will get to run the bases courtesy of Jernagan's Health Mart.
If you can't make it to the game, it will be broadcast on AM1280, WNAM and timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:15pm. MiLB.TV subscribers may also catch the game over the internet.
WP: Chad Pierce (1-0)
LP: AJ Cole (0-1)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.