GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Fort Wayne TinCaps defeated the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 11-5 on Friday night at Time Warner Cable Field. Fort Wayne collected 17 hits and took advantage of five Timber Rattlers errors in the win. Chris Bisson led the way for the Fort Wayne offense with four hits and four RBI. The loss dropped the Rattlers two games off the pace of the Wild Card leaders. Wisconsin has nine games left in the first half.
Wisconsin starting pitcher Brooks Hall escaped the first inning without allowing a run despite giving up three hits. Hall gave up hits to the first two batters he faced in the second inning on a single and a double. But, Hall looked he would get out of the inning when he got the next two batters. However, Bisson drove a single through the left side of the infield for a 2-0 lead.
Luis Domoromo lined a two-out solo homer in the top of the third and the TinCaps (27-33) were up 3-0.
Wisconsin started the back-and-forth portion of the game in the fourth inning. Fort Wayne starter Adys Portillo, who had allowed one hit and struck out five in the first three innings, loaded the bases on a double, single, and walk with no outs. A walk to TJ Mittelstaedt forced in a run and drove Portillo from the game. One out later, Fort Wayne reliever Noah Mull walked Yadiel Rivera to force in another run and the Rattlers were down 3-2. But, Wisconsin left the bases loaded.
Fort Wayne put two runs on the board in the top of the fifth. Rymer Liriano singled in a run against Hall. Hall got the second out of the inning, but a walk ended his night. Reliever Del Howell entered the game and gave up a walk and an RBI single to give the TinCaps a 5-2 lead.
Greg Hopkins hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth and the Rattlers were back within a run. Then, Wisconsin had runners at second and third with one out in the frame with a chance to tie the game or take the lead. But, both runners were left stranded.
Fort Wayne responded with two runs in the top of the sixth inning to go back up by three runs. Consecutive two-out RBI singles by Liriano and Domoromo made the score 7-4.
The Rattlers loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Cody Hawn lifted a flyball to right-center to drive in Franklin Romero from third. Reggie Keen, the runner at second, tagged and went to third. Nick Shaw, the runner at first, went halfway to second, but slipped in the basepath between first and second as he started back for first base. The throw to first doubled Shaw up and the next batter was retired to strand Keen at third and leave the Rattlers down 7-5.
The score remained 7-5 until the TinCaps scored an unearned run in the top of the eighth. Fort Wayne tacked on three more unearned runs in the top of the ninth as Wisconsin committed three errors in the ninth.
It was bad news all around the Midwest League scoreboard for the Timber Rattlers. Quad Cities, the leaders in the Western Division Wild Card race, destroyed Great Lakes 20-2. Peoria beat South Bend 6-3 and Beloit edged Lake County 3-2 in ten innings.
Wisconsin (32-29) remains in third place in the Western Division with Peoria (31-30) and Beloit (31-30) one game behind the Rattlers. Wisconsin trails Quad Cities (34-27) by two games in the chase for the Wild Card.
Game two of the series is Saturday night at Time Warner Cable Field. Dan Britt (3-1, 4.71) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Rattlers. Andrew Werner (1-5, 3.60) is set to start for the TinCaps. Game time is 6:35pm.
The Timber Rattlers celebrate the science fiction classic Star Wars™ with Star Wars Night. The players and coaches will wear special jerseys based on the movies. The jerseys will be available in a silent auction to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin. Characters will be on hand to meet fans and throw out a first pitch before the game, too.
After the game, FOX 11 presents a Saturday Night Fireworks Display.
If you can't make it out to the ballpark, tune in for the game on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:15pm.
Luis Domoromo (4th, 0 on in 3rd inning, off Brooks Hall, 2 out)
Greg Hopkins (1st, 1 on in 5th inning, off Noah Mull, 1 out)
WP: Jeff Ibarra (1-2)
LP: Brooks Hall (2-1)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.