GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers bullpen answered the call in game two of Thursday's doubleheader with the Beloit Snappers. Starting pitcher Matt Miller left the game after two batters after a visit to the mound by the Rattlers trainer, manager, and pitching coach. Relievers Jameson Dunn, Stosh Wawrzasek, and Eric Marzec worked all seven innings of the game as Wisconsin rallied to a 4-3 victory and a twinbill sweep of their in-state rivals.
Miller walked the leadoff batter and Derek McCallum followed with a ground rule double. Miller left the game without making any pitches to the plate after the trio of staff members visited the mound.
Dunn, a non-drafted free agent out of Oral Roberts University, came on to make his Timber Rattlers debut. The right-hander, who was signed by the Brewers in January of 2011 was shaky at first. He allowed the first run to score on an infield grounder by Nate Roberts, walked Michael Gonzales, and let in another run on a RBI fielder's choice by Daniel Ortiz. Lance Ray was next and he doubled in Ortiz to five the Snappers (21-19) a 3-0 lead.
Dunn did the job after that. He retired the final seven batters he faced.
Wisconsin's offense got going against Beloit starter Michael Tonkin in the third inning.
Reggie Keen singled with one out. Then, he stole second, and went to third on an errant pickoff throw by Tonkin. Chris Dennis drove in Keen with a single. Mike Walker doubled off the wall in left to put runners on second and third. Greg Hopkins plated Dennis with an infield single to make the score 3-2.
Tonkin looked like he was going to get out of the inning after a strikeout for the second out. Then, Franklin Romero sent a high chopper to shortstop Daniel Santana. Santana went to second for the force on Hopkins, but the ball was dropped by McCallum. That error allowed Walker to score the tying run.
Wawrzasek entered the game in the fourth inning and he worked three scoreless frames with six strikeouts. He had to pitch around a pair of walks and a hit, but he kept the Snappers off the board.
Wisconsin (21-18) took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning on an odd play. Dennis was at the plate with Yadiel Rivera at third and Keen at first. Dennis hit a flyball to shallow center and Wang Wei Lin came on to make a diving catch. Rivera tagged and scored. However, Keen, who went halfway to second on the flyball, thought the ball had been caught and did not see or hear the out call by the base umpire. Keen headed to second base as the throw went home to catcher Matt Parker.
Gonzales, the first baseman for the Snappers, was not covering first base since he was the cutoff man on the throw home. Parker realized the that the catch had been made before Keen. This allowed Parker to begin sprinting for first base and eventually just barely beat Keen to the bag to double him off first to end the inning with an odd 8-2 double play.
And since Rivera scored before the final out had been recorded, the run counted to put the Rattlers up 4-3.
The Rattlers still held that 4-3 lead heading to the top of the seventh and Marzec came on in relief. The righty out of Youngstown State University pitched a perfect inning to pick up his first professional save.
The doubleheader sweep moved the Rattlers past the Snappers and into second place in the Midwest League's Western Division.
Wisconsin begins a four-day, five-game series with the Burlington Bees on Friday night at Time Warner Cable Field. Burlington leads the Western Division at 29-10, the best record in the Midwest League.
Game one of the series begins at 6:35pm with Charly Bashara (2-2, 4.43) scheduled to make the start for the Rattlers. The Bees will counter with Blake Hassebrock (3-0, 0.90).
Friday night is North Shore Bank/95.9 KISS Family Night. As part of Family Night, children 12 and under eat free. Plus, the first 500 fans will receive a Cody Hawn magnet courtesy of Lamers Bus Lines. The magnet is the first in a series of four that will be given away during the 2011 season After the game, Fazoli's presents Kids Run the Bases for children 14 and under.
If you can't make it out to the ballpark on Friday night, tune in to AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com for the broadcast. The Miller Lite Pregame Show starts at 6:15pm.
WP: Stosh Wawrzasek (1-1)
LP: Ben Tootle (0-1)
SAVE: Eric Marzec (1)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.