CLINTON, IA - If the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers division clinching victory over the Clinton LumberKings seemed very familiar, it should have been. Wisconsin defeated the Clinton LumberKings 3-1 in ten innings on Tuesday night to pick up their third straight victory in their final turn at the plate. Including Tuesday's game at Ashford University Field, the Midwest League affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers has won fourteen times in their last at bat in 2012.
Brandon Macias dished out a little payback with the single that knocked in the go ahead run in the tenth and Jacob Barnes was stellar in relief with nine strikeouts over five scoreless innings.
Nick Ramirez got the scoring started for Wisconsin (42-23). He hit a home run to center to lead off the second inning for the Timber Rattlers. But, Clinton starter Brett Shankin would only give up three more hits over his seven innings of work.
The LumberKings (23-41) loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the second inning against Wisconsin starter Will West. But, they would only get one run off the left hander. Clinton tied the game on a sacrifice fly by Anthony Phillips.
West would give up six hits over six innings, but kept the game tied. Barnes entered the game in the sixth inning and proceeded to strikeout six of the first seven batters he faced.
However, Clinton mounted a rally with one out in the eighth inning. A walk to Dillon Hazlett and a single by Steve Baron put runners on first and second for the LumberKings. Barnes responded by striking out cleanup batter Dan Paolini and picking Hazlett off second to end the threat.
The winning rally in the tenth was started by the Rattler who had ended the previous two Wisconsin games with walkoff hits at home. Yadiel Rivera singled to center to lead off the inning. Clinton reliever Kyle Hunter got the first out, but walked John Dishon to put Rattlers on first and second with one out. That brought Macias to the play with a little revenge on his mind.
The Rattlers third baseman was 0-for-1 on the night coming to the plate in the tenth, but he had been on base three straight times. Clinton pitchers had hit Macias in the third, sixth, and eighth innings. He would be the one doing the hitting in the tenth as Macias grounded a single to through the infield and into right field. Rivera raced home and easily beat the throw for a 2-1 lead.
Dishon, who took third on the throw to the plate when Rivera scored, came home with an insurance run as Max Walla hit a fly ball to center that was deep enough to get him home. Dishon's run made it 3-1.
Not that Barnes needed any insurance. The right-hander retired the LumberKings in order in the bottom of the tenth to secure the win and the first half division title.
Game two of the series is Wednesday night. Matt Miller (4-5, 4.41) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Trevor Miller (3-4, 4.14) is scheduled to start for Clinton. Game time is 7:00pm. Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:40pm.
Nick Ramirez (4th, 0 on in 2nd inning off Brett Shankin, 0 out)
WP: Jacob Barnes (3-2)
LP: Kyle Hunter (0-5)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.