EASTLAKE, OH - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers staged another comeback victory in a 5-3 win over the Lake County Captains Thursday at Classic Park. But, it was the defense that kept the Rattlers in front to the end. Wisconsin's infield turned four double plays in the game, including huge, rally-killing double plays in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings. The win was the fourth in a row for the Rattlers.
Wisconsin (55-34 overall, 11-9 second half) scored a run in the top of the first inning to take the lead. Chadwin Stang started the game with a double. Yadiel Rivera drew a walk and an errant pickoff throw to second allowed both runners to move up a base. Ben McMahan drove in Stang with a sacrifice fly.
Lake County (40-49, 9-11) answered with three runs on one swing of the bat in the bottom of the first. Wisconsin starting pitcher Chad Thompson walked two of the first three batters he faced. Jordan Smith made him pay. Smith lined a 1-2 pitch from Thompson to deep right-center for a three-run home run and a 3-1 lead.
Mike Garza started the Rattlers second inning with a double and Lance Roenicke drove him in with a single to cut the Captains advantage to a single run.
Wisconsin had a great opportunity in the top of the fifth inning as they loaded the bases with one out. But, Lake County escaped with a fine defensive play off a Yadiel Rivera shot down the third base line that turned into a double play.
The Rattlers would get another chance in the sixth and they would not waste it. Brandon Macias doubled to start the inning. McMahan followed with an RBI single to tie the game 3-3.
Nick Ramirez put the Rattlers ahead with a double to right-center to send McMahan all the way home from first base. Garza sent Ramirez to third with a ground ball to the right side. Then, Roenicke drove a single through the drawn in infield to score Ramirez for a 5-3 lead.
Reliever Jacob Barnes gave up leadoff singles in each of the four innings he worked and had runners on first and second with less than two outs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings. But, he worked his way out of each spot of trouble to earn his second save of the season.
The two biggest double plays for the Rattlers defense came in the seventh and eighth innings. In the seventh, Lake County had runners at first and second with no outs and called on Leonardo Castillo to bunt. Barnes got Castillo to pop the bunt up back to the mound. Barnes made the catch and fired to second to double the runner off.
In the eighth, a single and a one out walk put runners on first and second against Barnes again. This time it was with Smith coming to the plate. Smith, who had the homer in the first and a single in the sixth, hit a hard line drive through the middle that was ticketed for center. But, shortstop Yadiel Rivera made a diving stab of the line drive. Rivera got up and jogged to the second base bag to easily doubled the runner off to complete the twin killing.
The Captains would get the leadoff man on base in the bottom of the ninth. Barnes would not need a double play to end the game. He recorded a pair of strikeouts and a grounder to short to close out the Captains.
Thompson allowed the three run homer in the first, but nothing else over his five innings of work to pick up his fourth win of the season.
Game three of the series is Friday night at Classic Park. Matt Miller (7-6, 4.17) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Rattlers. Lake County has Mason Radeke (5-3, 3.23) as their scheduled starting pitcher. Game time is 6:00pm CDT. Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 5:40pm.
Jordan Smith (5th, 2 on in 1st inning off Chad Thompson, 1 out)
WP: Chad Thompson (4-2)
LP: Enosil Tejada (0-1)
SAVE: Jacob Barnes (2)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.