BELOIT, WI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers took a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning on Thursday night at Pohlman Field against the Beloit Snappers. The Rattlers won, but nothing is ever easy in this in-state rivalry. The Snappers scored three in the bottom of the ninth, but Wisconsin held on for a 6-5 win. Cameron Garfield had three more hits and two more RBI over his recent hot stretch to lead the offense.
Garfield extended his hitting streak to six games with a two-run homer in the second inning to put the Rattlers (70-51 overall, 26-26 second half) up on Beloit early in the game.
Lance Roenicke led off the Wisconsin third inning with his first professional home run. The Rattlers added runs in the third on a double by Garfield and a sacrifice fly by Greg Hopkins.
Garfield would add a single in the sixth inning as he went 3-for-4 on the night. He is 12-for-22 during his six game hitting streak.
Beloit (67-55, 28-24) got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth inning. A two-out RBI double by Stephen Wickens plated a run off Rattlers starting pitcher Mark Williams.
Wisconsin got the run back in the top of the fifth. Brandon Macias hit his second double of the game - and 32nd of the season - with one out and went to third on a wild pitch. Ben McMahan followed with a triple to right-center to score Macias. The triple was the tenth of the season for McMahan and tied him for the Midwest League lead in that category.
Williams gave up an RBI double to Kennys Vargas with one out in the fifth inning and the Snappers were within 6-2. Kevin Shackelford came on in relief of Williams and got out of the sixth with no more damage.
Williams allowed two runs on five hits, walked two, and struck out three for the win. But, there were a few nervous moments late...very late in the game.
Shackelford worked 2-2/3 scoreless innings and turned the 6-2 lead over to Stosh Wawrzasek for the bottom of the ninth.
Wawrzasek entered Thursday's game with a scoreless streak of 18-2/3 innings. He gave up a hit to Beloit's leadoff batter, struck out the next batter, and walked the third batter to bring Miguel Sano to the plate in the ninth.
Sano, the Midwest League leader in homers and RBI, ripped a double into the left field corner to score a run and make the score 6-3. Wawrzasek walked the next batter to load the bases and put the winning run at the plate in the form of Drew Leachman.
Leachman drilled a 3-1 pitch off the wall in left-center field for a two-run double to pull the Snappers to within a run. The hit also put the tying run at third and Leachman at second with the winning run. There was still only one out.
Wisconsin decided to walk Wickens intentionally to load the bases and set up the double play. Wawrzasek didn't need it. He struck out Matt Koch to get the second out. Pinch-hitter Tyler Grimes, the ninth Snapper to bat in the inning, watched strike three go by for the final out of the game as the Rattlers held on for the win.
The Timber Rattlers and Snappers play game three of the series at Pohlman Field on Friday night. Chad Pierce (5-4, 3.59) is the scheduled starting pitcher for Wisconsin. Tyler Jones (3-4, 5.25) is set to start for Beloit. 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.
Cameron Garfield (9th, 1 on in 2nd inning off Jason Wheeler, 0 out)
Lance Roenicke (1st, 0 on in 3rd inning off Jason Wheeler, 0 out)
WP: Mark Williams (7-9)
LP: Jason Wheeler (13-6)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.