Rattlers rally, then fade in loss to Kernels

By Chris Mehring / Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | April 14, 2011 7:28 PM ET

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA -  The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers spotted the Cedar Rapids Kernels a 4-0 lead in the first two innings on Thursday night at Perfect Game Field.  Wisconsin rallied to tie the game 4-4 in the sixth inning.  But, Cedar Rapids took advantage of two crucial errors in the bottom of the sixth inning to go back in front.  The Kernels pulled away with a big seventh inning and beat Wisconsin 11-4.

Rattlers starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson struggled in the bottom of the first inning.  Drew Heid reached to start the inning when he beat out a dribbler up the third base line.  Wes Hatton tripled to right-center to send Heid home.  Travis Witherspoon followed with an RBI double for a 2-0 lead.

Nelson would pick Witherspoon off second base for the first out of the inning.  David Harris drew a walk.  After Nelson got a strikeout for the second out of the inning, Harris would take second on a wild pitch and third on an infield single by Ricky Alvarez.  Harris would score on a passed ball to put the Kernels up 3-0.

Nelson walked the next two batters to load the bases and exited the game.  Charly Bashara came in and got the final out of the first inning.

Bashara got the first two outs of the second inning, but gave up a solo homer to Witherspoon and Wisconsin was down 4-0.

The Rattlers would rally for a pair of runs in the third.  Cody Hawn broke a personal 0-for-13 streak with a two-run single to cut the Kernels lead in half.

A wild pitch in the top of the fifth inning allowed Mike Walker to score for Wisconsin and make the deficit a single run.

Carlos George drove in the tying run with a bloop single to right field in the top of the sixth inning.  Wisconsin put runners on first and second with no outs in the inning, but could not take the lead.

The Kernels answered back in the bottom of the sixth inning with help from the Wisconsin defense.  Mitch Blackburn reached on an error to start the inning.  A single to left by Jesus Campos put runners at first and second with no outs.  That set up an interesting play for the Rattlers that almost worked.  Almost.

Heid was at the plate in a sacrifice bunt situation.  Hopkins, playing third for Wisconsin, set up about 20 feet in on the grass.  Hopkins charged in on each pitch of the at bat to entice Blackburn to attempt a steal of third.  Blackburn took the bait on a 1-1 pitch and Wisconsin sprung the trap.

George, the shortstop, sprinted to third and beat Blackburn easily to the bag.  The throw from catcher Tyler Roberts was on target.  George dropped the tag on Blackburn for the apparent out, but he dropped the ball and Blackburn was safe.

Heid lined the next pitch for a double to left that scored two runs and the Rattlers were down 6-4.

Cedar Rapids poured it on in the seventh with five runs.  The big hit in the inning was a two-run single by Wes Hatton.

Both teams are 4-4 on the season after splitting the four game series in Cedar Rapids

The Timber Rattlers open a six-game homestand at Time Warner Cable Field on Friday night against the Peoria Chiefs.  Del Howell is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Rattlers.  The Midwest League affiliate of the Chicago Cubs will counter with Cam Greathouse.  Game time is 6:35pm.

Friday night is a North Shore Bank/95.9 KISS-FM Family Night.  Children 12 and under eat free and after the game Fazoli's presents Kids Run the Bases for children 14 and under. Additionally, the first 1,000 fans age 21 and older will receive a Timber Rattlers seat cushion courtesy of Miller Lite.

If you can't  make it to the game, you may tune in to the game broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or on www.timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:15pm.

                  R      H    E
WI 002 011 000 -  4     9    4
CR 310 002 50x - 11     15    2

Click here for a complete boxscore of Thursday's game

Travis Witherspoon (3rd, 0 on in 2nd inning, off Charly Bashara, 2 out)

WP: Daniel Tillman (1-0)
LP: Charly Bashara (0-1)

TIME: 3:32
ATTN: 603

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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