CLINTON, IA - The Wisconsin Timber Rattler scored in every inning from the third through the eighth and cruised to a 12-5 victory over the Clinton LumberKings Wednesday night at Ashford University Field. Ben McMahan had three extra base hits, drove in two runs and scored two more runs to lead the Rattlers 11-hit attack.
McMahan tripled to lead off the Rattlers half of the third inning. An RBI grounder by John Dishon got McMahan home to give the Rattlers a 1-0 lead. Wisconsin (15-11) went in front 2-0 when Greg Hopkins tripled in Jason Rogers with two outs in the fourth.
Clinton (10-15) scored three times in the bottom of the third inning. Jamal Austin tripled to start the inning and Steve Baron drove him in with a sacrifice fly. Rattlers starting pitcher Matt Miller, who had retired the first nine batters he faced, hit the next Clinton hitter and allowed a two-run homer by Jabari Blash. The sixth homer of the season by Blash put Clinton up 3-2.
But, Wisconsin rallied back with two runs in the fifth, two runs in the sixth, and two more in the seventh to grab an 8-3 lead.
In the fifth, the Rattlers loaded the bases with two outs. Max Walla's infield single drove in the tying run. Jason Rogers put the Rattlers up 4-3 by drawing a bases loaded walk.
In the sixth, Clinton miscues led to two more Wisconsin runs. McMahan reached on a dropped third strike and was at second with two outs. Dishon's grounder to third turned into a wild throw to first and a collision between Dishon and LumberKings first baseman Jharmidy DeJesus. When the dust settled, McMahan had scored and Dishon was on third. Later in the sixth, Chadwin Stang was at first with Dishon at third and the two pulled a double steal. Stang broke for second to draw the throw and Dishon scored without a play when the second baseman dropped the ball trying to throw home.
In the seventh, Rogers doubled and was at third with one out. The LumberKings brought the infield in and Yadiel Rivera sent a slow grounder to short with Rogers heading for the plate. The throw home was off target and Rogers scored. McMahan was next and he doubled to drive home Rivera for an 8-3 lead.
Miller stumbled a bit in the in the bottom of the seventh inning. He gave up a leadoff walk and a double to put runners at second and third with no outs. Dillon Hazlett's infield single scored one run. A sacrifice fly by Austin scored the other to cut Wisconsin's lead to 8-5.
But, Wisconsin's bats went back to work in the eighth inning and scored four runs to put the game away. Walla had an RBI single. Hopkins added a sacrifice fly. McMahan drove in his second run of the night with a double. Rivera would score the last Wisconsin run on a wild pitch in the eighth for a 12-5 advantage.
Miller gave way after his seventh inning. He struck out seven and picked up his first win of the season.
Tommy Toledo and Stephen Peterson pitched the eighth and ninth respectively without incident and the Rattlers won their third straight game.
Game two of the series is scheduled for Thursday night at Ashford University Field. Drew Gagnon (2-0, 0.64) is set to start for the Rattlers. Clinton sends Ambioris Hidalgo (1-2, 5.40) to the hill. Game time is 6:30pm. Tune in to AM 1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:10pm.
Jabari Blash (6th, 1 on in 4th inning, off Matt Miller, 1 out)
WP: Matt Miller (1-3)
LP: Cameron Hobson (0-5)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.