MIDLAND, MI - First, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers outslugged the Great Lakes Loons Saturday night at Down Diamond. Then, the Rattlers bullpen shut the door on the Loons for an 8-6 victory.
TJ Mittelstaedt start the game with a single, but wound up at third before the play ended. The Rattlers leadoff hitter blooped a single inside the left field line. Great Lakes shortstop Casio Grinder got to the ball, but booted it into foul territory to let Mittelstaedt take second. Then, Grinder inexplicably tossed the ball to a fan in the stands to let Mittelstaedt go to third base.
Nick Shaw cashed in Mittelstaedt with a single for a 1-0 Rattlers lead. Later in the inning, Greg Hopkins doubled in Shaw for a 2-0 advantage.
Great Lakes (56-41 overall, 17-11 second half) came back to tie the game in the bottom of the inning. Wisconsin starting pitcher Charly Bashara walked the first two batters of the bottom of the first. One out later, Nick Akins doubled to left-center and both Loons runners scored.
Wisconsin (50-48, 12-16) went back in front in the top of the second thanks to a bunt single and three walks. Mike Walker drew the third walk of the inning issued by Great Lakes starter Ryan Christenson, a bases loaded walk to force in a run for a 3-2 lead.
But, the Loons answered right back in the bottom of the second. Michael Pericht hit a leadoff homer to left-center to tie the game.
The Rattlers put a crooked number on the board in the top of the third. Hopkins singled to start the inning. Chad Stang followed with an RBI double. Wisconsin loaded the bases on a bunt single by Mike Brownstein and a walk to Joey Paciorek and that drove Christenson out of the game.
Franklin Romero, Jr. greeted reliever John Housey with a sacrifice fly to score Stang and move Brownstein to third base. Then, Housey balked to let Brownstein score and move Paciorek into scoring position. Mittelstaedt drove a single to center and Paciorek crossed the plate to put the Rattlers up 7-3.
Jesse Bosnik got the Loons back on the scoreboard with a solo homer in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Bashara got into trouble in the fifth inning as Great Lakes put runners on first and third with no outs, but the lefty fought back to get the next three batters and keep the Rattlers up by three runs.
Bashara, who was making a spot start, did the job. He allowed four runs on seven hits, struck out two, and turned the lead over to the Wisconsin bullpen.
That lead was extended in the seventh inning. Jason Rogers cracked a long home run to right-center to start the frame and Wisconsin went up 8-4.
Great Lakes pulled closer in the bottom of the eighth inning with a pair of runs. Grider reached on an infield single and took second on a throwing error. An RBI double by Bobby Coyle scored Grider. After a grounder sent Coyle to third, a wild pitch let Coyle score to make the score 8-6.
But, the Loons would get no closer. Holle tossed a perfect eighth inning. Then, Eric Marzec pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his fourth save of the season to nail down Wisconsin's second straight win.
Game two of the series is Sunday afternoon at Dow Diamond. Wisconsin has Brooks Hall (5-2, 3.82) as their scheduled starting pitcher. The Loons send Rick Anton to the mound for his first Midwest League start. Game time is 1:05pm CDT. Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 12:45pm.
Jason Rogers (3rd, 0 on in 7th inning, off John Housey, 0 out)
Michael Pericht (6th, 0 on in 2nd inning, off Charly Bashara, 0 out)
Jesse Bosnik (2nd, 0 on in 4th inning, off Charly Bashara, 1 out)
WP: Charly Bashara (4-3)
LP: Ryan Christenson (7-7)
SAVE: Eric Marzec (4)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.