Rattlers win, by George

The Rattlers and Kernels line up before Opening Day at Perfect Game Field. (Wisconsin Timber Rattlers)

By Chris Mehring / Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | April 11, 2011 6:55 PM ET

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GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers spoiled the home opener of the Cedar Rapids Kernels with a 3-1 victory on Monday night at Perfect Game Field.  Rattlers shortstop Carlos George led the way with a pair of RBI and about twice that many fine defensive plays.

Travis Witherspoon gave the Kernels (2-3) a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.  Rattlers starting pitcher Tyler Thornburg had struck out the first two batters he faced.  But, he grooved a 2-0 pitch to the Kernels centerfielder.  Witherspoon drove the ball over the 400' sign in center for his second homer of the season and a 1-0 Cedar Rapids lead.

Both teams had great chances to score in the third inning.  Kernels starter Brian Diemer walked the first three Rattlers in the top of the frame.  But, he got out of the inning with no runs scoring...barely.  Jason Rogers appeared to have been hit by a pitch with one out to force in a run.  However, the plate umpire ruled that Rogers did not attempt to get out of the way.  Rogers was retired on a popup and the third out of the inning was recorded a few pitches later.

Cedar Rapids had runners at second and third with one out against Thornburg in the bottom of the third.  Carlos Ramirez lined a 2-0 that was ticketed for leftcenter.  But, George made a leaping grab and the shortstop prevented the Kernels from adding onto their lead.  Thornburg retired the next batter to keep Wisconsin within a run.

George doubled with two outs in the fourth inning to tie the game.

Wisconsin (3-2) loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth inning and cashed in to take the lead.  Cameron Garfield was hit by a pitch to force in a run.

Dan Britt relieved Thornburg to start the bottom of the fourth after the Wisconsin starter had reached his pitch limit.  Britt tossed four scoreless innings and allowed one hit to position the Rattlers for the lead.

George struck again with an RBI single in the top of the eighth inning to give the Rattlers a 3-1 cushion.

Cedar Rapids loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning.  Eric Marzec, who got the first two outs of the inning, walked the next two.  Then, Brian Garman hit a batter.  Garman got out of the jam with - what else - a grounder to George at short.  Garman worked a perfect ninth to nail down the win and his second save of the season.

Game two of the series is Tuesday night at Perfect Game Field.  Austin Ross (1-0, 1.50) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers.  Max Russell (0-0, 1.50) is set to start for the Kernels.  Game time is 6:35pm.

Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or www.timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:15pm.

                  R     H     E
WI 000 110 010 -  3     8     0
CR 100 000 000 -  1     4     2

Click here for a boxscore of Monday's game

Travis Witherspoon (2nd, 0 on in 1st inning off Tyler Thornburg, 2 out)

WP: Dan Britt (1-0)
LP: Brian Diemer (0-1)
SV: Brian Garman (2)

TIME: 2:48
ATTN: 1,753

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

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