CLINTON, IA - Chad Thompson made one heck of a first start for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. The right-hander pitched five no-hit innings and struck out six against the Clinton LumberKings Friday night at Ashford University Field. Mark Williams came on in relief and finished the run to history with four no-hit innings for a combined no-hitter in a 5-0 victory.
Wisconsin (17-11) scored four times in the first inning to grab the lead. Jason Rogers was at the plate with runners at first and second and one out and drove an RBI single to left-center. Greg Hopkins was next and the Rattlers second baseman continued his offensive onslaught with a three-run homer off the scoreboard beyond wall in left-center.
Hopkins had homered in Thursday's game, too. He has at least one hit in 14 of his last 15 games and has raised his average from .233 to .312 since April 20.
Rafael Neda added to the Wisconsin lead with a two-out RBI single in the top of the fourth. That was more than enough for Thompson and Williams against Clinton (10-17).
Thompson showed very few nerves in his Midwest League debut. He walked three, but struck out six. The only jam that he faced came in the bottom of the fourth inning. He walked Jamal Anderson to start the inning and Anderson eventually wound up on third with one out after a pair of stolen bases. Thompson walked Jhardimy DeJesus to put runners on the corners with one out. The tall righty got out of the inning with a strikeout and a fly ball to center. Thompson worked a perfect sixth and gave way to Williams with around 70 pitches under his belt.
Williams hit a batter with two outs in the sixth, but got the final out. Williams worked a 1-2-3 seventh and got the first two hitters in the eighth. But a two out walk brought Austin to the plate. Williams got him to fly out to Ben McMahan in right field for the final out of the eighth.
In the ninth, Williams got the first out on a grounder back to the mound. He finished strong by striking out the final two batters to conclude the fourth no-hitter in Timber Rattlers history.
Williams walked one, hit a batter, and struck out three over four innings to earn his first save of the season.
Wisconsin's last no-hitter was also a combined job. Jake Odorizzi went eight innings and Adrian Rosario went one in a no-no at Cedar Rapids on August 24, 2012.
The Timber Rattlers return home on Saturday to start a four game series with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. Wisconsin has David Goforth (2-1, 5.11) as the scheduled starting pitcher. Fond du Lac native Chad Pierce (1-0, 2.20) is scheduled to pitch in relief for the Rattlers. Cedar Rapids has Jairo Diaz (1-2, 7.33) as their scheduled starter. Game time is 6:35pm.
The first 1,000 children aged 12 and under to attend the game will receive a Webkinz Tree Frog.
It is also a Fly Away Saturday, which means that one lucky fan will win airfare for two from Funjet Vacations and Fox World Travel at this game!
As part of the Cinco de Mayo celebrations, ten qualified contestants will take part in a postgame beach dig and one will win an All-Inclusive Vacation for two to the RIU Playacar in Riviera Maya, Mexico from Fox World Travel and Funjet Vacations!
If you can't make it out to the game, tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:15pm. Saturday's game will also be available to subscribers of MiLB.TV.
Greg Hopkins (3rd, 2 on in 1st inning off Stephen Landazuri, 1 out)
WP: Chad Thompson (1-0)
LP: Stephen Ladazuri (3-1)
SAVE: Mark Williams (1)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.