DAVENPORT, IA - Six Wisconsin Timber Rattlers pitchers combined to strikeout 18 Quad Cities River Bandits hitters in a 4-3 victory Monday afternoon at Modern Woodmen Park. The Rattlers built an early 4-1 lead and a struggling corps of Rattlers relievers shined to hold off late inning rallies by the Bandits.
Mike Walker started the scoring for Wisconsin (9-12) with a long, two-run homer to left-center. Chris Dennis was next and he homered to right-center for back-to-back homers and a 3-0 Wisconsin lead. Dennis cracked his homer in his first at bat of the season for the Rattlers. He had just joined the team Sunday when he came off the disabled list of the Brevard County Manatees, the Florida State League affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Quad Cities (11-13) got a run back off Rattlers starter Austin Ross when Nick Longmire scored from third on a wild pitch.
Wisconsin got that run back in the top of the fourth when Franklin Romero scored from third on a passed ball for a 4-1 lead.
Ross kept the Bandits off the board until the sixth inning. Longmire doubled to right with runners on first and second to drive in one run and cut Wisconsin's lead to 4-2. Stosh Wawrzasek entered the game and got out of the inning with a strikeout and a deep fly ball to left the Robbie Garvey tracked down for the final out.
Quad Cities made the game interesting in the seventh. Damon Krestalude gave up a leadoff triple and a walk before getting a strikeout for the first out. Brian Garman relieved Krestalude and allowed a run to score on a wild pitch before walking two batters to load the bases.
Tyler Cravy, the third Wisconsin pitcher of the seventh inning, escaped the frame by recording two strikeouts and stranding all three runners on base.
Cravy struck out Chris Edmondson to start the bottom of the eighth, but a wild pitch on strike three allowed Edmondson to reach. One strikeout later, a single by Yunier Castillo put runners at first and second. Cravy threw another wild pitch to move the tying run to third and the go ahead run to second. Then, Cravy struck out the next two batters and Wisconsin still clung to the one run lead.
Greg Holle came on to pitch the bottom of the ninth and gave up a single to the leadoff batter. A fielder's choice was followed by a strikeout, the eighteenth of the game for Rattlers pitching.
Longmire stepped up as the last chance for the River Bandits with the tying run still at first and he appeared to have grounded a single to center. Second baseman Nick Shaw ranged into shallow center and made a backhand stop. Then, without pause, Shaw flipped the ball from his glove to shortstop Carlos George at second base. George made a barehanded catch for the force out at second and the Rattlers held on for the win.
Game three of the series is set for Wednesday. Tyler Thornburg (0-0, 3.46) is the scheduled starter for the Rattlers. Quad Cities sends Trevor Rosenthal (1-2, 2.78) to the mound for the 7:00pm.
Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or on timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:40pm.
Mike Walker (5th, 1 on in 1st inning, off Zach Russell, 1 out)
Chris Dennis (1st, 0 on in 1st inning, off Zach Russell, 1 out
WP: Austin Ross (3-0)
LP: Zach Russell (0-2)
SAVE: Greg Holle (2)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.