GENEVA, IL - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers scored five times in the top of the sixth inning to erase a 5-1 Kane County lead Sunday afternoon. The Rattlers tacked on a run and held on for a 7-6 win at Elfstrom Stadium. The win snapped Wisconsin's three game losing streak.
The Rattlers (55-57 overall, 17-25 second half) scored a run without a hit in the top of the first inning. Mike Brownstein walked with one out, stole second, and went to third on a passed ball. After TJ Mittelstaedt walked, Jason Rogers stepped to the plate. The Rattlers left fielder sent a fly ball to deep center that was tracked down for an out. But, Brownstein tagged and scored for a 1-0 lead.
The Cougars (53-58, 25-17) answered in the bottom of the first. Angel Franco singled to start the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. An RBI single by Brian Fletcher tied the game.
Kane County plated two runs in the bottom of the second. Orlando Calixte tripled to start the frame, but was still at third with two outs. Jovan Pickett dragged a bunt up the first base line to score the run. Then, Pickett stole second and went to third on a throwing error. A single by Franco got Pickett home for a 3-1 Kane County lead.
Fletcher struck again in the fifth inning. His two run home run to center with two outs off Rattlers starting pitcher Jimmy Nelson out of the game and gave the Cougars a 5-1 advantage.
Cougars starting pitcher Jason Adam did not come out for the sixth inning. He had worked five innings, allowed one run on two hits, and turned that lead over to the bullpen.
Wisconsin started their rally right away in the sixth. Brownstein and Mittelstaedt drew walks to start the inning against Kane County reliever Michael Giovenco.
Both runners were off on an 0-2 pitch to Rogers and it kept the Rattlers out of a double play as Rogers sent a grounder to short.
Nick Ramirez was next and he sent a high popup to shallow left. But, the ball dropped in between Kane County defenders and Brownstein raced home for the first run of the inning.
The defense betrayed the Cougars on the next batter. Joey Paciorek hit a grounder to third that went through the legs of Jason Kuebler to let Mittelstaedt score and the Rattlers were down 5-3.
Greg Hopkins kept the rally going with a single to center that scored Ramiez. Plus, a bobble in center allowed let Hopkins take second as Paciorek cruised into third.
Franklin Romero put the Rattlers in front with a bloop single to center that scored both runners.
Wisconsin padded their lead with a run in the top of the seventh. Brownstein reached second when Fletcher dropped a fly ball to left. Mittelstaedt advanced Brownstein to third with a grounder. Rogers cashed in Brownstein with a sacrifice fly to center and the Rattlers were up 7-5.
Kane County got to within a run in the bottom of the seventh inning on an RBI grounder.
The Cougars had runners at the corners with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning and Hopkins flashed some leather to keep the Rattlers in front. Julio Aparicio hit a hard grounder to the left of the Rattlers third baseman. Hopkins dove to make the stop, got to his feet, and fired a strike to first to retire the speedy Aparicio for the final out.
Alan Williams, who came on in the eighth, worked a scoreless ninth to pick up the save. Casey Medlen, who replaced Nelson in the fifth inning, struck out four over 2-1/3 innings. Medlen, the 37th round pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2011 draft, earned his first professional win.
Game three of the series is Monday night at Elfstrom Stadium. Wisconsin has Eric Arnett as the scheduled starting pitcher. Arnett will be making his 2011 Midwest League debut on Monday. Leondy Perez (4-11, 3.53) is set to start for the Cougars. Game time is 6:30pm. Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:10pm.
Brian Fletcher (10th, 1 on in 5th inning, off Jimmy Nelson)
WP: Casey Medlen (1-0)
LP: Michael Giovenco (0-1)
SAVE: Alan Williams (2)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.