COMSTOCK PARK, MI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers scored eight runs in the first two innings at West Michigan on Thursday night against the Whitecaps. Then, the Rattlers had to hang on for an 8-4 win at Fifth Third Ballpark. Brandon Macias drove in four runs to lead the early attack for Wisconsin.
The Timber Rattlers (8-6) picked up on Thursday night where they left off on Wednesday and scored five times in the first inning. The first five Wisconsin batters in the first inning reached base and all five would score.
Yadiel Rivera started the game with a double and Max Walla drew a walk. Chadwin Stang singled to knock in Rivera for a 1-0 lead. Then, Jason Rogers drew a walk to load the bases.
Macias sent a chopper down the third base line and got a fortunate carom off the bag for a two-run double and a 3-0 lead.
Greg Hopkins tacked on a run with an RBI grounder. Carlos George ended the first inning barrage with an RBI single.
The Rattlers got going again in the top of the second. Tyler Roberts singled and Walla walked to knock starting pitcher Tim Kelley out of the game. Reliever Warwick Saupold was welcomed to the game with an RBI single by Stang. Saupold walked Jason Rogers to load the bases again for Macias.
The Rattlers third baseman drove in two more runs with a single for an 8-0 advantage.
West Michigan (7-7) got on the board in the bottom of the third inning on a home run by Curt Casali. They added two runs in the fifth with a two-out, two-run double to cut Wisconsin's lead to 8-3.
David Goforth went five innings as the Wisconsin starting pitcher and allowed three runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Chad Pierce worked a scoreless sixth, but allowed a run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Eugenio Suarez. The inning could have been a little more frightening for Pierce and the Rattlers. There was a runner at third with two outs and Aaron Westlake sent a sinking line drive to left field. John Dishon charged, dove, and made a terrific catch to end the inning and save a run.
There was more drama in the bottom of the eighth inning for Pierce. A two out walk with a runner at third base put Whitecaps on the corners. In a steadily increasing rain shower, Pierce fell behind the next batter with three straight balls. At this point the grounds crew came out to spread drying compound on the mound. After the brief delay for mound repair, Pierce came back to strike out the batter looking, end the inning, and keep the tying run from coming to the plate.
In the bottom of the ninth, Seth Harvey allowed the first two batters of the inning to reach on a walk and a single. But, Harvey got the first out of the ninth on a strikeout. Then, Westlake lined a pitch to Hopkins, the Rattlers first baseman. Hopkins raced to first to double up the runner at first to end the game with an unassisted double play.
Game two of the series is scheduled for Friday night with a first pitch set for 5:35pm CDT. Wisconsin has Andy Moye (0-0, 0.00) as the scheduled starting pitcher. West Michigan slates Wilsen Palacios (0-0, 3.38) to start the game. Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 5:15pm.
Curt Casali (2nd, 0 on in 3rd inning off David Goforth, 0 out)
WP: David Goforth (2-0)
LP: Tim Kelley (0-2)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.