BELOIT, Wisc- The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers used consistent offense to beat the Beloit Snappers, 8-4, in game one of a three game Labor Day weekend series, evening the season series up at 8-8.
The Snappers took the early lead scoring two runs in the bottom of the first. Trace Loehr led off the frame with a ringing double into left field. Three batters later, Brett Siddall clubbed a two-run double to left field to put Beloit up 2-0. Wisconsin starter left-hander Jake Drossner retired the next two Snappers to limit the damage.
The Timber Rattlers started to chip away at the deficit in the top of the second. Lucas Erceg laced a one-out double to set up the scoring threat. Alan Sharkey delivered a clutch two-out RBI single into left field to make the score 2-1.
The Timber Rattlers tied the game at two one inning later. Corey Ray worked a walk and Troy Stokes Jr. singled with one out to put runners on the corners. Isan Diaz then lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to even the game. Beloit starter Dustin Hurlbutt struck out Jake Gatewood swinging to escape further damage.
Beloit had a golden scoring chance in the bottom half of the inning. Loehr and Skye Bolt ripped consecutive base hits to open the frame. Drossner then went through the meat of the Snappers lineup recording three straight strikeouts.
The Timber Rattlers took the lead in the top of the fourth. Monte Harrison drew a base on balls and Sharkey singled with one out. After an infield popout, nine-hole hitter Luis Aviles delivered a back breaking two-out RBI single to put Wisconsin up 3-2.
The Timber Rattlers tacked on an insurance run in the top of the sixth. Harrison worked a one-out walk and then displayed his spend on the bases. Harrison swiped second and advanced 90 more feet on a throwing error by catcher Roger Gonzalez. Sharkey made the error hurt as he hit a grounder to second that plated Harrison to put Wisconsin up 4-2.
The Snappers cut into the Timber Rattlers' lead in the bottom of the seventh. Ryan Howell and Jesus Lopez connected on back-to-back base hits to start the inning. Later in the inning, Skye Bolt delivered a sacrifice fly to center field to trim Wisconsin's lead to 5-3.
Wisconsin immediately responded with two runs in the top of the eighth to halt the Snappers' momentum. Sharkey smoked a RBI double into center field to extend the lead to 6-3. A hit by pitch and walk loaded the bases with two outs. Snappers' relief pitcher Cody Kurz uncorked a wild pitch to make the score 7-3. After a second hit by pitch manager Fran Riordan made a pitching change and Tyler Willman put out the fire as he struck out Diaz swinging to get out of the jam.
Wisconsin tacked on another insurance run in the top of the ninth on a RBI single by Max McDowell.
Beloit continued to claw in the bottom of the ninth. Howell started the rally attempt with a leadoff double to left field. Loehr plated Howell with a RBI base hit to cut the deficit to 8-4. Wisconsin relief pitcher Christian Trent slammed the door on the Snappers' comeback hopes as he struck out the final two batters.
Hurlbutt took the loss (3-6) going four innings surrendering five hits, two walks, three runs and two earned runs while punching out four.
Loehr had a strong game with the stick going 3-for-5, a run scored and a double out of the leadoff spot. Beloit collected nine hits against Wisconsin pitching.
The Beloit Snappers are a member of the Midwest League and are a fourth year Class-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. Stay tuned to the team website and social media for all up to date information. For ticket information, contact the Snappers' offices at 608-362-2272 or visit our website at www.snappersbaseball.com.
Written by: Derek Hoesly
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.