GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers played their first home game since June 12 when they faced the Burlington Bees Friday night at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. The Bees wrecked the welcome home party with a 5-4 defeat of Wisconsin. Brandon Bayardi went 4-for-4 with a homer, a double, and three RBI to pace the Bees to their fourth straight win.
Burlington (42-35 overall, 4-4 second half) strung together three straight singles with one out in the top of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. Mike Fish started the singles binge. Eric Aguilera's hit-and-run single pushed Fish around to third. Bayardi's sinking liner dropped in for a single in right to drive in Fish for Burlington's run.
Tyler Palmer tripled with one out in the top of the second inning. He headed for the plate on a suicide squeeze, but Erick Salcedo missed the bunt. Palmer was trapped between third and home, but scored to make the score 2-0 when the Rattlers (41-36, 5-3) botched the rundown play.
Burlington added two more runs in the top of the fifth inning. They had a runner at first with two outs and Aguilera tripled to deep right-center to knock that run in. Bayardi followed with an RBI single and the Bees were up 4-0.
Burlington starting pitcher Garrett Nuss struck out seven and allowed three hits through six shutout innings. He went back out for the seventh and got into trouble. Taylor Brennan singled and Clint Coulter walked. Nuss got the first out on a popup to first. Cooper followed with a double over the head of the right fielder to drive in both Brennan and Coulter. That two-run double knocked Nuss out of the game.
Burlington reliever Alan Busenitz got the second out of the frame. Then, Steve Halcomb dropped a single into shallow center to drive in Cooper and make it a one-run game. Angel Ortega kept the rally going with a single that got Halcomb around to third base with the tying run, but the inning ended with the Bees up 4-3.
Bayardi gave the Bees an insurance run in the top of the eighth with a long home run to left. The solo shot, Bayardi's first home run of the season, came off Barrett Astin with one out and extended Burlington's lead to 5-3.
Ben Carlson came on for the Bees in the bottom of the ninth and Michael Ratterree greeted him with a double to the wall in left. Cooper was next and he sent a line drive to right. Ranyelmy Mendoza raced back on the ball, but had it glance off his glove to the wall. Ratterree came home with the run to make it a one-run game again. However, Cooper pulled up limping at first base and could not move up to second base.
Carlson got the first out of the inning on a force play at second. Carlson closed out the game by inducing a 4-6-3 double play, the fourth twin killing of the game for the Bees.
Saturday night is Star Wars Night. Timber Rattlers players and coaches will wear jerseys based on the armor worn by Darth Vader in the classic science fiction movies. Many characters from the movies will be on hand to meet with fans and pose for pictures. There will be a silent auction for the jerseys with the proceeds going to Make-A-Wish Wisconsin. There will be a postgame fireworks display presented by FOX 11.
If you can't make it out to the ballpark, there are many ways to catch the action. MyNEw32's Sports Showdown has the television broadcast starting at 6:30pm. The radio call may be heard on AM1280, WNAM or IHeartRadio starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:15pm. Saturday's game is also available to subscribers of MiLB.TV.
Brandon Bayardi (1st, 0 on in 8th inning off Barrett Astin, 1 out)
WP: Garrett Nuss (4-0)
LP: Clint Terry (1-2)
SAVE: Ben Carlson (5)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.