GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers had a chance. They had several chances. But, on a night where they could have moved to within one game of the Western Division Wild Card with five games remaining in the first half, the Rattlers dropped a 9-6 decision to the Beloit Snappers in 17 innings on Tuesday night at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium.
The Wild Card leading Burlington Bees lost 4-2 at Clinton. The Quad Cities River Bandits won 6-2 at Cedar Rapids. The Peoria Chiefs were rained out in their home game against Kane County. The Bees and River Bandits are now tied for the Wild Card at 34-30. Peoria is 33-30 and a half game behind the Bees and River Bandits. The Timber Rattlers could have moved closer in the playoff chase had they scratched a run across after tying the game for their eighth straight win. But, it was not to be for Wisconsin as they fell back to the .500 mark and remain two games out of the Wild Card spot.
Beloit (27-38) grabbed the early lead. Jaycob Brugman reached on a fielder's choice, stole second, went to third on throwing error, and scored on a two-out single by Tyler Marincov. The Snappers added to their lead in the second inning. Luis Baez doubled with two outs and none on base. BJ Boyd followed with a single to drive in Baez and Beloit was up 2-1.
Paul Eshleman brought Wisconsin (32-32) to within a run in the bottom of the second. Francisco Castillo doubled to start the inning. Eshleman singled with one out and Castillo raced home with the run.
The Snappers added to their lead with three runs in the fifth inning. They had the bases loaded with one out and Melvin Mercedes drove in a run with a bloop single to right-center. Rattlers starting pitcher Barrett Astin walked Brugman to force in another run. Marincov made it 5-1 with a sacrifice fly.
Angel Ortega singled to start the bottom of the seventh inning against reliever Sam Bragg to extend his current hitting streak to nine games. Omar Garcia drew a one out walk and Clint Coulter drew a two out walk to load the bases to bring Taylor Brennan to the plate as the tying run.
Brennan lined a 1-2 pitch from Bragg over the wall in left for a grand slam to tie the game 5-5. Brennan's slam was the third of the season for the Timber Rattlers. It was also the first bases loaded homer at home for the Rattlers since Chris Dennis hit one on May 11, 2011.
Wisconsin reliever Clint Terry maintained the tie as he tossed six scoreless innings and struck out eight. But, the Rattlers could not push a run across to break the tie.
Harvey Martin took over for Terry in the twelfth inning and kept the game tied with three scoreless innings. Wisconsin got the leadoff man on base in the eleventh and twelfth, but could not get the winning run home.
Beloit took advantage of a Wisconsin error to take the lead in the top of the fifteenth. Boyd's popfly to shallow right-center was missed by Castillo, the second baseman. A sacrifice bunt moved Boyd to third. Then, Boog Powell was asked to get a suicide squeeze bunt down. He did as he reached on a bunt single to give the Snappers a 6-5 lead.
Wisconsin answered in the bottom of the fifteenth against position player Sam Roberts. Roberts, an infielder, was the sixth Beloit pitcher of the night and he was making his fifth relief outing of the season. He had already worked a scoreless thirteenth and fourteenth. But, the Omar Garcia tripled with one out in the fifteenth. The three-base hit by Garcia moved his hitting streak to ten games. A sacrifice fly by Michael Ratterree got Garcia home with the tying run.
The Snappers would score more than one run in the top of the seventeenth. Phil Pohl started the inning with a single against Chris Razo. Powell would reach on another bunt single to put two runners on base. Mercedes tried to bunt the runners over, but bunted into a force play at third base. Razo just missed on a 2-2 pitch to Brugman and the count ran full. Both Powell and Mercedes took off on the 3-2 pitch from Razo. Brugman struck out for the second out, but Paul Eshleman's throw from behind to the plate to third base sailed into left field. Powell scored, Mercedes took third, and the Snappers were up 7-6.
Razo kept the inning going when he hit Maricov. The Snappers stole another run in the inning and Marincov took off on a jog for second while Razo was still in the set position before an 0-2 pitch to Chih-Fang Pan. Razo stepped off the rubber, ran at Marincov, and threw to shortstop Angel Ortega. Ortega ran back at Marincov, but was ready for Mercedes to take off for the plate. Ortega turned to throw to the plate when Mercedes sprinted for home, but the throw was up the first base line and Mercedes scored.
Pan singled to left on the next pitch and Marincov, who had taken second on the throw home on the previous play, scored easily for a 9-6 lead.
In the bottom of the seventeenth, Ryan Matthews, the seventh Beloit pitcher - and second Snappers position player to take the mound - on the night, went back out for his second inning of work. He recorded his second straight 1-2-3 inning and nailed down the win for the Snappers.
The game was the longest in Timber Rattlers history. Wisconsin had played two other 17-inning games in their history. They had beaten the Fort Wayne Wizards 2-1 in seventeen innings at home on May 15, 2001 in four hours and forty minutes. They had also beaten the Wizards 6-3 in seventeen innings at Fort Wayne on April 30, 2004 in four hours and fifty-three minutes.
This 17-inning game between the Timber Rattlers and Snappers was completed in five hours and one minute.
The Timber Rattlers stranded sixteen runners in this game and went 2-for-16 with runners in scoring position. They also committed a season high six errors.
The Timber Rattlers and Snappers play game two of their series on Wednesday night. Tristan Archer (2-2, 2.42) is the scheduled starter for the Timber Rattlers. Lou Trivino (4-4, 5.43) is set to start for Beloit. Game time is 7:05pm.
Wednesday night is a WIXX Bang for Your Buck Night. Enjoy Cher-Make hotdogs, Pepsi products, and Miller beer for $1 throughout the game. Plus, join the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and Kimberly-Clark in their Salute to Paper. The paper industry is important to the Fox Cities. Come celebrate paper in all its forms, uses, and varieties!
If you can't make it out to the ballpark, there are many ways to catch the action. MyNEW 32's Sports Showdown will have the television broadcast starting at 7:00pm. The radio broadcast will be available on AM1280, WNAM and IHeartRadio starting at 6:45pm with the Miller Lite Pregame Show. Wednesday's game is also available on MiLB.TV.
Taylor Brennan (7th, GRAND SLAM off Sam Bragg in 7th inning, 2 out)
WP: Ryan Mathews (1-0)
LP: Chris Razo (1-1)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.