GRAND CHUTE, WI - Jose Pena came through with a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the sixth inning to break a 1-1 tie and send the Timber Rattlers to a 5-2 victory over the Great Lakes Loons Saturday afternoon. The win allowed the Rattlers to avoid being swept in the three game series at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium
The Loons (10-6) scored first on Saturday. Justin Chigbogu singled to left in the second inning and took second when the ball skipped past Omar Garcia for an error. Brandon Trinkwon followed with a double to knock in Chigbogu for a 1-0 lead.
That was all the damage allowed by Wisconsin starting pitcher Zach Quintana. The right-hander out of Las Vegas tossed five innings, scattered six hits, walked three, struck out five, and held the Loons to one run.
Wisconsin (9-6) struggled early against Great Lakes starter Greg Harris. The Rattlers had one hit and Harris faced just twelve batters through the first four innings.
Pena changed that in the fifth. The Wisconsin DH doubled to left to start the inning. David Denson's infield single put runners on the corners. Taylor Brennan was at the plate when Denson broke early for second base on a stolen base attempt. Harris stepped off and had time to throw to second to get Denson, but the throw wound up in centerfield for an error. Pena scored on the bad throw to tie the game.
In the sixth, the Rattlers had runners at second and third with two out. Pena came to the plate and smacked a two-run single that gave Wisconsin a 3-1 lead. Denson drew a walk and Brennan followed with a single to drive in Pena for a 4-1 advantage.
Pena is getting used to big hits. He drove in a run in the top of the ninth inning at West Michigan on April 10 to break a scoreless tie. Pena also hit a walkoff, three-run home run to beat Lansing on Wednesday night. He ran his RBI total to twelve in his first fourteen games as a Timber Rattler.
Ortega gave the Rattlers their final run with a solo homer off Brandon Martinez in the bottom of the seventh.
Rodolfo Fernandez made his 2014 debut with the Timber Rattlers with two innings of scoreless relief. Fernandez, who was 4-4- with four saves for Wisconsin in 2013, picked up the victory on Saturday afternoon.
Great Lakes did get one more run. A two-out, RBI single by Jacob Scavuzzo in the top of the ninth off Harvey Martin got the Loons to within 5-2. The Rattlers got the final out of the game when Brennan made a diving stop of a grounder at third and threw Kyle Farmer out at first base.
The Rattlers ended a pair of streaks with the win. The Loons had their six game winning streak broken by the Rattlers. Wisconsin stopped their own two game losing streak.
The Timber Rattlers are off on Easter Sunday. They return to action on Monday night with a game in Burlington, Iowa against the Bees to start a seven-game road trip. Tyler Alexander (1-1, 4.82) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. The Bees have Elliot Morris (1-1, 6.75) as their scheduled starter. Game time in Burlington is 6:30pm. Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or IHeartRadio starting with the pregame show at 6:10pm.
Angel Ortega (1st, 0 on in 7th inning off Brandon Martinez, 0 out)
WP: Rodolfo Fernandez (1-0)
LP: Greg Harris (1-1)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.