GRAND CHUTE, WI - Stellar relief pitching and a big home run from an unexpected source gave the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers a 6-4 win over the Lake County Captains in twelve innings on Saturday night at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium. Rodolfo Fernandez was excellent out of the Wisconsin bullpen to keep the game tied. Michael Reed won it for the Rattlers in the bottom of the twelfth with his first homer in over a year.
Lake County (35-54 overall, 12-10 second half) scored two runs in the first inning off Rattlers starting pitcher Tyler Wagner. Logan Vick doubled off the wall in left to drive in a run. Erik Gonzalez sent Vick home with a single. The next two hitters also collected hits to load the bases with two outs, but Wagner got out of the frame with no more damage.
Wisconsin (39-38, 10-12) rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the first. The first three Rattlers reached base to start the inning. Victor Roache grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to let the runner on third score. The tying run scored when Mike Garza's flyball to right was dropped for an error.
The Timber Rattlers went in front with single runs in the second and third innings. Max Walla doubled to start the second. Then, Chris McFarland a triple to the gap in right-center and Walla cruised home. Roache crushed a 1-0 pitch to left-center with one out in the third for his ninth home run of the season and a 4-2 lead.
The Captains tied the game in the top of the fourth. Dorssys Paulino lined a double to left with two outs to drive in a pair of runs to make the score 4-4. That was it for Lake County runs against Wisconsin pitchers. Wagner scattered eleven hits over eight innings and struck out eight while walking one. But, he was not involved in the decision. Fernandez took over in the top of the ninth and proceeded to pitch four scoreless innings and record eight strikeouts to keep the game tied.
Wisconsin's offense struggled to get anything going after the fourth inning. Arcia doubled with two outs to put runners on second and third in the Rattlers half of the fourth, but Wisconsin did not score in that frame and didn't get a runner past second base until the twelfth.
Lake County reliever Jack Wagoner, the fourth pitcher of the night for the Captains, entered the game to start the bottom of the twelfth and walked Arcia to lead off the frame. Arcia stole second base on a 1-0 pitch to get into scoring position for Reed.
Reed saw the count run to 1-2 and fouled off the first 1-2 pitch. He lined a deep fly to left field on the next pitch and the ball sailed over the 16' high wall for the walkoff home run.
The home run was the first of the season for Reed and his first since July 4, 2012 when he was a member of the Helen Brewers, the Pioneer League affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.
That was also the first walkoff home run by a Timber Rattlers player since Ben McMahan hit on to beat the Great Lakes Loons in the bottom of the tenth inning on July 18, 2012.
Game two of the series is set for Sunday afternoon at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium. Jorge Lopez (4-6, 5.37) is scheduled to start for the Timber Rattlers. Robbie Aviles (3-3, 4.05) is set to take the hill for the Captains. Game time is 1:05pm.
The first 500 to attend Sunday's game will receive a magnet featuring Jonathan Lucroy from Lamers Bus Lines. This is magnet number two in a series of four that are being given away this season.
Football season is almost here and the Timber Rattlers invite area fans to show their support for the team in Green Bay on Green & Gold Day! Wear Packers apparel to the game and receive $1.00 off a reserved bleacher seat when you make your purchase at the ticket window.
Sunday is also a Brewers Sunday presented by 107.5, The Fan. Timber Rattlers players and coaches will be wearing Brewers-themed jerseys during the game. Plus, fans may play catch on the field for thirty minutes starting at noon. Timber Rattlers players will be available for an autograph session on the third base concourse after the game. Time Warner Cable customers can receive up to four half-priced reserved bleacher tickets when showing their TWC bill at time of ticket purchase.
If you can't make it to the ballpark, tune in for the radio broadcast on AM1280, WNAM IHeartRadio starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 12:45pm. Sunday's game is also available to subscribers of MiLB.TV.
Victor Raoche (9th, 0 on in 3rd inning off Jake Sisco, 1 out)
Michael Reed (1st, 1 on in 12th inning off Jack Wagoner, 0 out)
WP: Rodolfo Fernandez (2-3)
LP: Jack Wagoner (2-3)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.