BURLINGTON, IA - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers made a pair of uncharacteristic errors on Friday night at Community Field. The errors cost them a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Burlington Bees as both teams got back into action after the four day All-Star Break. Eliezer Mesa had two hits and scored both runs for the Bees to ruin another fine start by Wisconsin pitcher Matt Miller.
Yadiel Rivera started a rally for the Timber Rattlers (44-26 overall, 0-1 second half) in the top of the third inning. He singled back through the middle to lead off the frame. A wild pitch by Burlington starter Max Perlman allowed Rivera to scamper all the way to third base. Brandon Macias drove in Rivera with a sacrifice fly to right.
Miller struck out eight and allowed two hits in the first five innings. But, he ran into trouble against the top third of the order in the bottom of the sixth. Mesa singled to start the inning. Sean Jamieson tried to sacrifice Mesa to second. He did that and reached first base on an error by Miller. BA Vollmuth was next and his single to left loaded the bases with no outs.
Miller and the Rattlers almost pulled a great escape in the inning. Cleanup hitter Rashun Dixon sent a grounder to third. Macias fielded the ball on his backhand about a step from the base. He stepped on third for the force on Jamieson at third and threw to second to get Vollmuth for the second out. But, the relay to first was just a tad late to get Dixon for the triple play and the fielder's choice allowed Mesa to score the tying run.
The Rattlers had an opportunity to go in front in the top of the eighth inning. Rafael Neda singled to start the eighth. Lance Roenicke came on to pinch run for the Rattlers catcher. Then, Yadiel Rivera dropped a sacrifice bunt to get Roenicke into scoring position against Bees reliever Jose Macias. The Rattlers could not cash in the chance. Jose Macias got Brandon Macias to fly out to center. Then, lefty Jeff Urlaub came into the game and struck out lefty Max Walla to end the threat.
Mesa started the winning rally for the Bees (33-37, 1-0) in the eighth with a one out single. He would steal second with Jamieson at the plate and take third on a wild throw to second base. The Bees called for a suicide squeeze on the next pitch. The offering was low and Jamieson couldn't get the bunt down. But, the ball bounced away from Roberts and Mesa scored the run to make the score 2-1.
Urlaub came back out for the top of the ninth and struck out the side in order to nail down the Burlington victory.
Wisconsin's two errors in the game gave them 56 in 70 games played, the lowest total of the sixteen teams in the Midwest League. The errors meant that both Burlington runs in the game were unearned
Game two of the series is Saturday night at Community Field. Drew Gagnon (6-1, 2.49) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Burlington plans on sending Seth Frankoff (1-5, 5.69) to the mound. Game time is 6:30pm. Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280 or timberratlers.com starting with Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:10pm.
WP: Jeff Urlaub (5-4)
LP: Tyler Cravy (1-3)