GRAND CHUTE, WI - Ben McMahan had three hits and three RBI to lead the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers to a 7-3 win over the Peoria Chiefs Thursday night at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium. Wisconsin scored four runs in the first inning and pulled away late for their third straight victory.
The Timber Rattlers (47-29 overall, 3-4 second half) jumped on Peoria with four runs in the first inning. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases with no outs in the first. Peoria starting pitcher Gerardo Concepcion got the first out, but Nick Ramirez singled to left to score a run. On the play a throw to the infield was wild and allowed Brandon Macias to score for a 2-0 lead. McMahan was the next batter and he singled to drive in two more runs for a 4-0 advantage.
Rattlers starting pitcher Chad Pierce allowed a two-out RBI double to Oliver Zapata in the second inning. But, McMahan got that run back in the third inning with a two-out RBI double for a 5-1 lead.
Peoria (38-38, 3-4) rallied against Pierce in the fifth inning. The Rattlers right-hander got the first two outs of the inning, but a walk to Zeke DeVoss kept the inning alive for the Chiefs. Taiwan Easterling and Dustin Geiger connected with consecutive RBI doubles and Peoria pulled within two runs.
Pierce, a native of Fond du Lac, worked five innings in his first start of the season. He walked two, struck out three, scattered five hits, and turned the lead over to the bullpen.
Peoria left the bases loaded in the sixth inning and stranded two more runners in the seventh against reliever Mike Strong. Then, the Rattlers offense added to their lead.
Lance Roenicke, who went 2-for-4 on the night, singled in the first run. A pair of walks brought Greg Hopkins to the plate and the All-Star second baseman singled to left-center to drive in one more insurance run for a 7-3 lead.
Strong ran into a little trouble in the eighth inning as the Chief had runners at first and second with one out. Strong got a strikeout for the second out and was replaced by Kevin Shackelford.
Shackelford walked Easterling to load the bases and bring the potential tying run to the plate in the form of Geiger. Shackelford got the final out of the inning with a strikeout. A scoreless ninth inning allowed Shackelford to nail down his second save of the season.
Game two of the series is Friday night at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium. David Goforth (5-4, 5.42) is the scheduled starting pitcher for Wisconsin. Michael Jensen (7-3, 3.24) is set to start for the Chiefs. Game time is 7:05pm.
The Amazing Spider-Man will be on hand to meet all the webheads and toss out a first pitch for the game. It is also a North Shore Bank Family night and children 12 and under eat free. Settle in after the game to watch a spectacular fireworks display. After the fireworks, children 14 and under may participate in Kids Run the Bases presented by Jernegan's Health Mart.
If you can't make it out to the ballpark, tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 6:45pm. Friday's game is also available to subscribers of MiLB.TV.
WP: Chad Pierce (2-2)
LP: Gerardo Concepcion (2-6)
SAVE: Kevin Shackelford (2)