GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have made a habit of come-from-behind, walkoff victories at home this month. However, the Cedar Rapids Kernels held off a late Wisconsin charge on Sunday at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium for a 3-2 win.
Michael Helman put the Kernels (66-59 overall, 34-22 second half) up 1-0 with a one-out, solo home run in the top of the first inning. That was about it for Cedar Rapids against Wisconsin starting pitcher Aaron Ashby.
Ashby allowed four hits, walked two, and struck out ten over six innings as he held the Kernels to that one run. The left-hander set a new single-game high as a professional for strikeouts with his performance on Sunday.
Wisconsin (60-65, 29-27) had Cedar Rapids starter Edwar Colina in a few jams early in the game. In the first, the Rattlers loaded the bases with two outs. In the second, they had two on with two outs. Colina escaped from each inning without allowing a run. He settled in after that and would wind up with ten strikeouts over 6-1/3 innings.
The Kernels added an unearned run for some insurance in the top of the seventh against reliever Michael Petersen. David Bañuelos doubled and took third on an error with one out. Akil Baddoo beat out an infield single with two outs to drive in Bañuelos for a 2-0 lead.
The Rattlers managed to get to Colina in the seventh. Payton Henry doubled with one out and took third on a wild pitch. Gabriel García dumped a single into right to score Henry and the Rattlers trailed 2-1.
Moises Gomez took over for Colina after the single by García and promptly forgot about García because the Rattler runner stole second base on the first pitch that he threw. García made it to third base later in the inning on a wild pitch, but was stranded there when Tristen Lutz's deep fly to center was caught for the final out.
Cedar Rapids added a run in the top of the ninth inning when Matt Hardy allowed a two-out, solo home run to Michael Davis. That gave the Kernels their two-run cushion back. They would need that insurance run, too.
Lara started the bottom of the ninth inning with a triple. García drove in Lara with an RBI grounder to short, but that was the final threat for the Rattlers as they could not generate another comeback win.
Wisconsin has played eight home games during August. They are 6-2 in those games and seven of those eight games have been decided by one run. Opposing teams have scored first in six of the eight games at Neuroscience Group Field in August.
The loss to the Kernels dropped Wisconsin to five games out of the race for the top second half playoff spot in the Western Division. In the second half Western Division Wild Card race, Beloit lost 6-4 in ten innings to Burlington at home while Kane County beat Clinton 3-2 in ten innings at home. The Timber Rattlers remain 2-1/2 games behind Beloit for the Wild Card, but Kane County is just one game behind Beloit in the chase for the final Western Division playoff spot. Wisconsin has fourteen games left in the regular season.
The final game of the series with the Kernels is Monday afternoon. Wilfred Salaman (0-2, 8.56) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Cedar Rapids will send Tyler Watson (4-6, 4.87) to the mound. Game time is 12:05pm.
Monday is the last chance for the kids to come out for a day game at the stadium and the Rattlers are making sure that Kids Rock the Ballpark. Appleton Rock School will perform in front of the stadium before the game. Neuroscience Group will be handing out - and helping to fit - a limited number of bike helmets for kids. Children 12 and under will receive a voucher for a free hot dog and soda when they enter the stadium. Plus, the Kids' Zone lets the kids at the game to use the inflatables for free!
Purchase an entrée at any Qdoba location in Appleton, Neenah, or Oshkosh for lunch on Monday and receive a ticket to this home game on a Qdoba Q*Monday with NASH-FM 99.5 & 104.9.
If you can't make it out to the ballpark, there are many ways to catch the action. The radio broadcast is on AM1280, WNAM starting with the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino Pregame Show at 11:45am. The broadcast is also available on the Tune In and IHeart Radio apps. Subscribers to MiLB.tv can watch the game over the internet.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.