CEDAR RAPIDS, IA - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers let one get away on Tuesday night. The Cedar Rapids Kernels rallied from a 5-2 deficit to defeat the Rattlers 6-5 in game one of a three-game series at Perfect Game Field on Tuesday night.
The Timber Rattlers (23-29) scored three runs in the third inning to take the lead. Gilbert Lara started the inning with a single. Trever Morrison, in his first game since April 8, followed with a single to put runners on the corners. Nick Roscetti put the Rattlers up with an RBI single to score Lara. Then, Demi Orimoloye tripled to right to score both runners for a 3-0 lead.
The Kernels (24-25) answered with two runs on four straight hits to start their half of the third inning. Three straight singles by Jordan Gore, Jacob Pearson, and Royce Lewis opened the frame. Alex Kirilloff followed with a two-run double to pull the Kernels to within a run and put the tying and lead runs in scoring position with no outs.
Wisconsin starting pitcher Alec Bettinger rebounded to retire the next three batters without allowing a run and kept the Rattlers up 3-2. Bettinger would retire the final twelve batters he faced in the game as he worked six frames for the fifth consecutive time as a starter.
The offense added to the lead with single runs in the fourth and fifth inning. In the fourth, Morrison singled with two outs to drive in KJ Harrison from third. In the fifth, Orimoloye hit his fifth home run of the season, a solo homer to left, and the Rattlers had a 5-2 lead.
Wisconsin had a chance to add to their lead in the top of the sixth. Zach Clark tripled to start the inning. Lara was next and he hit a high chopper near third. Clark tried to get back to the bag, but he was tagged out by the third baseman, who threw to first in time to get Lara for the double play. Morrison was next and he singled for the tenth hit of the night for the Rattlers. That drove Kernels starter Bailey Ober out of the game. Reliever Melvi Acosta entered the game and got the final out of the inning.
Bettinger, who had a chance at his fifth straight win, gave way to reliever Gabe Friese to start the bottom of the seventh inning. Friese hit the first batter he faced and walked the third batter he faced, but had two outs and a full count on Lewis with two outs. Lewis, the #1 pick of the 2017 draft, doubled to right and both runners scored to cut the Rattlers lead back to one run. Then, Kirilloff singled to send Lewis home with the tying run.
Jean Carlos Arias started the Kernels eighth inning with a single, stole second, and went to third on a ground out. Robby Rinn drove in Arias with a double to left and the Kernels had a 6-5 lead.
Acosta closed out the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning. He retired all ten Rattlers he faced in the game to pick up his first win of the season.
Wisconsin is 3-6 on the first nine games of this eleven-game road trip. The Rattlers have had the lead into at least the seventh inning in three of the losses.
Game two of the series is Wednesday afternoon. Bowden Francis (1-2, 4.93) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Cedar Rapids has named Blayne Enlow (0-1, 3.28) as their starter. Game time at Perfect Game Field is 12:05pm.
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.