GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are playing some of their best baseball of the season. The Rattlers defeated the Cedar Rapids Kernels 5-2 on Friday night at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium for their fourth straight win. Wisconsin has held their opponents to six runs while committing just one error during their current winning streak.
Royce Lewis gave the Kernels (28-32) a 1-0 lead with a one-out, solo home run in the first inning.
The Rattlers (29-32) responded with a two-out rally to tie the game in the bottom of the first inning. Demi Orimoloye sent a grounder up the middle and turned it into a double with two outs. Gilbert Lara followed with a blooper to center that dropped for an RBI single to score Orimoloye with the tying run.
Wisconsin took the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth. Pat McInerney singled, stole second, and went to third on an error with KJ Harrison at the plate. Harrison could have saved McInerney all the running because he would line a home run over the wall in left for a 3-1 advantage.
Cedar Rapids rallied for a run in the top of the fifth inning against starting pitcher Christian Taugner. Jacob Pearson started the inning with a single. Andrew Bechtold followed with a double to right-center and Pearson scored. Taugner would retire the next three batters and strand Bechtold at third base to keep the Rattlers up 3-2.
McInerney and Harrison teamed up to get the Rattlers an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. McInerney reached when Lewis threw wildly to first after a grounder to short for what should have been the final out of the inning. Harrison made the Kernels pay for the miscue by lining a double into the corner in left and McInerney raced home to score.
Orimoloye manufactured a final insurance run for the Rattlers in the eighth inning. He reached second on an infield single and a throwing error, stole third, and scored on a wild pitch for a three-run cushion.
Taugner left the game in the hands of the bullpen after the fifth inning and relievers Cody Beckman and Robbie Hitt were up to the task. Beckman allowed one hit and struck out three over two scoreless innings. Then, Hitt walked one and struck out three over two scoreless innings to pick up his second save of the season.
The win was the fourth straight for the Timber Rattlers.
Game two of the series is scheduled for Saturday night, which is the night the Timber Rattlers will be renamed the Wisconsin Brats for Bratoberfest! The Brats have named Alec Bettinger (4-4, 4.13) as their starting pitcher. The Kernels plan to send Edwar Colina (2-1, 4.09) to the mound. Game time is 6:35pm.
Fans may bid on the Brats jerseys in an online auction at timberrattlersauctions.com until 8:30pm on Saturday.
The Jerry Schneider Band will be performing in front of the stadium to get everyone in the proper mood for Bratoberfest. If you are one of the first 1,000 fans to enter this game, you will receive a Timber Rattlers baseball hat courtesy of Grifols. After the game, Tundraland presents fireworks and children 14 and under may run the bases courtesy of Meijer.
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 6:15pm. The broadcast is also available on the Tune In and IHeart Radio apps. Fans with Spectrum cable may watch the game on CW14 starting at 6:30pm. 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.