GRAND CHUTE, WI - It wasn't easy, but the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers completed their three-game sweep of the Quad Cities River Bandits with a 1-0 victory on Thursday night at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. Three Rattlers pitchers combined on the four-hit shutout, but the team needed to escape a huge jam in the top of the ninth to close out the win.
Wisconsin (28-32) grabbed the lead with a run in the bottom of the first inning. Kenny Corey drew a walk to start the inning, stole second, and moved to third on a flyout. Demi Orimoloye drove in Corey with a two-out single to right for the 1-0 advantage.
The River Bandits (32-28) had runners on base against Carlos Herrera in the second, third, and fourth innings, but a pair of double plays and a caught stealing kept Quad Cities off the scoreboard.
In the fifth, Herrera walked Colton Shaver to start the inning. Shaver was still at first base with two outs. Then, Michael Papierski lined a double to the gap in left-center. Shaver tried to score from first on the play, but was out at the plate after Trever Morrison's relay throw to the plate beat him. Payton Henry picked the short-hop clean and put the tag on Shaver to keep the Rattlers in the lead.
Herrera had one more jam to escape before his night was done. Jake Meyers singled with a runner on first and two outs in the top of the sixth inning to put runners at the corners. Then, Herrera walked his fourth batter of the game to load the bases. He got Shaver to ground into a force play at second to keep the lead intact.
Wilfred Salaman entered the game in the seventh and retired all six batters he faced.
The Rattlers nearly added to their lead in the bottom of the eighth inning. Pat McInerney singled to center with Henry at second and Orimoloye at first and two outs. Henry tried to score but was thrown out at the plate on a strong throw by Meyers and the Rattlers took their precarious 1-0 lead into the ninth.
Rodrigo Benoit closed out the game, but not without drama. He hit the first batter he faced and walked the next batter. Then, Benoit and Henry crossed each other up on a pitch to Shaver and the result was a passed ball to put the tying run at third and the lead run at second with no outs. Benoit regrouped to strike out Shaver.
Then, Wisconsin decided to intentionally walk Bryan De La Cruz to load the bases. Benoit stuck out Adrian Tovalin and Papierski to wrap up the win and earn his seventh save.
The loss dropped the River Bandits two games behind division-leading Peoria and 1-1/2 games behind Clinton, the team that holds the Western Division Wild Card at the moment. Both Peoria and Clinton won on Thursday night.
The Timber Rattlers continue their homestand on Friday night with game one of a four-game series against the Cedar Rapids Kernels. Christian Taugner (1-4, 3.75) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Rattlers. Bryan Sammons (2-3, 2.74) is set to start for the Kernels. First pitch is 7:05pm.
Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Brent Suter gets his own Timber Rattlers bobblehead and the first 1,000 fans to attend Friday's game will receive one courtesy of Fox Valley Animal Referral Center.
Break out the costumes and get ready to Trick-or-Treat because this game is also Halloween in June with a special appearance by Wisconsin Ghostbusters and their own Ecto-1.
Arty's Old Fashioned drinks will be available to fans 21 and over for $3 on an Arty's Old Fashioned Friday with WIXX. Stick around after the game to enjoy a FOX11 postgame fireworks display. Children 14 and under may participate in Kids Run the Bases thanks to Menasha Corporation after the fireworks display.
If you can't make it out to the game, there are several ways to catch the action. The radio broadcast is on AM1280, WNAM starting with the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino Pregame Show at 6:45pm. 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.