By Chris Mehring / Wisconsin Timber Rattlers | July 13, 2018 10:44 PM
COMSTOCK PARK, MI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers battled from behind to take a lead against the West Michigan Whitecaps on Friday night at Fifth Third Ballpark. The Whitecaps, who had beaten the Rattlers in walkoff fashion in the first two games of the series, tried to make it three in a row, but the Rattlers held on to defeat West Michigan 6-5.
Wisconsin starting pitcher Christian Taugner retired the first two batters he faced in the game. Brock Deatherage and Reynaldo Rivera singled to keep the inning alive. Then, Deatherage stole third and scored on a wild throw by catcher KJ Harrison. An RBI single by Jordan Pearce would score Rivera and the Whitecaps (47-45 overall, 11-11 second half) were up 2-0.
The Rattlers (39-51, 8-13) responded in the top of the second. Gilbert Lara and Harrison singled to start the inning. Both tagged and moved up a base on a deep fly to center by Kenny Corey. Gabriel García followed with a high popup that dropped between two fielders in front of the mound and the Rattlers had the bases loaded. Rob Henry was next and he singled to center to score Lara and Harrison and the game was tied 2-2.
West Michigan wen back in front in the bottom of the fifth. Anthony Pereira singled and took second on a wild pitch. Chris Proctor reached on an error to put runners at the corners. Taugner got Brady Policelli to ground into a 1-6-3 double play, but Pereira scored on the play and the Whitecaps led 3-2.
Tristen Lutz evened the score in the top of the sixth inning with a long home run to left-center.
Whitecaps starting pitcher Brad Bass retired the first two batters in the top of the seventh, but the Rattlers rallied to take the lead from there. Henry was hit by a pitch with a 1-2 count and Darren Seferina followed with a single to right to send Henry around to third base. Zach Clark put the Rattlers in front with an infield single to score Henry.
The Rattlers added to their advantage by pulling a double steal to get Seferina and Clark into scoring position. Trever Morrison got both runners home with a bloop single to left that dropped in front of the diving attempt of Garrett McCain.
Taugner went back out for the bottom of the seventh and retired the first two batters he faced before allowing a solo home run to Policelli that cut Wisconsin's lead to two runs.
The first two games of the series were decided by a single run and went down to the last batter so why would Friday's game be any different. Gabe Friese had two outs with a runner at second when Policelli singled to right to score the run to make it 6-5. Then, Policelli stole second and went to third when Friese threw a wild pitch on ball four to Kody Clemens. This put the tying run ninety feet from home plate and the winning run on base with Deatherage, who had three hits in the game coming to the plate.
Friese closed out the game by getting Deatherage to ground out to first and the Rattlers salvaged the final game of the three-game set with the Whitecaps.
Taugner earned the win to even his record at 6-6. Taugner has picked up the victory in his last four starts.
The Timber Rattlers continue their road trip with the first game of a three-game series against the South Bend Cubs at Four Winds Field on Saturday night. Dylan File (5-6, 3.97) is the scheduled starting pitcher for Wisconsin. The Cubs have named Brendon Little (3-6, 5.03) as their starting pitcher. Game time is 6:05pm CDT. The radio broadcast is on AM1280, WNAM starting with the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino Pregame Show at 5:45pm CDT. 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.