GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers used a defensive gem and stellar pitching from Bowden Francis to defeat the Quad Cities River Bandits 3-1 on Tuesday night at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium.
The Timber Rattlers (26-32) took advantage of an error in the bottom of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. Trever Morrison singled with one out. Payton Henry followed with an infield single and an errant throw to first allowed Morrison to take third base. Demi Orimoloye hit a grounder and got Morrison home with the first run of the game.
Quad Cities (32-26) had a decent threat going in the top of the third inning after Ruben Castro started the inning with a double and Jake Meyers was hit by a pitch to start the inning and put runners on first and second with no outs. Bryan De La Cruz was next and he hit a one-hop line drive up the middle that Morrison stopped clean and flipped to second to force Meyers. Castro was trapped off second and got caught in a rundown before being tagged out by Gilbert Lara. De La Cruz thought he could make second base while the Castro rundown was happening. He was wrong. Lara ran right at Castro and forced him to pick a base. Castro bluffed to first before turning towards second. Then, Lara flipped to Morrison, who put the tag on Castro to complete the third triple play in Timber Rattlers history.
The Wisconsin offense added to their lead in the bottom of the third. Corey started the inning with a single. Henry singled with two outs to move Corey to second. Orimoloye made it 2-0 in favor of the Rattlers with a single to center to score Corey for the 2-0 lead.
Francis settled in after the triple play. He allowed one more base runner after the triple play, a walk to Castro, who was erased on an inning-ending double play hit into by De La Cruz.
The Wisconsin starter struck out the side in order in the top of the seventh to close out his night. Francis allowed three hits, walked one, and struck out nine in his seven innings. He set new single-game highs for innings pitched and strikeouts as a pro.
Henry gave Wisconsin an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning with his third hit of the night. Tristen Lutz singled to start the inning and Henry would double with one out to score Lutz from first.
Matt Hardy pitched a scoreless eighth inning in relief of Francis. Rodrigo Benoit entered in the top of the ninth and issued a lead-off walk. That walk would eventually score on an RBI single by De La Cruz, but Benoit would retire the next two batters to record his sixth save of the season.
Game two of the series is Wednesday night. Nelson Hernández (7-2, 4.20) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Rattlers. Quad Cities counters with Enoli Paredes (0-3, 2.11). Game time at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium is 7:05pm.
It's time for a Girls' Night Out to the ballpark and the Rattlers have partnered with Avenue Jewelers and Barefoot Wine for some great surprises.
Plus, everyone may enjoy Cher-Make hotdogs and Pepsi products for $1. Fans 21 and older may purchase 12-ounce domestic beers for $1. This is a part of Bang for Your Buck Night at the ballpark with Y100!
The first 1,000 fans to attend this game will receive a poster of Timber Rattlers infielder Gilbert Lara courtesy of Brew Pub Pizza.
Also, one lucky fan will win two charter airfare tickets courtesy of AAA Travel and Funjet Vacations.
If you can't make it out to the game, there are several ways to follow 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.