GENEVA, IL - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers bounced back from a disappointing 12-2 loss on Tuesday night to silence the Kane County Cougars on Wednesday night at Northwestern Medicine Field. Wisconsin's offense handed starting pitcher Scott Sunitsch an early 4-0 lead and he ran with it for seven innings on
GENEVA, IL - The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers bounced back from a disappointing 12-2 loss on Tuesday night to silence the Kane County Cougars on Wednesday night at Northwestern Medicine Field. Wisconsin's offense handed starting pitcher Scott Sunitsch an early 4-0 lead and he ran with it for seven innings on the way to a 6-0 victory for the Timber Rattlers.
Wisconsin (27-30) scored four runs in the first inning and knocked Kane County starting pitcher Michel Gelabert out of the game before the final out was recorded. Chad McClanahan singled with two outs and none on base to keep the inning alive. Brent Díaz drew a walk to put two runners on base. Then, Leugim Castillo and Korry Howell had back-to-back RBI singles to put the Rattlers up 2-0. The Howell single was what drove Gelabert to the dugout.
Ryan Miller relieved Gelabert and got Je'Von Ward to send a grounder to second, but a poor throw allowed Ward to reach and Castillo and Howell to score for the 4-0 advantage.
Kane County (31-27) scuffled through the first three innings against Sunitsch. They started to get something going in the bottom of the fourth as the first two batters singled. A force play at second got the first out, but that left runners at the corners with one out for Zac Almond.
Almond hit a hard grounder to the hole between third and short. Shortstop Antonio Piñero made a diving back-handed grab of the grounder and fired to second to the force play. Brice Turang made a quick pivot and fired to first in time to complete the inning-ending double play.
The Rattlers added to their advantage with single runs in the sixth and seventh innings. In the sixth, Howell singled, stole second, and went to third on an error. Gabriel García hit a wicked one-hopper off the glove of Blaze Alexander at third for an infield single to score Howell. In the seventh, David Fry crushed a solo homer to left. Fry's seventh home run of the season gave the Rattlers a 6-0 lead.
Sunitsch went back out for the seventh and worked around a one-out single to give him seven scoreless innings. Sunitsch allowed five hits, walked three, and struck out set a new professional single-game high for innings pitched.
Justin Jarvis took over for Sunitsch in the bottom of the eighth and gave up a lead-off double and a one-out walk, but the Rattlers defense turned an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play to keep the shutout intact.
Jarvis retired the first two batters in the bottom of the ninth, but a walk to Almond and a single by Joe Gillette brought Eddie Hernandez to the plate. The Cougars lead-off hitter hit a line drive ticketed for right field, but the ball hit Gillette for the final out of Wisconsin's fifth shutout of the season.
The rubber game of the series is Thursday night at Northwestern Medicine Field. Logan Gillaspie (1-2, 3.53) is scheduled to start for the Rattlers. Levi Kelly (0-0, 3.46) is set to go for the Cougars. Game time is 6:30pm. The radio broadcast is on AM1280, WNAM and the TuneIn Radio app starting with the Papa John's Pizza Pregame Show at 6:10pm. MiLB.tv subscribers can watch the game over the internet.