Bullpen Can’t Close the Door as Rattlers Fall

BELOIT, WI – The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers got a fine start from Russell Smith and some timely hits to take a 4-1 lead into the late innings against the Beloit Sky Carp on Tuesday night at ABC Supply Stadium.  However, the Sky Carp rallied past Wisconsin for a 6-4 victory.  The loss dropped Wisconsin a little farther behind in the division race.

The Sky Carp (23-29) took the lead in the second inning.  Dalvy Rosario tripled with two outs.  Davis Bradshaw blooped a double into center to score Rosario.

The Rattlers (31-21) tied the game in the third inning.  Ethan Murray reached on an error and stole second.  Tyler Black lined a double to right to score Murray with the tying run.

Murray and Black combined to give the Timber Rattlers the lead in the top of the fifth.  Murray doubled to start the frame.  Black smacked a triple to the corner in right to score Murray.  Joe Gray Jr. sent Black home with a sacrifice fly later in the inning and the Rattlers had a 3-1 lead.

Wisconsin added to their lead in the top of the sixth.  Alex Hall started doubled with one out.  Murray sent a grounder behind second.  Cody Morrissette fielded the ball cleanly but fired high to first.  The ball ended up in the Beloit dugout and Hall scored for the 4-1 advantage.

Beloit got a run in the bottom of the sixth inning off Rattlers starting pitcher Russell Smith on a two-out. RBI single by Tanner Watson.  Smith left the game with two on base and two outs.  Robbie Baker got the final out of the sixth to maintain the lead.

Smith set a new professional single-game high for strikeouts with eight in his performance on Tuesday.  He scattered seven hits, walked one, and walked one in the game.

Baker had one out with runners on the corners and a 3-2 pitch due to Nasim Nunez in the bottom of the seventh.  Morrissette, the runner at first, took off on the pitch.  Baker got the strikeout, and the throw went through to second, but Morrissette stopped short of the base.  Rosario, the runner at third broke for the plate, on the throw through to second and wound up beating the return throw to the plate to score the run and Wisconsin’s lead was down to one run.

The Rattlers called in closer Cam Robinson to start the bottom of the eighth.  Robinson carried a scoreless streak of 18-1/3 innings into this game as he had not allowed a run in an appearance since April 28.

Will Banfield started the inning with an infield single.  Robinson got the next two batters on weak grounders, but those two outs wound up getting Banfield to third with two outs.  Robinson got to a 2-2 count on Bennett Hostetler but could not find the final out until the Sky Carp had taken the lead.

Hostetler lined a single just past the outstretched glove of Murray at short to drove in Banfield with the tying run.  Rosario was next and he lined an 0-2 pitch to the corner in right for an RBI triple and the lead.  Bradshaw capped the inning with an RBI double for a 6-4 lead.

Sean Reynolds struck out the side in the top of the ninth to close out the game for Beloit.

The loss dropped Wisconsin three games behind the Cedar Rapids Kernels in the first half Western Division playoff race.  The Kernels won 7-1 at South Bend on Tuesday night to move their record to 34-18.  There were fourteen games left in the first half.

Game two of the series is Wednesday night at ABC Supply Stadium.  Antoine Kelly (1-1, 3.38) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers.  The Sky Carp have named Pat Monteverde (1-1, 2.80) as their starter.  Game time is 6:35pm.  The radio broadcast on AM1280, WNAM and internet audio is set to start with the pregame show at 6:15pm.  The game is also available to subscribers of MiLB.tv.