First Inning Hole Hurts Rattlers

SOUTH BEND, IN – The South Bend Cubs beat the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 6-2 on Sunday afternoon at Four Winds Field.  Pete Crow-Armstrong went 3-for-3 with a homer, a walk, and three runs scored to lead the Cubs to the win.  The loss cost Wisconsin sole possession of first place in the division and a couple of players to injury.

South Bend (45-36 overall, 11-4 second half) took the early lead with a pair of solo home runs in the bottom of the first inning.  Crow-Armstrong hit the first pitch from Justin Jarvis for a home run to right.  Jake Washer cracked a two-out, solo homer to left for the 2-0 lead.

The Cubs added to their advantage in the third inning.  Crow-Armstrong singled and was running on a pitch that Jordan Nwogu sent sharply to the mound.  Jarvis tried to go to second to start a double play but was late with the head start that Crow-Armstrong had.  Yohendrick Pinango followed with an RBI double.  Jonathan Sierra tacked on a run with a sacrifice fly for a 4-0 lead.

Tyler Black saved a run by making a diving catch of a deep fly to right-center off the bat of Luis Verdugo to end the bottom of the third inning.  However, Black injured himself on the catch and was removed from the game.

Joe Gray Jr got the Timber Rattlers (47-33, 11-4) on the scoreboard with a two-run home run off Daniel Palencia in the top of the fourth.

Wisconsin had a chance to get things going in the top of the seventh as Cubs reliever Michael McAvene hit the first two batters he faced.  McAvene denied the rally by striking out the next three batters.

Rattlers reliever Justin King got the first out in the bottom of the seventh but issued a walk to Crow-Armstrong and hit Jordan Nwogu.  Then, the duo pulled a double steal to put runners on second and third.  King had to leave the game with an injury after a 2-2 pitch to Pinango.

Taylor Floyd took over for King and Pinango sent a grounder back over the mound.  Floyd made a leap for the ball and deflected it to shortstop Antonio Piñero, who threw late to the plate as Crow-Armstrong scored.  Washer lined the next pitch into center to score Nwogu with the final run of the game.

Wisconsin went down in order in both the eighth and ninth inning.  The Timber Rattlers struck out a total of fourteen times against five South Bend pitchers in the game.

The two teams split the six-game series.  The Rattlers and South Bend have split the first twelve games of the season series with six wins for each team.  They entered the series on July 4 tied for the lead for first place in the second half Western Division standings at 8-1.  They leave the series tied at the top of the division at 11-4.  Wisconsin and South Bend will meet again in less than a month when the Cubs come to Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium from August 9 through August 14.

The Timber Rattlers are off on Monday.  They return to action on Tuesday with the first game of a six-game series with the West Michigan Whitecaps at LMCU Ballpark.  Antoine Kelly (2-3, 3.76) is the scheduled starting pitcher for Wisconsin.  The Whitecaps have named Carlos Guzman (4-5, 6.00) as their starting pitcher.  Game time is 5:35pm CDT.  .  The radio broadcast is on AM1280, WNAM and internet audio starting with the pregame show at 5:15pm.  This game is also available to subscribers.