Offense Struggles Again for Rattlers Loss

GRAND CHUTE, WI – The Peoria Chiefs held the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers scoreless for the second game in a row in a 4-0 shutout at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium on Thursday night.  The Timber Rattlers had a great opportunity late in the game, but left the bases loaded and missed on a chance to win the game and pick up ground in the division playoff chase.

Peoria (20-28) broke the scoreless tie with a run in the top of the sixth.  Todd Lott doubled to start the inning.  LJ Jones dropped a sacrifice bunt that moved Lott to third.  Aaron Antonini drove in Lott with a sacrifice fly to right and the Chiefs were up 1-0.

Wisconsin (29-19) was held off the scoreboard by Peoria starting pitcher Dionys Rodríguez, who pitched scattered five hits and a walk with five strikeouts over five innings.  Rodríguez was 0-5 on the season heading into the game.  He has made three starts against the Timber Rattlers and has only allowed one run in fourteen innings in those games.

Lott started another rally for the Chiefs in the top of the eighth with a single.  An error on a potential double play ball let Lott take second.  He moved to third on a flyout to right.  Jacob Buchberger drove in Lott with an infield single.

The Timber Rattlers gave the fans something to cheer in the eighth as they loaded the bases with no outs on two walks and a single to left against Levi Prater.  However, Prater quieted the crowd by striking out the next two batters.  Andre Granillo ended the Wisconsin threat when he was called in from the Chiefs bullpen and got the final out of the eighth to strand all three runners.

LJ Jones doubled Peoria’s lead when he drove in two runs with a double in the top of the ninth and the Rattlers were down 4-0 heading into the bottom of the ninth.

Granillo worked around a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth to close out the game for his first save of the season.

Wisconsin’s offense has not scored in 23-1/3 innings.  This marked the third time Peoria has shutout the Timber Rattlers this season.  Wisconsin is 4-8 in twelve games against the Chiefs this season.

While the loss did hurt, the Timber Rattlers did not lose ground to division-leading Cedar Rapids.  The Kernels lost 7-3 at Lansing on Thursday night.  Wisconsin trails the Kernels by one game for the First Half Western Division lead with eighteen games remaining in the half.

Brandon Knarr, the Wisconsin starter, allowed one run on three hits with a walk and five strikeouts over five innings.  He was charged with the loss and saw his personally seven-game winning streak come to an end.  Knarr is 7-2 on the season and both of his losses are in games where the Chiefs shutout the Timber Rattlers.

Game four of the series is Friday night at Neuroscience Group Field.  Antoine Kelly (1-1, 3.27) is the scheduled starting pitcher for Wisconsin.  Austin Love (2-5, 6.38) is set to start for the Chiefs.  Game time is 6:40pm.

Friday night is game two of Udder Tuggers Weekend.  Players and coaches will wear Wisconsin Udder Tuggers jerseys through Sunday.  Those jerseys are in a pair of online auctions at this link with two different end times on Sunday night (6:30pm and 7:00pm CDT).  Proceeds from the auction go to Timber Rattlers Give Back, the official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization of the team.

There are two giveaways on this night to go along with the first postgame fireworks display of the season, too.  The first 1,000 fans will receive a cow-patterned Velcro wallet from Fleet Farm.  The next 1,000 fans will receive pair of sunglasses from Wisconsin Dells, the World’s Waterpark Capital.  Fans of legal drinking age may purchase Arty’s Supper Club Cocktails for half-price as part of a Supper Club Friday from Arty’s and 101.1 WIXX.  After the fireworks, children twelve and under may run the bases courtesy of Menasha Corporation.

If you can’t make it out to Neuroscience Group Field for the game, there are several ways to follow the Timber Rattlers action.  The radio broadcast on AM1280, WNAM and internet audio is set to start with the pregame show at 6:20pm.  The game is also available on