Rattlers Offense Nonexistent in Loss
MIDLAND, MI – The Great Lakes Loons offense scored early, and their pitchers stifled the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in a 5-0 win at Dow Diamond on Wednesday night. The Timber Rattlers were held to one hit and just three base runners in a defeat that dealt a blow to the Rattlers in the first-half playoff race.
The Loons (34-25) scored twice in the first inning on two hits, a walk, a hit batsman, and an error to take the early lead. The first two batters – Jorbit Vivas and Diego Cartaya – of the inning reached against Wisconsin starting pitcher Ryne Moore on a single and a hit batsman. Moore got the next hitter to send a soft grounder to second, but Jose Acosta’s flip to second was wild and the ball wound up in short left field. That allowed Vivas to score the first run of the inning. Eddys Leonard followed with an RBI single to knock in Cartaya for the 2-0 lead
Vivas added to the Great Lakes lead with a one-out, solo home run in the bottom of the second inning.
Former Timber Rattlers catcher Kekai Rios blooped a single to center in the bottom of the third to score a run and the Loons were up 4-0.
Leonard started the bottom of the fifth inning with a triple but was still there with two outs. Moore couldn’t find the final out as he walked the next two batters to load the bases. Miguel Guerrero was called in from the Wisconsin bullpen and he was ahead of Ismael Alcantara with two quick strikes. Then, Guerrero hit Alcantara to force in a run and the deficit reached five runs.
Alex Hall provided the lone Timber Rattlers (34-24) hit of the game. Hall doubled to start the top of the third inning against reliever Emmet Sheehan. Then, Sheehan struck out the next three batters to end the inning. Sheehan picked up the win for the Loons as he struck out eight over three innings.
Wisconsin had two more base runners in the game. Tyler Black drew a two-out walk in the sixth and a one-out walk in the ninth.
Five Loons pitchers combined for sixteen strikeouts.
The loss knocked the Timber Rattlers to 3-1/2 games out of first place in the Western Division race with seven games remaining in the first half.
Earlier in the day, the Cedar Rapids Kernels defeated the Dayton Dragons 7-2 at Perfect Game Field in Iowa in a game between the Eastern and Western Division leaders.
The Loons picked up a game on the Dragons with their win on Wednesday. Great Lakes is 3-1/2 games out in the East. They have seven games left while Dayton has eight games left in the half.
Game three of the series is Thursday night at Dow Diamond. Zach Mort (3-1, 3.18) has been named the Wisconsin starting pitcher for the game. The Loons have named Nick Nastrini (0-2, 5.40) as their starter. Game time is 6:05pm CDT. The radio broadcast on AM1280, WNAM and internet audio is set to start with the pregame show at 5:45pm. The game is also available to subscribers of MiLB.tv.