Rattlers Offense Struggles Again

COMSTOCK PARK, MI – The West Michigan Whitecaps scored all their runs and had all their hits in the bottom of the first inning against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers on Saturday night at LMCU Ballpark.  It was enough.  West Michigan rode another strong starting pitching performance to a 3-1 win over the Rattlers.

The Whitecaps (46-40 overall, 15-5 second half) had a 2-0 lead two batters into the bottom of the first inning.  Trei Cruz singled and Corey Joyce followed with a long home run to left.  Later in the inning, Bryant Packard double to left on a ball that was ruled fair to score the third run of the inning.

The starting pitchers took control of the game from there.  Rattlers starter Justin Jarvis didn’t allow another hit as he worked through seven innings.  Jarvis retired the final thirteen batters he faced and ended the night with four walks and five strikeouts.  Whitecaps starting pitcher Brant Hurter pitched six shutout innings and worked around two hits in the first inning, a two-out triple in the second, and a single in the fourth.  Those were the only four hits Hurter allowed as he walked none and struck out seven.

The Timber Rattlers (48-37, 12-8) got on the scoreboard in the top of the eighth against reliever Jared Tobey.  Zavier Warren hit a home run off the scoreboard above the wall in left to start the inning.  The homer was Warren’s fifth of the season and the Rattlers were within 3-1.

Tobey got the first out of the inning.  Then, Elvis Alvarado was called into the game to get the next two batters.  He got them on a strikeout and a lineout to end the inning.

In the ninth, Dario Gardea pitched around a two-out error and recorded his first save of the season.

Joey Matulovich pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth inning out of the Wisconsin bullpen.

Jarvis is tied with Robert Gasser of the Fort Wayne TinCaps at the top of the Midwest League in strikeouts.  Both have 109 strikeouts this season.

In the first five games of this series, West Michigan starting pitchers have allowed four runs over 25-2/3 innings pitched.  The West Michigan starter to give up any runs in the series was Ty Madden, who allowed four runs in 4-2/3 innings on July 14.

The series finale is Sunday afternoon at LMCU Ballpark.  The Whitecaps have named Carlos Guzmán (4-5, 5.54) as their starting pitcher.  Game time is 1:00pm CDT.  The radio broadcast is on AM1280, WNAM and internet audio starting with the pregame show at 12:45pm.  This game is also available to MiLB.tv subscribers.