Rattlers Plate 11 in Win

SOUTH BEND, IN – The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers rebounded nicely from Thursday’s night’s loss to the South Bend Cubs on a walkoff grand slam at Four Winds Field.  The Timber Rattlers cracked eleven hits, scored eleven runs, and rode another fine pitching performance from Russell Smith to an 11-3 win over the Cubs on Friday night.

South Bend (44-35 overall, 10-3 second half) took the lead in the bottom of the first inning as the Wisconsin defense committed a pair of errors.  The Timber Rattlers had not committed an error in 39 straight innings before Pete Crow-Armstrong reached on an error by Antonio Piñero to start the Cubs first.  Crow-Armstrong stole second and went to third on a throwing error by catcher Alex Hall.  Yohendrick Pinango lined the next pitch to right for a single to score Crow-Armstrong and give South Bend the early lead.

Wisconsin (46-32, 10-3) took advantage of a South Bend miscue to tie the game in the top of the fourth.  Tristan Peters started the inning with a single and Ashton McGee singled with one out to put runners at the corners.  Cubs starting pitcher DJ Herz got the next batter on a strikeout.  He would throw a wild pitch with Alex Hall at the plate and Peters scored the tying run.

The Timber Rattlers took the lead in the top of the fifth.  Tyler Black and Ethan Murray drew back-to-back walks with one out to end the night for Herz.  Joe Gray, Jr. greeted reliever Joe Nahas with a single to load the bases.  Peters was next and he lined a single to left to drive in Black and Murray for a 3-1 lead.  Gray took third on the play and that set up Wisconsin’s fourth run.

Peters took off for second with Ashton McGee at the plate and two outs.  The throw went through and Gray broke for the plate.  Gray scored ahead of the wild throw and the Rattlers were up 4-1.

Smith found his groove after a rough start.  The Wisconsin starter gave up two hits to open the second inning before retiring twelve of the next fourteen batters he faced through the fifth inning.  Smith, a left-hander, went back out to face the left-handed Owen Caissie to start the sixth.  Caissie barely fouled off a two-strike pitch before doubling to end Smith’s night.

Brady Schanuel took over for Smith and gave up a walk to Luis Verdugo.  Jonathan Sierra was next.  He doubled to drive in Caissie and send Verdugo to third.  Schanuel got the first out of the inning on a popup, but a passed ball on catcher Alex Hall let Verdugo score and Sierra to take third as the tying run.  Schanuel escaped the inning with a strikeout and a lineout to first.

Smith allowed two runs – one earned – on six hits with no walks and nine strikeouts.  In his last two starts, Smith has allowed three runs – two earned – and struck out fifteen over eleven innings.

The Wisconsin offense received some free base runners and cashed in to score five unearned runs in the top of the seventh inning for plenty of insurance.  Black reached on an error and Murray was hit by a pitch to start the inning.  Peters doubled with one out to drive in Black.

The Rattlers had runners at the corners with two outs later in the inning and still had the 5-3 lead.  McGee drew a walk to load the bases to get Antonio Piñero to the plate against reliever Joe Nahas.  Piñero lined a 1-2 pitch to left for a two-run single.  Hall was next and he doubled off the wall in right-center to score two more runs and the Rattlers were up 9-3.

Christian Trip worked a scoreless seventh and a scoreless eight out of the Wisconsin bullpen.

Black and Murray got the final runs of the game for the Rattlers in the ninth inning.  Black drew a bases-loaded walk and Murray had a sacrifice fly.

Tyler Gillies pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth to close out the game.  He struck out the last two batters of the game to give the quartet of Wisconsin pitchers fifteen strikeouts in the game.

Peters led the offense with three hits and three RBI. 

The season series between the Rattlers and Cubs is even through ten games as both teams have five wins.  Both teams are tied at the top of the second half Western Division standings at 10-3.

Game five of the series is Saturday night at Four Winds Field.  Justin Bullock will make his 2022 Midwest League debut as the starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers.  South Bend has named Manuel Espinoza (3-4, 4.55) as their starter.  Game time is 6:05pm.  The radio broadcast is on AM1280, WNAM and internet audio starting with the pregame show at 5:45pm.  This game is also available to MiLB.tv subscribers.