Rattlers Score 8 Unanswered for Walkoff Win
GRAND CHUTE, WI – The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers never gave up and never surrendered on Wednesday afternoon against the Quad Cities River Bandits. Wisconsin trailed 9-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning before they rallied for a 10-9 walkoff win. Sal Frelick had five hits, including a homer, scored three runs, and drove in three runs while Wes Clarke hit a grand slam to lead the late rally for the Rattlers.
The River Bandits (4-7) scored three runs in the top of the first inning. Herard Gonzalez and Luca Tresh had back-to-back RBI doubles with one out for a 2-0 lead. Tresh scored on an error with two outs to score the final run of the inning.
Wisconsin (8-3) responded almost immediately in the bottom of the first. Sal Frelick doubled to start the inning and Tyler Black singled to score Frelick. Joe Gray Jr followed with a double to send Black to third and the Rattlers had the tying runs in scoring position with no outs. Quad Cities starting pitcher Christian Chamberlain stopped the Rattler rally in its tracks with a popup and back-to-back strikeouts.
The Bandits scored two more runs in the top of the second inning. The table was set with a leadoff walk, a single, and a sacrifice bunt. Tyler Tolbert cashed in the first run with a single to right. A wild pitch by Wisconsin starter Russell Smith allowed the second run of the inning to score and the Rattlers found themselves trailing 5-1.
Tristan Peters and Ernesto Martinez Jr drew consecutive walks to start the bottom of the second. They would pull a double steal with one out. Frelick lined a single to center to score Peters and would steal second to give Wisconsin runners at second and third to be on the verge of getting back in the game. However, reliever Walter Pennington struck out the next two batters to strand those runners.
Kale Emshoff hit a two-run home run in the top of the third inning and the River Bandits pushed their lead to 7-2.
The game settled down through the middle innings with no scoring. Then, Rubendy Jacquez hit a two-out, two-run triple in the top of the seventh and Quad Cities was up 9-2.
The Rattlers got singles from Frelick, Black, and Darrien Miller in the bottom of the seventh to load the bases. Wes Clarke unloaded the bases a few pitches later with a home run over the wall in left.
The game tightened even more in the bottom of the eighth. Ernesto Martínez Jr singled and Frelick lined an opposite field home run for his fifth hit of the game and the deficit was down to one run.
James Meeker, the fourth pitcher of the game for Wisconsin, pitched around a two-out double in the top of the ninth and gave Wisconsin a chance in the bottom of the ninth.
Clarke started the rally with a walk and was replaced by pinch-runner Yeison Coca. Zavier Warren followed with a double to center and the River Bandits brought the infield in with the tying run at third and the winning run at second.
Tristan Peters sent a slow grounder to second that was misplayed for an error and Coca scored to tie the game 9-9.
Quad Cities elected to walk Martínez to load the bases. The strategy worked for a moment when Kasey Kalich got a strikeout for the first out, but that just brought Frelick back to the plate.
Kalich uncorked a wild pitch on the first offering to Frelick and Warren raced home with the winning run to be mobbed by his teammates after they completed the comeback victory.
Wednesday was the third walkoff win of the season for the Timber Rattlers. It was also the eighth one-run game of the year for Wisconsin. The team is 5-3 in games decided by one run this season.
Game three of the series is Thursday evening. TJ Shook (1-0, 0.00) is the scheduled starting pitcher for Wisconsin. The River Bandits have named Noah Murdock (0-0, 3.68) as their starting pitcher. Game time is 6:40pm.
The first 1,000 fans to attend this game will receive a poster featuring Wisconsin outfielder and Milwaukee Brewers #1 prospect Sal Frelick courtesy of Chick-fil-A. Fans of legal drinking age may purchase 16-ounce craft beer for $3 and all fans can purchase a Cher-Make brat for $2 as part of a Craft Brews & Brats Thursday presented by Fox River Brewing Company and The Score.
If you can’t make it out to the stadium, there are several ways to catch the action. The radio broadcast is on AM1280, WNAM and internet audio starting with the pregame show at 6:20pm. The broadcast is also available to subscribers of MiLB.tv.