Rattlers Top Chiefs
GRAND CHUTE, WI – Joe Gray Jr. had four hits, including his seventh home run of the season, and the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers defeated the Peoria Chiefs 7-4 Friday night at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. The Timber Rattlers offense broke out of a brief slide with twelve hits to pick up their second win of the series with Peoria.
Mike Antico drew a walk, took second on a wild pitch, and stole third to start the game for the Chiefs (20-29). Tyler Reichenborn drove in Antico with a sacrifice fly and for a 1-0 lead.
Tyler Black started the Wisconsin half of the first inning with a walk, and he did not need a sacrifice fly to score. Gray put a 1-1 pitch into orbit over the batters’ eye in center for a 432’ homer and the Rattlers (30-19) were up 2-1.
The two newest Timber Rattlers combined to add to the Wisconsin lead in the second inning. Arbert Cipion singled with two outs. Then, Jose Acosta cranked a home run to right-center for a 4-1 lead.
Wisconsin, which had been shut out the previous two nights by the Chiefs, poured on the offense in the third inning with three more runs. Zavier Warren singled, took second on a wild pitch, went to third on an error, and scored on another wild pitch for the first run of the inning. Darrien Miller and Ashton McGee each drove in run later in the inning. Miller with an RBI single and McGee with an RBI double.
The Chiefs got a run in the fourth inning off Wisconsin starting pitcher Antoine Kelly. Francisco Hernandez doubled and stole second. He scored on a grounder to short from Luís Rodríguez.
Kelly worked through four innings, allowed two runs on four hits with a hit batsman and three walks, and struck out four.
Zach Mort took over for Kelly to start the fifth and worked a 1-2-3 inning but ran into trouble in the sixth. Hernandez hit a lead-off home run. Mort got the next two outs before Mack Chambers singled. That brought Antico to the plate, and he lined a double to right to score Chambers to cut the Timber Rattlers lead to three runs.
Cam Robinson was the next pitcher out of the Wisconsin bullpen, and he entered in the top of the eighth with a 16-1/3 inning scoreless streak. Robinson gave up a lead-off double and a one-out walk with a wild pitch to put runners on the corners with the tying run at the plate. The Rattlers closer escaped the jam with a strikeout and a flyout to maintain the lead. In the ninth, Robinson pitched a 1-2-3 frame to earn his eleventh save and to move his scoreless innings streak to 18-1/3 innings.
In the first half Western Division playoff race, the Timber Rattlers remained one game behind division leading Cedar Rapids. The Kernels won 8-5 at Lansing on Friday night. Third place South Bend fell three games off the pace set by the Kernels with a loss at Dayton.
Game five of the series is Saturday night at Neuroscience Group Field. Max Lazar (1-0, 1.59) is the scheduled starting pitcher for Wisconsin. Logan Gragg (2-4, 4.95) is set to start for Peoria. Game time is 6:40pm.
Saturday is game three 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.
Milk Source has some squeezable stress cows for the first 1,000 fans into the ballpark on Saturday to keep with the Udder Tuggers theme. Then, the folks from Wisconsin Dells have another 500 sunglasses to give to the next 500 fans to attend this game. It is all part of a Family Night courtesy of Stacey Hennessey Century 21 Affiliated and 101.1 WIXX. Tundraland presents the first Saturday Night fireworks display of the season and Kids Run the Bases is available for children twelve and under courtesy of Meijer after the fireworks.
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. Saturday is the first Timber Rattlers game that will be televised on CW-14. The telecast starts at 6:30pm. The game is also available to subscribers of MiLB.tv.