Timber Rattlers Fall in Peoria

PEORIA, IL – The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers battled back from a 2-0 deficit to tie Wednesday afternoon’s game with the Peoria Chiefs at Dozer Park only to see the Chief pull ahead to stay on a two-out, three-run home run by Tommy Jew in the bottom of the eighth inning.  Peoria defeated Wisconsin 5-2 to win their second straight game in the series.

The bottom of the first did not start well for the Timber Rattlers (11-6).  Maysin Winn reached on an error to start the inning.  The next batter lined out to shortstop and the Rattlers just missed on doubling Winn off first base.  Jacob Buchberger was next to hit for the Chiefs and he lined a ball down the first base line.  The ball was ruled fair and it kicked off the side wall back towards the line in right field to score Winn on a double.  Wisconsin disagreed with the ruling and manager Joe Ayrault was ejected after a discussion with plate umpire Ken Jackson.

Sal Frelick prevented the Chiefs (9-8) from adding to their lead in the bottom of the second inning.  Noah Mendlinger singled and stole second with two outs.  Then, Winn singled to center and Mendlinger tried to score.  Frelick’s throw to the plate was in time and a good tag by catcher Wes Clarke got Mendlinger for the final out of the inning.

Peoria managed to add to their lead in the bottom of the fourth inning.  Reliever TJ Shook had two outs and none on base before he walked four straight batters to force in a run.  Winn drew a four-pitch walk to draw the fourth and final walk of the frame.

Gordon Graceffo, Peoria’s starting pitcher, cruised through five innings allowing two hits.  That changed in the sixth.

Frelick put Wisconsin on the scoreboard with a lead-off home run in the sixth.  The opposite field drive was Frelick’s second home run of the season.

Graceffo retired the next two batters before turning the game over to his bullpen.  Graceffo struck out nine without issuing a walk over 5-2/3 innings.

Wisconsin tied the game in the top of the eighth inning against the Peoria bullpen.  Tristan Peters singled to center to score Yeison Coca with one out to even the score.  Peters is now on an eight-game hitting streak.

Shook got the first out of the bottom of the eighth inning but left the game after a single by Thomas Francisco.  Robbie Baker took over for Shook as the Rattlers third pitcher of the game.

Francisco stole second and took third on a throwing error.  Carlos Soto, the first batter Baker faced, drew a walk after the action on the bases and the Chiefs had runners on the corners.

They tried to bunt for a run to take the lead.  However, Francisco Hernandez popped up his bunt attempt and Zavier Warren made the catch for the second out.

It looked the Wisconsin might get the game to the top of the ninth with the score still tied.  Then, Jew swung away at a 1-0 pitch from Baker and cracked a three-run homer to left and the Chiefs had a 5-2 lead.

Wisconsin went down quietly and in order in the top of the ninth to take their third consecutive loss.

Game three of the series is scheduled for Thursday evening at Dozer Park.  Brandon Knarr (1-1, 2.20) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers.  Peoria has planned to send Dionys Rodríguez (0-0, 2.25) to the mound as their starter.  Game time is 6:35pm.  The radio broadcast is on AM1280, WNAM and internet audio starting with the pregame show at 6:15pm