Timber Rattlers Late Rally Comes up Short

TinCaps Hold Off Late Rattler Rally
Wisconsin starting pitcher Kelly was stellar with ten strikeouts over five scoreless innings

GRAND CHUTE, WI – The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and Fort Wayne TinCaps battled down to the last pitch on Thursday night at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium.  The Timber Rattlers trailed 4-1 in the bottom of the ninth before scraping together two runs and loading the bases with a chance to win before falling 4-3.

Both starting pitchers were on their A-game.  Wisconsin’s Antoine Kelly and Fort Wayne’s Noel Vela both pitched five scoreless innings with ten strikeouts.  Vela gave up three hits and walked none.  Kelly walked three and allowed one hit, an infield single in the first inning, as he set a new professional, single-game high for strikeouts in a game.

The TinCaps (12-12) got on the board first when Corey Rosier hit a home right to right-center with one out in the top of the sixth inning against reliever Miguel Guerrero.

The Timber Rattlers (14-10) fought back to tie the game and nearly took the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning against reliver Felix Minjarez.  Yeison Coca, who had walked earlier at the inning, was at second base after a wild pitch.  He was still there with two outs.  Then, Minjarez walked Zavier Warren and Joe Gray Jr to load the bases.  Minjarez would follow that by walking Darrien Miller to force Coca across the plate with the tying run.

Sam Keating was called in from the Fort Wayne bullpen to try to get the final out of the inning.  He got that out but needed a spectacular play from shortstop Jarryd Dale.  Wes Clarke sent a grounder deep in the hole and Dale made a strong throw from short left field to just beat Clarke at first base.

Fort Wayne took the lead again in the top of the ninth against James Meeker, the Rattlers fifth pitcher of the night.  The TinCaps loaded the bases with one out before Meeker got the second out with a strikeout.  Anthony Vilar didn’t let the drama build.  The TinCaps catcher cracked the first pitch he saw from Meeker to center for a two-run single.  Ripken Reyes was next, and he singled in a run that turned out to be very important.

Wisconsin’s bottom of the ninth inning started with a hit batsman and a one-out walk.  Keating walked Tristan Peters to load the bases and hit Warren to force in a run to bring the Rattlers to within two runs.

Wen-Hua Sung relieved Keating and became Fort Wayne’s fifth pitcher of the night.  Sung walked Gray to force in a run and Wisconsin’s deficit was one run with the tying run at third and the winning run at second.  Sung denied the Rattlers a celebration when he ended the game with a strikeout.

Wisconsin had four hits in the game, drew nine walks, and stranded ten runners in the game.

Game four of the series is Friday night at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium.  Justin Jarvis (1-2, 7.91) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers.  Efraín Contreras will make his 2022 debut as the starter for the TinCaps.  Game time is 6:40pm.

Celebrate Ghostbusters Night at the ballpark with an appearance by our friends from Northeast Wisconsin Ghostbusters.  If you are one of the first 1,000 fans to attend this game, you will receive a mini-movie poster of Ghostbusters Afterlife. You may also enter to win a movie poster signed by most of the cast of the latest entry in the Ghostbusters franchise.

Fans of legal drinking age may purchase Arty’s Supper Club Cocktails for half-price as part of Supper Club Friday from Arty’s and 101.1 WIXX.  After the game, children twelve and under may run the bases courtesy of Menasha Corporation.

If you can’t make it out to the stadium, there are several ways to follow the action.  The radio broadcast is on AM1280, WNAM and on internet audio starting with the pregame show at 6:20pm.  The game is also available on MiLB.tv.