Walks Lead to Walkoff as Rattlers Fall
BELOIT, WI – Walks gave the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers the early lead and walks let the Beloit Sky Carp celebrate late on Saturday night at ABC Supply Stadium. Beloit drew three walks in the final two innings and all three scored to propel them past the Rattlers for a 4-3 walkoff victory
Both starting pitchers were on their game early on the cool evening. Beloit starter Evan Fitterer retired the Rattlers in order in the first three innings. Wisconsin starter Brandon Knarr pitched around a single in the first and a walk in the third with six strikeouts
Fitter ran his steak of Rattlers retired to eleven as he set down the first two batters he faced in the fourth. Then, he lost the strike zone. Fitterer walked Joe Gray Jr and Darrien Miller on eight straight pitches. Zavier Warren was next and he walked on a 3-1 pitch to load the bases.
Wes Clarke made Fitterer pay for his bout of wildness when he singled to left-center to score Gray and Miller for a 2-0 lead for Wisconsin (6-2).
The wildness wasn’t confined to the strike zone. Fitterer made an errant throw on a pickoff attempt at second to allow Warren to take third base. Tristan Peters made the most of that error with an infield single to score Warren for a 3-0 lead.
Knarr stumbled a bit to start the bottom of the fourth. Cody Morissette hit a lead-off homer to get Beloit on the scoreboard. Victor Mesa Jr. followed with a single and the tying run came to the plate. Knarr found his footing though with two more strikeouts and a flyout to shallow center to end the threat. He would pitch a scoreless fifth inning and turn the 3-1 lead over to the bullpen.
Tyler Gillies was the first Wisconsin reliever to get in the game as he made his long-awaited 2022 debut. Gillies, a Timber Rattler in 2019, had been diagnosed with cancer after the 2019 season and again in August of 2020. He had missed the entire 2021 season for treatment and recovery. Saturday night was his first appearance in a minor league game since September 1, 2019.
The first pitch was a ball, but no one seemed to mind as Gillies received a round of applause from both his teammates and the Sky Carp players. The next pitch was a ball, too. Then, Gillies found his groove to retire the side in order on a grounder to second, a popout, and a grounder to second.
Beloit (1-7) tied the game in the bottom of the eighth inning, but it could have been much worse for the Timber Rattlers.
Brady Schanuel, who pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning, walked two in the eighth and left with one out. Robbie Baker entered the game and gave up a double to Morissette that scored a run and put runners at second and third.
Victor Mesa Jr. was next to hit for Beloit and he hit a deep drive to right-center. Peters made a diving attempt and had the ball pop out of his glove. The tying run scored from third, but Morissette who held to see if the ball would be caught, only made it to third base. Mesa was racing for third and stopped in his tracks when he saw Morissette standing on third. Mesa was caught trying to get back to second base for the second out. Baker got the third out to send the game to the ninth inning tied 3-3.
Dalvy Rosario walked and stole second with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Tanner Allen sent a single through the left side of the infield and Rosario raced home with the game-winning run for the Sky Carp.
The Timber Rattlers didn’t have a hit after the fourth inning and saw their five-game winning streak come to an end. The win was the first of the year for Beloit, who had opened the year by losing their first seven games.
The final game of the series is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at ABC Supply Stadium. Antoine Kelly (0-0, 4.91) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. The Sky Carp have named MD Johnson (0-1, 12.00) as their starter. Sunday’s starting pitching matchup is a rematch of the series opener on April 12, a game won 6-3 by Wisconsin. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05pm. The game broadcast is on AM1280, WNAM and on internet audio starting with the pregame show at 12:45pm.