by Kevin Kimmes
The Timber Rattlers season officially kicked off last night as 4,576 fans packed in to Time Warner Cable Field for some early April baseball. Despite temperatures that quickly dipped as the sun went down, the crowd was in high spirits for the first game of the new season.
The Timber Rattlers’ starting pitcher, Matt Miller (L, 0-1), found himself in trouble right out of the gate as he walked the Kernels’ second baseman, Kevin Mosequit, on 4 straight pitches to start the game. Despite the struggles, he was able to put together 2 innings of scoreless ball.
In the 3rd inning, the Kernels’ put on a hitting clinic resulting in 4 runs scored including doubles from third baseman Kaleb Cowart, first baseman Frazier Hall, and catcher Abel Baker. The Timber Rattlers would fight back in the bottom of the 3rd, scoring their first run of the season when 1st baseman Jason Rodgers singled off Kernels starting pitcher Austin Wood, allowing shortstop Yadiel Rivera to score from third. Rivera had reached base earlier when he was hit in the helmet by a wild pitch to start off the bottom half of the inning.
The Kernels would tack on two more runs in the 7th inning as left fielder Ryan Jones scored from first on a Cowart triple. Later, Cowart would touch home after a wild pitch from Timber Rattlers reliever Kevin Shackelford got by catcher Rafael Neda allowing him to score from 3rd.
Not content with a five run lead, the Kernels would score one more run off of Timber Rattlers’ reliever Tommy Toledo in the top of the 9th inning off of yet another double by Hall.
Despite being down by six runs heading into the final half inning of play, the Timber Rattlers decided not to go quietly. Left fielder Ben McMahan lead off the bottom of the 9th with a double to center. Then after two quick outs by 3rd baseman Greg Hopkins and catcher Rafael Neda, designated hitter Brandon Macias would match McMahan’s double with one of his own bringing the score to 6-2. Unfortunately, this would be all the offense the squad could muster as Rivera would record the final out of the game in the next at bat.
The Timber Rattlers will play game two of this three game series tonight at Time Warner Cable Field with a 6:35 pm start time. The Timber Rattlers will bring Drew Gagnon to the mound to face Cedar Rapids’ Mike Clevinger in what should be an exciting contest.
Game at a Glance:
WP: Austin Wood (1-0)
LP: Matt Miller (0-1)
Star of the Game: Kaleb Cowart (Cedar Rapids) – 4/5 (.800) – 2 singles, 1 double, 1 triple, 2 runs scored, 2 RBI,