Not Dead Yet: Rattlers Embarrass Bees, Take Game 2

by Kevin Kimmes

Ladies and gentlemen, there will be a game 3! Facing the threat of elimination, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers took game 2 of their best of 3 series with the Burlington Bees on Thursday night and in the process, tied the series at a game a piece. And they did it in true Hollywood fashion.

It was a “home town boy makes good” kind of story as Fond du Lac’s own Chad Pierce who faced the pressure and put together the only 9 inning complete game shutout of the year (Mark Williams had a 7 inning complete game earlier this season). The Rattler bats helped to ease the pressure early as the team put together 3 runs in the bottom of the 1st, and a 4th in the 2nd inning. It would turn out that these would be the only scores for either side all evening.

“The offense gave us some runs in the beginning, and you know, that’s what a good team does, score early and hold ’em” Pierce said post-game.

“It was a battle, but luckily they miss hit. Our defense played spectacular, (Chadwin) Stang ran down a bunch of balls. (Max) Walla, (Ben) McMahan to start off the game in the 1st inning, and Yadi (Yadiel Rivera) he had probably 8 to 10 putouts, or something like that. Then, Cias (Brandon Macias) had that diving stop, so the defense was spectacular.”

The win comes on the back of a 4-0 shutout in Burlington on Wednesday, which forced the team into a corner. It was now going to be the teams first home game of 2012, and possibly their last.

Coach Matt Erickson said, “Yesterday, they come out and their starter did exactly what Pierce did to them tonight, and that’s exactly what we needed. Now, immediately the momentum is back on our side and now it’s up to (David) Goforth to set the tone tomorrow and hopefully we can continue to play solid defense and get some timely hitting.”

Game 3 will be played tonight at Fox Cities Stadium with a 6:35 pm first pitch.

Splitsville: Rattlers and Bees Split First Double Header of the Year

by Kevin Kimmes

“It’s a great day for a ball game; let’s play two!” – Ernie Banks

Tonight, the Timber Rattlers did exactly that as they faced off in the season’s first double-header against the Burlington Bees (Low A Oakland Athletics). The change of schedule was brought about by inclement weather on Monday which caused the scheduled series opener to be cancelled and rescheduled as one of two 7 inning games to be played on Tuesday night.

Game 1 saw the Timber Rattlers send Matt Miller (0-3, 6.75) to the mound to face off against the Bee’s Drew Granier (2-0, 1.69) in what would be a decidedly lopsided battle. Granier would pitch all seven innings of game 1 holding the Rattlers to a single run scored in the bottom of the 5th inning when 1st baseman Greg Hopkins scored on a  sacrifice fly from 2nd baseman Carlos George.

However, the damage had already been done as the Bees had stung the Rattlers for 3 runs in the top of the 5th. They would put up two more insurance runs in the top of the 7th for a final score of 5-1.

Game 2 saw the Timber Rattlers send Drew Gagnon (1-0, 1.26) to the mound to face off against the Bee’s Jonathon Joseph (0-1, 5.93). The Rattlers, backed by a solid outing by Gagnon, would put up the only runs of the game in the bottom of the 4th inning when both designated hitter Brandon Macias and second baseman Carlos George would score to give the team a 2-0 lead.

Gagnon would pick up the win pitching 5.1 scoreless innings and striking out 6 batters in the process. Finding himself in trouble with one out in the 6th inning and the bases loaded, Gagnon would be replaced by Seth Harvey who would come on in relief and pick up his second save of the young season. Harvey would retire all five batters he faced in order, striking out four and improving his ERA to 1.50.

The split brings the Timber Rattlers record to 6-6 on the season tied with Beloit, Burlington, Cedar Rapids, and Peoria. The team will play the final game of this home stand Wednesday evening at 6:35pm before heading out on the road for 6 games starting Thursday.

One other note from tonight’s contest: Jason Rogers saw his streak of consecutive games reaching base end at 11 when he failed to get on base in the second game of tonight’s double-header. Rogers, however, continues to lead the team in Batting Average (.317), RBI (8), OBP (.417), and Slugging (.537). Additionally, he is tied with Chadwin Stang for the most homeruns on the team with 2 a piece.

Game(s) at a Glance:

Game 1:

Player(s) of the Game: Nick Rickels and Royce Consigli – Each with 2 runs scored for Burlington

WP: Drew Granier ( 2-0)
LP: Matt Miller (0-3)

Time: 1:52

Game 2:

Player of the Game: Seth Harvey

WP: Drew Gagnon (1-0)
LP: Jonathan Joseph (0-1)
Save: Seth Harvey (2)

Time: 2:07
Attendance: 482