Ok, maybe it is a bit of an exaggeration to compare a 22-year-old in his second minor league season to one of the greatest pitchers of all time, but on Friday night Cy Sneed pitched a gem that would have made the Hall of Famer Proud. The big right-hander stymied the Kane County Cougars, leading the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers to a 4-o win.
Sneed, a third round pick in last season’s draft, found himself matched up against first-round pick Touki Toussaint. Toussaint was making just his third start for Kane County after allowing just one earned run in his previous two starts. This game had all the makings of a classic pitcher’s duel and it did not disappoint.
Both starters put nothing but goose eggs up on the scoreboard through the first six innings. The Cougars starter retired 12 of the first 14 batters he faced, only yielding a lead-off single in the second and a lead-off walk in the fourth.
Sneed was not as dominant through the first four innings, but he was holding his own. He allowed a single in three of the first four innings, and retired the side in order in the third. He also had three strikeouts and picked off a runner.
It the fifth the Timber Rattlers threatened against the Kane County starter. Sthervin Matos singled to begin the inning and two outs later Elvis Rubio was hit by a Toussaint pitch. The lefty showed poise though, striking out Jake Gatewood to end the threat.
In the sixth he retired the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in order and his evening was done. Toussaint finished with 2 hits and 2 walks allowed, while striking out just one, although that one came at an opportune time. Most importantly he had not allowed a run, but neither had Sneed, so the Cougars starter left with a no-decision.
Jeferson Mejia took over for Toussaint in the seventh and he did not fare as well against the Timber Rattlers hitters. Greg McCall led off with a single and was sacrificed to second by Matos. Tucker Neuhaus struck out to make it two away, but Francisco Castillo came up with a clutch hit, lining a ball into the center field gap to score McCall. Rubio followed with a single to left field that scored Castillo and the Timber Rattlers had the 2-0 lead.
That was plenty enough runs on this night for Sneed. The big righty retired 9 of the next 11 hitters from the fifth through the seventh innings. In the eighth he gave up a single with one out, but then got a force and struck out the final batter of the inning to end any chance the Cougars had of scoring.
For the evening Sneed (2-5) pitched 8 innings, allowed 6 hits and no walks, while striking out 6. It was truly a dominant performance that was needed considering the outstanding start that his counterpart had for Kane County. Sneed threw 9o pitches in the game, 67 of which were strikes.
In the ninth the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers extended their lead. Matos singled with one out and Neuhaus followed with a double that put runners at second and third with one out. Cody Geyer relieved for Mejia and after striking out Castillo he walked Rubio to load the bases. Gatewood came to the plate and lined a single to right field that scored two runs and it was 4-o Wisconsin.
Mejia (0-2) took the loss for Kane County. He allowed all four runs that scored.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers got two hits apiece from McCall and Matos, Gatewood drove home two runs.
These same two teams will be at it Saturday night. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will send Kodi Medeiros (1-2, 5.35) to the hill against Ethan Elias (4-1, 1.53). Game time is 6:30 local time.
By Robert Pannier