It was opening night in the Midwest League as the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers traveled to take on the Beloit Snappers. The two teams were tied through regulation, forcing extra-innings where the implementation of the international rule, along with a throwing error, helped Beloit to earn the 4-3 victory. Mickey McDonald was 2-2 for the Snappers, while Pat McInerney had two hits for Wisconsin, including his first homer of the season in the loss.
The Timber Rattlers took the lead in the top of the second inning, when McInerney opened the inning by blasting a 3-1 pitch to deep center field. That was the 1oth homerun of the first baseman’s professional career.
In the bottom of the third, Beloit would tie the score. With one down, Mickey McDonald doubled into left field. Nick Allen followed with a base hit up the middle that allowed McDonald to score, tying the game at one.
In the fifth, each team would get on the scoreboard. Joantgel Segovia started out the top of the fifth by laying down a perfect bunt for a base hit. That brought Payton Henry to the plate, who drilled an offering that hit off the wall in center. Segovia came all the way around from first to score as Henry raced int0 second with a double. Wisconsin had a rally going, but Snappers starter Jean Ruiz was able to bear down, retiring the next three batters of the inning to keep this a one run game.
Beloit responded by tying the game in the bottom of the fifth. With one down, Jake Lumley and McDonald delivered back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners. That brought Allen to the plate who drilled a ball into the gap in left-center that easily scored Lumley. McDonald attempted to score but a perfect relay throw from Segovia to Trevor Morrison to Henry gunned the runner at the plate to keep the score tied.
Both starting pitchers left after five innings. Bowden Francis allowed 6 hits without walking a batter for the Timber Rattlers. He struck out 3. Ruiz allowed 4 hits and a walk, while striking out 7.
The game remained tied through nine innings, sending it to the 10th where the new international rule in minor-league baseball was implemented. This rule means that a runner is placed at second to start the inning and both teams took advantage of that in the first extra frame.
In the top half of the inning, with Morrison at second base, Tristen Lutz laid down a bunt that moved Morrison to third. Two batters later, a balk scored the runner to give Wisconsin the lead.
The Snappers responded to tie the score in the bottom half of the inning. With Lumley at second base, McDonald laid down a bunt moving the runner to third. A wild pitch brought Lumley home and the score was tied once again.
The Timber Rattlers were unable to score in the top half of the 11th, setting the stage for the Beloit victory. In the bottom half of the inning, Miguel Mercedes started at second base. Skyler Weber laid down a bunt that third baseman Gabriel Garcia fielded. He looked to get the lead runner, but his throw was wild, allowing Mercedes to easily score as the Beloit Snappers were victorious, 4-3.
Jesus Zambrano (1-0) earned the victory for Beloit with a perfect inning of relief. Rodrigo Benoit (0-1) took the loss for Wisconsin. Mickey McDonald was 2-2 with a run scored, a double, and a walk for the Snappers, and Nick Allen had 2 hits and 2 RBI for the victors. Pat McInerney was 2-5 with a run, an RBI, a double, and a home run for the Timber Rattlers.
The final contest of this two-game set is Friday night. Nelson Hernandez will take the mound for Wisconsin. He will be opposed by Wyatt Marks.
By Robert Pannier