For the first five innings of Monday’s contest, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and Bowling Green Hot Rods were engaged in a great pitchers’ duel. Angel Ventura and Henry Centeno battled through a scoreless tie. However, the Timber Rattlers finally broke through on their way to a 7-3 victory.
Centeno was on fire through the first three innings. He allowed two singles and a walk while striking out seven, including the side in the second. He added his eighth strike out in the fourth and gave up a single before getting a double-play ball to end the Timber Rattlers chance in the fifth.
Ventura was having equally as much success against the Bowling Green Hot Rods. A lead-off double in the first was followed by nine straight batters retired, four on strike outs. In the bottom of the fourth, the Timber Rattlers starter gave up a single before retiring the side. In the fifth Bowling Green got a one out double from Cristian Toribio and a walk from Grant Kay before Ventura retired the last two hitters to end the inning.
It was a beautifully pitched game through the first five innings, but in the sixth it came apart for Centeno. With one out Carlos Leal singled to center and Jose Pena followed with a shallow single just out of the reach of the Bowling Green third baseman’s reach. That brought Dustin DeMuth to the plate, who hammered his fourth home run of the season over the right-center field wall to make it a 3-0 lead for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Two batters later Brandon Diaz and Alan Sharkey delivered back-to-back singles to bring an end to Centeno’s outing.
Kyle Bird relieved and was greeted by a double from Tucker Neuhaus that scored Diaz and moved Sharkey to third. Francisco Castillo followed with a single to center field to score Sharkey and Neuhaus to make it 6-0 Wisconsin.
Ventura was done after five innings and relieved by Luis Ortega. Riley Unroe singed to begin the bottom of the sixth and two batters later Justin Williams grounded a sharp single that Neuhaus batted down but could not make a play on. A walk to Hunter Lockwood loaded the bases, and Nick Ciuffo hit a sacrifice fly that scored Unroe. Cristian Toribio doubled to bring home Williams and Lockwood and cut the Wisconsin lead to three.
In the top of the eighth the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers added one more run. Diaz doubled to lead off the eighth and scored when Sharkey lined a single up the middle to make it 7-3. That would be all the runs either team could produce.
Ventura evened his record at 2-2. He pitched 5 innings, allowing 3 hits and a walk, while striking out 5. Centeno dropped to 4-3.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers lineup had 13 hits. Five players had two hits, including DeMuth, who was 2-5 with a run scored and 3 RBI. Pena, Diaz, Sharkey, and Neuhaus also had two hits a piece.
By Robert Pannier