Burlington Evens Record with 4-2 Win Over Wisconsin Timber Rattlers
When the Burlington Bees saw the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers on their schedule three days ago they had to be feeling pretty good about dominating their series with the team from Appleton. The Timber Rattlers had the worst record in the Midwest League and were 1-9 in their last ten games. However, Wisconsin took the first two games of the series, dropping the Bees a game below .500. Wednesday’s win evened Burlington’s record and gives the club a little confidence to build off of.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers got the game off on the right foot in the top of the second inning against Burlington starter Michael Bolaski. Dustin DeMuth reached base on an error to lead off the inning, and Sthervin Matos followed with a single to put runners and first and second with no one out. Tucker Niehaus laid down a perfect bunt to move the runners up 90-feet. Two batters later Carlos Leal singled scoring both DeMuth and Matos to make it 2-0.
Burlington responded with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Wade Wass doubled into the gap in centerfield and Trevor Gretzky grounded out moving Wass to third. Fran Whitten followed with a ground out of his own scoring Wass to cut the deficit to one.
In the fourth Burlington tied it up. Ryan Seiz walked to lead off the inning and moved to second on a single by Wass. Gretzky then laid down a perfect bunt to move the runners into scoring position. Wisconsin starter Orlando Torrez was laboring, but he was not going to give up the huge inning. A fielding error allowed Seiz to score to tie the score, but Torrez recorded the final two outs to keep the score tied.
In the sixth the Bees would finally get to Torrez and end his evening. Wass walked to lead off the inning, the third time he had been on base in the game already. Gretzky then came to the plate and drilled a pitch over the right-center field wall to give Burlington a 4-2 lead. It was Gretzky’s first home run of the season.
That was it for Torrez (0-3), who remained winless. He finished with 5 innings pitched, allowing 5 hits and 4 walks. All four runs scored against the Wisconsin starter were earned and he struck out 3.
From there the two teams’ bullpens did the trick. Garrett Nuss entered the game for Burlington in the sixth and he was just lights out. The right-hander pitched four shutout innings, allowing just a single and 2 walks while striking out 7. The last five outs of the game he recorded with a strikeout. Nuss (1-0) earned his first win of the season.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers hitters really struggled against Bolaski and Nuss, recording just four hits. Burlington did not do a whole lot better, knocking out five, but they put theirs together when they needed them. Wass finished with a perfect night, going 2-2, with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI. Gretzky was 1-3 with 2 RBI.
These two teams will go at it again tomorrow night. Devin Williams (0-1, 4.50) gets the start for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers against Keynan Middleton (1-1, 3.63) for the Bees. Game time is 6:30 local time.
By Robert Pannier