Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Split Double-Header with Beloit
Saturday’s rain out moved the game to Sunday, creating a set of 7-inning games in the double header. Both were close affairs, as the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers won the first game 4-2, before dropping Game 2, 3-2.
In the first contest, the Timber Rattlers sent Angel Ventura to the mound, looking for his third win of the season. He was pitted against Beloit’s Heath Fillmyer in a very close game from start to finish.
In the first two innings of the game the starters did a great job of keeping their opponent off of the scoreboard. Fillmyer retired the side in order in the first, and in the second gave up a one out single but got a strike out and a ground ball to keep the game tied at zero.
In the top of the third, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers took the lead. With one out Brandon Diaz singled and moved to third when Tucker Neuhaus reached on an error. Francisco Castillo doubled to left field, easily scoring Diaz and it was 1-0. Elvis Rubio was the next hitter, and his ground out scored Neuhaus to make it a two-run lead.
Ventura had retired the first six Beloit Snappers hitters he faced, but his run came to an end in the bottom of the third. Justin Higley turned on an offering from the Wisconsin starter and drilled it for a home run over the right field wall. It was his second home run of the season and cut the lead in half.
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers regained the lead in the top of the fourth. Jose Pena singled with one out and moved to second when Gregory Munoz drew a walk. Nathanael Mejia singled to load the bases, brining Diaz to the plate. He had begun the last rally, and this time he closed it out, walking to score Pena to make the score 3-1.
In the fifth the visitors plated one more run. Rubio led off with a double and moved to third on a ground out. Sthervin Matos walked before Pena hit a sacrifice fly to center field that easily scored Rubio.
Following the third inning run, Ventura retired six of the next seven batters he faced, including striking out the first two hitters of the fifth. The Wisconsin starter was taken out after 5 innings. Ventura (3-2) allowed 2 hits, a walk and a single run. He also struck out 4.
Luis Ortega came in to relieve. He retired the Snappers in order in the sixth, but gave up a run in the seventh to allow Beloit to pull within two. That is as close as they would get, as Ortega closed out the 4-2 win with his second save of the season.
In the second game, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the third inning again. Junior Mendez started for Beloit, and found himself in a bit of trouble the first two innings. He hit a batter in the first and issued two walks in the second, but left each inning unscathed. In the third the visitors finally plated a run. Diaz doubled with one out and scored, two batters later, when Matos hit a double of his own.
Devin Williams started for Wisconsin and pitched quite well through the first three innings. In the fourth the Snappers finally got a run against him. The Timber Rattlers starter retired the first two hitters, but then gave up back-to-back doubles to Joe Bennie and Jose Brizuela to tie the score.
In the fifth Beloit would take their first lead of the afternoon. Williams was able to retire the first two hitters of the inning again, but a hit by pitch to James Harris kept the inning alive. Harris stole second and reached on a fielder’s choice by Trent Gilbert to give the Snappers the 2-1 lead.
Mendez left after five, turning the game over to Koby Gauna to close it out. The right-hander gave up a one out double in the sixth, but kept the lead intact. In the seventh he would not be able to do so. Alan Sharkey led off with a single and moved to second and then to third on back-to-back ground outs. Diaz followed with a single that tied the score.
In the bottom of the seventh the Snappers took the joy away from Wisconsin. Joshua Torres relieved and walked Higley to begin the inning. Higley stole second and went to third on the catcher overthrow. Torres then walked the next two hitters to load the bases. That brought Trent Gilbert to the plate, who lined a single into left field to win the game.
Torres (0-5) took the loss and remains winless. Gauna (1-0) earned the victory.
All the teams in the Midwest League are off tomorrow.
By Robert Pannier