After coming close to scoring the game-winning run in the bottom of the 10th and 11th innings, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers finally defeated the Clinton LumberKings 2-1 in the bottom of the 12th on a game-ending liner to left-center by Greg Hopkins. The run, Wisconsin’s first since the opening inning, ended a game that had been tied since the eighth.
With submarining right-hander John Taylor on in the 12th, the Rattlers finally put together the winning run. Nick Shaw singled to left, took second on a surprising sacrifice bunt by Jason Rogers and scored on Hopkins’ single.
Clinton pitchers had put up zeroes on the scoreboard since the first inning when Wisconsin scored on left-hander Anthony Fernandez. Shaw singled and scored on a double by Rogers that landed just fair down the left-field line. Fernandez settled down afterward, allowing the one run on six hits over 7 1/3 innings in his seventh quality start of the season.
The LumberKings missed plenty of early opportunities to score against Rattlers right-hander Brooks Hall.
Stefen Romero led off the second inning with a double and moved to third on groundout by Kalian Sams, but Jake Schlander struck out swinging to strand him.
In the fifth, Schlander reached on a dropped fly ball by right fielder Franklin Romero Jr. and took third on a flare single by John Hicks, but Anthony Phillips and Robbie Anston each popped up to end the threat.
Mike McGee singled and took second on a wild pitch in the sixth, but again Hall shut down the threat as he retired Romero and Wiswall.
Clinton finally drew even in the eighth. Phillips greeted right-hander Dan Britt with a double into left-center and was joined by Anston, who walked. Julio Morban bunted them both into scoring position, and McGee tied the game with a groundout to second baseman Mike Brownstein. Right-hander Adrian Rosario allowed the tying tally to Britt’s line, but then stranded Anston as he got Romero to fly to center.
The game went into extra frames tied a 1-1. Errors by third baseman Schlander and second baseman Romero put Rattler runners at second and third with one out in the 10th, but right-hander Tyler Burgoon intentionally walked Rogers and then struck out Hopkins and induced T.J. Mittelstaedt into an inning-ending fielder’s choice.
In the 11th, Wisconsin put runners at second and third with none out against Burgoon as Chad Stang walked and Brownstein reached on a bunt single. Both moved up a base on a throwing error by first baseman Tim Morris, who misfired to first after Brownstein’s bunt. Still, Burgoon wiggled free as he struck out Tony Pechek and Franklin Romero and got Reggie Keen to ground out to short.
Rattlers right-hander Greg Holle (1-4) allowed only a hit over two innings to get the win. Shaw went 3 for 5 with two runs scored for the Rattlers.
The LumberKings (19-19), who have scored just two runs over 21 innings in the first two games of the series, face the Timber Rattlers (16-22) again at 7:05 tonight at Time Warner Cable Field. Left-hander Roenis Elias will make his Midwest League debut for Clinton and is opposed by right-hander Matt Miller (4-5, 4.95 ERA) of Wisconsin.