The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers clawed their way back into a 2-2 tie with the Cedar Rapids Kernels on Sunday afternoon at Perfect Game Field. Then, the Kernels scored five runs on three swings of the bat in the bottom of the sixth and pulled away for a 7-3 win in the final meeting of the season between the two teams.
Seth Gray put the Kernels (68-46 overall, 25-23 second half) up 2-0 with a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning. Gray has hit five of his fourteen home runs against Wisconsin this season.
The Timber Rattlers (59-54, 23-25) were facing left-hander Jaylen Nowlin, who was making his Midwest League debut as the Kernels starting pitcher. Nowlin walked Wes Clarke with two outs in the top of the first. He retired the next thirteen Wisconsin hitters in a row as he carried a no-hitter into the sixth.
Antonio Piñero didn’t let the no-hit bid go any deeper into the game as he doubled to start the top of the sixth. Reidy Mercado followed with a bunt single to put runners on the corners.
Ben Metzinger singled through the right side of the infield with one out to score Piñero for Wisconsin’s first run of the game. Mercado and Metzinger pulled a double steal, and it paid off as Nowlin threw a wild pitch with two outs to let Mercado score the tying run.
Justin Jarvis, the Wisconsin starter, got the first out in the bottom of the sixth, but gave up a single to Jeferson Morales on a 3-2 pitch. That single happened on Jarvis’s 100th pitch of the game and he was taken out of the game in favor of Joey Matulovich.
Wander Javier hit Matulovich’s second pitch for a home run and the Kernels had a 4-2 lead.
Willie Joe Garry Jr was next, and he lined a triple off the wall in right. The throw to third skipped into the Wisconsin dugout and Garry scored on the error.
Later in the inning Brooks Lee, the #1 pick of the Minnesota Twins in the 2022 draft, hit another two-run home run and the Kernels were up 7-2.
Jarvis, who struck out six and allowed three runs over 5-1/3 innings was charged with the loss.
Nowlin went six innings and struck out eleven as he turned the game over to the Cedar Rapids bullpen to preserve his first win with the Kernels.
Darrien Miller hit a solo home run against Bradley Hanner in the top of the eighth. The blast was Miller’s tenth home run of the season, but it would be the last run of the game.
The Rattlers dropped five of the six games in the series to the Kernels at Perfect Game Field. Cedar Rapids wound up winning the season series from the Rattlers with thirteen wins out of the twenty-four games played between the teams.
The Timber Rattlers are off on Monday. They return to action on Tuesday night when they host the Lansing Lugnuts at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. Carlos Rodriguez (1-1, 1.76) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Game time is 6:40pm.