On a night where the Capital Credit Union Slide opened at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers sent their fans on a roller coaster ride. Wisconsin rallied from deficits of 6-0 and 7-3 to eventually beat the Peoria Chiefs 8-7 in ten innings. Eduarqui Fernández ended the evening with an RBI single in the bottom of the tenth to send Eduardo García home from second with the winning run.
The game was scoreless until the top of the fourth inning.
Peoria (21-25) loaded the bases against Wisconsin starting pitcher Alexander Cornielle on a single, a hit batsman, and another single. Jeremy Rivas drew a four-pitch walk to force in the first run of the game. Osvaldo Tovalin followed with an RBI single. Then, Thomas Francisco had a sacrifice fly that moved up all three runners for a 3-0 lead.
Victor Scott II capped the inning with a two-run triple off the wall in center and the Chiefs were up 5-0.
In the sixth inning, Ramon Mendoza singled home a run and the Rattlers were down by six. Wisconsin had four comeback wins this season prior to Tuesday night and the biggest deficit they had erased was a single run.
There were two outs with none on in the bottom of the seventh when García gave the team a spark with a single to right. Je’Von Ward followed with a walk. Then, Fernández singled to score García. The Chiefs went to the bullpen and Roy Garcia walked Eric Brown Jr to load the bases. Robert Moore singled in a run and Matt Wood walked to force in the third run of the inning.
The Chiefs scored a run on a two-out, bases-loaded walk to Nathan Church in the top of the eighth to take a 7-3 lead.
Joe Gray Jr and Darrien Miller started the Wisconsin eighth with singles to put runners on the corners. Ward drove in Gray and moved Miller to second with a ground out. Fernández drew a walk and that was the end of the line for Roy Garcia.
Matt Hickey, the fourth Peoria pitcher of the night, walked Brown to load the bases again. Moore fell behind 0-2 before he singled to drive in two runs to get the Rattlers to within a run.
Wood was next, and he also fell behind 0-2 before driving home Brown with another single to tie the game 7-7.
Wisconsin needed some outstanding defense to preserve the tie and set the stage for Fernández in the bottom of the tenth.
In the top of the ninth, Rivas walked with one out. Tovalin chopped a double over the head of Ben Metzinger at first base. Rivas tried to score on the play, but a strong throw from Gray cut him down at the plate for the second out.
In the top of the tenth, Francisco started the inning at second with Brannon Jordan on the mound. Mendoza tried to bunt Francisco over to third. Metzinger was charging hard from first, fielded the ball, spun, and fired a strike to García at third. García dropped the tag on Francisco for the first out.
The drama was just starting as Jordan walked the next two batter to load the bases and bring Church back to the plate. Church sent a grounder to Metzinger, who fired home to Wood for the force out. Metzinger rushed back to first and took the return throw from Wood for the inning-ending 3-2-3 double play.
Fernández stepped to the plate with one out in the bottom of the tenth and ended the game with a clean single to center to score García.
Game two of the series is Wednesday afternoon. Game time is 12:10pm with Edwin Jimenez (1-1, 1.47) as the scheduled starting pitcher for Wisconsin. The Chiefs have named Dionys Rodriguez (1-3, 3.62) as their starter.