Ben Metzinger picked a great time to hit his fourth home run of the season. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers third baseman crushed a three-run homer to center with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning to break a 3-3 tie. Wisconsin would go on to beat the Beloit Sky Carp 6-3 on Sunday afternoon at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium to earn a split on the six-game series.
Joe Gray Jr gave the Timber Rattlers (8-7 second half, 34-45 overall) the lead with a two-out, solo home run in the bottom of the first. The homer was Gray’s ninth of the season.
The Sky Carp (9-6, 36-44) loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the third inning but only managed to score one run. Yiddi Cappe tied the game with a sacrifice fly.
Wisconsin reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the third inning with a two-out rally. Matt Wood kept the inning alive with a single. Then, Gray drew a walk. Hendry Mendez followed with a single to right to score Wood for the 2-1 lead.
Beloit went in front for the first time with two runs in the top of the fifth inning. Josh Zamora doubled to drive in the tying run. He would take third on a wild pitch with two outs and would score the go-ahead run on an infield single by Yiddi Cappe.
Wisconsin tied the game in the bottom of the sixth and seemed poised for a bigger inning. Alex Hall started the frame with a double. A wild pitch moved him to third and brought the Beloit infield in on the grass. Darrien Miller singled to score Hall with the tying run.
Jose Acosta followed with a single to bring Metzinger to the plate. Metzinger sent a grounder up the middle that Cappe made a diving stop on before flipping to second to get Acosta. The turn to first appeared late, but Metzinger was called out for a double play. Wisconsin manager Joey Ayrault disagreed with the call and was ejected after a brief, but intense argument. The tying run was left stranded at third and the game remained tied.
Wisconsin’s bullpen did the job to give the Rattlers a chance. Justin King struck out the side in the top of the sixth. Sam Gardner pitched two perfect innings to set the stage for the bottom of the eighth.
Hall and Miller started the rally again. This time Hall walked, and Miller singled against Yeuris Jimenez, the third Beloit pitcher of the game. Acosta bunted to move the runner both runners into scoring position. That brough Metzinger back to the plate.
Metzinger was on an 0-for-17 start to his July before singling in his second at bat of the game on Sunday. He worked the count to 2-1 in the eighth before hitting a 409’ homer over the wall in center to send the Rattlers into the lead.
Tanner Shears worked a perfect ninth inning with two strikeouts to close out the game for his second save of the season.
Robert Moore walked in the first inning to extend his current on-base streak to 27 games.
The Timber Rattlers are off for the All-Star Break until they return to action on Friday night with the start of a nine-game, ten-day trip to Illinois and Ohio. The road trip begins with three-game series against the Peoria Chiefs at Dozer Park. Game time on Friday night is 6:30pm.