The Wisconsin Timber Rattler were an out away from a series win and a winning road trip on Sunday against the Dayton Dragons at Day Air Ballpark. However, Dayton tied the game with a two-out homer and Edwin Arroyo capped the inning later in the ninth with a run-scoring single for his third RBI of the game.
The Rattlers (12-12 second half, 38-50 overall) scored in the first inning without the benefit of a hit. Robert Moore walked, took second on a wild pitch, and stole third. Ernesto Martínez Jr drove in Moore with a grounder to short that was misplayed for an error.
Dayton (12-12, 45-45) tied the game two batters into the bottom of the first inning. Jay Allen II doubled and that was followed by an RBI single from Arroyo.
Wisconsin took the lead back two pitches into the top of the second. Darrien Miller lifted a high fly to right on a 1-0 pitch and the ball carried over the wall for Miller’s seventh home run of the season for a 2-1 lead.
Justice Thompson tied the game with a lead-off homer in the bottom of the second. In the top of the third, Thompson robbed Hendry Mendez of a two-out, extra-base hit with a leaping catch in center and holding on to the baseball after crashing hard into the wall.
The Dragons quickly took the lead in the bottom of the third. Wisconsin starting pitcher Stiven Cruz hit the first two batters of the inning. Arroyo doubled to knock in the go-ahead run. Tyler Callihan drove in Dayton’s fourth run of the game on an infield grounder.
Ben Metzinger brought the Rattlers back to even in the sixth inning. Mendez singled to start the frame against Dennis Boatman. Mendez was at second base with two outs when Metzinger cracked a 3-2 pitch from Boatman to center for a two-run home run and a tie game.
Sam Gardner took over for Cruz to start the bottom of the fourth inning for Wisconsin. Gardner retired the first nine batters he faced before giving up two singles in the bottom of the seventh inning. He had to leave the game with runners on the corners and one out.
Shane Smith entered the game and kept the score tied with a strikeout and fly ball to center to end the seventh and a scoreless eighth.
Je’Von Ward gave Wisconsin the lead back in the top of the ninth with a long, lead-off home run high off the hitting background in center field for a 6-5 lead.
Tanner Shears entered the game in the bottom of the ninth inning and quickly retired the first two batters. He was ahead of Hayden Jones with a strike. Then, Jones hit the next pitch to right and the ball carried out of the park for a game-tying home run. Shears walked the next two batters – Trey Faltine and Allen – to put the winning run on second base. Arroyo lined a single to center on a 1-1 pitch and Faltine scored the winning run.
The Timber Rattlers, who won the first three games of the series at Dayton, dropped the last three games of the series with the Dragons. The Rattlers finished their nine-game road trip to Illinois and Ohio with a 4-5 record.
Game one of the road trip was a 3-2 ten-inning loss to the Peoria Chiefs at Dozer Park. Wisconsin took a 2-1 lead in the top of the tenth, but gave up two in the bottom of the tenth in that game for a walkoff loss.
The Timber Rattlers are off on Monday. They start a home series with the Cedar Rapids Kernels on Tuesday evening. Nate Peterson is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers and will be making his Midwest League debut. Game time is 6:40pm.