Wisconsin starting pitcher Cameron Wagoner was 1-11 with an ERA of 7.21 after a loss at home to the Beloit Sky Carp on July 8. Since that start in early July, Wagoner has gone 5-0 in seven games – six starts – and lowered his ERA to 5.83. In his latest outing, Wagoner allowed one unearned run on two hits with five strikeouts over 6-2/3 innings at ABC Supply Stadium to defeat the Sky Carp and lead the Rattlers to a 7-2 victory.
Wagoner retired the first nine batters he faced in the game. He walked the first batter in the fourth before erasing him on a double play and getting a strikeout to send the game to the fifth inning scoreless.
Wisconsin (54-66 overall, 28-28 second half) loaded the bases on a couple of singles and a walk with one out against Beloit starter Ike Buxton. Luis Lara sent a hard grounder through the legs of third baseman Ynmanol Marinez to get the first run of the game across the plate. The Rattlers couldn’t add on in the inning as Buxton struck out the next two batters.
The Sky Carp (51-70, 34-32) got their first hit off Wagoner with two outs in the fifth inning on a hard grounder off the glove of Ben Metzinger at first base.
Metzinger, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter for Jheremy Vargas in the fifth inning, added to Wisconsin’s lead in the top of the sixth. He lined a 3-2 pitch down the line in right with two outs. Hendry Mendez, who had started the inning with a single, was running on the pitch and scored easily on the double. Eduarqui Fernández followed with a single to center to score Metzinger for a 3-0 lead.
Fernández has driven in seven runs in his last three games.
The Rattlers added another run in the seventh inning as Lara reached on a catcher’s interference and Brock Wilken singled on a hit-and-run to put runners at the corners. Mendez beat out a potential inning-ending double play to let Lara score for a 4-0 advantage.
Beloit got a rally going against Wagoner in the bottom on a one-out hit batsman. Yiddi Cappe blooped a broken-bat single to shallow right and a wild throw to second allowed the runners to move up to second and third. Wagoner got the first out on a grounder to short off the bat of Zach Zubia. Wagoner was 3-2 on Marinez but walked him and left the game on his 93rd pitch of the night.
Sam Gardner was called to the game from the Wisconsin bullpen with the tying run at the plate and recorded a strikeout to keep the Rattlers up by three runs.
The Timber Rattlers added three runs in the top of the ninth inning. Lara singled, stole second, and went to third on a throwing error. Mike Boeve sent a grounder to first with the infield in and the throw went to the plate, but it was wild to allow Lara to score and Boeve to take second.
Beloit decided to walk Mendez trailing by four runs and Eduardo García didn’t mind. García, playing his first game since August 8, lined the first pitch of his at bat to the gap in left-center to score both runners on his fifth triple of the season.
The Sky Carp got one more unearned run on a two-out error in the bottom of the ninth before Gardner closed out the game with a strikeout for his third save of the season.
Unfortunately, the Timber Rattlers received no assistance from the Quad Cities River Bandits in the playoff race. The Bandits lost 3-2 at home to the Peoria Chiefs on Wednesday night. The Rattlers remain four games behind Peoria, but now there are just ten games left in the regular season.
Wisconsin’s win on Wednesday allowed them to match their longest winning streak of the season. The Rattlers had also won four in a row from June 24 through June 29.
Game three of the series at ABC Supply Stadium is Thursday night. Joseph Hernandez (2-3, 4.31) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Beloit has named Gabe Bierman (4-3, 3.46) as their starter. Game time is 6:35pm.