The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are refusing to go down quietly at the end of the 2023 season. Wisconsin beat the Beloit Sky Carp 4-2 on Friday night at ABC Supply Stadium for their sixth consecutive victory. Alexander Cornielle earned his first victory of the season with nine strikeouts over six innings as the Rattlers got some clutch hits and stolen bases to take the lead in the seventh inning before the bullpen shut down the struggling Sky Carp.
Beloit (51-72 overall, 24-34 second half) took the lead in the bottom of the third inning. Joe Mack doubled with two outs. Zach Zubia followed with a double to drive in Mack for the 1-0 lead.
The Timber Rattlers (56-66, 30-28) loaded the bases with one out in the top of the fifth. Matt Wood walked, Darrien Miller singled, and Ben Metzinger walked to set the table with one out. Eric Brown Jr tied the game with a sacrifice fly to center to score Wood.
Wisconsin loaded the bases in the top of the sixth inning with no outs as Brock Wilken doubled, Hendry Mendez singled, and Robert Moore singled. Joe Gray Jr grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to score Wilken with the go-ahead runs.
In the bottom of the sixth, Cornielle gave up a one out single to Ynmanol Marinez and committed a balk and threw a wild pitch to get the tying run to third base. Cornielle got the second out on a popup but gave up a deep drive to center off the bat of Torin Montgomery that was just out of the reach of Luis Lara at the wall for an RBI double to tie the game. Cornielle ended the inning with his ninth strikeout to keep the game tied 2-2. He scattered six hits and walked one over six innings but was looking at a no decision unless the Rattlers bats got on the board in the seventh.
Kyle Crigger came on to face the Timber Rattlers. He retired the first two batters he faced before Brown singled to center. Then, Brown stole second and went to third on an error. Lara slammed a pitch through the left side of the infield to score Brown with the go-ahead run.
Lara followed the pattern set by Brown by stealing second and taking third on an error. Wilken launched a ball deep to left-center that was dropped for a two-base error to score Lara for a 4-2.
The Wisconsin bullpen took over from there.
Miguel Guerrero pitched a perfect seventh with a strikeout. Justin King, who was just activated from the Wisconsin injured list before the game, worked a perfect eighth with two strikeouts. Shane Smith struck out two and walked one in a scoreless ninth for his fifth save.
Wisconsin pitchers combined for fourteen strikeouts with just two walks.
Beloit has lost six games in a row.
The Timber Rattlers are trying to chase down the Peoria Chiefs for the second half playoff spot in the West Division. However, the Chiefs keep winning, too. Peoria held on for a 9-8 win over the Quad Cities River Bandits on the road Friday night to remain four games in front of the Rattlers with eight games remaining in the regular season. Peoria’s magic number was lowered to four with their victory over the Bandits.