The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers broke a brief two-game losing streak thanks to a fast start against the Cedar Rapids Kernels on Thursday night at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. Wisconsin sent the fans home happy with an 11-6 win over the Kernels.
The Timber Rattlers (59-68 overall, 33-30 second half) scored seven runs in the first two innings to take control of the game.
The scoring started with Eric Brown Jr at third and Robert Moore at first in the first inning. Moore stole second to draw a throw that allowed Brown to steal home.
Later in the first inning, Matt Wood cracked a two-out, two-run single to add to the Wisconsin lead.
The Rattlers loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the second inning. Moore drove in a run with a ground out. Then, Brock Wilken tripled off the wall in center to knock in two more runs. Wilken has a twelve-game hitting streak and has at least one hit in eighteen of his last nineteen games.
Hendry Mendez followed with an RBI single for a 7-0 lead.
Cedar Rapids (82-47, 42-21) scored single runs in the third and fourth innings after Wisconsin starting pitcher Joseph Hernandez walked the lead-off batter in each inning. Jeferson Morales had an RBI single in the third. Luke Keaschall added an RBI single in the fourth.
Kala’i Rosario got the Kernels to within two runs in the top of the fifth inning with a three-run home run off the videoboard. Rosario has hit twenty-one home runs this season with eight of those homers coming against Wisconsin. He leads the Midwest League in homers and RBI (92).
The Timber Rattlers responded in the bottom of the fifth with a pair of runs. Wood drove in the first run with single for his third three-RBI game of the season. Darrien Miller grounded into a 4-6-3 double play with runners at the corners to allow the runner from third to score and the Rattlers were up 9-5.
Mendez started the Wisconsin seventh inning with a triple. Gray doubled to knock in Mendez. Miller made it 11-5 in favor of the Rattlers with a single to send Gray across the plate.
The Kernels loaded the bases in their half of the eighth inning on two walks and a two-out error. A bases-loaded walk forced in a run before Tanner Shears got a strikeout to end the inning. Shears struck out the side in order in the top of the ninth to finish the game.
Gray led Wisconsin’s thirteen-hit attack with three hits, and he also scored three runs. Mendez was on base four times with a single, a triple, and two walks to score three runs, too. Wood knocked in three runs.
Wisconsin pitchers walked eleven but held the Kernels to 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position as the defense turned two key double plays to limit the damage.
Game four of the series is Friday night at Neuroscience Group Field. Alexander Cornielle (1-3, 4.94) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Rattlers. Zebby Matthews (4-2, 4.81) is set to start for the Kernels. Game time is 6:40pm.