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Timber Rattlers Take a Thriller from Kernels

Wisconsin record eighth walkoff win of the season with a 7-6 victory in eleven innings
The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers surround Zavier Warren to celebrate their walkoff win over the Cedar Rapids Kernels on July 2, 2022. (Wisconsin Timber Rattlers/MiLB.tv)
July 3, 2022

GRAND CHUTE, WI – The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers had a 4-1 lead heading into the seventh inning against the Cedar Rapids Kernels on Saturday Night at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. The game took many twists and turns from that point and the roller coaster ride didn’t end

GRAND CHUTE, WI – The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers had a 4-1 lead heading into the seventh inning against the Cedar Rapids Kernels on Saturday Night at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. The game took many twists and turns from that point and the roller coaster ride didn’t end until the Timber Rattlers scored the winning run in the bottom of the eleventh for a 7-6 victory. The win was the fourth in a row for the Rattlers.

Click here for Saturday's Boxscore

The Kernels (45-29 overall, 2-6 second half) took the lead in the top of the third with a two-out rally. Dylan Neuse doubled to right after Wisconsin starting pitcher Russell Smith had retired the first eight batters he faced. Kyler Fedko was next, and he lined a double just fair down the line in left to knock in Neuse for the 1-0 lead.

Wisconsin (43-30, 7-1) responded with a run in the bottom of the third. Tyler Black walked to start the inning and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Darrien Miller. Tristan Peters knocked in Black with a two-out single to right and the game was tied 1-1.

Black gave the Rattlers the lead in the bottom of the fourth with a two-out, RBI double to score Ashton McGee.

The Rattlers added two more runs with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning after Kernels reliever Orlando Rodriguez retired the first two batters he faced. Rodriguez hit Zavier Warren and walked McGee. Then, Jose Acosta blooped a single to center on a full count to score Warren and send McGee to third.

Acosta and McGee pulled off a successful double steal with Acosta drawing a throw and McGee breaking for the plate. McGee scored without a play as the ball was dropped on the attempt to throw home.

Smith allowed one run on three hits and no walks with six strikeouts over six innings and turned the 4-1 lead over to the bullpen.

Cedar Rapids rallied in the top of the seventh against reliever Christian Tripp. A single, a walk, and a wild pitch put two runners in scoring position with one out. Jake Rucker reached on an infield single to score the first run. Dylan Neuse followed with a grounder back to the mound. Tripp got the force at second, but Neuse beat the throw to first to let the runner from third score and Wisconsin’s lead was down to one run.

That lead turned into a deficit in the top of the eighth inning. The first two Kernels reached on singles against James Meeker. The Wisconsin defense turned a 3-6-1 double play for two outs, but the tying run went to third. Meeker walked Yunior Severino and that brought Wander Javier to the plate.

Javier sent a slow grounder to third. Warren made a barehand pick and threw wildly to first base. That allowed both the tying run and the go-ahead run to score as Javier wound up at second base. Pat Winkel gave the Kernels a 6-4 lead with an RBI single to score Javier.

The Rattlers stormed back to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth. Hall started the inning with a single and Antonio Piñero drew a walk. Black sent a high fly to left field that Neuse lost in the twilight and the ball dropped in for a double to score Hall and get Piñero to third.

Cedar Rapids went to Hunter McMahon to face Miller and Miller sent the second pitch he saw to medium right on a high flyball. Fedko made the catch. Piñero tagged, raced for the plate, and slid under the tag for the tying run.

Neither teams could score in the tenth. Cedar Rapids loaded the bases with two outs after Meeker struck out the first two batters of the inning. The Rattlers reliver rallied to get an inning-ending strikeout. Hall lined into a double play to start the Wisconsin tenth, but a walk to Piñero and a single by Black, his fourth hit of the game, brought Miller back to the plate. However, a ground out to second ended the tenth and sent the game to the eleventh.

Will Holland started the top of the eleventh inning and Rucker was asked to bunt with Miguel Guerrero, the fourth Wisconsin pitcher on the mound. The successful sacrifice got Holland to third with one out and brought the Wisconsin infield in with Neuse at the plate. Neuse sent a sharp grounder to Piñero, who came home for the play. Holland was called out on a close play and the Kernels vehemently disagreed with the call. Guerrero retired the next batter after the game resumed and the game remained tied to the bottom of the eleventh.

Pinch-runner Arbert Cipion took second to start the bottom of the eleventh against Matt Mullenbach, the Kernels fifth pitcher of the night. Joe Gray Jr ripped a single to left that was hit too hard to allow Cipion to score. Mullenbach walked Peters to load the bases and set the stage for Warren.

Warren, who had already extended his hitting streak to nine games with a single in the seventh inning, sent a chopper to Rucker at first base. The throw went home. However, Winkel took the throw without a foot on the plate and missed the tag on Cipion. That allowed Cipion to score the winning run and the Rattlers celebrated their eighth walkoff win of the season.

The Timber Rattlers have won nine of their last ten games to get to thirteen games over .500 on the season for the first time this season.

The final game of the series – and of Wisconsin’s homestand – is Sunday afternoon. Zach Mort (3-3, 5.18) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. The Kernels have not named their starter yet. Game time is 6:40pm.

The Rattlers and Menasha Corporation present a Devin Williams bobblehead for the first 1,000 fans to attend Military Appreciation Day on Sunday. All active and retired military personnel will receive a complimentary reserve seat ticket for this game with proof of service or a military ID shown at the ticket window on Sunday.

Wisconsin players and coaches will be wearing Military-themed jerseys for this game and those jerseys are for bid in online auctions at this link right now. Auction number one with half of the jerseys ends at 6:30pm CDT on Sunday, July 3. The auction with the other half of the jerseys ends at 7:00pm CDT on Sunday, July 3. Proceeds from this jersey auction will go to local charities that support veterans from Timber Rattlers Give Back, the official 501(c)(3) of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

Bring along someone to play catch on the field with before the game from noon to 12:30 courtesy of Chick-fil-A.

If you can’t make it out to the ballpark, the radio broadcast on AM1280, WNAM and internet audio is set to start with the pregame show at 6:20pm. The game is available to subscribers of MiLB.tv.