Braun homers, Villar drives in three, and Rattlers end 12-game losing streak
GRAND CHUTE, WI – The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers snapped their twelve-game losing streak with a 9-5 victory over the Kane County Cougars Saturday night a Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium in front of 6,288 fans. The Timber Rattlers fell behind early, but rallied back to take the lead and they never let that lead get away from them.
Kane County (41-29 overall, 2-1 second half) took the lead with three runs in the top of the second inning against starter Nattino Diplan. Fernery Ozuna drove in the first run of the game with a two-out RBI single. Ben DeLuzio was next and he lined a two-run triple to left and the Cougars were up 3-0.
Wisconsin (27-44, 1-2) responded with two runs in the bottom of the second. Ryan Aguilar walked to start the inning. One out later, Trever Morrison walked. Jonathan Villar singled with two outs on a 3-2 pitch to score Aguilar and send Morrison around to third. Kane County pitcher Emilio Vargas was called for a balk to allow Morrison to score and the Rattlers were within 3-2.
Ryan Braun tied the game in the bottom of the third inning. Braun lined a 3-2 pitch from Vargas over the wall in right for a leadoff homer. Vargas retired the next two batters. Then, Aguilar cracked a homer to right-center. The home run was the first of the season for Aguilar and it put the Rattlers up 4-3.
Wisconsin extended their lead out to 9-3 as they added three runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth.
Villar plated the first run of the fourth inning with an RBI single. He would score later in the inning on a sacrifice fly by Tucker Neuhaus. Mario Feliciano would score the final run in the fourth on a wild pitch.
Morrison knocked in a run in the fifth with a single. Then, Villar tripled to the corner in right with two outs to score Morrison.
Kane County chipped away with single runs in the sixth and seventh innings against reliever Parker Berberet. Manny Jefferson knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth. DeLuzio tripled to start the seventh and scored on a balk.
David Burkhalter took over for Berberet to start the top of the eighth inning and retired all six batters he faced to close out the Cougars.
Berberet, who made the move to the mound last season after being a catcher in the Milwaukee Brewers system, picked up his first professional victory. He allowed two runs – one earned – on four hits over 3-1/3 innings on Saturday night.
Villar went 3-for-4 with three RBI in Saturday’s game. He is 7-for-10 with a walk and six RBI in three games of his rehabilitation assignment. Braun walked twice and struck out once to go along with his home run in his four plate appearances on Saturday. He is 2-for-4 in two games of his rehab assignments. Both are expected to play on Sunday afternoon for the Rattlers.
The final game of the series between the Rattlers and Cougars is set for Sunday afternoon. Braden Webb (2-5, 5.32) is the scheduled starting pitcher for Wisconsin. Ryan Atkinson (2-1, 4.50) is set to start for Kane County. Game time is 1:05pm.
The first 1,000 fans to attend this game will receive a bobblehead of Domingo Santana, who rehabbed with the Rattlers in 2016, courtesy of American National Bank.
Timber Rattlers players and coaches will wear special military-themed jerseys during the game. These jerseys are being auctioned online with the proceeds going to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Charity Fund to benefit the Fox Valley Veterans Council, Inc. Fans may play catch on-field courtesy of Rasmussen College starting at noon. Players will be available for a postgame autograph session sponsored by Tundraland.
If you can’t make it to the ballpark, there are several ways to catch the action. The radio broadcast is on AM1280, WNAM starting with the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino Pregame Show at 12:45pm. The broadcast is also available on TuneIn Radio, IHeartRadio, and MiLB.tv.d in his second at bat of Saturday's game to tie