River Bandits Outslug Wisconsin 18-11
GRAND CHUTE, WI – The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers battled back from an early 10-2 deficit to tie the Quad Cities River Bandits 10-10 in the seventh inning on Sunday afternoon at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. However, the visitors scored seven times in the top of the eighth and pulled away for an 18-11 win over Wisconsin. Both teams had four home runs in the game, but two of Quad Cities’ longballs were grand slams.
The River Bandits (2-2) grabbed a big lead in the first inning on one swing of the bat. Wisconsin starting pitcher Cameron Roegner retired the first two batters he faced on four pitches, but he would give up a walk, a single, and another walk to load the bases. Spencer Johnson cleared the bases by launching a home run over the wall in left for a grand slam and a 4-0 lead.
Wisconsin (2-2) rallied in the bottom of the first inning. Monte Harrison reached on a dropped popup with one out. Then, Tucker Neuhaus lined a home run to the deck beyond the wall in right field to pull Wisconsin to within two runs.
Roegner got into trouble in the top of the fourth inning with consecutive singles and a walk loading the bases for the River Bandits. Dalton Brown came on in relief, but gave up a grand slam home run to Daz Cameron and the River Bandits went up 8-2.
Brown gave up singles to the next two batters to put runners on the corners for Quad Cities. Chuckie Robinson drove in the fifth run of the inning with a slow grounder to shortstop.
The River Bandits added to their lead in the fifth inning. Stephen Wrenn tripled to start the fifth. Randy Cesar singled with one out to knock in Wrenn and Wisconsin was down 10-2.
Jose Cuas started the comeback with a leadoff double in the bottom of the fifth. Demi Orimoloye singled to put runners on the corners. Harrison drove in Cuas with a single. Neuhaus followed with a double to send Orimoloye home and the Rattlers were within six.
In the sixth inning, Orimoloye and Harrison hit back-to-back solo home runs with two outs and the Rattlers were within four.
In the seventh, Ronnie Gideon’s popup to left dropped in for a double and an error allowed Mario Feliciano to score to set up the rally. Ryan Aguilar reached on an infield single to send Gideon home. Gilbert Lara was next and he doubled off the top of the wall in left to score Feliciano and chase reliever Abdiel Saldana from the game. Nate Rodriguez greeted reliever Edgardo Sandoval with a double off the wall to score Aguilar and Lara across the pay station to tie the game 10-10.
However, the River Bandits loaded the bases on three straight singles to start the top of the eighth against Braden Webb with the final single coming a sacrifice bunt attempt. Webb got the first out with a strikeout, but Alexander De Goti singled off the glove of Webb to drive in the go-ahead run.
Then, Wisconsin committed errors on two consecutive ground balls and three more runs scored. Webb was replaced by Luke Barker with the Rattlers down 14-10 and runners at first and second.
An errant pickoff attempt to first by Rodriguez from behind the plate sailed down the right field line to allow another run to score. Wrenn capped the inning with a two-run homer and the Rattlers found themselves trailing 17-10.
Neuhaus hit his second home run of the game when he cracked a lead-off blast to the River Bandits bullpen to start the bottom of the eighth, but Wisconsin would get no closer.
Cameron put an end to the slugfest with his second home run of the game when he hit one with one out in the top of the ninth inning.
The Timber Rattlers will host the Burlington Bees in game one of a three-game series that starts on Monday at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. Victor Diaz is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Burlington has named Nate Bertness as their starter. Both pitchers will make their 2017 debut on Monday. Game time is 6:35pm.