(Courtesy: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers) The Quad Cities River Bandits defeated the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 6-1 at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium on Tuesday night. The Rattlers had two hits and were charged with three errors in the game.
Both teams had opportunities in the first inning, but it was the Rattlers (60-67 overall, 29-29 second half) who cashed in theirs to take the lead.
Quad Cities (73-55, 33-25) loaded the bases with one out, but Wisconsin starter Nelson Hernández escaped the frame by getting the next hitter to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Darren Seferina started the Wisconsin first inning with a double. He took third on a ground out by Tristen Lutz. Eddie Silva drove in Seferina with a sacrifice fly and the Rattlers were up 1-0.
The River Bandits loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the second and Hernández almost got out of it. Marty Costes sent a grounder back to the mound, but Hernández threw wildly to the plate and two runs scored to give Quad Cities a 2-1 lead.
More defensive misadventures in the top of the third inning allowed the River Bandits to put four runs on the board. Jonathan Lacroix started the inning with a single. David Hensley, who was the batter that hit into the double play in the first inning, sent a grounder to third, but Gabriel García couldn’t cleanly get the ball out of his glove and both runners were safe. A sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position. Miguelangel Sierra singled to center and both runners scored for a 4-1 advantage.
Michael Papierski followed with a two-run home run to right and the River Bandits were up 6-1.
Timber Rattlers manager Matt Erickson took exception with some early calls that went against Hernández and he further objected to a strike call by plate umpire Ben Rosen against Zach Clark in the bottom of the third. Erickson went to make a pitching change after the end of the inning. The discussion turned into an argument. The argument got heated and Erickson was eventually ejected from the game.
Sal Biasi entered the game for Hernández to start the top of the eighth inning and kept the River Bandits in check by allowing one hit and striking out four over four scoreless innings.
However, the Wisconsin offense never got going after the first inning. River Bandits starter Luis Garcia allowed two hits and struck out two over five innings. Humberto Castellanos worked two perfect innings with four strikeouts.
There were two errors by the River Bandits with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, but the Rattlers couldn’t take advantage.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, KJ Harrison disagreed with a called strike against him and he was ejected. Hitting coach Hainley Statia, who took over as the third base coach when Erickson was ejected, came down to ask what happened and he, too, was eventually ejected from the game.
The contest ended as pinch-hitter Jay Feliciano took a called third strike for the second out of the inning on the first pitch after the game restarted. Chad McClanahan took a called third strike for the final out.
The series continues on Wednesday night. Scott Sunitsch (2-0, 1.64) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Cesar Rosado (4-4, 4.18) is set to start for the River Bandits. Game time is 7:05pm.