(Courtesy: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers) – It was a sunny but very chilly Saturday afternoon when the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers held their home opener at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. By the time the Sun set, the Rattlers had been chilled by the Beloit Snappers. The Snappers collected fifteen hits on the way to a 10-1 victory over the home team.
The beginning was innocent. Beloit (2-0) cobbled together a two-out rally in the top of the first inning. Wisconsin starting pitcher Alec Bettinger struck out the first two batters he faced, but allowed a bloop single and a walk to the next two hitters. Jake Lumley drove in the first Beloit run with a single to left.
The Snappers added to their lead in the second inning. Jake Meggs drew a leadoff walk and wound up on third base after a bunt single and a throwing error let Nick Allen reach. Austin Beck followed with a single and Meggs scored for the 2-0 lead.
Wisconsin (0-2) pulled to within a run in the bottom of the second inning. Pat McInerney reached second with a double on a wind-blown popup the dropped in behind second. Demi Orimoloye cashed in the gift with a single and the Rattlers trailed 2-1.
However, Beloit added to their lead again in the top of the third. Consecutive singles to start the inning put runners on the corners. Then, Trace Loehr singled to knock in a run. Later in the frame, Beck beat out an infield single with two outs to drive in Loehr for a 4-1 advantage.
Beck made the score 6-1 with a two-out RBI single in the top of the fifth inning.
The Rattlers did not dent Beloit starting pitcher Wyatt Marks except for the third inning. Marks allowed one run on four hits and no walks over five innings.
Beloit put the game away in the eighth inning as they loaded the bases with one out against reliever Braulio Ortiz, who then walked the next two batters and gave up an RBI single to Nick Allen to put the Snappers up 9-1.
Matt Hardy relieved Ortiz and got the final two outs of the eighth with no more damage, but he did allow a walk and two singles to load the bases in the ninth. That situation led to an RBI ground out off the bat of Jack Meggs and the Snappers had their tenth run.
Wisconsin pitchers combined to walk eleven batters in the game.
Bryce Conley took over for Marks to start the bottom of the sixth and retired the first eleven batters he faced before walking KJ Harrison with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. That was the only walk allowed by the Beloit hurling duo on the evening. Conley retired the next batter to close out the game.
McInerney had two of Wisconsin’s four hits.
Game two of the series is Sunday afternoon at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. Nelson Hernández is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Xavier Altamirano is set to start for the Snappers. Game time is 1:05pm.