Wisconsin officially eliminated from playoff contention with home loss
GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Kane County Cougars defeated the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 8-4 on Thursday night at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. The win allowed the Cougars to celebrate clinching a Midwest League playoff spot. The loss officially ended the Rattlers playoff chase.
Antoine Kelly, the second round pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2019 draft, was the starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers in his Midwest League debut. Kelly walked the first batter he faced on four pitches and fell behind the next battler 2-0 before getting a 5-4-3 double play. Kelly got ahead of Zack Shannon with two quick strikes, but the Cougars designated hitter took the next pitch over the batters' eye for his twelfth home run of the season.
Jesús Lujano started the Wisconsin (67-68 overall, 36-30 second half) first inning with a double and he moved to third on a wild pitch that was ball four to Korry Howell and the Rattlers had runners at the corners with no outs. Thomas Dillard grounded into a 6-3 double play, but Lujano scored the tying run.
Kane County (77-58, 42-24) went back in front in the top of the second inning. Kelly walked the first two batters of the inning and a sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position. Nick Dalesandro got the go-ahead run home with a single to left on an 0-2 pitch.
Wisconsin tied the game in the bottom of the second. Connor McVey walked with one out and went to second on a passed ball. Chad McClanahan scored McVey with a single up the middle and the score was even 2-2.
The gopher ball hurt Kelly in the third inning. Kane County had the bases loaded with one out and Kristian Robinson hit a home run to right-center to put the Cougars up 6-2. The slam was the third given up by Wisconsin pitchers in the last five games.
Kelly retired the next two batters to finish the third inning and his night. He allowed six runs on five hits with four walks and four strikeouts on the night
The Rattlers cut into the deficit in the bottom of the fourth. Dillard reached on an error. Je'Von Ward lined a double off the wall in center to score Dillard from first, but was thrown out at third trying to stretch the hit into a triple.
That hit was the last hit for the Rattlers until the eighth inning. Andy Toelken took over in the bottom of the fifth inning and retired ten in a row with six strikeouts to keep Wisconsin in check.
Tra Holmes hit a ground-rule double in the top of the sixth to drive in a run to give the Cougars their four-run cushion back.
Kane County added one more run on a two-out, RBI single by Buddy Kennedy.
Wisconsin got to Toelken in the ninth. Dillard doubled with one out. David Fry drove in Dillard with a single to account for the final run. Toelken got the second out, but hit McVey to extend the game.
Kai-Wei Lin entered the game with McClanahan at the plate and McClanahan hit a liner up the middle, but Blaze Alexander made a leaping catch of the liner to secure the final out of the game.
The Cougars also eliminated the Rattlers from playoff contention in 2018 when they beat Wisconsin at Kane Count in the second-to-last game of last season.
Game three of the series is Friday night at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium. Ethan Small (0-1, 0.66), the number one pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2019 draft, is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Adrian Del Moral (3-3, 3.44) is set to start for the Cougars. First pitch is 7:05pm.
The final home game of the regular season is a night to celebrate recovery and prevention with family and friends on Rise Together Night.
There will be a pregame induction ceremony for United States Army recruits, too.
Those of legal drinking age may have Arty's Old Fashioned Drinks for $3 on this Arty's Old Fashioned Friday with Arty's and 101.1 WIXX. FOX 11 presents postgame fireworks and children aged twelve and under may run the bases after the game courtesy of Menasha Corporation.
If you can't make it out to the ballpark, the radio broadcast is on AM1280, WNAM and the TuneIn Radio app starting with the Papa John's Pizza Pregame Show at 6:45pm. MiLB.tv subscribers can watch the game over the internet.
R H E
KC 114 001 010 - 8 10 2
WIS 110 100 000 - 4 6 2
Zack Shannon (12th, 0 on in 1st inning off Antoine Kelly, 2 out)
Kristian Robinson (5th, Grand Slam in 3rd inning off Antoine Kelly, 1 out)
WP: Andy Toelken (7-2)
LP: Antoine Kelly (0-1)
SAVE: Kai-Wei Lin (7)
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