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Link Report for Thurs. 9/13 -- Wisconsin loses 5-1 as series evens, only two Rattlers hits


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Thursday's Daily Menu:

 

Time listed is Central

 

Wisconsin: RHP Chad Pierce at home vs. Fort Wayne (Padres), 11:50 AM pre-game, 12:05 PM gametime; second game of the league championship best-of-five, Rattler lead, 1-0, remainder of the series shifts to Fort Wayne Saturday

 

Free Live Audio Link - 1280 AM WNAM

 

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Follow the action as it happens with box score / game log links:

 

Wisconsin

 

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Rattler Radio Blog: Lineup & Game Notes

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Well that was a stinker with poor defense, hitting, and 2 big HRs allowed. Now it's a best of 3 in Fort Wayne... boo.

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

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Final: Fort Wayne 5, Wisconsin 1

 

 

TinCaps trio two-hits Rattlers offense

Fort Wayne wins Game Two 5-1 to even MWL Finals

 

GRAND CHUTE, WI - The Fort Wayne TinCaps gave the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers a taste of their own medicine on Thursday afternoon at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium. The Rattlers rode stellar starting pitching to the Midwest League Championship series and a one game lead through Wednesday night. On Thursday, Colin Rea and two relievers combined to hold Wisconsin's offense to two hits in a 5-1 Fort Wayne victory in Game Three of the MWLCS. Fort Wayne's win evened the best-of-five series at 1-1.

 

The TinCaps got on the board first with a leadoff homer by Lee Orr in the second inning off Wisconsin starting pitcher Chad Pierce. Orr had eleven homers during the regular season. His second inning blast was his fourth in seven postseason games.

 

Nick Ramirez tied the game in the bottom of the fourth. He launched a 2-2 pitch with two outs over the Timber Rattlers bullpen for his third homer of the playoffs to even the score 1-1.

 

But, the TinCaps responded in the top of the fifth inning with a pair of runs. Kyle Gaedele started the inning with a double. Tyler Stubblefield tried to bunt Gaedele over to third base, but was unsuccessful in his first two attempts. The bunt play was taken off with two strikes and Stubblefield lined an RBI double to left-center. An error allowed Stubblefield to take third base. Jace Peterson's sacrifice fly sent Stubblefield across the plate for a 3-1 advantage.

 

TinCaps starter Colin Rae didn't give up another hit after the homer by Ramirez. He allowed two hits, struck out three, and protected that 3-1 lead.

 

Duanel Jones hit a two-run homer off Kevin Shackelford in the top of the ninth inning to provide the TinCaps with a couple of insurance runs.

 

The runs turned out to be unnecessary for Fort Wayne. Johnny Barbato worked a 1-2-3 eighth and Matt Stites pitched a perfect ninth inning to close out the game.

 

The teams will be off on Friday. Game Three of the Midwest League Championship Series is scheduled for Parkview Field in Fort Wayne, Indiana on Saturday, September 15. The Timber Rattlers have David Goforth as their scheduled starting pitcher. The TinCaps have named Frank Garces as their starting pitcher for Saturday. Game time is 6:05pm CDT.

 

Tune in for all the remaining Timber Rattlers playoff games on AM1280, WNAM or timberrattlers.com. Saturday's broadcast starts with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 5:45pm CDT.

 

HOME RUNS:

FW:

Lee Orr (4th, 0 on in 2nd inning off Chad Pierce, 0 out)

Duanel Jones (1st, 1 on in 9th inning off Kevin Shackelford, 1 out)

 

WIS:

Nick Ramirez (3rd, 0 on in 4th inning off Colin Rea, 2 out)

 

WP: Colin Rea (2-0)

LP: Chad Pierce (1-1)

 

TIME: 2:10

ATTN: 602

 

Wisconsin Box Score

 

Still trying to figure out why there was an hour long "rain delay" for this one. Somebody got a bad weather report I think because there were nothing but sprinkles. I guess, being the playoffs, they didn't want to get a starter ready and then have them sit down if there would have been rain. Once the game got going it moved really quick. Just two hours and ten minutes. (Maybe they were in a hurry to get to the Packers game) The offense managed only two hits. Nick Ramirez homered and Cameron Garfield doubled, but that was it. Garfield and Max Walla each drew a walk. Chad Pierce deserved a better fate. He had another solid game, giving up three runs on just four hits over seven innings.

 

Wisconsin Play By Play

 

Wisconsin Bottom of the 4th

Chadwin Stang lines out to right fielder Yeison Asencio.

Ben McMahan pops out to first baseman Lee Orr in foul territory.

Nick Ramirez homers (1) on a line drive to center field.

Cameron Garfield pops out to second baseman Tyler Stubblefield

 

My photos from Game 2

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LINK INCLUDES VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH CHAD PIERCE

 

Timber Rattlers batters struggle as TinCaps even series

by Tim Froberg, Post-Crescent Staff Writer

 

GRAND CHUTE — Wisconsin’s sublime postseason pitching has camouflaged a serious problem at the plate.

 

There has been far more slumping than slugging going on.

 

The Timber Rattlers have compiled a .185 team batting average in the playoffs and their lack of production with the lumber finally caught up with them Thursday afternoon.

 

Fort Wayne shut down the host Rattlers on just two hits and socked a pair of home runs to post a 5-1 victory and even the Midwest League Championship Series at 1-1.

 

Wisconsin is trying to win its first Midwest League Championship under the Timber Rattlers’ name, but will have to do it on the road. The TinCaps will host Games 3-5, starting Saturday in Fort Wayne at 6:05 p.m.

 

“There’s definitely a belief that we can get this done,” said Wisconsin manager Matt Erickson. “We’ve won a lot of series this season and this team has done all right on the road, so it’s not like there’s a lack of hope.”

 

The TinCaps have limited the Rattlers to just six hits in the opening two championship series games and Wisconsin has scored only 24 runs in its seven playoff games.

 

“What happens in the playoffs is that pitching shows up,” said Rattlers first baseman Nick Ramirez. “It’s not just another game in July or August. The pitchers have some adrenaline going and are locating their stuff well. That makes it tough on a hitter.”

 

Ramirez generated the Rattlers’ only run with a mammoth solo homer to right center in the fourth inning, carrying an estimated 413 feet and tying the score at 1-1.

 

It was the third home run and seventh RBI of the playoffs for the 23-year-old Ramirez, who led the Rattlers during the regular season in homers (16) and RBI (70).

 

Ramirez (.318) and catcher Rafael Neda (.286) are the only Wisconsin players hitting over .211 in the postseason

 

“He got a fastball up and I got pretty good wood on it,” said Ramirez, a fourth-round pick by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2010 major league draft. “My pitch selection has been better lately. I’m not swinging at bad pitches and I’m just shrinking the pitcher’s zone a little. The more I try and do at the plate, the worse I am, so I’m just trying to make good contact.”

 

A crowd of 602 at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium watched Fort Wayne starter Colin Rea control the Wisconsin hitters. The smooth right-hander with good breaking stuff and excellent control allowed one run on just two hits in seven innings.

 

“He was locating his fastball pretty well and had a pretty good curve,” said Ramirez. “He was getting some inches off the plate and was consistently putting it there. Anytime you put the ball in the black, a hitter isn’t going to make good contact.”

 

Despite the Rattlers’ hitting struggles, Ramirez is confident his team will rebound at the plate.

 

“The sticks will come around, no question about it,” he said. “This team can hit.”

 

Although the TinCaps put five runs on the board, Wisconsin received another quality start from Fond du Lac’s Chad Pierce, who allowed two earned runs (three overall) on four hits in seven innings, departing with a 3-1 deficit.

 

Pierce, a 38th-round pick by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2011 draft, has compiled a 1.13 ERA in the playoffs.

 

“I wish I had thrown a little better, but I battled,” said Pierce. “All year long, we’ve preached that when you score runs, you can’t give them right back and I was sailing some balls in that two-run inning of theirs. I gave up a leadoff double that inning and it’s always tougher when you let the leadoff guy on.”

 

Pierce allowed back-to-back doubles by Kyle Gaedele and Tyler Stubblefield in the TinCaps’ pivotal two-run fifth, which broke the deadlock and gave Fort Wayne the lead for good. A rare error by slick-fielding shortstop Yadiel Rivera let in another run.

 

“Chad Pierce has had a great year and he kept us in the game,” said Erickson. “He made a name for himself this year and put himself on the map in this organization.”

 

Fort Wayne’s Duanel Jones walloped a two-run homer in the ninth off Rattlers reliever Kevin Shackelford to finish off Wisconsin.

 

The TinCaps also used the long ball to generate their first run on a long homer to left center by Lee Orr. It was the fourth homer of the postseason for Orr, a right-handed hitting first baseman.

 

“This was just one game,” said Ramirez. “It doesn’t make the series any tougher. We just have to go to their place and have an us-against-the-world mentality.”

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Starter gives Fort Wayne 'Rea' of hope

TinCaps win Game 2 as righty stifles Wisconsin for seven

By Andrew Pentis / Special to MLB.com

 

When the Fort Wayne team bus pulled away from Fox Cities Stadium after the TinCaps' loss in Game 1 of the Midwest League Finals Wednesday night, the players didn't know who the starting pitcher would be for Game 2 the following afternoon.

 

Colin Rea was sitting in the back of the bus when he saw pitching coach Willie Blair fast approaching.

 

"I didn't know what he was gong to say because it's been up in air with our starters," Rea said. "But I was excited."

 

Making good on his coach's faith, Rea completed a career-high seven strong innings as his TinCaps topped the host Timber Rattlers, 5-1, on Thursday afternoon in Game 2 of the best-of-5 set.

 

"It helps us get back on track going to Fort Wayne," the site of Games 3 through 5, said Rea. "I think we have a good shot of pulling this off. We're very excited with the way we have been playing, attacking their hitters, getting key hits in key situations, playing well all around."

 

Utilizing his sinking two-seam fastball, plus a strong changeup and curveball, Rea (2-0) retired the side in order in four of his seven frames. He gave up just one run on two hits, including first baseman Nick Ramirez's solo homer in the fourth.

 

"It was a 2-2 count and the pitch before that wasa curve. My catcher wanted me to throw a changeup, but I shook him off to a fastball and left it over plate, and [Ramirez] did the rest," said Rea, who threw 53 of his 84 pitches for strikes and issued two walks. "I wanted to freeze him up on the inside but didn't get it in far enough."

 

The 22-year-old right-hander's postseason ERA (0.90) offers a stark contrast to his season mark (4.11). Rea helped punch Fort Wayne's ticket to the Finals with three scoreless innings of relief two days earlier in Lake County.

 

"In the regular season, I fell behind hitters, got into a lot of 2-1 and 3-1 counts," said Rea, who bounced between the rotation (19 starts) and bullpen (12 appearances) this season, his second as a pro. Entering the playoffs, "I talked to Willie, and he told me I need to be aggressive and things will work out for me."

 

Rea had the support of his lineup. TinCaps first baseman Lee Orr went yard in the second, and his teammates broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth on back-to-back doubles from outfielder Kyle Gaedele and second baseman Tyler Stubblefield, plus shortstop Jace Peterson's RBI sacrifice fly.

 

"Our hitters do what they do, and that made it easier for me," Rea said.

 

Two insurance runs scored in the ninth. Facing Wisconsin reliever Kevin Shackelford, catcher Austin Hedges tripled then jogged home on third baseman Duanel Jones' homer over the left-field fence.

 

Starter Chad Pierce (1-1) was charged with the first three runs on four hits over seven innings. He struck out three.

 

Rea's relievers, right-hander Johnny Barbato and Matt Stites, pitched perfect eighth and ninth frames to close out the win.

 

The series moves to Fort Wayne, where the teams will play Games 3, 4 and 5 (if necessary). The TinCaps are seeking their second league title in four seasons, while the Timber Rattlers haven't won it all since 1984, when they were still known as the Appleton Foxes.

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Fondy's Pierce closes memorable campaign with T-Rats

Mike Rogers, Fond du Lac Reporter

 

When the final batter of Thursday’s game struck out, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers started grabbing their bats and gloves before heading to the clubhouse.

 

But it took a few extra seconds for the starting pitcher of the Milwaukee Brewers’ single-A affiliate to move from his place hunched over the dugout railing looking at the dirt that surrounds the playing field.

 

For Fond du Lac native Chad Pierce, it was a mix of disappointment and surprise. After the Fort Wayne TinCaps beat Wisconsin 5-1 in Grand Chute, the best-of-5 Midwest League championship series is tied at 1 and heads to Fort Wayne starting Saturday. But for Pierce, an exceptional season has more than likely come to an end.

 

“This is why you play baseball. You want to be playing at the very end. We’re the last two teams playing in the Midwest (League),” Pierce said.

 

“It’s been a great year, and this stadium has treated me well. I think I pitched better here than on the road. It’s disappointing to end my last outing with a loss, since it’s treated me so well all year.”

 

His perception is reality. In 14 home starts entering Thursday’s game, Pierce had a 5-0 record with a 2.33 ERA, with a mix of family and friends always making the 40-mile trek to watch.

 

Thursday was a little different. Between the rain that delayed the game for an hour, the 60-degree temperature and the sparse crowd, the atmosphere wasn’t what it had been for the past five months. And on the mound, Pierce certainly didn’t have his best stuff.

 

He did finish the game strong, however. He allowed three runs, two earned, in seven innings, and it was the seventh that was actually his best inning. He induced a groundout to start the frame, then went offspeed to strike out the second batter before a fastball, which sat in the high 80s all afternoon, had the third Fort Wayne batter flailing on a 3-2 pitch. Despite bounding off the mound with plenty of energy, that proved to be his 101st and last pitch of the day.

 

“Our pitching coach [David Chavarria] comes just staring at me while I’m sitting in the dugout,” Pierce said with a chuckle. “I want to tell him I’m still good to go. He told me, ‘you’re done.’ I lobbied to get the ball, but he’s like ‘you’re tired, you’re out of here; don’t lie to me.’”

 

The 24-year-old right-hander said it was the right decision and he still had confidence in his offense, but on Thursday it wasn’t meant to be. Nick Ramirez blasted a home run to right center field in the fourth inning, but that was the team’s only run and one of just two hits for the Timber Rattlers all game.

 

After pitching 140 2/3 innings this season in his first full year of pro ball after being drafted by the Brewers in the 38th round of last year’s draft, Pierce acknowledged his body was ready for a break, even if he’s enjoyed the past few months.

 

“The competitor that I am, I didn’t want it to end it this way, so obviously I want to get out there again,” Pierce said. “You don’t want to ever end your season on a loss, especially in the playoffs. You know with the magnitude of this and the final series to lose it’s not going to sit well.

 

“But it’s been a long year and your body finally tells you it’s the end.”

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