In a game that featured five lead changes, the South Bend Silver Hawks got the last one. Frazier Hall hit a two-run double in the top of the eighth inning to put the Silver Hawks up 6-5 on the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Monday night at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium.
Fidel Pena put South Bend (15-6) up right away. The second baseman lifted a 3-1 pitch from Rattlers starting pitcher Jorge Lopez over the wall in right for a leadoff homer and a 1-0 lead.
Wisconsin (8-12) responded with two runs in the bottom of the first. Tyrone Taylor and Michael Reed had back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners. Mitch Haniger drove in Taylor with a sacrifice fly to tie the game. Later in the inning, Clint Coulter’s infield single knocked in Reed to make it 2-1.
The Rattlers added to their lead in the third inning. Reed walked and Haniger doubled to put runners at second and third with no outs. Victor Roache drove in Reed with a grounder to short for a 3-1 lead.
South Bend rallied against Lopez in the top of the fifth. A hit batsman and a walk started the inning. Fidel Pena doubled in the first run of the inning and that put runners at second and third. Socrates Brito singled to center to drive in the tying run. Pena tried to score from second, but was thrown out at the plate by Taylor.
However, the Silver Hawks would take the lead later in the fifth. Brito took second on the throw to the plate to get Pena. Then, he stole third. Brito would score on a ground out and that run put the Hawks up 4-3.
Wisconsin answered in the bottom of the sixth inning. Coulter walked on four pitches, moved to second on a balk, and took third on a wild pitch. Chris McFarland singled on a 3-2 pitch to score Coulter with the tying run.
McFarland was at first base with one out and Orlando Arcia at the plate. Arcia delivered a single to right on the hit-and-run and McFarland raced for third. But, Arcia rounded first base too far and got caught in a run down. Arcia managed to stay in the rundown long enough to allow McFarland to break for the plate and score to go ahead run.
South Bend loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the seventh inning against reliever Ryan Gibbard. But Gibbard escaped without a run scoring. His luck would run out in the eighth.
Gibbard walked the first two Silver Hawks he faced in the top of the eighth. Hall couldn’t get a sacrifice bunt down successfully and had a 1-2 count against him. Hall fouled off the first 1-2 pitch from Gibbard. Hall lined the next pitch down the line in right. The ball kicked up chalk on the foul line and the double plated two runs to put the Hawks up 6-5.
Reed singled to start the bottom of the ninth inning against Silver Hawks closer RJ Hively. That was the fifth time Reed reached base on the evening. He had three singles and two walks. But, Hively got Haniger to ground into a force play at second for the first out. Hively retired the next two Rattlers to end the game and pick up his Midwest League leading sixth save of the season.
The final game of the three game series is Tuesday afternoon. Preston Gainey (0-2, 10.80) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. Jesse Darrah (1-1, 3.20) is set to start for South Bend. Game time is 12:05pm.