Matt Tuiasosopo drilled a Michael Gross pitch for a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the 11th inning as the Swing of the Quad Cities dropped a 3-2 heartbreaker on Wednesday afternoon at Fox Cities Stadium. The loss spoiled a tremendous outing by Quad Cities righty Dennis Dove, who went six scoreless innings of three-hit baseball.
Tuiasosopo, who had earlier tied the game with a single in the eighth, barely cleared the 16-foot-high wall in left field to send the Rattlers to victory. Gross, who had retired all six men he had faced in his two outings this season, was dealt his first loss of the season.
Swing starting pitcher Dennis Dove was nearly perfect for the Swing, allowing only three base hits and walking one in six scoreless innings. The righthander struck out three and coaxed 12 groundball outs from the Rattlers. Dove, a third-round selection in the 2003 draft who has been riddled by ankle injuries, has allowed only eight hits in 12 innings, but has gone 0-1 over his first two starts.
Sidearming righty Mike Sillman kept the Rattlers at bay in the ninth and tenth innings, twice allowing singles but both times getting out of the jam. Oswaldo Navarro led off the tenth inning with a single, but the Swing turned a 6-4-3 double play when Brent Johnson showed bunt, then grounded to Swing shortstop Matt Shepherd.
The Swing broke through to end a scoreless tie in the top of the sixth frame, getting some help from faulty Rattlers defense. Matt Shepherd opened the rally with one out by reaching on an error by shortstop Tuiasosopo, and Wes Swackhamer followed by reaching on a four-pitch walk. Mike Ferris followed by slicing an RBI single into left-center, plating Shepherd for a 1-0 Swing lead. Jarrett Hoffpauir followed by hitting into an apparent double play, but Tuiasosopo's relay throw was wild, allowing Swackhamer to come home all the way from second.
The Rattlers touched up reliever Kevin Ool for one run in the bottom of the seventh inning. After Brandon Green had a one-out single into left, catch Brian Schweiger ripped a double over the head of leftfielder Sam Herbert to score Green. Jaymes Torres came on with two outs, and coaxed a popout from Jack Arroyo to keep the Swing on top.
Wisconsin tied it up against Torres in the bottom half of the eighth frame. Brent Johnson started it with a one-out single, and moved to second on a fielding error. Tuiasosopo made up for his earlier errors with a run-scoring single into right, evening the score at 2-2.
UP NEXT: The Swing and Timber Rattlers close out the series on Thursday night, as Mike Parisi (0-1, 6.75) goes to the mound against Aaron Jensen (0-1, 2.25). First pitch is scheduled for 6:35, and coverage on Progressive Talk AM 1270 will begin at 6:20.
NEXT HOME GAME: After a season-opening seven-game road trip, the Swing will open the home portion of their schedule on Friday, April 15, against the Clinton LumberKings. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30.
PROMOTION: The first 1,000 fans through the gates on Friday, April 15, will receive a complimentary Swing magnet schedule. In addition, the game will be followed by fireworks, sponsored by WLLR and Mix 96. Tickets are available to all Swing home games by calling (563) 328-2000.