Burlington threatened early. Aaron Shipman started the game with a double. A walk to Royce Consigli put runners on first and second with no outs. Then, Addison Russell sent a hard grounder to short. The ball took an odd bounce and hit off the shoulder of Yadiel Rivera. Fortunately for the Rattlers, the ball caromed to second baseman Carlos George, who was covering the bag. George grabbed the ball with his bare hand as he stepped on second for the force. A quick throw to first got the double play. Goforth retired the next batter to end the inning.
The Bees also put runners on in the second through fifth innings, but Goforth did not buckle and kept the Bees off the scoreboard.
Wisconsin was held hitless by Bees starter Drew Granier through the first 3-1/3 innings. Then, McMahan and Ramirez went to work. McMahan, who hit fifteen home runs in the regular season, lined a 3-1 pitch from Granier over the wall in left for his first homer in the playoffs and a 1-0 lead. Ramirez, who hit sixteen homers in the regular season, cracked a 1-2 pitch from Granier to the beach beyond the wall in right-center for his first homer in the playoffs and a 2-0 lead.
Wisconsin tacked on an unearned run in the fifth. Max Walla was at third base and scored on an error for a 3-0 lead.
From there, it was The David Goforth Show. The hard-throwing right-hander out of the University of Mississippi retired the final thirteen Bees batters he faced. Six of his nine strikeouts came in the final three innings. Friday marked the first complete game of Goforth's professional career. He also set a professional high for strikeouts in a game with his nine punchouts.
Friday night marked the second straight complete game shutout by a Timber Rattlers pitcher. Chad Pierce tossed a three-hit shutout in Game Two on Thursday night to force Game Three. Wisconsin pitching held Burlington off the scoreboard for the final 21 innings of the series.
The Rattlers won the series 2-1 despite hitting just .165 (14-for-85) against the Bees. Consecutive complete game shutouts help quite a bit.
Wisconsin will face the Clinton LumberKings in the Western Division Finals. Clinton defeated the Beloit Snappers 4-1 in ten innings on Friday at Beloit to advance to the next round.
Game One of the Western Division Finals will be at Clinton's Ashford University Field. Chad Thompson (5-2, 4.31) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. The LumberKings have Rusty Shellhorn (3-1, 3.60) as their scheduled starting pitcher. Game time is 6:30pm.
Game Two of the series is scheduled for Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium on Sunday, September 9. Game time is 7:05pm. Tickets for Game Two go on sale Saturday morning at 10:00am at the Timber Rattlers ticket office at the stadium. Tickets may also be ordered by calling (800) WI-TIMBER or (920) 733-4152.
Ben McMahan (1st, 0 on in 4th inning off Drew Granier, 1 out)
Nick Ramirez (1st, 0 on in 4th inning off Drew Granier, 1 out)
WP: David Goforth (1-0)
LP: Drew Granier (0-1)
TIME: 2:25 (1:03 delay)