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Rivets fall to red-hot Growlers

Jeremy Houston slides into third base in the sixth inning on Sunday's game. Rockford fell to Kalamazoo, 4-3. Photo courtesy of Doug Timmermann of JK Richards Photography. 

LOVES PARK, Ill. – There is only one team in the Northwoods League that had a better second-half record than the Rivets coming into Sunday’s game.

Kalamazoo (14-25) won their sixth straight game and improved to 5-0 in the second half of Northwoods League play as they defeated Rockford (20-19) 4-3. Despite leading 2-0 through five innings, Cole Bellair (Illinois) could not hold the lead and Kalamazoo continued their hot streak against the Rivets.

Rockford came out swinging early. Ryan Hutchinson (Illinois State) took Growlers starter Ryan Johnson (Lamar) deep to left field in the bottom of the 1st for the 1-0 Rockford lead.

Both pitchers settled in nicely and neither club could manage much of anything until the 5th inning. Rockford did score another run when Hunter Feduccia (LSU) drove in Jeremy Houston (Indiana) with a sacrifice fly ball in the 5th.

Bellair pitched five scoreless innings before he ran into any trouble. He walked three straight batters in the 6th inning and Ivan Estrella (Texas-Rio Grande) hit a one-out, two RBI double to tie up the game, 2-2. Mitch Bigras (Boston College) also added an RBI with a sacrifice fly and the Growlers led 3-2 after the 6th.

Feduccia brought the Rivets back into the game in the 7th. Kian O’Brien (Madison College) singled to lead off the inning and eventually came home with a Feduccia RBI single up the middle to tie the game once again, 3-3.

Nick Drahozal (1-1) pitched scoreless 7th and 8th innings, but Kalamazoo got to him in the top of the 9th. Bigras hit a one-out double to the right field gap and was the go-ahead run when Kaleb Murphy (USC) drove him in with a single.

Rockford was unable to even the score again in the 9th, and Drahozal took the loss for Rockford.  

Rockford remains in town for another game against the Growlers tomorrow at 6:35 p.m. before leaving for a two-game series in Fond du Lac on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday, July 13th, the Rivets face off against the Wisconsin Woodchucks for another 6:35 p.m. game. It’s Thirsty Thursday – that means $1 Miller Lite drafts! You can order your Rivets tickets today by calling the Rockford Rivets ticket office at 815.240.4159.

The Rockford Rivets are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League, which will play its 24th season of summer collegiate baseball in 2017. The Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, 170 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals), two-time World Champion Ben Zobrist (Chicago Cubs) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (Boston Red Sox), Jordan Zimmermann (Detroit Tigers), Curtis Granderson (New York Mets) and Lucas Duda (Mets). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website, NorthwoodsLeague.com. 

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