LOVES PARK, Ill. – The Rockford Rivets hit three home runs, two of them from a player coming off a College World Series appearance, in an 8-7 win over the Kalamazoo Growlers on Thursday.
Texas Tech junior Hunter Hargrove, in his first game at Rivets Stadium, hit a pair of three-run homers and walked twice in a 2-for-3, 6-RBI night as Rockford’s right fielder. Fellow Red Raider Ryan Long, who started at third base, was 3-for-3 and walked twice in a perfect home debut.
Ricardo Ramirez also homered for the Rivets. Matt Lloyd hit a two-run homer for the Growlers.
Hargrove homered to break a scoreless tie in the first inning and homered again in a four-run Rockford fifth to snap a 4-4 deadlock. Ramirez homered with the bases empty two batters later. Both came at the expense of Kalamazoo reliever Grant Schneider (0-1), who gave up four hits and walked four in 2 2/3 innings of relief.
Rockford starter Tyler Thornton (1-0) gave up five runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, but struck out seven and earned the win. Joe Romero pitched 2 1/3 innings of hitless relief for his first save.
The Rivets face the Growlers again 6:35 p.m. Friday at Rivets Stadium for Fireworks Night. Broadcasts and live streams can be found at NorthwoodsLeague.com.
Rockford is a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League, which will play its 23rd season of summer collegiate baseball in 2016. The Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 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, more than 150 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (Washington Nationals) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (Chicago White Sox), Jordan Zimmermann (Detroit Tigers), Curtis Granderson (New York Mets), Lucas Duda (Mets) and Ben Zobrist (Chicago Cubs). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League Website, NorthwoodsLeague.com. For more information, visit RockfordRivets.com.