KALAMAZOO, Mich – Texas Tech’s Ryan Long and Illinois-Chicago’s David Cronin both homered to support a fantastic outing by St. Joseph’s (IN) right hander Zach Aring as the Rivets took the opener of a two game series 13-5 over the Kalamazoo Growlers on Saturday night at Homer Stryker Field.
Neither team had a hit through three innings, but things quickly got away from Kalamazoo right hander Austin Rodesky (0-2) in the fourth. After walks to Michael Smith (San Jacinto JC), Hunter Steinmetz (Missouri State), and Cronin, Long made Rivets history by hitting the club’s first ever grand slam, a no-doubt shot to right field for a 4-0 lead. But the Rivets weren’t done. Two more walks set the stage for run-scoring hits by Gavin Johnson (Rice) and Smith to make it 6-0 before Cronin walked with the bases loaded to cap off a 7-run inning.
That was more than enough for Aring (2-1), who threw seven innings and allowed just four hits and one run while he struck out three.
The offense wasn’t done either. In the eighth, a walk to Jordan Hovey (Missouri State) and a Smith single set the table for Cronin to launch a three run home run to right field to extend the Rivets lead to 10-1. Smith finished the night having reached in all six plate appearances (three hits, two walks, and one hit by pitch).
The teams would trade runs late in the game, but Jake Perkins (Chicago State) pitched a scoreless ninth to close out the win for Rockford.
The Rivets will wrap up the two game series against the Kalamazoo Growlers at Homer Stryker Field on Sunday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. central. 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.